Blog Topics

Answer questions or start a new subject

There’s no shortage of topics to write about. The difficulty is in choosing the right topic.

The fastest way to narrow the possibilities is to choose a topic that you know a lot about (or that you’re willing to learn intimately) and that falls into the categories that your blog and business operate. So if your business sells a muscle building supplement, you likely shouldn’t blog about the stock market. The Ultimate Guide to Muscle Building, for example, is a better choice.

1. Start by listing the categories that your blog and business operate in

In other words, make a list of the relevant, broad topics based on what you know about your blog and business. Don’t hesitate (think of it as a brain dump).

Do I really need to do the research before I choose a topic?Expand
You can’t hit the target if there isn’t a target to hit. In other words, if you don’t do the research before you begin your content writing and optimization efforts then you might as well be shooting arrows into the wind. All of the optimization in the world won’t help you if you have no clear idea of what terms you want to rank for.

Let’s give it a go together using a mock SEO company.

Our ‘Rank Fast’ SEO company blogs about SEO (obviously 😂). So what are the categories that make up SEO?

I’m sure we can list more categories. But that list is sufficient for our exercise.

2. Choose a category

For our example, we’ll choose link building.

3. List the keywords that fall into the category you chose

Put yourself in the mindset of your blog’s reader or your business’s customer. Every search is an expression of their needs, wants, interests or desires. So if you want your blog to get traffic from Google then you need to make sure that it contains content created around the right keywords. What this means is that you should choose keywords that your potential audience is already using to look for similar content.

For our example, what might someone type into Google to find out about link building? 🤔

Let’s make another list.

An easy way to expand our list (and to sanity-check our work) is to use Google’s autocomplete:

4. Find more keywords and analyze their Google search trends

Most people researching keywords use Google’s keyword planner. If that’s the tool that you want to use, there’s plenty of great tutorials for it (1, 2, 3).

I use Keyword Tool (the Pro version), which is like Google’s autocomplete or Google’s Keyword Planner on steroids.

I like Keyword Tool because it delivers keyword suggestions, related keywords, and questions—with the search volume and competition for all of them. It shows you more results than Google’s autocomplete. And many of the keywords that Keyword Tool Pro finds are hidden from view in Google’s own keyword planner.

5. Sort keywords from low volume to high volume

Go after the keywords that are made up of two to four words (also known as body keywords and longtail keywords). These will usually have lower search volumes and therefore they (almost always) have lower competition. Mind you, too few searches and the return won’t be sufficient for your effort.

In the Google Search (SEO) section of this guide, you’ll learn a technique to take your rankings for low volume keywords and level up (a term phrased by Nat Eliason) to the higher-volume keywords. 🚀

Thanks for the screencast, Devin ❤️

Repeat steps two through five until you’ve exhausted all categories.

6. Choose the topic

For our exercise, lets choose the keyword ‘what is link building in SEO.’

Why? The keyword gets 720 searches per month and the competition is low (0.27).

The topic also sets up a series of blog posts on link building. So after answering the specific question, we can guide readers to related, helpful blog posts.


Bonus

Finding topics with Buzz Sumo

Buzz Sumo is cool. You use Buzz Sumo as you would Google search: type in a topic and press ‘Go!’ Buzz Sumo returns popular content, plus the number of social shares, the influencers who shared the content, and the popularity of a content versus similar content.

Finding topics with Answer The Public

Answer The Public generates content ideas with help from Google and Bing’s autocomplete data. The cool part is that the results are returned in visual form.