Content That Attracts: Discover Content Ideas and Grow Your Audience | Stanley Idesis | Skillshare

Content That Attracts: Discover Content Ideas and Grow Your Audience

Stanley Idesis, The Upfront Marketer

Content That Attracts: Discover Content Ideas and Grow Your Audience

Stanley Idesis, The Upfront Marketer

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10 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Why Content Works

      2:21
    • 2. Smells Like Sales

      3:59
    • 3. Content Quadrants

      4:42
    • 4. Key(word)s to Success

      4:42
    • 5. Buy Local

      5:17
    • 6. Crack the Competition

      4:48
    • 7. Consolidate the Data

      4:29
    • 8. Mine Your Diamonds

      6:09
    • 9. Break the Rules

      4:26
    • 10. Steps to Victory

      2:51
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About This Class

Your future reader sighs as her stomach rumbles, she’s dealing with a problem and she’s too embarrassed to ask someone for help — she has nowhere to turn. So she does what we all do: she opens the Internet. She opens Google.

She desperately pounds her search in one letter at a time: ”lack toast and tolerant symptoms,” and slams the return key. Sure, she may not know the term is actually lactose intolerant, but your content won’t judge her, and neither will you.

Your content defines the symptoms of lactose intolerance, provides treatment recommendations, and clarifies (without condescension) that lactose intolerance is a treatable medical condition, and that lacking both toast and tolerance is a rare, but frightening personal condition. Everyone loves toast. 

Your reader chuckles to herself as she realizes her mistake and connects with your polite, well-researched content. She spots your link to a product that can ease her symptoms and prevent future issues. She follows it, orders the Lactaid pills, and you earn a nice commission and a brand new fan.

That’s the power of content and great content ideas. You may not have a health blog but you have a small business or you market for an organization that knows content can deliver wonderful experiences and attract new customers.

And if you’re looking for content ideas that can deliver on that promise, you’ve come to the right place.

In This Course, You Learn…

  • The basics of SEO (search engine optimization)
  • How to perform keyword research
  • To evaluate keywords and turn them into content ideas
  • To study your competition for missed content opportunities, and
  • How to make a great first impression with content

And along the way, you will become familiar with this indispensable free toolkit:

  • Google Sheets
  • Keywordtool.io
  • Keywords Everywhere
  • SEOQuake
  • Keyword Shitter (crappy name, useful tool)
  • AdWords Keyword Planner (free account required)

This course is great for beginners who’ve done little-to-no keyword research or search engine optimization. However, you will get a head-start if you:

1. Have access to Keyword Planner

  • Follow these steps to enable Keyword Planner without providing credit card information

2. Are familiar with Google Sheets (or similar spreadsheet software)

3. Use Chrome or Firefox

4. Install SEOQuake

  • This browser extension provides valuable information as we search the web
  • Install SEOQuake for Chrome or for Firefox

5. Install Keywords Everywhere

Go through these preliminary steps and then meet me in the course! As an instructor, I want to remain open and available to you. I will read and do my best to reply to all of your questions and concerns.

Happy content-ing! Also, make sure to keep a piece of toast on you at all times, otherwise your risk of sudden onset lack toast and tolerance goes up by 50%!

P.S. My friends at SEMRush (one of my favorite online marketing tools) have offered an exclusive, extended free trial for students of this course. Follow this link to try SEMRush for 14-days

Meet Your Teacher

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Stanley Idesis

The Upfront Marketer

Teacher

 Okay fine, 1% is recycling.

Think of all the celebrity clickbait gossip, the plagiarized AP news stories, the software developers blogging about moving a button 3 pixels to the left… almost always bad, almost always useless.

Content marketing is such a ubiquitous business tool now that everyone tries it, but few understand how it works and even fewer give it the attention it deserves.

After a couple blog posts and no new business, most content marketing efforts derail and turn their blogs into ghost towns. Or worse, they keep plugging away at it week after week to satisfy some imaginary quota while producing nothing but vapid, self-serving drivel.

I’m here to stop that nonsense.

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Why Content Works: Hi, my name is Stanley Idesis. I'm a digital marketing consultant, software developer, author, and a proud goof ball dog dad to a little mud named Bo. But we're not here to talk about her. We're here to talk about content that attracts. A course that promises to help you discover content ideas that inspire customers to check out your brand, and here's how. In 2016, Google handled 60,000 searches per second. That added up to two trillion searches per year. Based on that figure you, me, and everyone else on the planet click that search button 280 times. I don't know about you, but in 2016 poop emoji was at least 100 of those for me. Back in 2016, I searched for the same things I search for today. Solutions to my problems, answers to my questions and that one shrug emoticon with a weird smirk on its face. How do I even figure out how to type that? We have many reasons to be grateful to the modern search engine, but one in particular stands out to me. Search engines are impartial. They don't care where the search result comes from as long as the results serves the reader well. Focusing on quality rather than popularity means that small businesses and even individual bloggers can actually compete with big brands. They compete, by providing better results, better answers, better content, but how did they do that? How can you learn to do that? By performing keyword research, evaluating searcher intent, and crafting content that satisfies those searchers, you can attract a relevant audience to your website. To do that, you're going to need some skills. Skills that you can learn in this course. In the following videos, you will learn how to generate audience attracting content ideas. When you discover keywords that are important to your customers, find searches that are popular in your local area. Looks to your competitors for inspiration and evaluate every idea from winnability. Along the way, you will build a spreadsheet of content ideas that you can act upon immediately and the skills required to refill that spreadsheet whenever you get stuff. So, if your answer to what should we write is a shrug emoticon, then this is the course for you. 2. Smells Like Sales: Our search results are an opportunity to leave great first impressions on readers. In this video, we're going to look at some of the elements that contribute to each search result. Otherwise, known as ranking factors. We're going to discover how to leave a great first impression by trying to leave a terrible one. Yep, a classic problem reversal. Let's dig in. Here's an example of a search result for the term, ''How to bake a cake.'' Let's dissect the elements but we'll ignore the photo and review elements for now as they're beyond the scope of this course. The title is the first thing our searchers read, so it needs to grab their attention and accurately summarize the content within. If we have a recognizable brand name, including it may attract more clicks, if not we skip it to make room for a bigger headline. We keep titles to 60 characters or less. Otherwise, there's a good chance search engines will cut them short with an ellipsis, those three little dots. The URL is not too critical to the reader but the rule of thumb is this; the shorter, the better. If we repeat the searchers keywords in the URL, they'll feel that much more connected to our result. The description is critical. In this 260 character blurb, we get a chance to entice the reader even further. Search engines will highlight any key words in the description that match the readers search, so we remember to include them. Finally, our position. By creating great content and crafting excellent titles, URLs, and descriptions, our results will naturally flow to the top. Landing on the first page is always our goal, but the top three spots are the ones we covet most. It is through search results that are readers first discover us. So let's make sure we introduce ourselves properly. To do it right, we will study how to do it wrong, beginning with the title. This title has everything that's wrong with the world. It begins with a superlative, a sales pitch promising the world's best cake recipe. Please, everyone knows that the best cake recipe of all time is my grandma's walnut cake. Next, there's a glaring typo. Finally, the title is too long, so the search engine has cut it short. The URL lacks HTTPS, a trust factor for many visitors. Beyond that, it obviously has nothing to do with the title. It's far too long and is primarily gibberish. The description fails to entice the reader, fails to repeat key words, and even fails to provide a complete sentence. This jumbling of text is often the result of when a web page fails to supply a meta description tag. Now I don't have to say it, but I want to, fire hydrants, they're not cakes. Let's imagine that this fire hydrant cake recipe result was so avant garde that people actually clicked on it, ironically, I'm sure. To continue making the worst first impression, this site follows up that disastrous listing with an even more disastrous piece of content. Here's how. They send readers away with pop-ups. Pop-ups as soon as readers load the site. Google algorithms now detect and penalize this behavior. They promised a cake recipe but they hid the content in a miserable slideshow that forces visitors to reload the page and watch a 30-second ad between every baking instruction. To really add insult to injury, this recipe is actually just a list of guesses such as, maybe a couple of flour, and however much vanilla extract you have is probably okay, just pour it all in, who cares? In between baking steps, they discuss camping gear and 10 weird things you can do with a curling iron. The first sentence in the content is 10 times larger than the normal font and reads, ''Buy our cake mix. It's the bomb.com.'' Because content is nothing if not accrued sales vehicle, and before readers can even view the recipe, they have to provide personal info, the kind that gets them added to a permanent mailing list. Sweet. Joking aside. It's almost too obvious that making a great first impression requires we do the opposite of everything discussed. No pop-ups and a clear thorough on topic and accessible piece of content that satisfies the promise our search result made to the reader. 3. Content Quadrants: In this video, we're going to plot content ideas on a two dimensional axis. If you're worried about doing a bunch of algebra, let me put you at ease. We're only going to cover grades seven through nine. Kidding, no math involved. Just picking the content ideas that fit us just right. Let's begin. Throughout this course, we will evaluate content ideas based on two properties. The first property is demand. Demand represents how frequently readers search for or otherwise seek out our ideas. We discover demand through keyword research, a topic we'll cover thoroughly in the next few videos. At the far left, we have low demand. These ideas receive little attention in the grand scheme of things. For example, how to fly a kite in a tropical rainstorm without rubber boots on, is a highly specific request that probably receives little if any demand. At the opposing end of the spectrum, there is of course high-demand. Pretty self-explanatory, these ideas are exceptionally popular or common. For example, money. Yeah, just the word money. It's a safe bet that money is a popular idea. Relevance is the other parameter we use to evaluate our ideas. Low relevance refers to ideas that have nothing to do with our business. For example a major pharmaceutical company chooses to write about motorcycles. Bi-wheeled vehicles are not particularly relevant to their business, despite being super cool. To a pharmaceutical company, highly relevant topics might look like drug side effect reports, testing results and breakthroughs in medical research. With both axes defined, let's look at the bigger picture. For our purposes, we're going to stay away from ideas that have no relevance to what we do. Publishing content below the relevance line is safe when we know our existing customers and want to keep them engaged with our brand. But, these content ideas are likely to fail in attracting our target audience. In the top right quadrant, big brands and popular websites have the opportunity to target short-tail keywords. These are broad popular topics like money management, used cars and fast-food. Millions of sites compete for these, therefore small businesses and fledgling websites will find it nearly impossible to reach searchers. You might think that low-demand ideas lack value, but the top left corner is actually a sweet spot for every content creator. These ideas are specific, easy to target, and highly valuable if found relevant to your business. More importantly, over 70 percent of all search traffic goes to topics found in this quadrant. As mentioned before, we're not going to cover demand in this video, that's for another time. So, before discovering the popularity of our ideas, we need to come up with some first. We'll call these ideas hypotheses because for now they're just our best guess at what people want. Let's look at some examples. I'm a huge coffee drinker and if you know me, you know I'm picky about my coffee and my coffee shop. Fills for life, by the way. A local coffee shop might come up with the following relevant content hypotheses. Some of the people who drink a lot of coffee also make a lot of coffee. The best bean options might interest them. Beans that they can use for Espresso or Expresso if you're the evil villain in my coffee movie, and if they're anything like me, they like to coffee shop hop by scoping out the best places in town. If what we mean by relevant ideas remains unclear maybe the next example will help clear that up. I wish I didn't have to, but we all have to shop for food. What might a national grocery store write about to attract new customers? Perhaps shoppers frustrated with the shelf life of produce might hunt for information that helps solve that age-old problem. Or if they're cheap, also like me, they might look for bargain grocery opportunities or waste to cut shopping costs, and perhaps they're confused by what these product labels mean. I just recently learned that all of these actually mean something different. Mind blown, Google it. If you work in a big organization project management is undoubtedly critical to your success. What might a project management tool write to attract your attention? It's tough to stay on task with constant meetings and office distractions. Perhaps a piece of content can help out. People who buy these tools probably do some comparison shopping. An unbiased comparison article could work. Personally, I don't have any problems with procrastination, but I'm sure somebody out there does. For your homework assignment, you're going to generate ten to 20 relevant content hypotheses. Use the examples in this video as inspiration but also feel free to branch out and come up with wacky ideas that are just plain old fun. Don't worry about making sure your ideas are popular because we'll evaluate each hypothesis for demand and later checkpoints. Happy brainstorming. 4. Key(word)s to Success: We now have a list of relevant ideas, so we need to check them for demand. In this video, we're going to perform keyword research. This process uncovers the demand for our ideas, helps us discover new ideas, and records them all in a spreadsheet. Let's begin with the first of four required tools, Keywords Everywhere. Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that reveals keyword metrics as we browse the web, specifically search volume, competition, and average cost per click. It also lets us mark keywords as favorites, saving them for later. Make sure to install Keywords Everywhere before you continue this video. Let's double check your settings before we begin researching. Start by opening the settings page for Keywords Everywhere. Your unique API key goes here. You can get one from keywordseverywhere.com. For country, I've selected global to target a worldwide audience but feel free to narrow this down to a specific country if available. Make sure that volume, cost per click, and competition checkboxes remain checked. In a later video, we will use this data to determine the winnability of each idea. Finally, check the highlight volume box and leave the default greater than 10. This is how Keywords Everywhere helps us identify valuable keywords. With Keywords Everywhere prepared, we're going to move on to our next tool, keywordtool.io. Begin by navigating to the site. Keywordtool.io is a search engine that searches for searches. It gathers related search keywords based on Google's autocomplete suggestions then prints them for us to see. For my first search, I'm going to use an example from the last video. I take my content guess right into the box, "how to grind coffee beans for espresso," and hit return. Keyword Tool generates a list of searches related to my original but unfortunately, we're not seeing much. More importantly, Keyword Tool hid the super critical volume cost per click and competition data, information that Keyword Tool won't provide for free. Paying for things is nice but we're keyword hunting on the cheap and cheap is a great way to define our next tool. Keyword Shitter is a poor version of keywordtool.io and we're actually going to use it for something much less interesting. We'd begin by opening up a new tab and navigating to keywordshitter.com. As promised, it's not much to look at but it's about to become super useful. Keywordtool.io is nice enough to let us copy our search results, which we can then paste into this box over here. Voila, volume, cost-per-click, and competition data provided for free by Keywords Everywhere. Looks like our idea panned out. Let's favorite the first two results. But this list is short and we would love to expand our search a bit. We're going to repeat this process but this time, we will broaden our search by removing some specifics. Yes, this moves us into short tail keyword territory but by starting with a short keyword, sometimes Keyword Tool finds long specific searches that we didn't expect. Our search brought back over 200 related keywords and a lot of them have potential. Let's favorite a few more before we move on to the last step. That last step is to copy our keywords into a spreadsheet. By doing so, we make it easier to share an evaluate our keywords later on. We open up the Keywords Everywhere menu and click on My Favorite Keywords. I already have that tab open so I'm going to switch to it and click refresh. Boom, all of our favorite keywords in one convenient place. Right here, they've provided a menu of options to help us take our keywords elsewhere. We're going to click copy and paste them into a spreadsheet. I already have a blank Google sheet open. Feel free to use whichever spreadsheet software you prefer. The pasting process isn't perfect so let's clean it up a bit. We'll remove this empty column, lock the headers, and widen the keyword column to make it easier to read. For now, we're done but there's always more to do. Your homework, should you choose to accept it, is repeat this process using the content hypotheses you came up with in the previous lesson. Don't worry if your original ideas prove unpopular, that's what this process is all about, validating your guesses and discovering new opportunities. Then copy your results into a spreadsheet and if you can't help but share your magical discoveries, show them off to your peers or me. I'll provide feedback and if your spreadsheet is really stellar, you could see more pictures of Bo, my super cute dog. Happy keyword hunting. 5. Buy Local: Brains continue to move their business online, but some only thrive in places where customers can visit by their actual bodies. Even though most or all of the revenue these brains generate comes from meat space, they can still use Content Marketing to turn digital eyeballs into physical prospects. In this video, we're going to look for keywords again. But this time, we're looking local. We're going to use AdWords Keyword Planner, a free keyword research tool provided by Google. If you're wondering why we didn't start with this tool to begin with, I'm going to explain that later on. Before you continue, make sure you've gained access to a free AdWords account. This may require providing a valid credit card. This is the AdWords dashboard. Yours probably looks just like mine, not much to look at. But today, we're interested in Keyword Planner. We click the tools icon, find Keyword Planner and click again. In the Generate Keywords box, we're going to paste the same short tail keyword we used in the last video, grind coffee beans. Notice the suggestions AdWords recovers, they look a little different than those provided by Keyword Tool.IO. Since we left Keywords Everywhere enabled, the extension provides the same information we saw in the previous video, pretty convenient. AdWords offers some of the same data we looked at in the previous video and more. Unfortunately, for AdWords accounts with limited budgets, the tool displays wide ranges of volume rather than precise numbers, whereas Keywords Everywhere narrows the figure down to within 10 searches. We also see a discrepancy between AdWords data and that of Keywords Everywhere, the date range is primarily to blame. While we don't know the time scale used by Keywords Everywhere, we can control it directly in AdWords. We've set ours to provide data from the past 12 months because we're not looking for trends, we're looking for sustainable ideas that we'll continue to bring visitors to our site for months if not years, and currently our target location includes the entire planet. But I don't think our coffee shop plans to receive regular visitors from Guam, let's narrow our scope a bit. Click this location text to reveal a pop-up window. We're going to pretend that our coffee shop is located in my hometown of Glenview Illinois. We select the right Glenview, which has a fairly large population, and click Save. As expected, the number of searches for these terms in a population of only 400,000 is notably smaller than their worldwide counterparts, yet Keywords Everywhere data remains the same, because it sticks to evaluating search volume for the location we provided in the settings. To sort the results by popularity, we click on Average Monthly Searches. To see as many Keywords at one time as possible, we expand the list to include 500 per page. Unfortunately, finding viable local content ideas on AdWords requires a little bit of creativity. To find great local ideas and AdWords, we want Keywords that meet the following criteria. Local ideas are those that naturally lend themselves to finding a place, for example, best hardware stores where to fly a kite and rent a pair of skis. Of course, the idea should remain related to our business just as before. The idea should come in the form of a question, request or problem that needs solving rather than a specific product or brand name. For example, we're to grind coffee beans as a highly local request, and for the sake of this example, a service that our coffee shop provides. So, we're going to save it. We can look for additional options in the list by performing a text search in our browser. We'll begin our search by typing where, and now we'll start some other highly local requests. Another term we're seeing repeated frequently is the word best. Perhaps our coffee shop might weigh in on these, so we'll start a few of them. Before we wrap things up, let's look at one last trick, AdWords that has filter multiple locations at once, and my hometown happens to be surrounded by other people's home towns, so we can target them by adding as many as we like. With a wider target audience, we can discover even more keywords to attract our nearby neighbors. Earlier, I promised to explain why we didn't start with Keyword Planner to begin with, so here's me keeping my promises. AdWords is great for targeting specific locations as we've seen throughout this video, but unless we spend a lot of money on ads, we're going to get more accurate data with method one. Keyword Planner's goal is to get us to publish ads and therefore to find keywords that are ad friendly, whereas method one is far superior at generating ideas. I won't make you stick with either method, there's thousands of ways to find keywords out there. Choose whichever you prefer, and you might discover your preference after you do some homework. Planner offers a bunch of filters and interesting options for us to play with. So, get in there and try stuff out, then look for keywords popular near your place of business. Even if you're not a brick and mortar brand, you can still target online readers based on location. For example, if one of your hottest products ships primarily to Brooklyn, look for content opportunities that will help attract additional members from that community. Of course, don't forget to pull your results from Keywords Everywhere and into your spreadsheet, and if you find any strange searches that are really popular in your area, please share them. 6. Crack the Competition: Sadly, we have to admit that sometimes our competition produces great content. But by using a few nifty tricks, we can borrow their most successful ideas and make them our own. In this video, we'll use free tools and our creativity to discover content opportunities by studying the competition. Before we get going with the demo, you'll need to install and configure this free browser extension. SEOQuake provides a ton of data gathering features as we search the web. But we're going to use it to recover social shares and to download our search results. So, we'll need to make a few quick configuration changes. After you install the extension, open up preferences and navigate to serp overlay. Scroll to active parameters and enable Facebook likes, Pinterest pin count and Linkedin share count, then uncheck the rest. With our SEOQuake preferences squared away, we're ready to search. But before we do that we're going to learn an advanced search technique to help us uncover competitor content. Using site, we can limit the results returned by Google to a single domain name. For example, site:foodnetwork.com will return every food network web page that Google knows about. Let's see this in action, using the site technique, we'll find every page that belongs to a local coffee shop competitor, The Brothers K Coffeehouse. By default, Google limits search results to 10 per page. Let's change that, open up search settings and change results per page to 100 then click save. Unfortunately, the majority of results from this competitor appear to be pages discussing their business, content we likely already have. However, there is one notable exception, Latte Art Throwdown. This piece of content looks promising. So, we'll take the main keyword and repeat our evaluation process from lesson four. Great, we found something that might be worth producing on our own site. Regrettably, local businesses rarely have a large web presence. So, let's aim our sites a little bit higher. Let's aim at a whale. Let's aim at Starbucks. Okay, that's a few too many search results to look through. Let's learn another advanced search technique to help narrow these down. Using intitle, we can narrow results to pages that have specific words in their titles. But we must remember to surround our required terms with quotes. Let's find how to articles on starbucks.com by combining our advanced site search with the intitle search, much better. Now, this is where SEOQuake kicks in. By clicking serp report, we can pull all of the search results on this page into a table. Earlier, we limited these columns to social shares. That will help us filter these content pieces in a moment. We begin by downloading everything as a CSV file. In our favorite spreadsheet software, mine being Google Sheets, we import the data. For Google Sheets, I choose to append the data to the current sheet but you don't have to copy that. But we have to set a custom separator because Google Sheets does not detect the semicolon automatically. Silly Google. Let's clean up these columns really quick. So, we have a big list in front of us, but what exactly are we looking for? Competitive content ideas should meet three criteria, some we've already seen before. First and foremost, the content is helpful to visitors. Naturally, the content is popular and we're taking our best guess at popularity by looking at social shares. Often overlooked, the content must be brand-free. For example, top ten Starbucks in Seattle might rank really well. But that's primarily because Starbucks itself ranks really well. So, we must find ideas that take the brand out of the equation. To begin this content hunt, we sort results by popularity on Pinterest. Due to a glitch in SEOQuake, this top result actually does not belong in starbucks.com but the second one it does, sweet. This iced coffee tutorial is well-liked and it's titled unbranded. We repeat method one using this title. Excellent, a huge batch of new ideas courtesy of Starbucks. Homework time. For your homework assignment, find your competitors and their websites. You can even look through their accounts on Medium, YouTube, Linkedin and wherever else brands post content. Repeat the method in this video to discover and collect valuable content hypotheses, and as usual share your borrowed at discoveries with classmates. 7. Consolidate the Data: We've spent the past three lessons gathering keywords, so many keywords. Now, what? We're going to use our intuition to decipher the meaning behind the keyword. We're going to assign each keyword to an intent. An intent is just that, the meaning or desire behind the keyword. This crucial step turns our keyword hypotheses into topics, topics we can turn into content. But before we take this step, let's learn what to look for. Sometimes, the intent behind a search is obvious. The longer the search term, the better chance we have to discern its meaning. For example, "How to fix a broken mop" is a six-word, 23-character search that leaves us with a pretty clear intent. If not long, keywords with clear intents usually include a verb an action of some kind. For example, "Find coffee nearby," "Visit field museum, and "Download YouTube video." If they have neither length nor action, keywords with clear intent usually demand a specific result. For example, "Directions to" and "Instructions for." This is not an exhaustive list of properties. Ultimately, discovering intent might boil down to a gut feeling. However, some intents are particularly difficult to discern. Here's why. They're just too short. Did you know that people search for the word "Car," just "Car," nine million times per month? Advertisers don't pay for this term because they have no clue what those searchers want and neither do we. Sometimes, a search includes words unfamiliar to us and unfamiliar to the Oxford dictionary. Without knowing the slang term or correct spelling, the keyword may leave us puzzled. Finally, terms with multiple meanings can also throw us off. For example, if I search "How to get away with murder," am I looking for critically acclaimed drama starring academy award winner Viola Davis, or should you call the police? Sometimes, there's no way of knowing. Now, we're going to take what we've learned and apply it to the keywords we've discovered over the past few lessons. Here's our spreadsheet, specifically the keywords we plan to target nationally in the United States. We're going to add a column next to the keyword and label it Intent. We identify each intent with a unique number and we'll see why in a moment. We assign number one, our first intent, to "grind coffee beans." Grind coffee beans does have an action but I think it's lacking specifics that help us hone in on the intent. The next keyword, "grind coffee beans at home," is crystal clear and potentially different from the first. So we're going to assign a different intent to this keyword, number two. "Grind coffee beans blender" is also specific but different than the previous two. So, we'll assign three to the intent column. We'll do the same with the fifth row, assigning a new identifier to this keyword, the number four. But in row six, we discover our first repeat. The intent behind "grind coffee beans and blender" and "grind coffee beans blender" is highly similar, if not, identical. So we'll assign the same identifier to this row, number three. I happen to know that a magic bullet and a vitamix are both a type of blender and we're going to take some creative liberties and assign both of these keywords to intent number three. I think you get the idea, so let's skip to the completed list. Now, we'll sort the list by intent to group these together before we define them. We've laid out a separate sheet to track intents. In this column, we'll repeat the identifiers previously defined next to our keywords. In this one, we're going to summarize our best guess for each intent beginning with number one. Unfortunately, grind coffee beans is kind of ambiguous. To discover the intent behind this search, we'll search it ourselves to see what type of results made it to the top ten. It looks like the intent behind the search is to learn how to grind coffee beans at home, so we're going to update our keyword spreadsheet to reflect that. Now, we can fill in our best guess intent. We'll repeat this for the next Intent and keep going until we filled out the entire sheet. Time to practice this yourself. Create a spreadsheet to track intents or use the one I've provided in the course materials. Assign intents to your global, national, and local keywords. As always, share your keywords and intents with classmates to receive feedback on your interpretations. To congratulate you for making it this far, from now on, homework is just loaded with cute animal photos. 8. Mine Your Diamonds : We are so close, just moments away from gold. This is the video, the one that combines everything we've done so far into a single action. Building a content plan. We're going to take our ideas, that we turned into research, that turned to intents and boil the best ones down into actual content proposals. It all begins with math. So universally hated. They didn't even bother making an emoji for it. But don't worry. We're only calculating some simple averages. Back on the list of intents, we begin by calculating the average number of searches for each one. We've made another column and used a Spreadsheet formula to average the volume from all the keywords associated to that ID. If you don't know how to use formulas, rely on the sample sheet or just average the numbers by hand. No biggie. We do the same for cost per click, and the same for competition. On that note, let's pause to discuss. The CPC figure is not particularly important for our content creator but competition is critical. Competition ranges from zero to one and one means the competition for that keyword is high. When a keyword is competitive, many brands pay to include their ad whenever someone searches for that keyword. Unfortunately, ads get clicks. The more ads present on the page, the less likely a searcher will click on actual content, our content. Conversely, low competition means few or perhaps zero advertisers pay for that keyword, leaving plenty of room for content to win the day. With competition squared away, we're ready to add another column, relevance. Again, let's take a quick detour. Do you remember this thing? As we already know, volume dictates demand. Low volume, low demand; high volume, high demand. However, only we can decide whether a piece of content is relevant. Relevant content attracts the kind of person that will do business with us. That person will readily understand why we produced it. Coffee shop, writing about coffee beans? Relevant. Submarine maker, writing about baby koalas? Not relevant but so cute. Onto our next column, word count. By tracking word count, we get a rough idea of the depth readers expect from the material. Then a series of columns to market the types of content we found for each intent. We're including custom images, slideshows, videos, infographics and e-books. But your list can go on to include podcasts, white papers, PDFs recipes, memes or whatever makes sense for your topics. Now to fill in the data, we must search each keyword associated with each intent. To save time, we're just going to search the intent text. On this Spreadsheet, we can perform a quick Google search using a little bit of wizardry. Let's open up the first result. Not too many images in a fairly short piece of content. Let's look at the next. Both the videos and images look like they came from somewhere else. The third looks like what would happen if the first two had a baby, an ugly baby. We've gathered enough information to fill in the first row. For the purpose of a national coffee shop chain, grinding beans is highly relevant to its customers and to its brand. The word count averages between 1,000 and 3,000. We found both images and video but no slideshows, no infographics, and no eBooks. So, going in, we knew the first intent was likely a slam dunk. Let's take a look at a long shot. Remember, we found latte art throwdown from a local coffee shops website. So, we're not really sure how it's going to pan out as a content idea. Unfortunately, it looks like the results referred to latte art competitions and how to host them. Something our fictitious coffee chain does not currently participate in. We set relevance to low and leave the remaining columns unfilled. Some magical minutes later and we have a complete sheet and we're ready to build a content plan. Remember, we won't produce content to satisfy each intent. Some are just not worthy of our time, but which of them are? That's what we'll find out next. To separate the viable from the totally not doable, we ask ourselves the following about each intent. The most basic is, well, can we actually make this or if we have the budget, can we hire an agency or a contractor to do it for us? If we can make the content, can we also match or improve upon the content currently sitting pretty in the top 10 results? Finally, even if we can't afford to make the content, it'll be the best thing since sliced bread, is the volume worth it? Producing fantastic content does not guarantee its placement in the top 10. Each entry in the top 10 only receives a fraction of the clicks, making this question the most important of all. For us, a fictitious national chain of coffee shops, the attention received by topics two, three and four is definitely worth our effort. Rather than making one piece of content for each, we will make a single piece of mega content that covers grinding coffee beans at home, by hand, with a blender, with the Vita Mix, with magic bullet, without a grinder and without pants on. Okay, not the last one. Wear pants, please wear pants. But how is that? For covering our bases. In the content plan, we create a temporary title to capture the spirit of all three intents. Make note of those intents right here and fill out the remaining columns with what we plan to create. Why the shrug emoji? Just leaving a little wiggle room for creativity. Now, it's your turn. Expand your intent Spreadsheet to include the same columns you saw here. Then fill in the data by repeating the process in this video. Create a content plan sheet or document and populate it with titles viable for you and your business. Finally, share your content ideas with your peers. Don't forget to back each proposal with research and data. 9. Break the Rules: With content ideas in hand, let's break some rules and game the system so we can place our content in that precious number one spot. If you got really excited, I apologize. You know what's just as exciting as cheating search engines recaps. To help outline our content, we need to take another look at some basic SEO tips. Remember this beauty, here's what you need to know about listings. To avoid cutoff, we limit titles to 70 characters including spaces, and titles are how we grab the searcher's attention. For URLs shorter is better, and they should include, or at least allude to the content within. Number one, provider description. You'll be surprised how often I forget to do this too, and number two keep it between 150-300 characters, and remember to include keywords and similar terms within each element. Okay, that's all well and good, but we knew that already. Let's look at something new. Here's the wikiHow Page who's listening we just picked apart and it's going to help us learn how to optimize our content. With some exceptions, pages should feature a single H1 tag that includes the title of the document. This tag corresponds to heading one. A text format provided by WordPress and other CMS tools when editing content. Notice, we don't have to repeat our search engine title as the document title. In fact, we can benefit by shaking things up. The remaining headlines or section titles, should be H2 or smaller to avoid confusing the search engines. Lastly, we should provide an alt tag for every image. Again, CMS tools like WordPress allow us to do this as we add images to our content. The alt tag describes the image to screen reader software. A tool that helps people with impaired vision use the internet, and search engines use the alt tag to index our images and include them in photo search results, a surprising source of traffic for many sites, and of course we repeat keywords throughout these elements. There are many tactics we can use to improve our rankings, but some of them are the SEO equivalent of get rich quick schemes. Lets look at what not to do when trying to promote our content. Keyword stuffing is the habit of over repeating our keywords to try and rank for them. Search engines are now smart enough to uncover this practice and punish the pages that perform it. Search engines often take popularity into account when ranking pages. Google calls this PageRank, and is based on the number and quality of links pointing to that page. Hiring a link network can boost the number of links your page receives, but search engines pay close attention to the source of these links and soon discover that they are in fact paid for. As in the previous case, punishment is what follows. There are over a dozen penalize behaviors according to Google and I encourage you to familiarize yourself with them all. But that's a lot of stuff to remember, so I prefer to rely on SEOQuake for most of it. Using SEOQuake, we can find a checklist for the SEO details we looked at earlier. Click the SEOQuake icon and then click diagnosis. As we can see, SEOQuake passes the document and evaluates the URL, title description, headings, and alt tags. Some checks that SEOQuake performs, go far beyond the scope of this course but they're all interesting. To learn more about a check, we can click the tip dropped down to its right. But this page won't tell us much about keyword stuffing. For that, we need the density tool. This tool looks for repeated phrases and keywords throughout the text. Best practice is to keep keywords and phrases below the three percent density mark. This tool also conveniently points out which keywords appear in the most prominent locations, titles, descriptions, and headlines. We find long tail phrases in the forward table. To bake a cake for example, has made the list but stayed within a safe number of repetitions. Nifty right? Oh yeah, there's homework to do. If you have existing content pages evaluate them with SEOQuake to see how they stack up. Armed with a better understanding of how search engines read your website, you're ready to outline your first piece of content. Share your outline with classmates including the title, URL, description, and headings. Also, did you know cute spiders were a thing? News to me. 10. Steps to Victory: We have reached the end. You've learned all there is to learn, and now you're wondering, where we I go from here? If you're just beginning to work in content, I recommend you start small by focusing on low demand but highly relevant ideas. There's plenty of good reasons why. First, by aiming small, we increase our chance of toppling the competition. Second, the cost of failure is relatively low and it's easier to create a winning piece of content for low demand topics. But to gauge the success of a piece of content, we must turn to data. We should study at minimum the following five variables. Provided by Webmaster Tools, each time a searcher sees our content in their search results, it counts as one impression. CTR, also provided by Webmaster Tools, is the number of times searchers click on our result divided by the number of impressions. Not a specific number, but rather a check to make sure our content ranks for the keywords we expect. Time-on-site is the length of time a new user spends on our site after finding us through our content. The more, the better. Of course, conversion rate, the percent of visitors arriving at our content that ultimately crossed the finish line by purchasing our product or subscribing to our services. Since we're short on time, we only introduced measurement in this course, and there's so much more to learn about content. So, I recommend you continue your self-education with the following skills. That is, assuming you want to be a ninja kitty. The first skill to master is Search Console, Google's free Webmaster Tool that provides keywords, impressions, and click-through rates for websites. Google Analytics anonymously tracks user behavior after searchers reach our site. It is an indispensable tool. Structured data helps search engines better understand what type of content exists on our pages and providing this data improves our rankings. Search engines use the data to highlight product images, news stories, recipes, step-by-step guides, reviews, and more. If I had to recommend one paid tool in this course, it would be SEMRush. SEMRush simplifies the content research and creation process by bringing everything we've learned and more under one swiss army knife online marketing tool. Lastly, no recommendation section is complete without blatant self-promotion. If you like my style, you can get a whole lot more of it in my book, Good Content. In it, I go into depth about the topics discussed here as well as how to write content that converts readers into buyers and buyers into lifelong customers. Finally, I want to say thank you for taking this course. If you get stuck on anything or wanted us discuss content marketing or have feedback for me, please find me through the course page or email me at [email protected] I hope you enjoyed this course as much as I enjoyed making it and I look forward to reading all of your fabulous content.