When it comes to creating online content and doing SEO on your website, we need to do ongoing research so that we can plan an effective strategy.
If we just start putting out content randomly we are unlikely to make the type of impact we need to reach our target audience.
In this post, I will give you an overview of how you can approach topic research (or as some may say keyword research) and set yourself up for better results.
Topic Research vs Keyword Research
Both of these terms refer to the process of doing research into your online market in order to gain insights before planning and taking action on your content marketing and SEO strategy.
I tend to use the term topic research as opposed to keyword research, as the approach is different for each when looking at how to create the best online content.
Keyword research historically focuses mainly on the use of “keywords”, meaning the exact words that people type into Google (or other search engines) in order to find relevant results.
This often gets misinterpreted by people to mean that all they need to do is focus on keywords, and that they should use them as much as possible in order to get found online.
That is why you may see blog posts and other content having what’s called “keyword stuffing” going on. This is where keywords are overused to the point where the content doesn’t seem natural to a normal person — it ends up looking like spam!
Write for humans, not for machines
On the other hand, topic research takes a more holistic view of content that will make a connection with the audience across the board.
It takes into account the intent of the users when they are searching for content, in order to understand how to give them a good user experience and not just give them a search result.
With topic research the approach is to help the user see the bigger picture by creating more effective content topics all round.
This means, not all topics will necessarily be based on keywords, but also what relates to the search, based on the user’s intent.
What to do for topic research
Topic research still needs you to look at the keywords being searched online because this still matters, but, this is just a part of it.
To add even more context to it you need to also include some of the following:
- Identify the competition – look at who the competition is and what content they already have available. Seeing what is working and what’s not will help you discover opportunities for content that you could cover
- Look at social media comments – this will give you going to help you identify common issues based on questions that are being posted
- Speak to your target audience – this is a big one because you have to understand the journey of your target audience and what they are facing at each stage. This way you can craft better content that will help them overcome their challenges
Those are some of the things you can do to carry out research based on the bigger picture. How you approach it will differ for each type of audience and the level of competition that’s already out there.
If you are in an unserved market, then you have a much better chance of winning with minimal effort.
However, if it is highly competitive you have to do smarter research around the content you want to publish, and how you optimise it for search engines.
Need extra help?
Check out the resources I have on futurestepscreative.com including online training and ongoing support, to help you build and grow your website and audience with content marketing.