These tools are used to help generate blog topic ideas, validate whether a blog topic has enough interest to actually be worth writing, and assess keyword competition for a given topic.
However, for all these uses the tools are flawed as they rely on incorrect data.
A far better tool to build your content strategy is Google itself. By typing relevant topics and keywords into Google you get a wealth of information about search volume and trends, searcher intent, competition and even information on how to best structure your posts.
This information can be gained very quickly and at no cost, greatly reducing the amount of time and money you need to spend on content creation.
Here is how you get this information:
How Google can give you topic ideas
Although Google is reluctant to share its full search data, it does give you a glimpse into what people are searching through its autocomplete feature.
When you go onto the search engine’s homepage (Google.com) you are presented with a search bar. Type a topic related to your industry into the search bar and Google will give you a list of anticipated searches.
Here is an example with the term “productivity tools”:
In a matter of seconds we see that some good topic ideas for posts are: lists and reviews of productivity tools for remote working, a guide to productivity tools for students, and a similar guide for business owners.
The beauty of using autosuggest to generate blog posts is that Google suggests topics and titles based on recent search activity –this means that you can be confident that any suggested titles have enough search interest to be able to drive a significant amount of traffic to your website.
Another upshot of Google using search data to inform its autocomplete feature is that you can use this feature to validate the interest in any potential blog topic.
Simply type the title slowly into the search bar and see if Google anticipates it as a potential search. If it does then your chances of it being an in-demand topic greatly increases.
How to find “searcher intent” for any given topic
Your chances of ranking a blog post –and therefore getting long term, organic traffic to it — depends in part on how well a post answers the question a searcher is looking for.
Search engines want to deliver the best answer for a searcher’s question, so look at what the intent is behind a search when deciding what pages to deliver.
The upshot of this is that your blog post will only rank if it is written about a topic that calls for an informational piece. If a searcher is looking to make a purchase, or for a business rather than an informational piece, writing a blog post on that topic is a poor idea.
Usually, the “searcher intent” behind a topic is easy to ascertain. Someone searching the term “buy men’s shoes” is looking to make a purchase. Someone searching “copywriting company” is looking for a business.
But what about the term “where to buy men’s shoes in London”? Now at first glance, this might seem like a nice idea for a blog post where you list the best boutique shoe shops in London.
However when you search this term you see the first page is dominated by sales pages for shoes:
This tells us that Google themselves believes that people searching this term are looking for shoe shops, rather than an informational piece comparing shops. Writing a blog post on this will therefore not see you rank for this term.
Having this information to hand can save you a lot of time when choosing what to write about.
How to ascertain keyword competition from Google
You can get a good idea of how likely a blog you write is to rank by looking at what is already on the front page of Google when you search your topic.
Google places preference on ranking pages from well-established websites with high amounts of traffic and links running to them. This is referred to as a site’s “authority”.
Therefore, if you Google a proposed blog topic and it returns big news sites and websites of huge companies, your chances of ranking are far lower. You still can rank, but the content you need to create needs to provide a significantly better answer to the question behind the search than what is already there.
In most cases, you will want to write a post on a narrower topic. In general, the narrower the topic in question the less competition there will be. Just make sure to use the aforementioned autocomplete test to ensure that there is still enough searcher interest to justify writing a post.
If you search a topic and you are mainly delivered pages from personal blogs, pages that only partially answer the question at hand, and social and forum pages on your topic, then your chances of ranking are high and you should get writing straight away.
The clues Google gives you on structuring your post
When you google your proposed title, Google pretty much tells you exactly what it wants to see in a high-quality post on the topic.
This is given to you in the “people also asked” tabs at the top of a results page, as well as the suggested keywords at the bottom of the page.
Let’s look at what Google tells us to write about on the topic “what productivity tools should I use:
From this, we can see that in a comprehensive post on the topic (the type of post that Google would want to rank) we should include sections on the importance of productivity tools, the tools that Microsoft provides us with, and what the most popular tools are.
In some cases, we can use this tab to give us the subheadings of our post. This can massively cut down the time it takes us to write the post as all we need to do are answer the questions given to us.
Scrolling to the bottom of the page gives us the following keywords:
Again, this tells us that having a section in our post catered towards productivity tools for students, and talking about the best tools that have come out in 2020 would improve the post.
Again, this information is based on real search data, so we can be sure that adding these sections would help give our audience exactly what they are looking for.
**About the Author: Oli Graham is the marketing manager for content agency RightlyWritten. He believes that creating an immersive and enjoyable customer experience through content is key to growing any business.