Content Creation Techniques: Create Value & Build Editorial Calendars

With the Panda update going live back in February (2011) attacking shallow, thin, and low quality content, it is now much more important to write articles and content that is in-depth and valuable for a user. The days are gone when you could take 1 article and split it up to tackle 5 topics around that article (thus not forming a complete thought about a primary topic) and rank for incomplete and thin articles.

For example, IMO if you want to write an article about the civil war, it is better to write 1 article with topics such as; history of the Civil War, timeline of the Civil War, images about the Civil War, Civil War battles, Civil War generals, etc. instead of writing 1 article about each of those topics (unless you can expand each of those sections by adding supplemental information). Splitting that article up is much more like a content farm mentality, and not a Wikipedia mentality.

How do you add more value to your content and content marketing?
Expand it by focusing on the mid and long tail. If you take a look at most Wikipedia articles they don’t just focus on 1 aspect of a topic, they are holistic articles that touch on many different topics all centered around, and related to, the primary topic. The content tools below focus on this idea of supplementing a primary topic with mid and long tail terms to add additional value for the user.

Uber Suggest

UberSuggest is a Google Suggest scraper that helps content writers discover new content ideas, or expand a current piece of research by targeting topics that people are actually searching for and Google had deemed popular.

Get keyword ideas with Ubersuggest, a keyword tool powered by Google Suggest. -Ubersuggest

What is Google Suggest?
It’s a simple way that Google displays what they think you are searching for, before you finish typing it into the search box. Or in Google terms:

It’s a feature designed to make searching both faster and easier. Whether you are typing into the search box on Google Toolbar or Google.com, or the Omnibox in Google Chrome, Google Suggest guesses what you’re typing and offers suggestions in real time. – Google

How does Google generate their Google Suggest listings?
From the testing and analysis that we have done, it seems like they display the results for the suggestions based on user metrics they gather from previous searches. So for example, if you type in “SEO for” there is a suggest box that comes down that displays the most common search queries that people searched for that start with “SEO for”.

How to use Ubersuggest:

  • Type in your keyword or key phrase you want the query to start with.
  • Select your location from the drop down menu.
  • Select if you want to see the results below in the web page (default), or, if you want them exported to a .txt file then click the box next to the txt field.
  • Choose whether you want the web results suggestions or if you want the news results suggestions for the query.
  • Finally, hit suggest.

Once you do that it will output something like the below image (our search was for “content creation for”).

uber suggest output

From there you have a few options.

  • If you start scrolling and you notice the tool has taken your search 1 step further by adding each letter of the alphabet after the phrase to find more topics. For example they did a search for “content creation for a, content creation for b…” and brought back results for those as well (granted there are only 1 for each but they show many others if there are some).
  • You can click on any of the actual listings, and if there are further search quires, it will show up below the one you clicked on.
  • You can also click on the “little green plus icon” next to the suggest phrase, and it will add that phrase to a list which displays under the social icons in the right hand column. You can then export this list of keywords to a txt file if you would like.

Armed with this data you can start creating content that is more in-depth and valuable for your readers and focus on a more holistic approach to content creation for any article.

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Wordtracker Question Tool

About it: Long tail key-phrases have proven to be valuable for driving qualified traffic to a website. The trouble is that because these long tail phrases don’t drive a substantial amount of traffic each, they are not usually a primary focus for businesses. But if there was a content tool (which there is) that harvested all the long tail questions that people ask about your service or product it would be a no-brainer to utilize these questions for targeting sections of existing content, or working these questions into new pieces of content to target the long tail.

Get great content ideas from the questions people ask. What are the hot Christmas gifts this year? Who makes the best coffee maker? How safe is online shopping? Find the popular questions people are asking in your market about your products or services – Wordtracker Question Tool

How to use it:

  • Simply type in a topic or key-phrase into the box and hit search

We did a simple example by typing in “what is” and the results are located in the image below.
wordtracker question tool

What this shows you is the questions that people ask that start with “what is”. As you can see there are many questions that can be used by companies to generate question and answer pairs to supplement their primary content. You can either comb through this list or download the list to an excel file for easy sorting and data extraction.

How can I use the Wordtracker Question Tool to supplement my primary content
For example if you were a mortgage company you might want to create in-depth content for (#10)”what is considered a good credit score?” on a page about financing a new home.

Another example might be if you were a computer based company and could come up with a widget or video (with transcript) about helping people find their IP address to satisfy (#2) “what is my IP address?”.

This tool use to be completely free, but has recently put restrictions on its use; unless you sign up for a free account (which is really easy).

Another benefit of this tools is that the WordTracker team is happy to help you if you want to generate large enterprise reports with thousands of questions for your business that are based around specific related topics.

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Google Trends

Google trends has a couple different uses and a couple different parts that a content creation teams can utilize to create time sensitive content and build their editorial calendar for the future.

What is Google Trends?
It it not only helps a user compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics but it shows you how often these topics have been searched for on Google over time. Other benefits of Google Trends are that it shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, in which geographic regions people have searched for them most, and it gives you the ability to trend up to 5 search terms.

Below you will see we did a search for the word “flowers”. There are very specific and consistent times throughout the year that people search for information around that topic (which can be seen by the spikes in the chart).

google trends flowers

How can you use this data for content creation?
Well if you can trend spikes in topics for your services or product sets, you will know when and what to write about. This data can help you define and plan your editorial calendar, which in turn will help you optimize your writing resources.

What is Google Hot Searches?
Another tool that is within the Google suite is something called Google Hot Searches. Google Hot Searches gives you insight into what’s on the public’s collective mind for different points of time. Benefits include: a list of today’s top 40 fastest-rising search queries in the U.S and what the search activity looked like over the course of a specific day for those rising searches. How often is Google Hot Searches updated? It is updated on an hourly basis.

google trends

How can you use this data for content creation?
This data can be used in a very similar way as Google Trends. If a business has a quick enough content creation cycle it can also be used to join conversations with relevant time sensitive content. There might also be data that can be trended from each day that will give a business insight into topics that are searched for consistently at certain times of the month or year.

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Google Patent Search

This final technique for creating in-depth articles comes from a great SEO, Wil Reynolds. In a recent seomoz webinar (pro members only). He outlined some great ideas for content creation, one of which was using Google Patent Search to help with content ideas. This might be something that sounds strange but Bill Slawski has created a complete website, and a valuable one at that, simply by diving into search patents.

So what is Google Patents?
It’s a great service by Google that allows you to search through 8 million patents from businesses like Apple, FaceBook, Google, Twitter, and pretty much anything else that has ever been awarded a patent.

With Google Patents, you can now search the full text of the U.S. patent corpus and find patents that interest you. – Google

The below example was a patent search for “sunglasses”
sunglasses patent

As you can see from the image above it gives you close to 10,000 patents about sunglasses. If you click on the first listing it takes you into a page that looks like the below image.

sunglasses patent page

From this page you can read the patent or download it as a PDF file. If you choose to read it, click on the “Read this Patent Button” and then in the upper right corner of the page you will see a “plain text button”. This will allow you to read the text and view images in the reading area as shown in the below image.

patent

How can a business use this information to create content?
For example, if a local sunglasses business was going to do SEO they can easily utilize this information to generate content.

  • They could create an infographic about sunglasses and the evolution of patents and designs.
  • They could create supplemental graphics and data sets for articles.
  • They could utilize this data to create supplemental text for articles that could answer questions about sunglasses.

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2 Comments

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  • Bear

    An amazing article with great resources.

    I am using google trends now but I have never heard of patents or hot searches.

    I had no idea the patents could be useful.

  • Bill

    Bear, thanks for the feedback on the post. Yeh the patents idea came from a SEO webinar I was watching a couple weeks ago. Let me know if you come up with any other cool uses or cool tools for content creation.

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