Is your blog doing all it can to bring more traffic to your website? A blog is an important, but often neglected, part of a website. It provides space for SEO professionals and businesses to speak directly to their prospective and current customers by crafting articles, how-to’s, and other types of content.
Sounds good, right? But how do you break through all the deafening online noise and write blog posts your audience will love? It’s definitely a challenge, but one you can overcome with help from SEMrush. A versatile, powerful SEO and digital marketing platform, SEMrush can help you choose blog topics that pique your readers’ interest, speak to their needs, and encourage connection and conversion.
Research and Create Valuable Blog Topics
Whether it’s a how-to post, a review, or your take on the latest industry news, your blog posts should always be entertaining and interesting to read while being educational and informative. Relevant, timely, and powerful blog content that answers common questions or provides solutions to common problems your target audience may have is invaluable to building your authority and audience.
By providing actionable steps readers can use to solve their problems, your website and your brand build trust, loyalty, and ultimately, sales. Conversely, blog posts filled with fluff, lacking actionable information for the reader, or simply straight-up boring to read will only lead to visitors fleeing your website in droves, followed by an inevitable drop in organic traffic and rankings.
Let SEMrush Do the Heavy Lifting
SEMrush provides extensive reporting, tracking, and idea generation data for SEO practitioners, business owners, and website managers, and its Topic Research Tool excels at helping you identify valuable, relevant and effective blog topics for your website.
Open the Topic Research Tool
You’ll find it in the left-hand column of the content marketing dashboard.
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Enter a Topic
Think of your primary keyword or industry, and select the region for which you want to generate new blog topics. You start with the country, but can drill down to see a region, state, city and language.
This kind of granular targeting helps give you real, actionable insights into what your target audience is looking for, and can be super helpful in helping you produce content they’ll absolutely love.
You can even add topics you frequently search as “Favorite Ideas,” easily viewed in a separate tab of the Topic Research panel. To add a topic to your favorites, click the “Add to your favorites” icon next to the topic. This will be handy later when you want to generate additional blog topics in the same subject area without having to reenter the search term.
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Let the Ideas Fly
Once you enter your chosen topic and select your audience, click “Get content ideas” to generate a list of blog topics based on your search term.
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The platform generates a list of blog topic ideas for your search, laid out in a grid grouped by subject matter.
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Choose Your Views
As with most SEMrush reports, you can view the results in several ways. The Cards tab is the default view and displays the blog topics grouped in cards for easy review. The Explorer tab displays the same results in a list format, while the Overview tab shows them grouped into categories.
If you prefer to see your data in a more visual format, check out the Mind Map. This cool feature delivers an interactive visualization of your data, like a hub and spoke, with your search term in the center and related keywords around the outside of the circle.
Clicking on the keywords opens blog topic ideas for each one, such as headline ideas and FAQs. If you’ve ever used Answer the Public for content ideation, you get the idea.
Next to each content idea, you’ll see little megaphone icons. These icons are there to give you an idea of how well SEMrush predicts each topic will resonate with your audience. This section also provides an estimate of how many backlinks you might expect to get from each topic.
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The green, filled-in megaphone icons indicate topics with predicted high resonance. The blue, partially filled-in icons indicate topics with average, medium or low resonance.
It’s important to remember that these are SEMrush’s estimates for resonance and backlinks. They’re not guarantees, but they can give you an idea of what kind of reach your new blog posts might have with your target audience.
Hover over these icons to see resonance and backlink predictions, and use this information to help prioritize content ideas predicted to have high resonance for best results.
Blog Topic Research: Phase II
At this stage, you can export the topic ideas to an Excel spreadsheet for easier editing, sorting and general data management. Sorting your blog topics by subtopic, search volume, difficulty, topic efficiency, or other metrics helps you identify and zero in on blog topics that will resonate and perform best with your audience.
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Exporting is easy. Just click the “Export topics to XLSX” button.
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More Research Tactics
Beyond the Topic Research tool, you can use SEMrush in a few other ways to identify useful blog topics.
To generate even more blog topics, you can use the organic keywords your website already ranks for, or that you’re already tracking in an SEMrush project using Position Tracking. Focus on keywords you currently rank for outside of the top three rankings positions. Then build new content around those terms to help increase your website’s authority for them.
If you want to go deeper, investigate keywords ranking on page 2 or lower. You may find some gold nuggets with high volume and low competition you can build content around. Test a few batches of keywords and see what works before you go full speed ahead.
To generate blog topics using this method, start on the SEMrush dashboard.
Start at the Dashboard
Enter your website’s URL into the search bar where you can “Input domain, keyword or …” and click the “Search” button.
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This will open the Domain Overview feature of SEMrush, where you can explore areas of the target website.
Click “Organic Research” in the left-hand column of the Domain Analytics menu. The top organic keywords are displayed by ranking position. You can also switch to the Positions tab to see:
- all the keywords your website ranks for;
- current ranking positions for those keywords;
- any changes in position during the date range of your search;
- estimated organic traffic generated;
- search volume;
- keyword difficulty; and
estimated cost per click of each keyword.
You can use all this data to discover keywords with room for ranking improvement, and create relevant content that incorporates those keywords.
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You can find lots of useful and relevant blog topics in here, which you can then link back to a page that’s already ranking for that particular keyword. This will further improve the authority of both the page and your site for that particular keyword.
As with topics generated using the Topic Research tool, you can easily export these organic search positions to Excel for more analysis.
Build a Better Blog, One Topic at a Time
The SEMrush Topic Research tool gives you a place to begin building quality content. The list of blog topics it generates gives you a solid starting point to create amazing content, guided by your goals for the content and site.
Closely review and refine the topics, identify those you really like, and weed out any you’ve already written about or that aren’t a great contextual match for your site’s audience. Using SEMrush, you can unlock the power of your target keywords, and build a firm foundation for lots of compelling content that connects and converts.
Screenshots by author / April 2020