Posted by jamiejpress
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.
Many of us have known for a while that Google Autocomplete can be a useful tool for identifying keyword opportunities. But did you know it is also an extremely powerful tool for content ideation?
And by pushing the envelope a little further, you can turn an Autocomplete topic from a good content idea into a link-building, traffic-generating powerhouse for your website.
Here’s how I did it for one of my clients. They are in the diesel power generator industry in the Australian market, but you can use this same process for businesses in literally any industry and market you can think of.
Step 1: Find the spark of an idea using Google Autocomplete
I start by seeking out long-tail keyword ideas from Autocomplete. By typing in some of my client’s core keywords, I come across one that sparked my interest in particular—diesel generator fuel consumption.
What’s more, the Google AdWords Keyword Planner says it is a high competition term. So advertisers are prepared to spend good money on this phrase—all the better to try to rank well organically for the term. We want to get the traffic without incurring the click costs.
Step 2: Check the competition and find an edge
Next, we find out what pages rank well for the phrase, and then identify how we can do better, with user experience top of mind.
In the case of “diesel generator fuel consumption” in Google.com.au, the top-ranking page is this one: a US-focused piece of content using gallons instead of litres.
This observation, paired with the fact that the #2 Autocomplete suggestion was “diesel generator fuel consumption in litres” gives me the right slant for the content that will give us the edge over the top competing page: Why not create a table using metric measurements instead of imperial measurements for our Australian audience?
So that’s what I do.
I work with the client to gather the information and create the post on the their website. Also, I insert the target phrase in the page title, meta description, URL, and once in the body content. We also create a PDF downloadable with similar content.
Note: While figuring out how to make product/service pages better than those of competitors is the age-old struggle when it comes to working on core SEO keywords, with longer-tail keywords like the ones you work with using this tactic, users generally want detailed information, answers to questions, or implementable tips. So it makes it a little easier to figure out how you can do it better by putting yourself in the user’s shoes.
Step 3: Find the right way to market the content
If people are searching for the term in Google, then there must also be people on forums asking about it.
A quick search through Quora, Reddit and an other forums brings up some relevant threads. I engage with the users in these forums and add non-spammy, helpful no-followed links to our new content in answering their questions.
Caveat: Forum marketing has had a bad reputation for some time, and rightly so, as SEOs have abused the tactic. Before you go linking to your content in forums, I strongly recommend you check out this resource on the right way to engage in forum marketing.
Okay, what about the results?
Since I posted the page in December 2014, referral traffic from the forums has been picking up speed; organic traffic to the page keeps building, too.
Yeah, yeah, but what about keyword rankings?
While we’re yet to hit the top-ranking post off its perch (give us time!), we are sitting at #2 and #3 in the search results as I write this. So it looks like creating that downloadable PDF paid off.
All in all, this tactic took minimal time to plan and execute—content ideation, research and creation (including the PDF version) took three hours, while link building research and implementation took an additional two hours. That’s only five hours, yet the payoff for the client is already evident, and will continue to grow in the coming months.
Why not take a crack at using this technique yourself? I would love to hear how your ideas about how you could use it to benefit your business or clients.
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