Blog

You’ve done keyword research and built a list. Now what?

You’ve done keyword research and built a list. Now what?

You’ve done keyword research and built a list. Now what? 

Keyword research data is more available and robust than ever before, and SEOs and content marketers are getting ever more sophisticated with how they are collecting and utilizing this data to drive their strategy. 

Even for small to midsize programs it is appropriate to evaluate and organize many thousands of keyword phrases. But once you have your keyword list, how do you best organize it, operationalize it into your optimization and creation processes, and loop back in your performance tracking? 

The disconnect between keyword research lists, workflow, and result measurement remains a huge pain point. 

Spreadsheets? 

For many, including my team, the go-to mechanism for managing keyword strategy has been spreadsheets. In our case, these spreadsheets over time grew in sophistication, and inevitably, in complexity. Using spreadsheets to organize, segment, and map keywords was a good starting point, but still fell far short of what we wanted to accomplish:

  • Syndicate our keyword mapping into the content planning and optimization process to ensure strategy translated into effectively into production work
  • Track the progress of our keyword rankings over time to validate the efficacy of our work, while also monitoring any evolution of competitors
  • Identify next level opportunities for further optimization and plan out forthcoming strategic work

While crudely effective, spreadsheets quickly became unwieldy. Collaboration and version control were constant challenges. Keeping the data managed and up-to-date proved a sisyphean task. Making this data clear and discernable to clients left tons to be desired. Our strategists were spending the majority of their time keeping strategy and reporting data organized, rather than using this precious time to be…strategic. We got darn good with vlookups and pivot tables- but that’s not really the objective, is it.

Outdated keyword mapping excel template

Strategy, Workflow, & Reporting Are Not Connected – The Struggle Is Real

There are many excellent point tools both to get upfront SEO data and to track downstream results. But what about the middle processes that lie between research data and end result reporting? These middle processes are commonly still managed with a crude amalgamation of spreadsheets, project management tools, word docs, and ancillary analytics and ranking tools. 

What’s ideal is something akin to an ‘ERP’ for the SEO and content marketing industry: meaning a system that centrally handles the functions often conducted with disparate tools and systems. The components for such a system include data organization, collaborative strategy planning, content optimization, result measurement, and the feedback loop to repeat optimization processes for further refinement. Each of these components are connected and fluid; using a host of disparate tools and systems totally compromises this interconnectedness. 

Evolving to a Connected System

As I described earlier, our spreadsheets were getting more sophisticated and complex as they evolved to handle more data points and more workflow management. The situation was screaming for technology, but nothing existed. So we began constructing a system that brought connectivity to the full process of organizing keyword data into actionable strategic planning, workflow, and measurement. Two core concepts stayed front and center throughout this process: 

  • Make data actionable
  • Make results clear and discernable 

Keyword Mapping Software

The first step was to build software for keyword organizing and mapping. Aggregate your keyword terms and map them to their intended page (be it a page that exists or a page that needs to be created). Mapping is a one-to-many process: many keyword terms are mapped to one page, but a keyword term must be designated to only one specific page. A thorough mapping process is critical when it comes time to optimize a page, as well as avoid unintentionally optimizing multiple pages for the same phrase clusters (which in turn creates keyword blurring).

Keyword Attributes 

At first appearance, mapping is easy enough to do in a spreadsheet. That is, until you want to start doing more sophisticated things. For example, building filters for keyword attributes vs. simple filters. This opens up a whole additional level of sophistication to segment terms into clusters and aid in your mapping process. 

Example: I have over 5,000 keyword terms. Filtering down to see how many terms contain the word ‘cheap’ is simple enough. But perhaps what you really want to know is how many terms relate to price sensitivity? That would include phrases which include cheap, discount, affordable, coupon, low cost, low price, etc. A keyword attribute can automatically classify all keyword phrases expressing this sentiment, which is super helpful for mapping, competitor analysis, and segmentation reporting.

Audience Key Attribute Filter

Efficiency & Collaboration

In lieu of mapping inside of a spreadsheet, mapping software can be designed to make this iterative process significantly more efficient. For example, building filtering technology expressly designed to allow rapid drill down into segments of a keyword list. Bulk update buttons allow quick and easy updating of the keyword database to assign or change target mapping on the fly. Cloud based workflow implies version control of a master file is no longer an issue; team members can collaboratively work in real time coordinating their assessments and updates to a strategic plan. 

URL Management & Planning

Important terms in your mapping list often don’t have an appropriate existing page to which to map. This is where creating additional (not currently existing) URL options enters the picture. Mapping software makes it easy to assign and organize statuses to mapped URLs- allowing strategy segmentation between pages that exist vs. pages worth exploring to create. 

At the end of the mapping process a portion of keywords will be mapped to existing pages, and a portion mapped to pages that need to be created. Each page has an identified number of unique keyword terms and their associated monthly search volume. 

Optimization decisions for existing pages are based on the mapped keyword strategy. Explored new concept pages can be further segmented into strategic statuses: after exploring a new page concept, that page can be updated to proposed for creation (for collaborative team review), planned (and given a target creation date), sidelined (for later phase development), or dismissed (expressly decided not to develop). 

Presto – you now have the foundations of a data driven content roadmap. 

System Created Content Briefs

Once keywords are expressly assigned to a page we can leverage this to inform optimization changes to an existing page, or insights into creating the content for new pages. A system that automatically creates a strategic content brief for each mapped page is a first big output advantage of a connected system. 

Dynamic Updates to Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping is an iterative process: expect constant updates as keywords are remapped to pages and new keywords are added to an evolving strategy. Content briefs dynamically drawing from keyword mapping software in real time provide incredible workflow efficiency. 

Automatically Updated Data Reporting

Working within the content brief, an important reference point is to know the ranking position and SERP features (such as, does an Answer Box publish in the SERP) for each mapped keyword phrase. A system that automatically updates these data points in the content brief provides significant lift in workflow efficiency and insight. 

Optimizing Existing Content

For published pages, ingesting currently published page content and SEO metadata (such as title tag and meta description) into the content brief, justposing content with the expressed keyword mapping in once centralized place. Optimization recommendations can now be identified, recorded, and shared. 

Centralized Collaboration

Connected content briefs further facilitate collaboration and workflow. Status and setting decisions made from inside the content brief work environment trigger updates throughout the system. Content fields for documenting and sharing strategy and planning notes provide additional centralized collaboration benefits. 

Native Tracking & Reporting 

Keyword rank tracking (your rankings as well as competitor rankings) connected at the hip to your keyword and page strategy is the ultimate benefit of an integrated system. Incredible new dimensions of insights spring up while the arduous task of constantly importing and curating updated ranking results is eliminated. Keener insights. Less work. 

Reporting Tied to Strategy

Mapped URLs are the strategic theory of what page should rank for each term: the current ranking URL is the current reality. A system that integrates ranking data vis a vis your strategic mapping plan quickly highlights disconnects between theory and reality. Competitor ranking data for these same keywords, integrated into your strategy reporting, facilitates ease of insights into competitor analysis.

Audience Key Keyword tracking

A Whole New Level of Segmentation Reporting

With reporting tied directly to strategic mapping, the sophistication and flexibility of segmentation reporting shoots the moon. View the progress or competitive benchmarking of your entire campaign, and then slice and dice this down in myriad ways: such as by keyword attribute, section, page type, persona, page author, funnel stage, page status, SERP feature, mapping vs. ranking URL match, or by optimization status (report on the growth for just the pages we’ve optimized so far, for example).

Rank Zone Time Progression

Summary

Keyword mapping should be core to any well run SEO content marketing program. However, when managed in its own silo (such as a spreadsheet), the power of a mapping process is greatly diminished. When mapping strategy is connected to the follow-on workflow and reporting processes via a holistic system, strategic benefits of keyword mapping are tremendously increased. 

Conclusion

Several years have been spent building Audience Key, the connected strategy system that solves this big missing piece between upfront data and downstream reporting. It’s the next logical and necessary step in the evolution of tech enablement for SEO’s and content marketers.

A suite of native software solutions that form a connected end-to-end content marketing strategy system.

Where Should Evergreen Content Really Live on Your Website? Blog vs Resource Guide

Where Should Evergreen Content Really Live on Your Website? Blog vs Resource Guide

Where Should Evergreen Content Really Live on Your Website? Blog vs Resource Guide

Evergreen content is written and visual content that has an unlimited shelf life. It can live on your site long term because it covers a topic that has ongoing relevance and continual audience search. . Think of evergreen content as resource-type content, like you’d see in an owner’s manual when you buy a car. Where should you publish evergreen content? Does it belong in a blog with other articles, or does it do better in its own area, like a knowledge base or resource center? 

First, let’s agree on what we mean when we talk about evergreen content, then we can talk about where it should live.   

What is Evergreen Content? 8 Great Examples 

Evergreen content is timeless and can live on your website for a long time. It is always — or nearly always — relevant. It has these three traits:

  • The topics have consistent search interest over time.
  • The content has a long shelf life.
  • You can publish the content without a date stamp.

Here are eight great examples of evergreen content: 

  1. Catalog-type pages
  2. How-to guides
  3. FAQs
  4. Glossaries
  5. History articles
  6. Product briefs
  7. Solutions briefs
  8. Tutorials
Blog vs Resource Guide Image 1

For an example of a website with a vast library of evergreen content, take a look at perkypet.com*. Perky Pet has organized their Learning Center content by topics:

What’s Not Evergreen Content? 8 Types of Topical Content

Content that isn’t evergreen tends to be topical and timely, so you will hear it referred to it as “topical content.” It has these three traits:

  • The topics have waning search interest over time.
  • The content itself has a shorter shelf life.
  • It is usually published with a date stamp. 

And here are eight examples of common topical articles that you’ll see in blogs: 

  1. “Best” lists
  2. Brand updates
  3. Case studies & use cases
  4. Company news
  5. Industry news
  6. Product announcements
  7. Thought leadership articles
  8. Tips

Could some of the topical content examples be evergreen? Sure, you could argue that, for example, “tips for feeding hummingbirds in Arizona” is timeless and has longevity, but we’d tuck it into a blog because of its uber-nicheness.  

Blog vs Resource Center or Knowledge Base — What’s the Diff?

What’s the difference between a blog and a resource guide?  It’s a blurry line between editorial blogs and resource guides because there aren’t any industry rules that define what each is. In fact, you’ll see blog articles and brand resources live in the same place on some websites.

Strategists using our system benefit from strategically planning blog articles separate from resource pages of their websites. We’ll explain how we differentiate between blog posts and resource pages and why we include these pages in some strategies. 

Blog Posts, Articles

Think of blog content as the equivalent to a 22-minute weekly TV episode or a magazine article — content that you’d see in a publication that’s somewhat timely and relevant to what is going on in the world or the time of year.

So, B2B firms’ blog topics are timely or relevant to their industry, such as:

  • How COVID Has Changed B2B Marketing
  • Venture Capital Market Analysis: What to Expect After the Vaccine Rollout
  • 5 Ways HR Drives Revenue 
  • Still Not Secure? Why HTTPS Matters for SEO

Meanwhile, e-commerce sites’ blog topics might read like this:

  • 5 Items on Every Wine-Lover’s Wish List
  • How to Order Coffee and Not Sound Like an Amateur
  • 50 Ways to Use Your New Air Fryer
  • Don’t Let Porch Pirates Steal Give You the Birthday Blues

Characteristics of Blog Posts

They’re quick to produce and can cover a niche topic.

They’re very good for trending and seasonal topics.

Blog articles nurture leads and keep existing customers engaged.

They tend to be less effective for highly competitive terms (used cars for sale) but highly effective for less competitive terms (best used cars for new drivers and teenagers).  

Resource Guides, aka Content Guides

If a blog post is a 22-minute sitcom or a magazine article, then think of the resource center as a Ken Burns documentary, an encyclopedia, or, for you digital natives, your own little Wikipedia.

The resource guide is organized by chapters, so to speak, so users can easily leaf through your index (navigation menus) to find what they’re looking for, like Perky Pet. This is called a parent/child taxonomy.

advice/ bird-feeding/ bird-food/tips/types-of-feeders/
advice/ squirrels-101/ squirrel-proofing-101/location-of-feeders/feeder-types/repellents/baffles/

Resource Guide vs Blog Post — How Do They Work Together?

Again we turn to Perky Pet to show how evergreen content and topical content work together. The resource pages that educate bird friends and squirrel foes about squirrel proofing, feeder types, where to put food, how to repel squirrels and squirrel baffles. Below the list of resources are related articles including, “How to Attract Orioles This Spring,” which is a topical article.

The Resource Guide is a permanent area on your website. Its name — resource — means it is a library of helpful content for your audience. It’s intended to serve as a handbook for helping your audience learn new things, solve problems and explore your goods and services. 

Couldn’t a blog do the same? 

Yes, sure, but think about how blogs are organized. They’re organized chronologically. Your audience has to leaf through article after article to find what they’re looking for. No one wants to work that hard. 

Your resource center targets shorter-term keywords and allows your readers to index through pages to find answers, information, solutions, and gobs of helpful content. 

Your blog entertains them, entices them, draws them in and pushes them toward your resource pages. The blog posts tend to feed customers who are higher up in your sales funnel — awareness-level content. The resource pages tend to feed customers who see you as a thought leader and are in the consideration and information-gathering stages of their buying journeys. 

Blog vs Resource Guide Image 2

So … What Goes Where? Evergreen vs Topical Content

To sum it all up — evergreen vs topical content, resource center versus blog — we put together a side-by-side comparison.

TOPICAL CONTENT (BLOG ARTICLES) EVERGREEN CONTENT (RESOURCE GUIDES)
  • Are quick and flexible to cover a niche topic
  • Tends to be longer form, more in-depth
  • Are excellent for trending and seasonal topics
  • Is excellent for exploring a timeless core topic
  • Nourish your core readership audience
  • Nurtures website visitors toward converting to become clients/customers 
  • Can create a themed grouping via indexed tag collection pages
  • Does well with a parent/child taxonomy, which is good for search bots as well as user experience
  • Are transitory, meaning they get pushed deeper into the crawl structure over time
  • Is static in the navigation
  • May appear outdated
  • Do not use date/time stamps
  • Less effective for highly competitive search terms
  • Is preferred for highly competitive keyword sets