How to Win in Search with SEMrush: Webinar [Video + Transcript]
Hey everybody and welcome to a Linkarati first! Today I'll be offering a new way to enjoy one of our wonderful #P1Pwebinars.
On June 7th, 2018 we partnered with SEMrush to produce a joint webinar. The webinar provided a live walkthrough of one of the processes we use here at Page One Power to help our clients win in search. The participants for this webinar were:
- Jordan Yocum - Leads Coordinator, Page One Power
- Ashley Ward - Digital Marketing Strategist, SEMrush
- Cory Collins - Strategy Development, Page One Power
- Nick Katseanes - Project Manager, Page One Power
Below you can watch the webinar recording!
If video isn't your thing, check out the full video transcription below.
Jordan: What's up everybody welcome to another Page One Power webinar. I am your host, Jordan Yocum, with Page One Power. I'm the lead coordinator here and what we're going to be talking about today is we're actually going to be doing a live walkthrough with SEMrush and what we're going to be talking about is demonstrating the role content has in SEO and specifically how we identify pages we can build links to and specifically content that we can build links to.
So with that before we get into this what we're doing with our webinars now, for those of you that tune into our webinars on a frequent basis, we space them out a little bit more and what we're doing is we are doing webinars every quarter to also reflect the same topics that we're talking about in our new SEO magazine that we came out with called PAGES.
So if you want to learn a little bit more about that you can go to pagesSEOmagazine.com - it's a free magazine that we came up with here at Page One Power. So with that let's jump into our hosts here.
I believe we're just going through the Google slides just because we're going to be doing a live walkthrough.
So yeah what we got is Nick Katseanes, one of the Project Managers here at Page One Power, say hey Nick!
Nick: Hey how's it going everybody!
J: Then we have Cory Collins he works in our Strategy Development Team, just a guru of all things search. How you doing Cory?
Cory: Good, good to be here!
J: And we have Ashley Ward from SEMrush. She is our Content Specialist and social media guru here joining us today. How's it going Ashley?
Ashley: Good - thanks so much for having me!
J: Absolutely. Alright, so with that let's go ahead and just dive right in. Cory what do we got going on?
Using SEMrush for Keyword Research
C: Alright. So what we're doing today is basically a live walkthrough of how we use SEMrush at Page One Power to basically help our clients win in search. Which is a big thing to say; so I'm going to kind of walk through what we look at when we talk about that. What do we mean when we say “win in search”?
Well, basically we use SEMrush to do keyword research initially for clients. We help them identify what does their competitive search landscape look like and what kind of keywords matter to them. How is their website performing and how are their competitors performing?
We use SEMrush to identify what kind of content is driving the most traffic to their competitors and then we basically dig in from there.
So instead of talking too much theoretics, I thought the most fun thing to do today would be basically to look at a live example.
So our live example is going to be a theoretical beer brewing client, a client that sells beer brewing supplies, explains how to brew at home, and that kind of fun stuff.
J: Popular in the northwest out here.
C: Absolutely. I've actually a brewed beer once before with my dad, but I've never actually done any sort of keyword research for a client before on this end. So I thought it'd be a fun example just to dig into using actual SEMrush data.
So I'm just going to hop straight into it.
So the first thing we do at Page One Power, when we're looking at a client is we basically pop their head term into SEMrush. And we come to this thing called “phrase match” and this basically tells us what kind of terms match our clients heads term.
Now for our theoretical beer brewing client I threw the head term [beer brewing] into SEMrush and it takes me straight to this page, which is phrase match. Ashley do you want to add anything about this?
A: Just something to note on the CPC, so it's really helpful to be able to see the average cost per click as well as the competition to see what they’re paying for some of these viewers as well.
C: Absolutely yeah and that's definitely something we keep in mind because clients are always pushing us on ROI and the value of a keyword the value of search traffic and that's one thing that we can directly tie into is “hey if you were paying for this keyword to rank for this keyword this is how much you would be paying per click" Which is a pretty powerful thing to say.
A: Exactly and a lot of times clients don’t really know what they should budget and what's an appropriate amount so by being able to see what your competitors are doing as well as what the average costs are it gives you a good gauge to to have a competitive budget and not just throw out any kind of budget.
C: Absolutely. So the first thing that I typically do when I have a client is I look at how they're actually performing now since we're looking at a theoretical client we're just going to look at the beer-brewing space and the first thing that I do is I look at what kind of keywords exist within this space things be beer brewing right here is sitting that's basically our head term right our theoretical head term sitting at 6,600 mostly search volume.
What I like to do in this space is look at what kind of informational terms are being searched in conjunction with that. We see that supplies, equipment, prices, all fit about the same level that's kind of what we expect.
But [home brewing] is obviously an important keyword that we see within here there's [home brew beer], [how to brew beer] is obviously informational and that's something that we look at very often when we deal with clients is what kind of informational terms exists. Because clients come to us and they say "Hey I have these services or product or this is my primary business page where I get conversions help me improve that.”
And that's definitely something that we want to do here at Page One Power is help them improve their primary conversion page but to win in search you need to think about search holistically and a lot of the search channel is made up of informational terms. Search is the primary informational gathering portal.
So helping clients identify informational terms that they're missing out on is a great way to create content and secure links back to their site which is honestly one of the best ways to win in search.
Creating Content for Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey
N: So I can jump in on that as well in a lot of projects that I manage, I mean that we have just that. Our clients come in and are just so focused on that primary keyword, that moneymaker for them, and trying to rank that page and that specific keyword.
But in a lot of ecommerce, you know being here at Chicago at the IRCE convention right now, I've been having these conversations the last couple days about the ecommerce sites and how they how they can win in search when you’re competing against Amazon know all the big players for that specific keyword that product.
Yet a lot of times you see that there's not a lot of informational content on their site and and they kind of lack that missing piece and are trying to take their customer through the buyer journey from the top and funnel down. The top of the funnel of course that's where the good helpful informational content lives and that’s that's really how you should be trying to influence your primary keywords.
C: Absolutely, yeah especially for us we do a lot of link building, that’s our primary focus here as an SEO organization and it's very atypical that we build links directly to our clients primary conversion pages unless they’re truly a unique service or product that they offer that people are talking about or that serves a very unique value for a specific audience. It's truly hard to promote and gain real editorial links back to a conversion page.
But the types of pages that we can promote for links are these types of informational pages and when we throw like[beer brewing], how to brew beer, is right at the top right that's it's an informational term there's brew your own beer beer, brewing process like just looking at these keywords we can tell that there is a big piece of informational search happening here that if our theoretical client was only focused on selling the kit, the supplies, the equipment, they've missed a whole portion of search.
Search Competitor Analysis with SEMrush
Let's actually just look at incognito here [beer brewing] the SERP. And right at the top we can see Northernbrewer.com right? And what page do they have ranking? It's how to brew beer right, it's not their homepage and we can see that they are paying PPC here so you have their homepage ranks but they're organic page that actually ranks for that term.
There's a page about how to actually brew beer it's a guide right so this is an informational page that again if our client wants to go after this head term of of beer brewing and they don't have an informational page themselves if they don't have a guide about how to brew beer, they may not be able to rank for this term. At least not at the top of search.
So one thing that I love to do with SEMrush is basically after I've done this process and looked at who's ranking I love to just immediately go into SEMrush and throw, um we see Northern Brewers here we see Howtobrew.com, Midwestsupplies.com, one of the things that I love to do is just go directly into SEMrush and look at these websites that are ranking.
So I've already thrown Northernbrewers.com into SEMrush, we're under the organic research tab here, and you can see right away that SEMrush fills out and it's ordered by traffic here this column, what keywords are driving the most traffic to their site and we have an awesome graph showing the trend of traffic over time, how many keywords do they rank, for how much traffic is that driving, and what is that traffic is worth.
I love coming in here, and I mean you can see right away that [kit] is a super-important term for them. Their brand term is also big, [wine making kits] that's an interesting thing that I might talk to my theoretical client about and say “Hey I know that you do beer and you focus on beer, but I'm seeing that wine is an important space within competitors as well. Do you offer those services or have you thought about that product?"
A: Especially with it being so high and if you ever actually want to see what what these terms are what it looks like you can go all the way to the right onto the SERP and click that and see it so if you want even more of a general idea and kind of want to show this to your clients it's definitely a lot more powerful a lot easier to see it especially when you're talking about "Hey maybe you should add on a new product."
C: Absolutely yeah, and we can see that there are some direct competitors in here Homebrew.com, Northern Brewer, of course at the top Homebrewing.org.
So this is one way to look at it. Of course this is just all keywords, separated by or organized I should say, by traffic. Now there are a million filters that you can throw in here you can say I want to look only at a specific keyword, I really love the feature of you we can just go ahead and look at so there's a whole sub folder here called brewing and so we could change this to URL, and then containing, and then that subfolder, to brewing if we wanted to look at that.
Another thing that I actually love to do first is just pop over here to the pages tab and SEMrush basically organizes our competitors URLs by how much traffic they believe that page accounts for to our entire competitor's website. So right away we can see the most important organic pages on their site, their pages for organic traffic I should say.
A: Which is interesting because if you would have just gone off of the original keywords and when you initially found them you would have though maybe their how to page was the most competitive page and their most popular and went and did a whole content campaign to kind of match that. Whereas when you actually look what the pages are it's not, it's nowhere near the top, it's more about their product.
C: Absolutely and as we look through here, and again this is just under organic research and on the pages tab, as we look through here we can kind of just eyeball what pages are kits right and equipment and here's that winemaking starter kit that we were talking about and we can see right here this is their guide right.
So if we wanted to look at that again we can pop that out and we can even just go ahead and click on this link here and it will bring us into the specific information for that and then keep this in here and see what keywords is that page actually ranking for.
And then we can see all the keywords that are driving traffic to that page and now again this is exactly the conversation I would have with a client especially if they were a beer brewing client and they had no guide, no information on their site about how to brew beer as your first time or have a beer brewing guide, I would say did you realize that you know your competitor is basically winning in search quote-unquote, by creating informational pages that allow them to capture all these terms that you might be missing on right all of these terms here. And we can see there's a lot of search volume here and they're ranking very well for these terms.
Analyzing Multiple Competitors with Pivot Tables
So that that's the basic way I look at one competitor. We can go through that quite a bit and there's always more competitors to look at, but one thing that I really love to do as well is take this information into Excel.
And so the way we do that is we go here and we export all data and then you just click so there's 43,000 keywords which is a lot but it's not more than Excel can handle for sure, and so you just save that. And I've actually gone ahead and download that information ahead of time here.
And this is exactly what it looks like. I gave it a coloring here, but otherwise this is exactly what it looks like when you export that data out of SEMrush. And now there's a ton of filters that we can do in Excel but what I really love to do is a pivot table and all that is is you just highlight all, click insert pivot table and click OK. And then you build your pivot table out, and what that typically looks like is I put URL under rows and then keywords underneath and then sum of search volumes sum of traffic average of position and count of keyword and balance and values. Now I know I'm talking about this all very quickly But I want to say that there will be a post appearing on Page One Power walking through this step-by-step.
So if you're furiously taking notes over there you can slow down a little bit and just enjoy the webinar a bit more because there will be a live post on Page One power very shortly that will contain all this information in a walk through fashion and we will be taking questions later as well so if you have any questions or if I blow by anything too quickly by all means please go ahead and leave us a question and we'll have say 15 minutes at the end of the webinar to kind of walk through that.
C: Alright so at this point we have a pivot table and you can see that this is all of the URLs and this is sorted by sum of traffic.
It's exactly what we were looking at within SEMrush the only difference is instead of clicking into the individual links to see what keywords are affecting that page I have it built into the actual table and you can see I have it sorted here by sum of search volume.
And right away we can see so looking at the homepage that's really not what I try and do within this view once I have this information, again what I would do is I can quickly double-click one of these URLs and say "Okay, our client has this piece of informational content now what value is that actually driving to their website?" and I can say "Okay, they rank for [beer brewing] at number one, [how to brew beer], [homebrew beer] all these are dead-on extremely relevant terms for any beer brewing supply seller. These are the terms that they should absolutely be targeting.
And these are the kinds of terms that you would have a very hard time ranking for without an informational page right and so this is the kind of information that I really love to provide to our clients to say this is the kind of content you need on your site not only will it help you capture these new terms but it will also clue Google into your authority as a business in this space and it's something that we can probably promote for links as well.
J: So in your strategy creation this will help you identify keywords neighborhoods essentially that you want to identify right?
C: Yeah honestly when I'm looking at a new client in a new space I try and do this process as quickly as possible so I can find the 10 to 20 pages that are really driving a substantial amount of organic traffic to our competitors that we're just missing completely and say hey this is the type of content we should create.
And now oftentimes our client will have some sort of content similar to that on their website and those are the perfect pages to say hey this is where we should be building links maybe we should do some reoptimization efforts on these pages it depends on how they're performing for our client. If they're performing not as well as our competitors are performing that's a clue that we need to look at that page and see what more we can do to make it rank better in search.
So that's one page and honestly that's a pretty obvious thing to find. Let's just quickly glance through here and we can see they have another homebrewing page which is a bit weird, they also have a page here right at the top right it's driving a decent amount of traffic. Let's go ahead and just peek it what that page is this.
This is how to build a keezer or freezer kegerator and you can see they have a video here and this is truly just a page about how to take a deep chest freezer and turn it into basically a kegerator where you store your kegs and you have a handle and you can pump beer right out of your kegs and keep your delicious, delicious beer cold
A: Very necessary.
C: Very necessary I actually do have a kegerator and I love it. It's one of the best things in my life. If there was a fire in my home it would be one of the few things I save.
A: I think it's good to note too though that landing on the page the first thing that you see is a video. And for how-to type of content I wonder how much that's actually helping them rank and make this page such a traffic driver. I mean right when you land, here's the tutorial video. The screenshot clearly shows how they're doing it and then I scroll down and it provides you with why you need this content, recap, products to buy, and then immediately you can go to their category pages and buy. So from a user experience this is a great page and from from a ranking standpoint like it clearly makes sense why this is such a high traffic driver.
C: Absolutely and I would I would say that not only is it driving really good traffic but based on the way they've built out this page I mean you can literally see right to recap you will need and they're linking internally to the products that they sell that you would need to build it and then I think that you have nice visual elements too to say hey if you're interested in this you might want to buy this product my guess is not only is this you know helping them rank for terms that they couldn't with just a simple product or category page but they're also getting extremely relevant and probably somewhat converting traffic through having this page.
Importance of Internal Linking
N: Right and I think that's another thing that a lot of projects that I oversee that a lot of the clients that come in that they kind of see they missed out on you know maybe they do have a really great piece of content like this or a few good pieces of how to's, DIY's — you know things like that, that are helpful, that rank well, drive traffic, and have a lot of good links pointing to them.
But then they don't have any kind of internal linking architecture they're not sharing that link equity with their other pages that might be you know like as you scroll down they have those few like product links that are helping influence those pages as well. So you know the days of building links directly to product pages, those are long gone for the most part.
How you influence those product pages, you know the beer brewing kit, you know when you're trying to build a link to that product page it's tough. It's going to get stripped out by the article people, they think you're advertising on their website and way to kind of work around that and you know rather than manipulate search engines really try to influence your pages and your rankings is having a sound internal linking architectures to where you share that traffic and you share that link equity to your other converting pages that you want want to rank in search.
How to Win in Search
C: Absolutely yeah. And honestly helping clients win in search is about understanding what is the competition doing to win in search, how are people searching within your industry, and do you have the best page available to answer those types of searches. And should you win in search, is really step one. Very rarely do clients come to us with all the pieces in place to say yes you are leading in your industry in search.
And so what we look to do is honestly all this research within SEMrush. SEMrush provides us this information, and right at the tips of our fingers we can quickly understand what kind of keywords drive traffic within your industry, who's ranking for those terms, what other pages do they have that drive a lot of traffic to their site and a lot of value to their site, and what kind of keywords are those pages ranking for.
This is why SEMrush is just such a powerful tool for any sort of keyword research or really any SEO strategy.
So that's the really I mean we can continue down this rabbit hole but I think we should pull back a little bit. This is the competitor view and this is just one competitor again, actually this is really interesting to look at. I have no idea what this page is but that allow me just a second of curiosity to look at this calculator page.
Anytime I see a calculator page I I'm immediately I think we could probably build at least a few links to that page just because it's such a resource and if anyone's talking about this online, I imagine there are other beer-brewing website talking about refractometers and how to calculate.
I honestly don't know, like I said I've never looked in this space before, but my guess would be that this is a valuable resource that we could probably build links to.
We can see just looking at the sidebar navigation that they have a handful of other calculators and I know from brewing beer myself that priming sugar is a huge component that you have to get right in order to carbonate your beer appropriately.
N: Yeah it's a great resource. You know, one of many that you can kind of build out like kind of work down that pivot table that you have and kind of think out your high traffic and converting pages — your good pages that are already most likely naturally getting links and target those as as your linkable assets or your linkable pages that are going to land you the best links on the best sites.
C: Absolutely. And when a client comes to us and they're like "Hey I sell these beer brewing kits, now build links to my site", one of the first things we look at is what kind of valuable content do you have on your site, that we can promote for links? What makes you linkable, right? And if you look at your competitors and they have all of these different pages that offer a bunch of value to a very obvious audience that is extremely relevant to your product and service, and you're missing all of that entirely, we're going to really struggle to build links to our clients website. And we're going to really struggle to help them win in search, and that's why content is so important on any website.
Making Sure You Don't Miss Opportunities
So let's pull back a minute. So we looked at beer brewing right? And that's like the most obvious head term not doing any sort of research just plopping this into SEMrush looking at a few terms and finding one competitor and looking at one competitor. We're like maybe 10 minutes into the beginning of my process here. So there's a really, really great depth to this but I try not to bind myself to the most obvious. I want to zoom out and say "Am I missing anything by thinking that I have already identified my clients head term"? Because oftentimes clients work in a very specialized way within their industry and if you just focus on their head term you might miss other big content opportunities that you could pursue by just thinking about very specifically what do they offer right.
So in this case, again go back to SEMrush and throw in the bigger head term [beer], and we can see right here what kind of keywords phrase match with beer. And there's way more volume, but this is going to be much less relevant to our client. Like [beer garden], that's not really relevant. We can also see there are brand terms creeping in here. But what I want to do at this view is basically scroll through and can I see informational terms that are relevant to my client that are even bigger than potentially their head term product or service. Because that's the kind of content that I might want to recommend right off the bat.
As we scroll through here, I see types of beer right? Now people interested in types of beers may very well be interested in brewing or learning more about the general beer brewing process. If you just drink PBR, Coors Light, or Bud Light those are all lagers. Yyou probably aren't that interested in types of beer, you get one type of beer when you buy most big brands of beer. If you're interested in types of beer you're probably going down the craft or the microbrew rabbit hole, which if you go far enough down that rabbit hole you'll definitely get to wanting to brew beer yourself at some point. At least I personally have found that to be the case.
So again, I take that same keyword and I phrase match it again which is types of beer. And I want to see is this just a standalone head term that isn't that relevant or is there a ton of traffic behind behind that keyword? Because I never want to chase a single keyword. Anytime I want to recommend our client creates a piece of content or I'm promoting a piece of content for my client, trying to help it rank better, I want to make sure that it ranks well for the primary term, but that there is a ton of secondary terms behind that to really build out that traffic funnel.
So in this case we can see that not only does [types of beer] have 1,800 search volume per month, but just a slight variation there that anything ranking for this probably ranks well for this as well 4,400. You can just you can just flow through here and see not only are there other terms that back up the primary term that we may want to target with a piece of content, but what kind of content should I theoretically create? And just looking at this, [beer type chart], well we know that people are searching for chart at a thousand monthly search volume which means that it's important to people to have some sort of visual element within this. And if we created a chart on that page aside from just words on a page, we may rank better for this term just because we thought about this term, right?
Everyone falling along so far everyone feeling good?
N: Okay that's good stuff. That's a very, you know, quick and easy way to do keyword discovery. To find what you're not ranking for that your competitors are, and that you should be ranking for. And to try to capture that additional traffic that could you know very well lead to conversions — very qualified traffic for increasing your bottom line, with keywords that you never even thought of when you sought out to try to increase your rankings for [beer brewing kit].
A: I mean a lot of times we get stuck with producing same amount of content and even though this is more of an exciting type of industry, you still hit content lulls.
So by doing this type of research and going this in-depth with your keywords, it's going to give you a lot more efficient type of content instead of just guessing from the hip and hoping that it'll be popular.
Analyze Ranking Content
C: Right. I can't tell you how often I work with clients and my simple advice to them is when you want a page to rank for a term first go to Google and type in that term and see what is ranking, so that you understand what kind of intent Google thinks there is within that search. And then also see what kind of content is the best? What's ranking best and how can you build a better version of that page? See how many links are pointing to that page — how many links might you need in order to outrank that competition?
Can you build a better version of that page? That's really what I look at when I'm looking through competitors and looking through content. So often clients create content without thinking about the actual SERP, without looking at the actual competition, without actually trying to beat the competition in search. And so if you think you can just win within search without actually doing the necessary research, it's going to be much more difficult. Because you'll create something that could be very valuable, but might miss the mark just a tiny bit because you didn't think about all the keywords and all of the information that you should be offering that Google wants you to offer.
N: I mean even now more than ever, when you see an answer box popping up and ahead of search results right? And of course that big, front and center billboard on the right below the ads is you know getting clicked on that's pushing the number one position down. So that's like spot zero where you want to be and you don't really see anything other than purely informational content that appears in that result.
C: No, no.
Further Competitor Analysis and Identifying Quick Wins
So let's let's go ahead and pop into incognito again and type in [types of beer] which I've done here. Again, I'm trolling for competitors to say are these websites relevant to my clients website, and if so, where are they getting the most traffic? How are they winning in search? And can I capture that same opportunity with my client?
So we can see that there are definitely some bigger websites here: Time right, and we've got Wikipedia filtering in here. But here's Craftbeer.com that's super relevant and they're ranking twice for different pages and that's super relevant to a beer supplier because that's basically craft beer right? So let's uh let's go back to SEMrush.
And - I've forgotten what it was. Oh it was Craftbeer.com. And we can see that they get a lot of traffic from not that many keywords right? So they're ranking very well, and again we can just pop over and look at pages, and we can see [breweries near me]. So that's obviously not going to be quite as relevant to our theoretical client. But we pop over to pages and we can see that they do have some — [helium beer] is a big thing and [nitro beers] is a big thing, and [facts and misconceptions about IBUs] which is how much bitterness is in the beer.
There's a lot of things and a lot of opportunities to find content. Again we see calculators creeping in right, so if I'm working with a client I might say it's worth investing in a few different calculators that seem to be driving traffic and value for your competitors. [Beer style guides] is a huge potential page and in fact I believe that was ranking for our [types of beer] query.
A: And that's generally interesting because they're not afraid to do different types of content. These are things that can be turned into infographics, they're doing the calculator, they're not just writing blog posts. They're looking at different ways how to provide informational content to rank with it.
C: Absolutely right. Yeah and I think there's always going to be some level of overlap and a lot of times you know, I want to find the easiest approach possible for clients. Because it can be an investment to do a wide array of content, so I want to build up and show value along the way. So oftentimes what I'm looking for when I do this is what is the thing that my client could do tomorrow, that we could begin building links to that would help them rank better in search, and that we could capture new keywords and eventually gained a whole new segment of traffic that they were just completely missing out on.
So would I start with this page? Hmm maybe, maybe not. I mean really as big as this page is, it's just words on a page. And I have no doubt looking at this, that this is pretty common public information that we could probably find and maybe even format better. I mean there's literally no visual elements here, there is a lot of words and pretty good formatting with lines built-in and headers built-in, but I bet we could build a better version of this page if we were inclined. It's a lot of information but it's something I think we could chase after.
I mean this is the perfect example of content that would be great as an infographic and it would be a lot easier to digest. I mean right now, with the font as small as it is and as aggressive as it is, it just doesn't really connect with the user. I mean to actually read through all of this content, I'd be surprised if average time on page is high for this.
C: Yeah, absolutely.
Now I went ahead and exported all of their information as well from SEMrush and now we can see again that this is a huge portion on their website. And unfortunately it doesn't really apply to our theoretical client, but there's just a slew of pages in here that we can find to say, such as [what is a craft brewery]. That's such an easy definitional piece of content, I would be very surprised if that was anything too in-depth.
They're probably just answering truly [what is a craft brewery] and this is basically a blog post, right? And this is such an easy easy page to do a better version of right? [What is a craft brewery] and then why are they important? And we could talk about the trend in America towards craft brewing and what the difference between say Bud Light and a craft brewery is. All this includes an interesting, engaging human angle that we could build into this that would improve our ability to build links back to our clients site. And truly it's finding these little opportunities that pile up to really help our clients win in search.
We can see all the keywords that they're ranking for here. Now obviously some of these through definition [what is in microbrew] — now there's a content opportunity that we're finding just from looking at keywords. Wwe know that this page [what is a craft brewery] isn't quite the same as [what is a microbrew] and we can see that and how well they're ranking right, 22?
Maybe we don't only create a [what is a brewery] page, but we create a page about [what is microbrewing] or [how does microbrewing apply to brewing your own beer at home]. There's a lot of relevance we can tie into for a client and all of this just starts with really all the great information you can get out of SEMrush. You look at the industry, you look at what people are searching for, you look at what's driving traffic for competitors and you figure out how does that apply to my own website or my clients website.
J: If you notice you see a lot of micro brewery definition, craft brewery definition, all these definitions — so maybe even coming up with some sort of a definition or terminology for brewing, things like that. It looks like there's a lot of opportunity with that as well.
C: You could truly create a guide to brewing terms and then have each page be like a a giant guide, and then each page individually links out to a landing page that is better defining the term [what is a craft brewery] or [what is the micro brew].
I've seen this be very successful with a handful of clients where they just do a really good job talking about important terms within their industry, how they work, how it plays into the bigger things that they do. That is a lot of traffic that you can capture with a very relevant audience who you can build trust with and honestly I think you can definitely get conversions.
J: Especially when you're in a very niche-specific industry where there's just a lot of terminology involved with whatever your industry is. So there might be confusion around certain terms, so just being able to identify those off the bat and rank for those terms off the bat and then internally link to deeper content that will help further explain a lot of what those terms are and how they're used within that industry as well.
A: Absolutely, yeah. And you should link internally as much as you possibly can. Especially if your content is already the length that you want, but there's still more terminology that you can be adding, definitely use the opportunity to link.
Informing Content Creation with Keyword Research
C: That's a pretty quick synopsis of how we look at competitors and how we try and find keywords that are pretty important.
As you can see I've pulled out a ton of information here and we could probably walk through this in-depth. Another big term that I noticed that would be super relevant and informational to a beer brewing supply client, and honestly it's not just informational, would be recipes.
I know from experience it's very hard to brew your own beer. You can't just come up with a recipe from the hip, this is chemistry basically.
J: It's art not a science.
C: You need a recipe to follow in order to brew a beer and most of those kits, what that is, is it's not just equipment but also a recipe with the equipment. And so most suppliers should be selling recipes as well. And I know that recipes is a pretty big term, so if we go back to our incognito search and just type in [beer brewing recipes] we can see that there's all sorts of pages right? HomeBrewersAssociation.org — that was a page that was ranking in our original query which was [beer brewing].
I really liked this page, you can see how many recipes they have. And my guess would be, I haven't actually looked, but that they probably sell these recipes or have affiliate links to where you can buy this recipe in some way. It doesn't look like it, but there's a lot of really great information that you could have on a client's website and I would guess that this gets linked to like crazy and again I've exported this client out of beer and brewing.
Again we were talking about definitional content right? What makes a saison a saison, like that is a Belgian beers that right?
C: Well anyway it's a unique type of beer, and just defining what is this type of beer right? We talked about types of beer but we didn't talk about granular or should you write about each beer as its own page — like the depth that you can take this is truly sometimes astonishing.
This is the kind of information that we try to provide clients. We want to help their converting pages as much as possible. Winning in search is also largely thinking about the search competitive landscape and your informational terms that you can use to attract a big audience. Because how do you get a lot of conversions? Well first you want a lot of traffic to your conversion pages, but there's only so much opportunity there. You have to think about your entire marketplace and there is a lot of informational search volume happening that if you completely ignore you're not winning in search you're going to miss out on a lot of business opportunity just because you're not bringing in all the traffic that you could.
Nick do you have anything else you were to add from a client-facing perspective?
Selling Your Strategy to Upper Management
N: You know I mean really it just seems to happen time time again, you know where we have clients to come to specifically Page One Power, you know most time the first thing that they're looking for is links.
And I feel like you know the industry is more knowledgeable now about what it takes to build links, but I just can't really stress enough on the importance of good helpful information like this. And really building out a whole list of here are the key terms that we want to go for. Here's the key terms that we don't have that we want to go for — let's build out that content, let's build our arsenal of your target page list that isn't the product page.
You know, it's not the home page even though you have your CEOs, CFOs people you know with the money looking at ROI, looking at traffic, what is this doing for us we're not getting any traffic to the home page, or the product page. You know they're kind of missing the point there and it is bringing in that traffic that is potentially qualified that again exists at the top funnel that is a bit more informational.
That is going to build more trust with your customer if they buy from you because you're giving them what what they need for not just product, but for information to help them really hone in their craft. And that's just kind of the biggest thing that I see time and time again.
We have clients who come in that have thin content or no content or fluffy content that isn't super relevant to their their industry and it is just not well done. It's not thought-out, there's no keyword research behind it, there's no internal linking architecture — it is just content created for the sake of content, which why do that in the first place? Having something like SEMrush where you can pull this data out to go in seconds really is helpful.
I mean we've kind of touched on it a little bit, but you can really go down the rabbit hole with this. I mean it's kind of like endless. And you can spend a lot of time on on crafting a a good strategy around your content and having purpose and really putting together something that can drive results.
A: Certainly. And by utilizing this, I mean I think it really nailed the biggest point, we don't want to just create content to create content. And too often that's what businesses do because they're just checking off the box.
We actually need to create productive content and by using tools like SEMrush you're able to see what's going to put me ahead of the competitors and what's going to allow me to inform and entertain. Because people are only coming to the internet for two things, and that's to be informed of something that they're looking for or entertained by something. And no matter what industry you're in, what products you have, you can find ways to do that. But you want to find ways to do that that are going to help you improve your rankings and actually get ahead of your competitors in search results, and this is a great example of how you can do that.
C: Right, yeah. Honestly I wouldn't even know how to do my job anymore without SEMrush, it is so valuable.
It shows you what your competition is doing to win. So often clients you know, they need to sell something upstream to their boss, to their CEO, to their head of marketing, to their VP, whoever it is; and one of the best ways to do that is to say, "Look you are behind the competition here", bosses always hate to be behind the competition. And it is it is so powerful to say look this is why we are going after these search opportunities because our competitor is winning with this and we think we can do it better.
N: This is why we need more budget to build our content team out Mr. CEO. You know it's including those resources on hand. Again a lot of times having clients come in to say, "Well yeah, we know we need content but we don't have any budget for it. So we just need links, because we need results and we need to improve the rankings and we need to show an ROI to our CEO."
Well you're kind of missing a big step there you know. And this is where you can find that and provide that ROI and show broad numbers. So here's why we need to implement a content strategy in our company and as part of our SEO strategy.
C: Absolutely. So often clients come in and like our theoretical clients will send us an email and say, "Here are the four terms I care about: we've got supplies, brewing kit, and equipment. And these are the numbers that I report up: I report rankings and traffic to these pages and that's it. Maybe only just these rankings here.
SEMrush allows us to widen the scope and talk about the importance of search as an entire channel as opposed to the rankings of three very explicit terms. And so that education, it's part of all SEO strategy is education. And SEMrush is 100% a strong part of that education for us.
Well Ashley is there anything else you think we should look at within SEMrush well if we haven't pulled up here anything else that you think is super valuable that we haven't looked through yet?
SEMrush's Content Calendar
A: I mean there's quite a lot in here that you can do. I think going based off of this topic a big thing is the marketing calendar as well as the content template.
So we have a whole suite of content tools now so you can go into all your keywords and you you can get content ideas from this. You can also go further and you can do the SEO content template and optimize your content even further.
You can go into the marketing calendar and as you're generating all these ideas for content, you can schedule out when everything is going to post, and you can also distribute that task out to members of your team freely if you're having them do the content for you.
So this is incredibly helpful — it's like having your own basecamp inside of SEMrush. So while you're generating any ideas you're doing this hands-on inside the platform which is going to several other platforms.
C: That's awesome.
J: Okay well before we jump into the Q&A here, we have a quick poll question that we're gonna ask.
And now we'll continue on here. Alright, got some good questions — so far my favorite one is “will we be getting beer sampling?” Unfortunately no but this webinar has definitely made me thirsty, I'll tell you that much right now.
C: I definitely was very happy with the topic that I landed on here and I thought it'd be a fun topic to cover.
A: One thing I'd also like to add while we're waiting for questions to come in is one of our newest add-ons is a Wow-Score. So basically you can install a Wow-Score on to your content pages and it's going to grade your content and say give your content a 60% and 70% it's basically going to grade the effectiveness of the content based on the scroll.
So instead of how much time people are on page, which is not exactly a metric we want to measure, we want to know more so how they're engaging. So it checks that and it checks what people are doing with the page and how they're sharing the content.
And then it's giving you a much more accurate reading of do people actually like this content. Sure it can be a traffic driver, but are people enjoying the content experience. So the SEMrush Wow-Score is definitely exciting in terms of rating your content.
C: That's great to hear, yeah I'll have to look into that that. Sounds really awesome.
C: Looks like one question just a really quick answer here is “will we be able to gain access to today's webinar recording?” Yes, we are recording the webinar and it should be going out fairly shortly after after we end this webinar once we're able to upload it to YouTube. We'll we'll be emailing everyone who attended to let them know and have access to that recording. We will also be sharing a blog post on using SEMrush to win in search.
When You're Prioritizing Keyword Opportunities, What Primary Criteria Do You Use?
C: Another question is “when you're prioritizing keyword opportunities what primary criteria do you use?"
That's a great question and there is no one answer. Typically it's the process that we walk through here to give a succinct answer. I start with what pages are most relevant to my clients goals and driving the most traffic to my clients competitors. And so it's that very quick process of identifying the head term that everyone's ranking for who is most directly relevant to my clients and then how are their competitors beating them in search and can I help them close that gap.
So I when I'm in evaluating keywords I basically look for what keywords are sending the most traffic to my competitors and can I beat them there? Does that make sense to my client?
It's pretty astonishing — it sounds very simple — but it's pretty astonishing how often you can find a gap that is easy to close and it makes a big difference for your clients.
Informational Content Tends to Not Convert Well, So How Do We Get Traffic That Drives Revenue?
A: Yeah and in terms of the next question about how informational content tends to not convert well, so how do we focus on getting traffic that drives revenue — one way to do that is kind of what we saw on that one, I think it was Northern Brewers, where they had that informational video. It was a how-to and in the step it linked to the product, so it made it very easy for a user to make a purchase.
So when you're doing an informational type of content, think of ways you can include your own product or your own services within that and use that as examples instead of just here's the five products that you need. They easily could have skipped over that, but they utilize that as an opportunity to link to their product pages.
C: Yeah I would also say that a few other things that we touched on, at least one is making sure that you create content because you know there's a big traffic opportunity or a big link opportunity behind that content. But I would echo the idea of relevance again, really make sure that whatever content you do create, especially if you have you know limited budget, you need to show quick return on investment in some way.
Now quick within SEO is much different than quick in pay-per-click, excuse me PPC. So basically really focus in on relevance and make sure that you're bringing in decent traffic, but that that is traffic that is likely to convert. There's a lot of informational content you can chase and that will help you win in search. But if conversions are going to be a primary KPI and you have to really show revenue in a short amount of time, make sure that you're really chasing keywords that have an opportunity to convert as well as be informational.
Another thing that you can do is make sure that you're creating content that is extremely relevant to your primary conversion page, and make sure it inter-links very well to that page. And if you're able to build more links than you can to the normal conversion page that you're trying to influence, if you build out a piece of content that gets a bunch of external links and ranks really well and a lot of traffic, you can flow that link equity and that search traffic through to your conversion page. And any lifts you can see on that conversion page can be attributed to that a new piece of informational content, so that's another way to look at that.
Is Search Volume or Relevance More Important?
C: Yeah another question that we have here and we just have a few minutes left “is search volume or relevance more important?” I think that that was kind of covered, but it really depends on your goals. I would say you should never chase volume over relevance. I think the two should be tied pretty closely together, but it really depends on your goals.
If you need to show steep increase in traffic in a short amount of time then you're probably going to be chasing volume and making sure that it's at least somewhat relevant. If you need to show conversions in a short amount of time then you're going to be chasing much more relevance and making sure that there is at least some volume. So it's sort of a sliding scale depending on on your goals.
Typically I really like to see more relevant than search volume, just so that I'm always delivering the most value possible for our clients. So that there's never that awkward moment of yeah we're driving a bunch of traffic, but what is it really doing because that's that's the worst case as an SEO. We always want to be able to show the value, the intent, and the opportunity behind the work that we're doing.
How Important is Formatting in Content Creation? Should You Match What's in the SERPs or Try to Break Away with Something New?
Another question here is “How important is formatting in content creation? Should you match what's in the SERPs or try to break away with something new?” I would say formatting is extremely important especially when you're thinking about keywords and keyword variation.
Make sure that you're not stuffing keywords, you know 2018 we're well beyond that as a SEOs, but make sure that you're using your keywords as well especially in your headers and your title. And make sure that you're using them intelligently and in a human manner.
Should you match what's in the SERPs currently or try and break away with something new? That really comes down to your assessment of what's currently ranking in the SERP and how well it's answering searcher intent. How well is it answering and leading to the information?
We talked about [what is a craft brewery] right or [what is craft brewing] and we saw that there was very base-level, definitional content for that term.
If I was creating that piece of content to try and rank in that SERP, I would go much beyond just definitional content. I would lead with the definitional content but then I would talk about you know the trends towards craft brewing across 2018 if not across the entire last decade.
You could easily talk about the impact that the prohibition had on craft brewing right? There's a whole level of depth that you could go to for that audience, depending on what people are searching and what the keywords look like.
So whether or not you match what's already in the SERPs or not is really going to depend on what the opportunity looks like but I would always encourage people to try and create a better version of the page. If you create something that fairly well matches what's already in the search you're going to have a really hard time of displacing your competitors.
J: Yeah. Ashley, I'd like to hear your thoughts on that as well as far as formatting content.
A: Yes certainly I mean it really comes down to the user experience first in my opinion. And one thing we haven't really talked about is mobile.
So how we see something on desktop isn't always as amazing on mobile. And how we format that, so we really need to start thinking about content that we create how can we make it to where it's going to be easily digestible on mobile. And that doesn't just mean the font size or optimizing your images, that means long-form content or short form content again.
We need to think about the mobile users first and the desktop users second. And when we're producing these longer form content pieces, are we really keeping their attention? Just because something in the SERPs, like that one example that we saw that was all the different ingredients and the measurements it was a bunch of text, it was small text that easily could be made into an infographic and even though it's a lot of content it will be appreciated on both desktop and mobile instead of only being able to really be viewed on desktop.
And then video. If you see things that are ranking great in the SERPs but you can easily produce that same answer in video, then create the video and still have the blog excerpts at the bottom of it. But focus on video and optimizing for mobile before you're focusing on just trying to create what's already out there.
N: That's very good, yes very good point.
C: Yeah I think that it's very easy to create the type of content you think you should create but not consider the mobile experience. I've seen that kind of time and time again and I really think that mobile is a layer that we really need to add to any content that we create for user experience.
How Do You Do Keyword Research Around Themes for Content Creation in the Future?
C: Well it looks like we have one last question here and then we'll sign off. John asks about keyword research around themes for content creation in the future understanding what the audience is looking for and also how to include the social media perspective, especially you know when thinking about SEO as well.
So that's a lot of big questions I'm just going to kind of talk through that a little bit and then Nick and Ashlet can actually jump in at any point.
So for keyword research around content themes, kind of like the research we were doing earlier, I try and identify a head term and then all the variations and nuances of other keywords that might fit within that term. We talked about that idea of speaking specifically two types of beer right, and then the more we looked the more we saw that there were other pages like the difference between a porter and a stout right?
And now this doesn't necessarily tie directly into social media, but when I'm thinking about thematic content I always want to find that angle of how do I do a whole strategy moving forward as opposed to a one off page now that might help me win. How do I create a strategy that we can enact over the next six months that will continually lead to success?
So one thing that I might very well do in this instance is an entire guide about different types of beer and then breaking down granularly from different pages all the different types of beer. Like what is a saison, what is a porter, what is the stout, the differences therein, IBUs is huge, what makes a beer bitter, what is IBU, all of these things can be built out from this one parent page and it can become an entire content hub that tackles all these really big informational queries that are directly relevant to our clients business.
And all of this was done pretty much off-the-cuff here during the course of this webinar. I downloaded some data before hand, but I didn't dig too deeply. Most of this is stuff you can find very quickly and you just look for the themes that seem to be winning in search and driving a lot of traffic and are very relevant to your business.
Ashley, do you want to talk a little bit about the social media perspective as well?
A: Yeah definitely. I was just going to add — when you create the content based on your SEO, your user intent, but then when it comes to social you need to think a little bit more creatively. It's not about putting the right keywords in on Facebook or on Instagram or Twitter, it's about actually creating these fun experiences and taking the box out of it.
So you want to take the content that you created, rewrite the headline, rework the headline so it's a little more "click-baity" if you may, so that people are actually going to want to leave the comfort of their social network and go digest this content.
And you'll want really strong images here or video. Because again, if you're going to ask me to leave the comfort of my Facebook you have to be providing a lot of entertainment, a lot of reason for me to do so. And a lot of time that's because user intent isn't on social media. So I may not know that I need to know all the steps on how to brew a beer but the way that you write the headline on social media, and the way that you break the code you should be telling me why I need to know that and giving me a reason more so than just here's a new piece of content that we created that's doing great on SEO and you should probably check it out.
C: That's great, yeah I really like the idea of like you have to think about user experience and how you provide the most value possible to get people to actually leave the social experience and come to your website. I can't tell you how often I scroll through Facebook and see a funny video or even a good recipe and I still don't leave Facebook unless there's a super compelling reason to do so. So that's great advice.
A: Exactly and we can we can provide the content, we can have long long-form post on Facebook and on LinkedIn and that's great, but ultimately that's not going to drive conversions and sales. So have a combination of the two, but focus on trying to get them to your site to convert them.
C: Well I think we've actually run six minutes over here, so I think we'll wrap up now. Ashley thank you so much for joining us from SEMrush we really appreciate it.
We love to answer any and all questions and we hope you guys enjoyed the broadcast. Thanks everyone, over and out!