Content marketing is taking off fast. Most online marketers are planning to produce more content next year and that trend will continue.

There are millions of frantic fingers typing out fresh content at an alarming rate. Yet, there’s a dearth of great content ideas. So how can you grab the attention of your audience without getting lost in all the white noise? Well, you can start by finding out what your audience is interested in – this article outlines three simple ways to use Google Analytics to unearth content gems.

Google Analytics is the oil to your machine

Data analysis tools, like Google Analytics are not just toys for SEOs. Many people who wouldn’t describe themselves as “techy” shy away from Google Analytics. But, if like me, you consider yourself a creative and possibly even find data somewhat scary; don’t be afraid. In the last six months I’ve been able to use Google Analytics to my advantage and you can too – oh, and I’m newly Google Analytics qualified, just sayin’.

With a little basic knowledge, Google Analytics can be an essential tool for the content marketer. Here are three simple ways to use Google Analytics to generate content ideas for your site.

Site search: search terms

We recommend that all websites have a search bar because it improves the user experience and it’s a powerful weapon which gives you an insight into what people are looking for on your site. Often you’ll be able to unearth ‘content gaps’ – visitors are searching for content on your site that doesn’t yet exist.

You can find the search terms that people are using on your site by going to Content > Site Search > Search Terms in the left navigation pane:

The search terms are displayed in order of the greatest amounts of searches. From here, I  click the Goal Sets to see which search terms are giving the highest conversions.

This feature will give you greater insight into the questions your audience is asking when they’re on your site, but which you may not have answered fully. It can also help you uncover navigation problems – have you made it difficult for visitors to find their desired product or service page?

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you’re a gift company and you’re receiving a large volume of site searches for socks. This may indicate that visitors can’t find the content they want.  You’d want to check that you have plenty of relevant content about socks, you might want to create new blog posts to target sock-related keywords – and you might want to check that your site’s structure makes it easy to find your ‘socks’ pages.

Keyword Reports

Looking at your organic keyword report in Google Analytics will tell you which words and phrases searchers are using to land on your site.

This report is important because it will show you which keywords you’re already nurturing leads for and whether you’re producing content on your site to meet the search volumes.

To view your keyword report, click on Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic

What you should see is a list of keywords like this:

If you aren’t seeing a lot of keywords you’ll want to expand the date range in the date filter.

But what if too many terms are brand related keywords?

If you’re a business owner, or the writer of a blog which has a reasonable following, you’ll probably see a lot of brand-related terms. For the moment, we’re not interested in brand searches, anyone who searches for your brand must already know your business exists – we’re interested in attracting new audiences. We’ll want to dig a little deeper to find non-branded terms which people are using to reach your content. The way to get to this data is a little more advanced, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll feel like a genius.

Locate “Advanced Segments” in the reporting display:

Click upon add a new segment below the “Custom Segments” window:

You’ll be required to name this segment. A logical name is “non-branded keywords”. You’ll then need to exclude any brand related terms.

Click on the “Include” drop down menu and switch it to “Exclude”.  Choose ‘keyword’ from the green dropdown box. Then you should type in your brand name. My blog is called Secret Diary of a Scavenger so I will exclude those terms.

You may find that people are landing on your site are using alternative spellings or mis-pellings. It’s easy to exclude those terms, too. This is where the brilliance of regex expressions comes into play.

All you’ll need to do is change the matching parameter to be “Matching RegExp” and type in each of the various spellings or brand terms into the text field. Use the pipe | symbol to separate each of the terms you’d like to exclude.

In this example, I’m excluding keywords that contain ‘secret’ or ‘scaven’ or ‘diary, which would be written as:

Secret|scaven|diary

Once you’ve excluded the brand keywords you’ll be able to see all your non-branded keywords. Now you can start targeting these terms with fresh content.

So how do we turn these keywords into profitable content

Your content should be profitable otherwise it’s not worth creating it.

Once you’ve got your list of non-branded keywords you’ll look at the keywords that have high visits. Click on your Goal Set to see if it’s actually giving you conversions. If it’s not, we have a problem.

Let’s imagine you’re a seller of spoons and you own the domain “spoons.com”. Your site is receiving a lot of traffic for the key phrase “wooden spoons”. However, these visits are frustratingly not leading to any conversions.

There could be two reasons at play here for visitors not buying from you:

1.       Your site may have the wrong content. There could be very thin, not very compelling content to persuade people to get their wooden spoons from you.

2.       There may not be any real commercial intent behind this key phrase. The types of people searching for wooden spoons may only be looking for information.

How can you get these visits to convert?

Attracting people who clicked off of your site because your content for wooden spoons was boring is probably the easiest problem to solve. What you can do here is to create better sales copy. You could also test different elements on the page such as, a more prominent call to action, better imagery or even a review from a happy wooden spoon user! These types of people do exist!

The trickier customers are those searching without real buying intent. You could attempt to nurture these leads by offering useful, fresh content on your blog. Content such as:

  • The main uses of wooden spoons
  • Why use a wooden spoon instead of a plastic spoon
  • 5 different types of wooden spoons and their uses

These articles are both informative and offer added value. However it would be your call as to whether you want to invest time in trying to capture these types of visitors. You’ll have to commit yourself to a content marketing strategy to see conversions improve over the long haul.

Keyword questions: The 5 w’s

Your prospective buyers will have lots of questions about your products and services before they make a buying decision. To make sure you’re catering for their needs, you’ll want to produce content that answers any questions they have. Visitors with unanswered queries are unlikely to buy from you – and your aim is to convert visitors into customers.

Similarly, if you think about how searchers use search engines, they are often looking for a solution to a problem. They’ll type in questions using the 5 w’s:

who,

what,

when,

where and

how.

By filtering for these words, you’ll , find out where you’re answering the needs of your prospects and where your content isn’t being as helpful as it could be is a worthwhile investment of your time and money.

Again we can use regular expressions to find questions that your customers want answered.

In Google Analytics go to Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic.

We’re going to use the pipe | symbol again to refine our search. Except this time you don’t have to create a new segment, you can use the search box above the table.

Type in “when|who|how|where|what” and press the magnifying glass button. You’ll then see a list of sentences or phrases which include these words.

 

(Note: if you’re not seeing many results, extend the date range).

Look through the list and ask yourself: do you have content that answers these questions? If you are, and the keywords aren’t converting: is your call to action clear and obvious?

If you’re not covering these questions in your content ask yourself whether you need to create additional content. You already have a list of titles for the content – just use the keywords in your list.

 

If you can see keyword and traffic data in Google Analytics but aren’t sure what to do with it, Receptional can help you turn it into profitable content. Get in touch below to find out more.

Contact Receptional