How to find winning blog topics using SEO tools

Posted: 11 Jul 2024

Selecting the right blog topics is crucial for SEO success. Well-chosen topics attract more traffic, engage readers and convert them into loyal followers or customers. This process begins with understanding what your audience is searching for and ensuring your content meets their needs.

SEO tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush have become essential for identifying high-potential blog topics. These tools help uncover popular search queries, assess keyword difficulty and analyse competitor content, providing a data-driven approach to topic selection.

Another vital aspect of effective content creation is adhering to EEAT principles: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. These guidelines, outlined by Google, stress the importance of credible, well-researched, experience-backed content. Although EEAT itself is not a direct ranking factor, optimising your content to meet these standards can enhance its quality and, over time, improve your site’s search performance by aligning with Google’s evolving algorithm criteria.

 

Understanding user search behaviour

Understanding user search behaviour is crucial for selecting blog topics that resonate with your audience and perform well in search engine rankings. By comprehending what users are looking for and how they phrase their queries, you can create content that directly addresses their needs and questions, thereby increasing the likelihood of attracting and retaining readers.

Why understanding user search behaviour is crucial for topic selection 

  1. Relevance: Content that aligns with what users are actively searching for is more likely to be seen and valued. When your blog topics reflect the interests and needs of your audience, your content becomes more relevant and useful, enhancing user engagement.
  2. SEO benefits: Search engines strive to provide the most relevant results for users. Understanding and incorporating common search terms and questions into your blog can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  3. Content strategy: Insight into search behaviour helps in planning a content strategy that covers a wide range of relevant topics. This ensures that your blog remains comprehensive and authoritative in your niche.

How to identify what people are searching for

Use search queries

  • Keyword research tools: Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush remain invaluable for keyword research. Enter a broad topic or seed keyword related to your niche and these tools will generate a list of related search queries, along with their search volume and difficulty.
  • Autocomplete suggestions: Use Google’s autocomplete feature to see popular searches related to your topic. Start typing a keyword in the search bar and note the suggested completions. These suggestions are based on actual user searches.
  • People also ask: Google’s “People Also Ask” (PAA) boxes provide a wealth of information on common questions related to your keyword. These questions can prompt inspiration for blog topics that address specific user queries.

Analysing search trends

  • Google Trends: This tool helps you track the popularity of search terms over time. It can identify rising trends and seasonal patterns, allowing you to create timely and relevant content.
  • Social media trends: Platforms like X (Twitter), Reddit and niche-specific forums can offer insights into trending topics and discussions. Observing what your target audience is talking about on social media can provide fresh content ideas.

Exploring questions and discussions

  • Q&A websites: These are often treasure troves of user-generated questions. Search for topics related to your niche to discover what people are asking about.
  • Forums and online communities: Join forums and online communities relevant to your industry. Pay attention to frequently asked questions and popular discussion threads, as these can highlight common pain points and interests.

Using competitor analysis

  • Content gaps: Analyse your competitors’ blogs to identify content gaps. Look for topics that have high engagement but are not comprehensively covered and use these gaps to inform your content strategy.
  • Top-performing content: Identify which of your competitors’ blog posts perform the best in terms of traffic and engagement. This can provide clues about what your shared audience finds valuable.

By using a selection of these methods, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of what your audience is searching for. This knowledge allows you to craft blog topics that are not only relevant and engaging but also optimised for search engines, driving more traffic and enhancing your site’s visibility.

 

Using SEO tools to find topics

Ahrefs

Top features for keyword research

Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool known for its robust keyword research capabilities. It offers a variety of features that help in discovering high-potential keywords, analysing competition, and understanding search intent. Key features include:

  • Keywords Explorer: A powerful tool for finding keyword ideas based on a seed keyword.
  • Site Explorer: Provides insights into competitors’ top-performing pages and keywords.
  • Content Explorer: Helps in finding popular content in your niche.
  • Keyword Difficulty (KD): Measures how hard it is to rank for a particular keyword.
  • Search Volume: Shows the average monthly searches for a keyword.

Step-by-step guide to finding high-search-volume topics

  1. Access Keywords Explorer
    • Log in to Ahrefs and navigate to the Keywords Explorer tool.
    • Enter a broad keyword related to your niche to start your search. 
  2. Generate keyword ideas
    • Ahrefs will generate a list of keyword ideas related to your seed keyword.
    • Use filters to refine your search, such as setting a minimum search volume to focus on popular keywords. 
  3. Analyse search volume
    • Look at the search volume metric to identify keywords that are searched frequently.
    • Prioritise keywords with higher search volumes as they indicate more significant interest from users.

 

 

Analysing keyword difficulty and competition

  1. Keyword Difficulty (KD)
    • Each keyword will have a KD score, which indicates how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword.
    • Aim for keywords with a lower KD score if your site is new or has low domain authority. 
  2. Analyse top-ranking pages
    • Click on a keyword to view the top-ranking pages for that term.
    • Examine the content on these pages to understand what is required to compete. Look at content length, structure and quality. 
  3. Competitor analysis
    • Use the Site Explorer tool to analyse your competitors’ websites.
    • Identify their top-performing pages and the keywords driving traffic to those pages.
    • Look for gaps where you can create better or more comprehensive content.

 

SEMrush

Top features for topic discovery

SEMrush is another leading SEO tool that excels in keyword research and topic discovery. Its features include:

  • Keyword Magic Tool: Generates keyword ideas and groups them into clusters.
  • Topic Research: Provides insights into trending topics and related subtopics.
  • Keyword Difficulty: Assesses the competitiveness of keywords.
  • Search Volume: Displays the average monthly search volume for keywords.

Step-by-step guide to identifying trending topics and keywords

  1. Access the Keyword Magic Tool
    • Log in to SEMrush and open the Keyword Magic Tool.
    • Enter a seed keyword to begin your research. 
  2. Generate keyword clusters
    • SEMrush will generate a list of keywords and group them into clusters based on relevance.
    • Explore these clusters to find related keywords and subtopics. 
  3. Analyse search volume
    • Look at the search volume for each keyword to determine its popularity.
    • Focus on keywords with substantial search volumes to ensure your content targets popular queries.

 

Assessing search volume and keyword difficulty

  1. Keyword difficulty
    • Each keyword will have a difficulty score, indicating how hard it is to rank for that term.
    • Choose keywords with a manageable difficulty score, balancing between high search volume and low competition.
  2. Explore Topic Research tool
    • Navigate to the Topic Research tool within SEMrush.
    • Enter a broad topic to see a list of related subtopics and popular headlines.
    • This tool helps in identifying content gaps and trending topics in your niche.
  3. Analyse competitors
    • Use SEMrush’s Domain Overview tool to analyse your competitors.
    • Identify their high-performing content and the keywords they rank for.
    • Look for opportunities where you can create superior or more targeted content to capture some of their traffic.

By making full use of these features in Ahrefs and SEMrush, you can systematically uncover high-search-volume topics and assess keyword difficulty and competition. This strategic approach ensures that your blog topics are not only relevant and engaging but also optimised for search engine success, ultimately driving more traffic to your site.

Evaluating competitor content

To create content that competes effectively in search rankings, it’s essential to evaluate the content produced by your competitors. By understanding what makes top-ranking pages successful, you can identify opportunities to improve and differentiate your own content.

Identifying top-ranking pages for selected keywords

  1. Use SEO tools: These are invaluable for identifying top-ranking pages. Enter your target keywords into these tools to see the highest-ranking pages for each keyword.
  2. Analyse SERPs: Perform manual searches on Google for your selected keywords. Note the pages that consistently rank in the top positions. Pay attention to both organic results and featured snippets.
  3. Competitor websites: Identify direct competitors in your niche and explore their websites to find their most popular and high-performing content.

 

Analysing competitor content

Content length

  • Assess word count: Generally, longer, in-depth articles tend to perform better in search rankings.
  • Quality vs. quantity: While length is important, ensure that the content is detailed and provides value. Avoid fluff and focus on delivering comprehensive information.

Structure and format

  • Introduction: Observe how competitors introduce their topics. Effective introductions should be engaging and provide a clear overview of what the article will cover.
  • Headings and subheadings: Well-structured content uses headings (H1, H2, H3 etc.) to break up the text. This makes the content easier to read and helps search engines understand the structure.
  • Paragraph length: Shorter paragraphs are generally more readable. Analyse how your competitors use white space and paragraph breaks.

Use of headings, images and multimedia

  • Headings: Evaluate how competitors use headings to organise their content. Ensure your headings are descriptive and include relevant keywords.
  • Images and infographics: Quality images and infographics can enhance the user experience. Check if competitors use custom graphics, stock images or screenshots.
  • Videos: Videos can significantly improve engagement. See if your competitors include videos to explain complex topics or provide visual demonstrations.
  • Multimedia integration: Assess how multimedia elements are integrated into the content. Effective use of multimedia should complement and enhance the text, not distract from it.

User intent and how well the content addresses it

  • Identify user intent: Determine the primary intent behind the search queries your competitors are targeting (informational, navigational, transactional or commercial investigation).
  • Content relevance: Analyse how well competitor content addresses user intent. Does the content answer the users’ questions effectively? Is it providing solutions or just surface-level information?
  • Engagement tactics: Look for elements that keep users engaged, such as interactive elements, clear calls-to-action or downloadable resources.

By thoroughly evaluating competitor content, you can identify best practices and areas for improvement in your content strategy. This process not only helps in creating better content but also positions your blog to effectively compete in search rankings, ultimately driving more traffic and engagement.

 

Determining user intent

Understanding user intent is fundamental to creating content that meets the needs of your audience and performs well in search engines. User intent refers to the purpose behind a search query, which can significantly influence how you should structure and write your content.

Why is user intent important in SEO? 

User intent, also known as search intent, is the underlying goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine. It’s crucial for SEO because search engines like Google aim to provide the most relevant results that satisfy users’ needs. By understanding and aligning your content with user intent, you can improve your search rankings, increase user engagement and achieve higher conversion rates.

Types of user intent

Informational intent

  • Users are seeking information or answers to specific questions. For example, “how to bake a cake,” “what is SEO?”
  • Content types for this intent include blog posts, how-to guides, tutorials and informational articles.

Navigational intent

  • Users are looking to navigate to a specific website or page. For example, “Facebook login,” “YouTube,” “BBC News.”
  • Content types for this intent include homepages, login pages, specific website sections.

Transactional intent

  • Users are ready to make a purchase or complete a specific action. For example, “Subscribe to Netflix,” “discount codes for Amazon.”
  • Content types for this intent include product pages, service pages, e-commerce sites and landing pages.

Commercial investigation intent

  • Users are researching products or services before making a purchase decision. For example, “best smartphones 2024,” “Nike running shoes reviews.”
  • Content types for this intent include comparison articles, reviews, buyer’s guides, top lists.

 

How to determine user intent for your chosen keywords

Keyword analysis

  • SERP analysis: Look at the SERPs for your chosen keywords. The type of content that ranks highly provides clues about user intent.
    • If the top results are how-to guides or informational articles, the intent is likely informational.
    • If the top results include product pages or e-commerce sites, the intent is transactional.
  • Search query analysis: Examine the phrasing of the keywords. Keywords with words like “how,” “what,” “why,” or “guide” indicate informational intent, while words like “buy,” “purchase” or “discount” indicate transactional intent.

Google’s “People Also Ask” and related searches

  • These sections provide insights into related queries and can help determine the context of the user’s search intent.

Competitor content

  • Analyse the type of content your competitors are creating for the same keywords. Competitor content can provide insights into the expected format and depth required to meet user intent.

 

Aligning your blog content with user intent for maximum engagement

Match content type to intent

  • Informational content: Create comprehensive and detailed articles, how-to guides, or tutorials. Ensure the content is well-structured, easy to read and addresses the user’s query thoroughly.
  • Navigational content: Ensure your website’s structure is intuitive and that important pages are easy to find. Include clear navigation and internal links to guide users to the desired page.
  • Transactional content: Focus on persuasive product descriptions, clear calls to action and user-friendly purchase processes. Highlight benefits, include customer reviews and provide clear pricing information.
  • Commercial investigation content: Develop in-depth reviews, comparisons and buyer’s guides. Provide unbiased information, pros and cons and detailed analyses to help users make informed decisions.

Use appropriate formatting

  • Headings and subheadings: Use clear and descriptive headings and subheadings to break up the text and make it easy for users to scan.
  • Multimedia elements: Incorporate images, videos, infographics and charts to enhance understanding and engagement.
  • Lists and bullet points: Use lists and bullet points to present information concisely and make it easier to digest.

Enhance user experience

  • Readability: Write in a clear and concise manner. Avoid jargon and complex sentences, especially for informational content.
  • Speed and accessibility: Ensure your website loads quickly and is accessible on all devices. A slow or poorly accessible site can frustrate users and lead to higher bounce rates.

Addressing user queries

  • Comprehensive coverage: Ensure your content covers the topic thoroughly. Anticipate additional questions users might have and address them within the content.
  • Internal linking: Use internal links to guide users to related articles or additional resources on your site.

By accurately determining user intent and aligning your content accordingly, you can create blog posts that not only attract traffic but also satisfy users’ needs, leading to higher engagement, lower bounce rates and improved SEO performance.

 

Crafting content to compete

Creating content that stands out and competes effectively in search engine rankings requires strategic planning and execution. This involves deciding on the appropriate length and depth of your content, writing engaging and high-quality material and ensuring readability and user-friendliness.

Deciding on content length based on competitor analysis

Analyse competitor content

  • Word count: Use SEO tools to find the word count of top-ranking articles for your target keywords. This gives you a benchmark for how comprehensive your content needs to be.
  • Depth of content: Evaluate the depth and breadth of the information provided by competitors. Identify gaps where you can add more detailed or additional insights.
  • User engagement: Look at engagement metrics such as comments, social shares and time on page. Longer content tends to perform better if it is engaging and provides value.

Determine your content strategy

  • Aim to create content that is at least as long and detailed as the top-ranking pages. However, focus on quality over quantity. Ensure every word adds value to the reader.
  • Address all aspects of the topic to provide a comprehensive resource. This might involve adding case studies, practical examples, expert quotes and up-to-date data.

Tips for writing high-quality, engaging content

Using clear and concise language

  • Simplicity: Avoid jargon and complex sentences. Use simple, direct language to make your content accessible to a broader audience.
  • Clarity: Ensure each sentence conveys a clear point. Break down complex ideas into easily digestible parts.

Incorporating relevant keywords naturally

  • Keyword placement: Include primary and secondary keywords in strategic locations such as the title, headings, introduction and conclusion. Use them naturally within the text to avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Synonyms and variations: Use synonyms and related terms to ensure the content reads naturally and captures a wide range of search queries.

Structuring content with headings and subheadings

  • Headings and subheadings: Use H1 for the main title, H2 for main sections and H3 for subsections. This not only improves readability but also helps search engines understand the structure of your content.
  • Bullet points and numbered lists: Use bullet points and numbered lists to break up text and highlight key points, making it easier for readers to scan the content.

Adding value with unique insights, data and examples 

  • Unique insights: Share your own experiences and insights to provide unique perspectives that readers can’t find elsewhere.
  • Data and statistics: Incorporate relevant data, statistics and research findings to back up your points. Use reputable sources and provide links to original studies or reports.
  • Examples and case studies: Use real-life examples and case studies to illustrate your points. This makes the content more relatable and actionable for readers.

Ensuring readability and user-friendliness

  1. Readability
    • Short paragraphs: Keep paragraphs short (2-3 sentences) to improve readability. Large blocks of text can be intimidating and difficult to read.
    • Readable fonts: Use a clean, readable font and ensure a good contrast between text and background.
  2. User-friendly formatting
    • Whitespace: Use whitespace effectively to give your content room to breathe. This makes it easier on the eyes and improves overall readability.
    • Multimedia elements: Incorporate images, infographics, videos and charts to break up text and enhance understanding. Ensure multimedia elements are relevant and add value.
    • Internal linking: Use internal links to guide readers to related content on your site. This not only improves user experience but also helps with SEO by distributing link equity across your site.
  3. Mobile optimisation
    • Responsive design: Ensure your content is easily readable on mobile devices. Use a responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes.
    • Fast loading times: Optimise images and other elements to ensure your pages load quickly. Slow loading times can frustrate users and lead to higher bounce rates.
  4. Engagement tactics
    • Call to action (CTA): Include clear and compelling CTAs to guide readers on the next steps, whether it’s reading another article, signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
    • Interactive elements: Incorporate interactive elements like quizzes, polls or calculators to increase engagement and dwell time.

By focusing on these strategies, you can craft content that not only competes effectively in search rankings but also engages and retains your audience. High-quality, well-structured and user-friendly content is more likely to be shared and linked to, further enhancing your SEO efforts.

 

Leveraging E-E-A-T principles

Leveraging E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) principles is critical for creating high-quality content that ranks well in search engines and meets user expectations. By adhering to these principles, you can enhance your website’s credibility and improve user trust and engagement.

What is the role of E-E-A-T in SEO? 

E-E-A-T is a set of guidelines used by Google’s search quality raters to evaluate the quality of content and the credibility of its creators. While E-E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor, it influences Google’s algorithms indirectly by shaping how content is perceived in terms of quality and relevance. By optimising for E-E-A-T, you can improve your site’s performance and visibility in search results over time.

Strategies for demonstrating E-E-A-T

Author bios and credentials

  • Detailed author bios: Include comprehensive bios for all content authors. Highlight their qualifications, industry experience and areas of expertise. This demonstrates to both users and search engines that the content is created by knowledgeable and credible individuals.
  • Credentials and awards: Mention any relevant degrees, certifications or awards that authors have received. This adds to the perceived expertise and trustworthiness of your content.
  • Professional affiliations: List any professional memberships or affiliations that authors belong to. This further establishes their authority in the field.

Citing reputable sources

  • High-quality references: Cite credible and authoritative sources to back up your claims. Use academic papers, industry reports, government publications and reputable news outlets. This not only supports your content but also enhances its trustworthiness.
  • Proper attribution: Ensure that all sources are properly attributed. Provide links to the original source where possible, allowing users to verify the information themselves.
  • Up-to-date information: Regularly update your content to include the latest research and data. This shows that your content is current and reliable.

Providing accurate and up-to-date information

  • Fact-checking: Rigorously fact-check your content before publishing. Ensure all information is accurate and supported by evidence. Inaccurate information can damage your credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Regular updates: Continuously monitor and update your content to reflect new developments and changes in your industry. Outdated content can lead to misinformation and decrease user trust.
  • Thorough research: Conduct comprehensive research to cover topics in depth. Provide detailed explanations, examples and insights that go beyond surface-level information.

Engaging with your audience and building trust

  • User interaction: Encourage and respond to user comments and questions. Engaging with your audience shows that you value their input and are available to provide further assistance and clarification.
  • Transparent practices: Be transparent about your content creation process, including how you conduct research and choose sources. This transparency helps build trust with your audience.
  • Social proof: Showcase testimonials, reviews and case studies to provide social proof of your credibility and the value of your content. Positive feedback from real users can significantly enhance trust.
  • Clear and honest communication: Avoid misleading or exaggerated claims. Be honest about what your content can and cannot deliver. 

Implementing E-E-A-T in your content

  1. Experience
    • Share personal experiences and case studies that illustrate your points. Real-world examples demonstrate firsthand knowledge and practical understanding.
    • Include anecdotes and lessons learned from past projects or challenges. This adds a personal touch and authenticity to your content.
  2. Expertise
    • Ensure that your content is written or reviewed by experts in the field. Include their insights and analysis to provide authoritative perspectives.
    • Use technical language appropriately. For complex topics, explain technical terms clearly while maintaining the depth required for expert-level content.
  3. Authoritativeness
    • Build a strong author presence by consistently publishing high-quality content in your niche. Over time, this establishes you as an authority in the field.
    • Collaborate with other experts and influencers. Co-author articles or conduct interviews with recognised authorities to enhance your content’s credibility.
  4. Trustworthiness
    • Maintain a professional and user-friendly website design. A well-designed site with clear navigation and no intrusive ads enhances trust.
    • Implement strong security measures, such as HTTPS, to protect user data. Display trust seals and certifications to reassure users about their data safety.

By focusing on E-E-A-T principles, you can create content that not only ranks well in search engines but also resonates with your audience, building a strong reputation for quality and reliability. 

 

Providing solutions, not just promotions

To build a loyal audience and improve your SEO performance, it’s crucial to focus on providing solutions to user queries rather than merely pitching products or services. This approach not only enhances user trust and engagement but also aligns with Google’s emphasis on user-focused content.

 

The importance of solving user queries, rather than just pitching products 

  1. User satisfaction: When users search for information, they are often looking for solutions to specific problems or answers to their questions. Providing relevant and helpful information addresses their needs and increases the likelihood of them returning to your site.
  2. Building trust and authority: Offering valuable solutions establishes you as an authority in your field. Users are more likely to trust and recommend a source that provides genuine help rather than one that constantly promotes products.
  3. Improved SEO: Search engines prioritise content that satisfies user intent. By solving user queries effectively, your content is more likely to rank higher in search results, leading to increased organic traffic.
  4. Engagement and conversion: Informative and solution-focused content keeps users engaged longer. While users might not make an immediate purchase, they are more likely to consider your products or services in the future because of the value you’ve provided.

 

How to provide valuable solutions: examples 

How-to guides

  • Step-by-step instructions: Create comprehensive guides that walk users through processes or tasks. For example, a how-to guide on “How to optimise your website for SEO” can provide detailed steps on keyword research, on-page optimisation and backlink building.
  • Visual aids: Include images, screenshots and videos to illustrate each step. Visual aids can make complex instructions easier to understand and follow.
  • Practical Tips: Add practical tips and best practices to help users achieve better results. This not only enhances the guide’s value but also showcases your expertise.

Case studies and success stories

  • Real-world examples: Share detailed case studies that highlight how your product or service solved a specific problem.
  • Data and results: Include measurable outcomes and data to support your claims. Showing before-and-after metrics can provide concrete evidence of your solution’s impact.
  • Customer testimonials: Integrate quotes and feedback from satisfied clients. Testimonials add a personal touch and build credibility.

FAQs and troubleshooting tips

  • Common questions: Compile a list of frequently asked questions related to your products or services. Provide clear, concise answers to each question. For instance, an FAQ section for a software product could address installation issues, feature usage and troubleshooting common errors.
  • Problem-solving: Offer detailed troubleshooting tips for common problems users might encounter. This could include step-by-step solutions, alternative approaches and preventative measures.
  • Interactive elements: Incorporate interactive elements like expandable FAQ sections or live chat options to provide instant help and improve user experience.

 

Balancing informative content with subtle promotional elements

Prioritise value over promotion

  • Focus on the user: Ensure that the primary goal of your content is to provide value and solve user queries. The promotion should come secondary and be seamlessly integrated.
  • Educational tone: Maintain an educational tone throughout your content. Teach users something new or help them understand a topic better before introducing your product or service.

Subtle promotion techniques

  • Contextual mentions: Mention your product or service within the context of providing a solution. For example, if you’re writing a guide on improving website speed, you could mention how your web hosting service optimises load times.
  • CTA: Use CTAs strategically. Instead of aggressive sales pitches, opt for gentle nudges that encourage further exploration. 
  • Content upgrades: Offer additional resources or content upgrades that require user action, such as downloading a free e-book or signing up for a webinar. This can lead to conversions while still focusing on providing value.

 

Building trust through transparency

  • Honest recommendations: When recommending products or services, be honest about their strengths and limitations. Transparency builds trust and shows that you prioritise user interests over sales.
  • User-centric solutions: Tailor your solutions to genuinely address user needs. If your product or service is not the best fit for a particular problem, suggest alternative solutions. This honesty can build long-term loyalty and trust.

By focusing on providing solutions rather than just promoting products, you can create content that resonates with your audience, builds trust, and ultimately drives more meaningful engagement and conversions. This user-first approach not only aligns with best SEO practices but also establishes your brand as a reliable and authoritative source of information. 

If you are looking to improve your content marketing efforts, these strategies are a great place to start. For personalised guidance on optimising your SEO content strategy or to discuss how these strategies can be tailored to your specific business needs, get in touch today. Together, we can refine your approach and drive meaningful results.