SE Ranking COHORT WEEK 3 – Content Outlines & Briefs

Episode Summary.


You really shouldn’t write any piece of content without at least an outline. Additionally, what you do in the brief is what generates the outline.


In this episode, Tara discusses;


  • Content Outlines vs. Content Briefs
  • Search Volume Caveats and more!


FCDC Cohort Sponsor.

Huge thanks to SE Ranking for sponsoring this content writing cohort and supporting the FCDC’s mission.


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Teacher’s Profile




✍🏾Name: Tara Struyk

✍🏾What Tara Does: VP of Content at Janalta

✍🏾 Company: Janalta

✍🏾Noteworthy:  Tara is a writer and editor with several years of experience in online media. She specializes in writing about personal finance, real estate, and health and wellness. 





Connect with Tara;





Key Insights.


💡 Understanding Search Intent


Tara shared the importance of understanding search intent when conducting keyword research. Different search queries serve various intentions, such as informational, commercial, transactional, and navigational. She highlighted that knowing the search intent is crucial for creating content that aligns with what the audience is looking for.



💡Seasonal and Trending Keywords


Tara pointed out that some keywords can have fluctuating search volumes due to seasonality or trending topics. She advised writers to be mindful of these factors when considering which keywords to target in their content. Seasonal and trending keywords may have high search volumes in certain periods but lower volumes in others.


💡Search Volume Consideration


Tara explained that search volume refers to the average number of people searching for a particular keyword each month. However, she cautioned that search volume alone isn’t always a perfect measurement, as it can be influenced by seasonality or trending topics.


She advised writers to take into account both the keyword’s average search volume and related keywords to estimate the total potential traffic.


💡High Search Volume Doesn’t Guarantee More Traffic


Tara cautioned that a high search volume for a keyword doesn’t always translate to more traffic for a piece of content. She provided an example where some queries, like factual questions that can be answered in search results, may not generate clicks to external websites. Writers should be aware of user behavior and search result features that affect the likelihood of attracting clicks.


💡 Ad Competition and Organic Search


Tara discussed how some search queries may feature a high number of ads in the search results, which can reduce the visibility of organic content. When targeting high-volume keywords, writers should consider the competition from paid ads and evaluate whether they might have a better opportunity targeting related, less competitive keywords.


This insight highlights the need to analyze the search engine results page (SERP) to assess the competitive landscape for a specific keyword.


💡Understanding Search Volume Relative to Your Publication


Tara pointed out that what constitutes a good search volume for keywords can vary widely depending on the publication’s niche and target audience. While some publications may consider 100 searches per month as acceptable, others with a broader audience may aim for keywords with much higher search volume.


She highlighted the need to understand the publication’s goals and the audience it intends to reach to determine the appropriate search volume for keyword selection.





Episode Transcriptions


Tara Struyk 0:05

Okay, so today we’re talking content outlines and briefs. This actually fits really nicely with last week’s class, where we kind of looked at some of the important parts of an article. Today, we’ll kind of look in, look at how you get to that point to get all those pieces to put the whole puzzle together. So you need that good introduction. But part of that introduction is kind of having a really good sense of what you’re going to say.


And that comes from the content outline. So we will start by There we go. We’ll start by talking about the homework. So I wanted to kind of touch on the homework, does anyone want to jump in and kind of give any impressions or things that the homework got them thinking about this week?


Nina Camara 1:05

Yeah, yes, yeah. Basically, what you really need to think of the audience, it’s not as clear, you know, at first, but the more questions you ask yourself, the easier it gets. Right. That’s,


Tara Struyk 1:30

yeah. And I think it’s amazing actually, like how many writers start writing without really knowing the answers to all those questions. So it kind of gets you in the mode of just thinking all that through before you start writing, which I think a lot of people forget. I think Adanna wanted to I saw Adanna jumping in there.


Adanna Nnamani 1:51

Yeah, yes. So I’m gonna say the importance of having a curated list of favourite articles you like, because therefore the intro of like, I’m a good to study intro. And I started going to my curated list, and I was like, Okay, I was getting inspiration. So that’s something that was really like mind blowing, like,


Tara Struyk 2:15

yeah, that’s a good idea. And there’s actually in, we can touch on it a little bit today, there’s kind of some different types of intros or structures or ways of writing that. So you can even kind of find some good resources on that and go back to those templates and kind of figure out like, okay, which template am I going to kind of use?


And then you know, what content you’ll put in into that, so that some of you kind of pulled some of those templates automatically. So I don’t know, if you just come up with that. Or if if you’d maybe found one online somehow. But either way, there’s some really effective ways to get that across anybody else.


Chidinma Nnamani 2:55

So from the introduction, writing introduction for the article, I found out, like identifying your target audience is important. Also, if you can find a point where you relate with your target audience, it will be helpful in helping them like relate with what rights and even better.


Tara Struyk 3:17

Yep, for sure. And I kind of gave you a little bit easier one, because you, you were all in the target audience, right, you can really identify with people who might want to join the FCDC. You know, at some point, if you’re writing something about, you know, people who want to buy a certain kind of software or something, you know, you’re going to be in a different position, you’re not going to understand necessarily those people as well.


So it’s going to take a little bit more work to put yourself in their shoes. Anybody else have any comments before I go through some of the things that I saw?


Philip Maigida 3:53

Yeah, can I go? Yeah. Okay, so I had a little bit, I had some kind of issue with the, with the title, the title of the article, I was like, Is this code in this title going to be catchy enough for the target audience because it felt like it was already for people who already knew what the FCDC knew that something like FCDC actually already existed. So I was kind of in a fixed with that. So I thought I want to ask, I intended to ask in this class anyway, so


Tara Struyk 4:32

yeah, well, that’s a good point. I didn’t really give any specific instructions around that. I think I gave that as a title. But that’s definitely one where if you aren’t sure, you could be asking the editor or, you know, kind of finding out like, does the audience already know what it is? Or do they not know what it is like? That’s a good question. To ask if you’re unclear about it when you’re when you’re writing something right because do you need to spend A bunch of time explaining or can you just move on to other things. So I think that’s a good point. never hurts to clarify that if you can find a way to do that.


Okay, so I will jump into some of the things that I saw that were really good. Lots of lots of you are at least a few of you use quotes or experience from former FCDC students and members. So, you know, I think that’s a really good way to kind of convince people if they aren’t sure if they should join, to hear some other people who’ve had successful experiences. And certainly in marketing, copy, copy, you see that a lot where, you know, you have the experience or the review, or the point of view of someone in that that group that you’re trying to convince that that really helps. Make your point and let people know that this is for real. Some of you told the story about your own experience, or put your own experience in there.


I think for this particular one that’s really powerful and works well. Just like the way Chima did it, when, when we looked at her article, because she’s in that audience, why not? Why not leverage that to connect with your audience, you’re not always going to have that opportunity to identify with them. But in this case, the opportunities pretty obvious. Couple of people mentioned how they would kind of find out what they should read about, like looking through FCDC forums was a really good suggestion. So they could better understand what people are asking or struggling with. That’ll help you kind of get a sense of some of the reasons why other people might join.


And then a couple people really focused on the financial aspect of the money. I think that’s a really good way to connect with people and money is a huge motivator. So you know, people are working to improve their careers because they want to make more money and, and improve their their life in that way. So I think, you know, if that’s a clear benefit of the FCDC, it’s a good one to focus on. In terms of the mistakes, the ones I saw were, some people went a little too far with the introduction, like, it started to kind of keep going into an article or like more of the argument that they should be making later. So you know, a longer introduction can be okay, but every part needs to be useful in sort of engaging your audience making your point, convincing them to read farther.


So when you start getting too much in the weeds of all the reasons why you should join the FCDC, you’re kind of taking it a little too far. So a lot, a lot of the comments I put in, like, let’s just cut was kind of like, let’s just cut this off here. And you can kind of move all that down into the actual body of the article, flesh it out down there with this part, we just want to make it you know, nice and tight and clean and make sure people are compelled to read further. So that’s the one comment that I had there. And then the other one is a few people, just the the intro was well written, you know, it did a good job and all the sort of technical elements, but I think a few people could have gotten, and maybe everyone in some respects, like gone a little farther, take some creative risks, you know, within reason, I think a few people just really follow the directions, but weren’t putting it out there really trying to stand out.


And that’s definitely important online, like, it needs to be original, it needs to read something interesting. You need first, the editor who’s seeing that to say, Wow, this is, you know, something a little bit better than what’s come across my desk today. So that’s a good thing. And then hopefully, when it when it’s published for the people reading it to, you know, connect to that and see that as something, something special, you know, kind of bring that back to the money, right, is that that extraordinary effort is kind of what brings that higher level of pay. So you’ve got to be able to bring something unique and useful in order to start commanding that. Okay, so, oops.


How do you start a project or piece? I put together a little poll, so we’ll see what you guys think. Can you all see the poll? Just want to get a sense of what you’re doing now. So when you’re when you’re writing a piece, you’re assigned a title? Do you just start writing and see what comes to you? Do you do all your research and then start writing? Do you make a rough outline of what you’re going to cover? Or do you have a system and process for making a detailed plan? Brief, I see a few answers coming in. So just out of curiosity, for those of you who are using a detailed, brief or an outline system, do you want to share what that is what you’re doing?


Nina Camara 10:18

So yeah, I use the little brief. I’m actually using a software that we were provided with by one of the sponsors, I’m guessing. So yeah, that has that has helped me to put this all up altogether. We just name content harmony. Okay. Yeah. So it’s new things.


Tara Struyk 10:47

Great. Okay. Yeah. Today, we’re gonna go through a brief manually, but there’s certainly software that can help you do it. I think it’s nice to understand how to do it manually, just so you kind of know what’s going into that. Content harmonies pretty transparent in what it’s doing. But it’s nice to kind of go through adanna I see you’ve got your microphone turned off there.


Adanna Nnamani 11:14

Yes, I do have a process. For doing my brief. First of all, I like going like getting the seed keywords like general I put myself in position of the searcher the audience, and I’m like, What the what was the common pain points and the rest of them, then when I get that sick keyword, I go into Google, I look at the modifiers. Like the words. Like for example, the first article might be like, a send this thing with example.


Okay, I’m getting the sense that okay, this audience wants example, I go to this nested ad in the pestle black, okay. Same, the same with fats with a template or blank. Okay, depends. The searcher also wants to template. So those are the things that make our black, okay, okay. Okay, this is what the audience is actually looking for, that I compiled, and I’ll be like, this audience wants this, this then further than that. I also try and see how to uniquely a cuts, like uniclic presents my article, for example, stuffs like statistics, quotes, and anything that I think will make the audience take immediate action. So those are what I put in my brief.


Tara Struyk 12:34

Yeah, so you’re awesome. You’re pretty on the right track, yeah, you’re pretty much on the right track, I mean, what we’re gonna go through is the brief kind of putting it together kind of has two parts, like one part is the kind of keyword research. So we’ll look at SEMrush. And I think you all got a subscription for SEMrush. So you’ll be able to use that there’s lots of other good keyword tools, too. And then looking at search results, and any other areas you can find to sort of figure out what the audience wants, what other people are writing and how you can kind of compete in that space. So we’ll kind of dive into that. Okay, content outlines versus content brief.


So they kind of get used interchangeably. changeably, the content, in my opinion, the content outline is kind of what you get from the content brief. So it’s useful for any type of content kind of establishes your key areas of focus, lays out the key points, you’ll cover, like the sub headings, and kind of sorts out some of the supporting information and sources that you’ll use in each section. The content brief, is a little more technical. So you’ll typically see that for SEO content, because you’re doing keyword research around it. So you’re assuming that people are coming to it through search.


It ensures writers and editors are aligned, I think that’s one of the biggest reasons that you see it used now is that, you know, if I, if I ask someone to write something for me, I might have an idea of what that is very clearly, when they go out and research that they might go on a completely different tangents. So when when editors and writers have a very clear idea of what they both want, then they’re more likely to save themselves work in trouble and come out with that end result. It helps define the goal of the content. So we’ve looked at search intent, and we’ve figured out what’s going to line up with whatever the site’s you know, trying to achieve.


And we’re going to figure out how to communicate that in an article. And then it tends to be pretty specific. It’ll include keywords, it’ll include headings and subheadings. Sorry, typo there, word count. Competitors. It might also include Internal and external linking. I mean, a lot of publications have their own way of doing this. And it’s also, writing briefs can be a job in itself. I mean, I just recently saw that SEMrush is hiring for people to write content briefs. I mean, it’s, it’s a big part of the work in putting together a really well thought out piece. So I think knowing how to how to do a brief is useful from a lot of different from a lot of different angles.


Tara Struyk 15:38

So we’ll kind of go through some of these, but content briefs, align expectations. So it’s kind of like a roadmap for your article. If I just assigned you an article about content marketing, I mean, that’s a huge topic, what are you going to write about? Where are you going to start? I looked at HubSpot blog and pulled out a bunch of articles on content, marketing, and they’re all completely different. So you know, if we asked someone to write something around that topic, there’s just no telling what which direction they’re gonna go, it might be the right one might be the wrong one. And we need to line writers need to be lined up with, you know, the goals of the publication, kind of understand where they’re going, and then content where you’ve also flesh out the important whys of the content. So we kind of talked about this last class, but like,


Who is this article four, who is this piece of content for what is the person hoping to learn what other content out there is aiming at the same keyword and audience, you definitely need to look at the search results for any keyword that you’re targeting and really understand what other publications have done, and maybe specifically why that’s succeeding. You know, part of its the content, there’s, there’s other things like backlinks and that sort of thing. But in terms of what you can control, what’s being written on the page, what are other publications doing well, and then also, even if you do enough research, you can kind of figure out what other publications might be missing, that you can add to your content to make it better or more useful or more useful to a specific group of that, that audience. And then the path that content is going to take to achieve these things is going to be keywords, headings, and subheadings, word count linking, you’re going to kind of find your way on all those things by putting together the brief.


We looked at this last week. So this is kind of all the little components of a really good piece of content. This class really builds on that because you can’t really create a content brief without understanding these key elements, especially audience intent and usefulness. And as we kind of go through the brief and how to build one, you’ll see some of these popping up. So you just need to kind of keep them in mind. But this is part of the way of how we build that map to get these things in there, understand the audience and deliver all those key points in terms of what they want. Just as I was making this class, I saw this quote from air cover and ghuli.


She’s teaching one of the other classes in this one other cohort here, I think content marketing, and you can kind of see from this, why she’s such a good content marketer, because she’s distilled this idea really well in in this very short amount of text. And it kind of really perfectly encapsulates what we’re doing. The kind of just start halfway down, understanding the intent of a query helps you create targeted content. So this is the process we’re going to kind of go through check top results for the query, find their similarities and identify gaps, check other features on the results to incorporate into your plan, like answering relevant questions.


So you can look at people also ask, you want to look at the search and kind of see, what does Google think that people want? When people are searching for this, they’re trying to provide the most useful content possible. And so looking at what they are providing gives you some insight into what people are looking for. As all those search results are coming up. People are clicking, people are reading or not reading that content. Maybe they see that page and bounce. That’s all data that Google is collecting to try to understand which of those results is useful. And so that’s all information that you can gather to help you understand what needs to be in your article, what people are actually wanting for that search. And then use a tool like SEMrush to look at top ranking content for a keyword SERP features create optimised content.


So that’s kind of what we’ll look at, at least in a more basic sense. So content brief 10 templates. So rather than put this try to squeeze this onto a slide, I’m just going to switch and share the actual brief that I’ve been using lately. And I adopted a brief from a content marketer, SEO expert, named Ben, Ben goodie. And I really enjoy his content around content marketing and SEO, I’ll maybe share his site and one of his new sites with you all. So you can have a look. Just give me a minute to stop this share and share this other page. So this is the content brief that I typically use. And it’s got a bunch of elements here. So Project Background, kind of like, if you have any instructions on what you’re trying to do, you can kind of keep that there to keep it in mind. Title, I would say, maybe leave that to the end, when you start looking through all these things.


But the key things we’re kind of going to focus on here are keywords, competing content, search intent. And that’s going to kind of determine all these other things. So what this allows you to do is you’re going to look at sem rush, you’re going to look at the search results, you’re going to determine these things, these keywords that you’re going to target, these are going to be the top results for the keywords that you’re going to target what their word count is. So that’s going to help you figure out, okay, if every single result on the page has 2000 words, I’m probably not going to be able to compete with you know, six or 800 words, it’s just there’s a lot more to say. And Google saying this is something that maybe needs a more a deeper dive, right. So just gives you a sense of what’s working search intent. So we’ll talk we’ll talk about search intent, how to look at that.


And usually in this section, I get a little bit more in depth. So okay, they’re, they want information. But whatever I kind of know about the audience, and I can whatever I know about the audience, and I can kind of put in here to remember where I’m going. That’s what I’ll do. Article format, we’ll probably kind of get into this in in another class. But there are some key formats, a lot of bigger sites will have kind of templates for those different formats. So maybe you you’ll be given instructions to follow a certain format, or maybe you’ll get to decide yourself, and then write or guidelines. So this is kind of some things some of these may or may not have control over, like the goal might be given to you. So that’s easy internal links, you may or may not have control over that a lot of publications are going to do that on their end, maybe they have an SEO team or, or an editorial team who’s going to do that. But whatever you can kind of do to think this through. And then what happens here is this all feeds into the outline, right?


So you take all that information that you get from looking at search results. And then some of the other things that we talked about to like to really, even before you get into SEMrush, like looking at forums, you know, what are people asking? Can you put that into SEMrush? And see, oh, actually, a lot of people asked this question in a forum. And there’s some volume on this, like maybe this is something that I could write about or incorporate in my article, you take all of that, and kind of think it through and figure out how to turn that into a useful article. So it just just a matter of, you know, taking all that data, filtering it down, deciding what you’re going to use and how you’re going to use it and then planning out your Article, section by section to specifically deliver on that that search query that you’re trying to target.


So that’s what we’re going to kind of work through today. So that’s kind of just a quick look at the brief template, and I’ll send it to you as well. Now we’ll kind of jump into some of these elements that we’ll look at here. So the key the really key parts and and Erica kind of touched on these, mostly in her little, I think that was an answer on LinkedIn to one of those LinkedIn articles is going to be search intent, the volume of the keyword and the difficulty of the keyword. So I’ll kind of dive into these. Some people say search intent first. I think keyword research can help you sort sort this out, doesn’t really matter. You kind of do it all. Think it through, rearrange the information and just kind of figure out the best way forward.


Tara Struyk 24:51

I tend to look at keywords and search results in two separate tabs when I’m doing this. So I’ve got the SEM rush and I’m looking at the keyword data and I’ve got another tab open on my Computer and I’m looking at search results for that. And I can kind of see, okay, here’s what’s appearing in search. And here’s what SEMrush is showing me, helps me understand what people are searching, why Google’s choosing it, why people are writing things, the way they are kind of starting to sort through, where something that you know, we’re going to publish is going to sit. So this is all happening in keyword overview in SEMrush.


And again, you all got a subscription, I believe, to sem rush, which is awesome. So you’ll be able to play around in there and figure it out, I think, in SEMrush, and all these keyword research tools and all these tools, really, the best way forward is just to go in there and start using it. You know, when you first look at it, there’s so many things, there’s all these different points of data, there’s all these tools, and it can be really overwhelming. And it can be really hard from my perspective to sort of explain all of that. So I’m going to give an overview and then we’ll kind of do some homework around it. Because I really think the best way is just to use it into practice.


That’s how your brain is going to start wrapping its head around. You know what, what’s really happening, there is the practice. So if it seems really, maybe some of you are already familiar with this, and it’ll seem easier if you’re not so familiar. It’ll seem kind of confusing and overwhelming. And I think that’s totally fine. Just keep, keep practising, definitely do the homework. And then also, if you have other writing assignments, or even just, you know, want to play around with it on your own in some on some searches and looking at search results, and trying to understand that, you know, do it. That’s, that’s how you, that’s how you get it, get there. Okay, so the first one here is search intent.


We’ve talked about this a little bit, if you look at this kind of terrible little screen cap I took from SEMrush. I decided to use the query, what is keyword research, kind of meta, because that’s what we’re doing. But I think that makes sense, pulls up some interesting resources as well, that might be helpful for you. So if you look over where I’ve circled in red there, the intent is informational. So that’s kind of what it sounds like it means SEMrush is telling us that most people who are using this phrase are looking for information. So that makes even more sense when you look at the other types of search intent. So there’s commercial, the person wants to learn about a product or service.


Or maybe they’re thinking about buying a certain kind of software or whatever blenders thing, like they’re not ready to buy it, but they want to learn more. Transactional, they’re coming to complete an action often buy something. And now navigational is one you probably won’t deal with as much, but they want to get somewhere they want to find where something is. So that’s a common search, but not maybe one that’s going to apply to you as much. So I mean, this is kind of the funnel, right? As people come for information, then they want to learn more than they want to buy. So you kind of need to understand where people are in that part of their journey, or what they want from the keyword that you’re using, whether that keyword fits in with what the publication or editor wants in terms of that piece of content.


And then making sure you’re delivering that, right if if people want research, and you’re gonna give them a buying guide, or people want just general information, and you’re gonna give them a buying guide, they’re not ready for that at that stage, or it’s not what they’re looking for, for that particular search. So that’s a big part of what Google is trying to do is deliver the right information for the right kind of search. So that’s the first thing you need to look at sem rush will give you a sense of that in terms of the average results. And then again, you can also look at the search results yourself and see what is being delivered there.


So the next one is volume. Vol volume refers to the average number of people who are searching for this keyword phrase each month was averaged out over 12 months. So you can see here I’ve circled the volume, that’s for the United States, I think it defaults there. But if you’re writing for a publication in a certain place, you may want to select that location if that’s where the audience is mostly coming from and kind of see whether there are people there with interest in that topic. And then there’s an overall global volume as well. So I wanted to dig into search volume a little bit deeper, because it’s, it’s, it’s a metric you have to think about a little bit and it’s a little bit more tricky than some of the others.


Figuring out search intent can be difficult, but what that is is kind of what it is volume is a little bit more subjective in terms of figuring it out. So we’re going to just dive into that one a little bit more. So the first thing to know about volume is it isn’t a perfect measurement. Um, so if a keyword is seasonal or trending, it can get huge traffic one month and very little, the next. And obviously, if you average that out over 12 months, that might look like good volume. But, you know, it’s, it might not be very good at all, I pulled that little chart of Bitcoin from Google Trends. So it kind of just shows, hey, it had a huge spike there. Now, it’s kind of trending down in terms of interest in search.


That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write about it, it’s just, it can affect your expectations of how well that’s gonna perform in the future if you’re just looking at past data. And then the other thing to keep in mind is that the search volume for one keyword doesn’t take into account all the related keywords that piece of content could rank for. So when we look at back to the previous slide, where the keyword volume for what is keyword research, 720 searches a month, there are all kinds of related keywords that a piece of content on that could also rank for. So it’s not just 720 people that that could reach each month, it could be a lot more. And I think, actually, it’s something like, yeah, 1700. So we can look at this in SEMrush. But it also shows keyword variations. So it’ll kind of try to give you an estimation of all the variations of keywords, and what the total traffic potential is there.


Because Google’s quite good, very good at understanding what people are looking for, and how all those sort of similar keywords boil, boil up into that, that one keyword. So you kind of have to keep that in mind. Even if that one keyword that you’re looking for the volumes quite low, the overall volume potential could be better than, than you think. And then the last, or one of the last things to touch on is that higher search volume does not always mean more traffic. Again, this is where you need to be thinking, you know, really working through this in your head as you’re going through this what the audience wants. This is a really obvious example, there’s probably some harder ones.


But there are searches, especially now more and more that the person doesn’t need to click anything to answer it. So here’s when How tall is the Empire State Building? There’s the answer, we’re not going to, most people are not going to click that link, even though it’s right at the top because their question has already been answered. So that’s why you need to look at search results. And also just understand people’s motivations when you’re thinking about what kind of content to write to target them. Right, if if you’re picking a search where people are not likely to click and not likely to need more information, that’s, that’s not going to work in your favour. And then sorry, this one’s a little blurry.


But the last thing to look at in terms of volume is that some searches feature a lot of ads. So this is one for content marketing software. And you can kind of see from the little, little yellow highlights there that the first four search results are sponsored. Which means that even if you are the top result on this page with organic content, you’re halfway down the page, which means the amount of traffic that you’re gonna get is quite a bit lower because you know, the search, the the ads are kind of diluting your your audience. So that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t write something with a lot of ads on the query. But it’s just something to keep in mind. And sometimes the query with the really big volume is the one that the ads are targeting.


And there’s another one kind of over to the side with a little bit lower volume that you could target that may not have ads or may have fewer ads. So it’s just something to look at. The reality is, the higher the volume, and the more important the topic, the more competitive that page is going to be right? There’s money involved, there’s a lot of people vying for the top slot in that audience so that the sweet spot is trying to find somewhere where there might be an opportunity that’s still beneficial for you in the publication. So again, that’s just there’s not a clear answer to that. That’s just something you’ve got to kind of puzzle through, think through work through as you’re moving forward.


Tara Struyk 34:33

And then the final thing is, on keywords is there is a place for low or no volume keywords. One thing people are talking about a lot right now is topic clustering, which is kind of using low volume keywords to help you build topical authority, boost performance on higher volume keywords with more competition. And that’s something I’ve actually done a lot in terms of the the strategy that I’ve used on a lot of the sites that I’ve worked on. So maybe out of scope, but certainly if you’re in a position as a content marketer, having those low volume keywords that you, you know, no one’s competing for them, they’re not maybe that valuable from a commercial perspective.


Winning them can help you build the authority to win some of those ones that are higher up and do have higher commercial value. So as a whole strategy, you don’t really want to throw out keywords that don’t have volume. They can be really valuable, but they need to kind of be used as part of a part of the bigger picture. And I think I think I saw in Slack channel that there’s a webinar, an FCDC, or there was something that went through on clustering. So you can you can probably dig that out. And and check it out. If you want to learn more, there’s some good resources on that online as well. Okay, so the one of the things about volume, and we’re kind of getting to that is like, what’s a good volume? Like, this is something that people always ask me, when I’m trying to teach them this. Okay, but what should I have? Should it be 100? Should it be 1000?


It really, it’s a hard question, because it really depends on the publication. I work on a few publications where it’s very, very niche. So the volume for that search might be really low, it might be 100, it might be under 100. There just isn’t a big audience for it. But we still want to bring in those 100 people, you know, try to catch the attention of those 100 people, because maybe there is really good commercial value on, you know, this really small topic in engineering or health and safety. You know, they’re just some things that do not have millions of people searching for them, but are still really important. So you kind of have to understand that about your publication and who you’re trying to reach. If you’re dealing with something like you know, more with a broader audience, then there’s going to be huge search volume. So it just really depends.


And you need to understand that about what you’re writing. And overall, you want to kind of choose keywords that fit in this sweet spot between having some volume and being winnable. So that’s kind of the next thing we’re going to look look at is how difficult is it to rank on that keyword. And that’s the one that’s going to fit on your kind of right side of the Venn diagram here. So difficulty, here’s kind of what that looks like in SEM rush. The difficulty for what is keyword research, and as you can probably guess, says 86%, it’s red, it’s very hard, which means so 100 being the hardest, a lot of very competitive sites are vying for this keyword.


So in order to rank for it, the content is going to have to be excellent. And there’s probably going to have to be a lot more that goes into it as well, right. The sites that are ranking for this are very big, they have a lot of backlinks, and they have a lot of them are SEO sites. So I’m sure they have an advanced SEO strategy to get their content up there. So if you’re coming in with a blog post for a smaller site, it’s not the best keyword to vie for because your odds are just not very good. So I think just understanding that will help you kind of narrow down. Here’s, here’s a snapshot of the results for that query, right Search Engine Journal, Moz, SEMrush. This one from conductor is a little smaller.


So we could be interesting, it’s always kind of interesting to look at the site and kind of look at the results and kind of see what site is the one that’s a little more unexpected, a little bit smaller, a little bit. Kind of hitting hitting above its weight, I guess, in understanding how it does that. So that that can be an interesting exercise. But overall, you know, you got to understand the power of the publication that you’re writing for. And what you can, what you can achieve in that. Alright, so that is a very quick run through of keyword research. I’d love for you guys to jump in, ask questions and maybe ask, you know, we still got quite a bit of time, anywhere that I can clarify there. I can pull up SEMrush and have a look or let me know kind of where you are in your understanding of keyword research so we can dig into this more deeply next week.


Itoro Abasi 39:54

So I wanted to ask you mentioned about high search volume That’s not the same as having more traffic. So wanted to know if this is also the same way as impressions versus click through rates does if you can consider. It has search volume as high impressions and then more traffic has higher click through rate. Yeah, that’s exactly right. And I just want that to gain clarity on that. Yeah.


Tara Struyk 40:23

Yeah, no, you have that exactly. Right. So if I were to give some homework to do some keyword research on a certain topic area, and create a brief, how prepared does everyone feel to do that?


Nina Camara 40:42

Prepared? No, I mean, now, I’m kind of using the tools we were provided with, but actually, it just surprised me. We were talking and just recall that I have my little Freelancer brief that I was using for my projects. So I use that as a as a starting point.


Tara Struyk 41:01

Nice, yeah. And content harmony, too. I’ve been playing around in that. And they’re, they’re kind of doing some of the work of SEMrush. For you, right? Do it looking at the volume of the keywords, looking at what other what other sites are doing. So I think it’s a good tool there just I think, with any of these tools, you, it helps to understand the process that’s behind that so that you can actually use it to its full advantage.


Adanna Nnamani 41:31

I think giving us an assignment would be fun. But I have a question. Like let’s say something like, If a keyword like keyword research, having in a keyword difficulty of 80 might not be a viable keyword to boss you. What if you extend the key word, it’s probably like your extended key word, not a word research night up like how to do Q As a copywriter, I think it will be kind of like what can testify for that kind of a keyword difficulty will reduce.


Tara Struyk 42:09

Yeah, I mean, that’s what you can kind of look for in related keywords, you can kind of see like, the difficulty will vary. So there’s some that are going to be easier. So that might be one to target, a way to target. And then again, like some good ideas that I’ve heard, too is people looking for what they call longer tail keywords, lower volume keywords, is in other sources, like the forums, because Google only can only kind of tell you what other people are putting or SEM rush can only tell you what other people are putting into Google.


That doesn’t mean that, you know, we kind of forget that other questions exist in the world that maybe people aren’t googling that people are using other sources for I listened to one case study where a marketer had gone through and listened to all the calls that the company he was doing content marketing for had received to see all the concerns and questions that people were calling about, especially since a lot of the potential customers were a little bit older. So they’re, you know, they’re calling on the phone and saying, What do I do about this?


Or how do I fix this? And so when he went and did keyword research on some of those questions, he was able to find that actually, there is some volume, those are they’re just, they’re questions that maybe you can’t think of off the top of your head and going and doing the research around that audience can help you find them. So there are different ways to kind of figure out but I think understanding the audience and then kind of using using SEMrush. To to see, you know, is anybody looking here, is there any any traction here? can be can be a way to do it.


Philip Maigida 43:52

I have a question. Oh, my question is, what? What volume is? At what? Okay, so the one do you want you want us to showed in the previous slide? Yeah, had said 700 700 plus. So is this two? Okay, at 500? Does it say look at 200? what volume? What volume? Would we see? I don’t know how to part. Yeah,


Tara Struyk 44:26

what volume is good. Good. Exactly. That’s sort of that’s sort of the impossible question, right? Because I’ve worked on some sites where we’re okay. With a volume of like, 50. Right. And then because I’ve worked, I work and have worked on some very, very niche sites. So say like, you know, corrosion mitigation, right. This is a this is an area where there’s not a lot of people, but it’s very, sort of profitable area to gain search. Traffic, right. So even if there’s just 50 people, I would like some of those 50 people on the site, because that’s just the audience I’m looking for. But I’ve also worked on a really big tech site where, you know, if you search AI, I don’t even remember what the volume is for that it’s probably a million or more, right. So the a lot of the sub searches in that, too, are going to be absolutely huge and kind of growing all the time.


So it just really depends on the area, you’re in the goals of the site. Some volume is good. I mean, you’re you’re writing for people. And what the volume is trying to tell you is that there are people who are interested in what you’re writing about, though, it’s not a perfect measure of that. And there are certainly examples and instances where people have done content on topics where there was no volume, like, maybe they are entering a new area.


And they are, they are confident that, you know, three or five or six months down the road, there’s going to be an audience there. So it’s kind of just a matter of understanding your space. And kind of finding, finding that sweet spot for you. So it’s just really going to depend on on what you’re writing about and how big that audience is. Thank you. Anybody else? It Toro says that it’s going to be going to be a good learning experience to do the to do the brief. And I think so to have all of you used SEMrush or keyword research tool before? Or an Erevan? Or Are any of you brand new to it?


Philip Maigida 46:38

Absolutely. I haven’t used it.


Tara Struyk 46:44

Okay. Okay, so a few of you. Okay. Yeah, I mean, sem Rush has a lot of good resources. So I think that can definitely help you like if you go into their resource section, or even just search, you know how to do this on SEM rush, or what does this mean, on SEM rush, you can learn a lot. But, you know, if you’re kind of, you get into SEMrush, and you’re just totally confused, you can definitely send me a note, and I’m, I’m happy to kind of jump on a one on one and show you around a little bit.


We’re just going to, you’re just going to be looking at the keyword overview. tool under keyword research. So when you go in there, the left menu, there’s a tonne of stuff. That’s part of what can overwhelm people, the more kind of buttons and features and information or as people start getting overload, just stay in there and focus on that. That’s going to be most relevant to you, probably in general for for your purposes, but certainly, for right now. And just, you know, explore that and start understanding that.


So homework is do some keyword research on queries related to topic clusters. So this one is a little bit less popular than the other query query. Query, excuse me, we looked at so I think it’ll be a little bit easier for you to see some angles for an article. It’s not quite as popular or trafficked as keyword research in general. And like I said before, sem Rush is best learned by trying so give it a shot, come back with questions. And if you get in there and you’re just really lost. You can send me a note or send me a Slack message. And I’m happy to jump on into screen share with you and kind of help you get a little bit oriented. Yeah, I think I think that’s all I’ve got for the week. Does anybody else want to ask any other questions or anything else before we close it down?


Philip Maigida 48:58

Yes. Okay, after you. Yeah,


Tara Struyk 49:03


Catherine Gowon 49:03

Can I have like 20 minutes of your time after this class?

Tara Struyk 49:08

Yeah, sure. Sure.


Catherine Gowon 49:09

Thank you.


jadesola kareem 49:12

Okay, um, hi. I’m constantly asked this question. Mine is like a general like information. So everyone was I think Philip should go before me.


Tara Struyk 49:21

Okay, is I can’t see who’s talking right now. And I learned


Philip Maigida 49:26

that was that was Jadesola


Tara Struyk 49:31

Okay. It’s still jadesola. So Okay. Does anybody else have a question?


Philip Maigida 49:35

Yeah. Okay, so I sent you when I sent my homework. Earlier this week, I got an error message. I sent you a Slack, a DMS slack, but I didn’t get a response from you. So I don’t know. If you got my homework. The one you gave us last week.


Tara Struyk 49:59

I don’t think did but I think I saw it in my email early this morning. So if I got it, then I will put some comments in.

Philip Maigida 50:14

I checked, I checked Google Doc, and I realised that there was their general comments and nothing was the same way I left it. So I wanted to ask


Tara Struyk 50:25

I did get your homework. Hmm. Okay, because I remember reading it actually. I think, yeah, okay. Well, let me have a look after if there’s no comments, I will add them or add them back. And if anyone has questions, or being a wants to chat through their homework or anything, happy to do that as well.


I put in some comments, but maybe you need more clarification, or you want to talk it over. That’s fine. Anybody else?


Nina Camara 50:57

Oh, yeah, it’s just been in regards to the homework. Thank you for comments. So I had a look at it. And I just reviewed the copy in one of your suggestions. And I just like replied to so. Yeah. I mean, anytime you haven’t have time to take a look, just to let you know, today made some changes in lined with suggestions. So I’m just curious what you think.


Tara Struyk 51:19

Awesome. Yeah, I’ll have I’ll, I’ll take another look. If anybody comments back in their in their homework, I’ll look again, if they want to keep keep tinkering. Overall, I think they were they were pretty good. Okay. If there’s no other questions, I’ll maybe just stay on the I’ll just stop the recording and stay on Jade sola. And we can, we can chat. Does anybody else want to jump in before I do that?


IfiokAbasi Okop 51:44

Hi. Hi. Hi, Tara. Please. Just one last thing. Concerning the assignment, when we are when we look through your comment should be get back to you via email, or Slack message or just drop the comment on the Google Doc.


Tara Struyk 52:05

Yeah, you can put them on the Google Doc. And just if you know how to do that in in Docs, you can just add me like at Tara in a comment and it will automatically send me an email. That’s probably easiest, but I can also just I put a shortcut to all of these in my folder. So I can also just kind of pop through them all before the next class and kind of see if anybody is has left me anything to make sure I don’t miss any.


IfiokAbasi Okop 52:35

Okay, thank you.

Tara Struyk 52:37

Yep. Okay, I’m gonna stop the recording and I’ll see everybody, same time next week.