Master Class: Keyword Research for Stellar Content Creation

August 17, 2016

For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new article: Master Class: Keyword Research for Stellar Content Creation, by Angie Nikoleychuk. Click below to get the full article now.

Keyword Research and Content Type

Great content is...well...great. There’s no denying that, but when it doesn’t attract the right people, or achieve results, it’s essentially useless. Of course, you can slam down a list of keywords and requirements, but it simply won’t generate the results many would like to believe. 

So, just as you did when you built the main pages of your website, you need to do some keyword research. The basics of this research are similar, but it’s quite different from what you’re used to. In this article, I’m not going to go through how to use various SEO keyword tools and how to recognize paying terms. You already know how to do that and there are great tutorials already out there. Instead, we’re going to look at the types of keywords you should be looking for, how to incorporate them into your content strategy, and how you can use content to the fullest advantage. 

Define Content Goals

There’s no point writing anything unless you set measurable goals for each piece. If a piece doesn’t move you toward that goal, it’s either useless or before its time. Do you need:

  • More readers?
  • A bigger mailing list?
  • Brand loyalty?
  • To generate buzz?
  • To build links?
  • Sales?

While you might really have multiple goals, you’ll find prioritizing them will give your content a definitive direction and purpose. 

Consumers vs. the Industry

Next, pinpoint exactly who the content is for. Customer-based content keywords can include product or service names, long-tail keyword phrases that match their questions and concerns, or “plain” English descriptors your potential customers use all the time. 

If I was working on content for an SEO company, for example (keep in mind these haven’t been researched; I’m simply illustrating a point), client keyword phrases might include “get traffic to my website” and “how video search can boost site traffic.”

Industry keywords attract the attention of your competition, but more importantly, complementary businesses and vendors. You’ll need to decide which type better suits your objective. Industry-based keywords might include “Google algorithm updates” and “advanced video optimization techniques.”

Content Types

Next, put the pieces together and come up with a content type. Remember, not all content is created equal. For example, a press release doesn’t generally build brand loyalty. Links? Sure. Authority? Maybe. Loyalty? Not really. It’s also not something you’d choose a keyword phrase like “how to hem a skirt” for. They just don’t go together.

Here’s a short breakdown of the goals associated with each content type. (Results depend on many things. These are general guidelines!)

Informational Content

  • Increasing authority
  • Maintaining readership
  • Links and list building, depending on its depth and the site it represents

For instance, clients aren’t interested in reading about the technical aspects of Google’s latest update. However, they’ll love hearing about local business listings and how they fit into existing business models.

Humor and Entertainment

Shocking, Flame Bait, or Smart Opinion Pieces

  • Fantastic for generating links because people will argue with you or discuss the merits of what you had to say
  • Best with formats that encourage social interaction

Giveaways, Contests, and Gifts

  • Getting list signups
  • Attracting subscribers
  • Strengthening customer loyalty

If you ask readers to give you something, it works much better and will be more fruitful for everyone if they receive something of value in return!

Cornerstone or Pillar Content

  • Encourages repeat visits
  • Links
  • Authority
  • Familiarity

These take a lot of work, but they end up becoming some of the most important pieces of content you’ll ever produce.


  • Breaking news produces links and traffic, but usually has a short lifespan
  • Great for aiming at keywords, but otherwise more of an opinion or informative piece

Direct Question Pieces

  • Usually short
  • Asks readers to do something (e.g., share an opinion, add content, etc.)
  • Always includes a strong call to action
  • Benefits depend on the topic and style, but are wide ranging
  • Again, best in social media formats

Philosophical or Introspective

  • Often a mind dump
  • Takes readers into the mind of the writer and allows insight into the thought process
  • Authority and loyalty are big here

The main goal is simply to get readers to consider the subject and think it through. Here, results can vary greatly because it depends on the mindset of the reader, but the payoff can be huge.

Filler Content

  • Created for no other reason than to target a specific keyword phrase for SEO purposes
  • Aside from the keyword components, there are no other requirements

The value of this content is widely debated. Personally, I figure if you’re going to put time into publishing something it should have some kind of value. I am also a firm believer in the idea that your content reflects back onto your website and business, so if I’m going to present something to the public, I want it to look fantastic.

Stay tuned for part two in the series tomorrow, or click here to download the full PDF version now!

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