The key to a great website is undoubtedly great content, and the key to getting to great content is to produce a lot of content.
However, as with any creative jobs (e.g. writing), we eventually succumb to the writer's block. Our pipeline of content eventually dries up.
How do we discover new, exciting content to write?
While there are paid tools out there that do amazing things for us (e.g. content tools like BuzzSumo or SEO tools like SEMRush), there is plenty we can do with just free tools. We'll get to that here.
Though Search Console is where the data originates from, I would go to Google Analytics Acquisition > Search Console report instead as it has the website engagement numbers.
This assumes that you have both set up for your website, and both are linked.
Under the Queries report, you will see the queries that visitors searched to arrive at your site. You can use these mainly for idea generation.
For example, it seems that I should write more about Colab or on Python Error Handling
You'll have the performance metrics on the right (not in the snapshot). Use that data to determine your priority topics.
For example, you might want to write more for the queries that you rank low on page 1 or 2 but have high CTR, i.e. visitors are purposely looking for YOUR website for that particular content.
Of course, there are limitations to this method, namely:
However, it does show you actual user queries relevant to your website, and it's the only method in this post that will have metrics to help you prioritise.
I would use this to kickstart some ideas, and coupled with one or two of the following methods.
As Google always add new features and killing them, take note that these methods might age pretty quickly.
Firstly, there's the autocomplete function when you search on google.com
The phrases here are populated based on Google's rich data of user searches. Google is actively trying to hypothesise your search intent, which is great if you're looking to generate content ideas.
Do note that your past searches, especially the most recent one, will affect these suggestions.
For example, if you search "is apple good for health", followed by "apple" and seeing the autocomplete suggestions, you might see "apple cider vinegar" rather than "apple airpods".
You will see that when your previous search was "why is apple so expensive" instead.
To circumvent the search history bias,
Take note that a VPN does not work in fooling Google about your location.
With that in mind, this feature can be a tool of endless exploration based on your search pattern. As a start, you can discover:
You can write a Python code to automate this endless data collection. It's a piece that I've been procrastinating on. I'll link it here once I'm done.
The weakness of this method is, of course, the lack of metrics. It could be hard to prioritise if you found too many good stuff. On the flip side, your topic might be too niche that there isn't a lot Google can offer.
This is a relatively new feature that I believe is here to stay.
Instant answers address the top questions of Google searchers (based on Google's rich data) by summarising the best-matched content Google has found on the SERP.
Some web owners think this is siphoning traffic away from their website. Still, I believe it's a cheat code to getting better SERP visibility while establishing authority on a particular topic.
The Instant Answers section pops up when there is a relevant set of questions for your query, so it's best to keep your "seed" query broad. Think of it like the autocomplete one, but this time press "Enter" instead of hanging there and reading the autocomplete suggestions.
To generate more ideas, keep on clicking the Expand and Close arrows.
As you can see, almond milk seems to be a popular alternative to cow milk.
This method has the same weaknesses as the Autocomplete method, though it's less flexible than Autocomplete as it's more often for Instant Answers to not appear at all depending on your search query.
Google Ads have a Keyword Tool that can help in generating ideas. However, if you do not have a Google Ads account, there are other free keyword tools.
All keyword tools, I believe, tap on Google Ads' (or Bing's) Keyword Tool data as there is no other reliable source. Google Ads Keyword Tool is the authoritative source of user search patterns and is mostly used for advertisers to look for keywords to target.
My recommended way other than Keyword Tool is Answer The Public.
This tool is excellent as it helps to cluster similar ideas together by themes and type of searches (questions, prepositions, comparisons).
Questions are great for content writing ideas as it means people are already asking those questions and looking for answers. So focus on those to find content ideas.
The limitation of this tool is without the Pro feature, you do not have a lot of function like comparing data over time and localising your search to specific locales (e.g. en-HK).
You can supplement that with Google Ads' Keyword Tool if you need those data to make a decision (e.g. presenting to your boss)
As each tool has its inherent limitations, I suggest you to try using all of it in your first few attempts.
I always recommend to start with Google Analytics, as it indicates your current visitor profiles' interest, and from there, you can expand your research into the other tools.
Eventually, you'll find the right mix of tools and data for your domain of research.
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