Content marketing is impossible to ignore. Since the formation of the world wide web, content has been the driving force of the internet, and with search engines prioritizing pages that offer high-quality, relevant writing and information, content is also an intrinsic part of SEO. Due to these factors, those that manage to put together a cohesive, powerful content marketing strategy will have an immediate advantage over their competition.

However, there are still some stumbling blocks in that explanation. After all, the idea of “high-quality content” is still nebulous and vague, due in no small part to Google’s secrecy when it comes to their algorithms. While it’s always going to be a challenge to thread the needle between user-oriented content and SEO optimization, there is a plethora of tools and services online to help your business achieve that perfect balance.

Squirrly

For the past few years, I have been working at an SEO agency in Melbourne, which has meant coordinating an ever-growing team of writers that don’t necessarily have strong marketing backgrounds. As you would expect, this can make explaining the methodology of content marketing difficult at times, especially the idea of optimizing content for particular keywords, and it’s easy to see why. Content marketing, as with content itself, isn’t an exact science, which is why tools like Squirrly are so valuable.

Squirrly is an SEO WordPress plugin that allows you to easily optimize content for both search engines and your target demographic. Install the plugin, and you’re ready to start improving your content immediately. Squirrly primarily works as a research tool, allowing you to find valuable long-tail keyword variants that are associated with your target keyword. When used correctly, this can drastically increase the amount of traffic your blog or website gets without compromising on your audience targeting. Simple, easily implemented value; what’s not to love?

Ahrefs Content Explorer

Anyone who has dipped their toes into the sea of SEO tools has inevitably come across Ahrefs in one capacity or another. As one of the most well-known and revered SEO analysis toolsets, it is the go-to for site audits, backlink information, and more for SEO companies spanning the full marketing spectrum. With their new Content Explorer tool, Ahrefs now allows you to quickly find the hottest topics to write about, thereby ensuring that you’re always giving your users what they’re looking for.

Ahrefs Content Explorer works by finding and providing the most shared topic or idea across social media channels for your particular niche. While there are other tools that provide similar services, the Ahrefs tool stands out partially by being part of Ahrefs itself. With the number of valuable tools that Ahrefs already provides, Content Explorer is one fantastic cog in a far greater machine. It is a must-have for those that are struggling to capture their audience’s attention.

Google Analytics

Another staple of the SEO playbook that often goes overlooked by content creators, Google Analytics, is the holy grail for those wondering why their blogging efforts are being met with a lukewarm reception. Essentially every content marketer I’ve ever met swears by the toolset Google has provided, as it’s a fantastic Google-approved way to optimize your blogging.

What makes Google Analytics so great for content marketing? Well, my curious content curator, it offers website owners a full overview of how much traffic and engagement is coming from their blog posts. By looking at your blog data ranked from most to least visits, you can start to identify patterns, and in turn, begin to course-correct your blogging to better target your audience.

You may notice that one particular topic is getting you thousands of visitors, while others are falling into double and single-digit numbers. You may find that one of your blogs has skyrocketed in popularity after a small tweak to your formatting. This isn’t just interesting data; it’s actionable information that gives you an insider look into what makes your audience tick.

How Are These Tools Actionable?

Google Analytics also allows you to find out exactly what search queries are leading people to your site. Couple that information with Squirrly’s long-tail keyword generation from earlier, and you have yourself a strategy that is optimized for success in your particular niche. Couple it with Ahrefs Content Explorer, and you’ll be able to find the most popular topics within the niche that your specific audience is looking for. All of these tools may be useful on their own, but it’s when you start to combine them that their true power is unlocked.

It’s easy to think that good content will rise to the top, and while excellent writing is always going to be the key to success in the online world, it’s not always enough to stand out against the crowd. However, couple fantastic writing with tools like the ones referenced above, and you will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. Good luck!

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.