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As you create a 2017 editorial calendar, performing keyword research will help you get an edge over the competition and produce content your readers and potential customers want to see. Use these tips to identify keywords and topics that can grow your SEO authority, attract readers, and engage your audience.

Set a Competitive Keyword Baseline

If your 2017 editorial calendar planning includes writing content to rank for keywords related to your industry, start by assessing your site’s ability to compete in search.

Use the Alexa Keyword Difficulty tool to view the competitive power score for your site. The competitive power score is a measurement of a site’s ability to rank for keywords. The higher a site’s competitive power score, the more easily it can rank for more competitive keywords.

know competitive power with keyword difficulty tool

In the screenshot, the target site’s competitive power score is 64, which means the site will be able to compete for keywords with a competition score (another keyword metric used within Alexa tools) that is 64 or less.

When you know your site’s ability to compete, you can focus on keywords you’ll be able to rank for and avoid keywords you’ll likely be unable to rank for.

Discover Keyword Opportunities

You can also use the Alexa Keyword Difficulty tool to start the process of keyword discovery for your blog’s editorial calendar. In the second step of the tool, enter a phrase or term related to your industry, product, or service.

find keyword opportunities

The tool provides a report with a list of SEO keyword opportunities. Each keyword in the list includes a relevance score, which indicates how similar the term is to the target keyword, and a popularity score, which shows how frequently users search for the phrase. This helps you target terms that are closely tied to your industry and frequently used by audiences.

Each phrase also has a competition score that you can compare to your site’s competitive power score. If a keyword has a competition score that is lower than your site’s competitive power score, you will be able to compete in search for the term.

The Alexa report uses an icon to highlight terms that are within your competition range, so you can easily see which phrases are good topics for content writing and competing in search. When you find low-competition keywords you want to use for your 2017 editorial calendar, click the star next to them to add them to your Alexa Workspace so you can come back to them later.

find keywords based on competitive power

See Who Your Competitors Are and What They Are Publishing

With the Alexa Keyword Share of Voice tool, you can identify which sites receive a majority of the traffic related to your keywords. The data from this tool helps you see the kind of content other sites are publishing and then find gaps in knowledge, unanswered questions, and topics that you can cover.

Enter your target keyword in the tool to view a table with the top sites that received traffic from search results for the target keyword in major search engines over the past six months.

Under the organic traffic tab, you’ll see the share of voice score, which is the percentage of searches for the keyword that sent traffic to the website. You will also see a global rank score, which is the Alexa Rank for the site (an estimate of this site’s popularity).

This information helps you identify popular blogs and websites in your industry so you can see what type of content they are producing to attract search engines and audiences.

know keyword share of voice
To get more information about a specific site, select the option to “view organic keywords.” This produces a Site Keyword Report for the competitor. The report shows keywords the site is using to drive organic traffic.

For each keyword, the chart shows a popularity score as well as an advertising competition score, which indicates the typical number of ads displayed for keyword searches on major search engines. It also displays the percentage of search traffic that is driven organically to the site from the keyword.

know keyword advertising competition

With this information, you can identify the best keywords the site is using to drive organic traffic. This helps you generate ideas for content for your site.

Consider Your Competitors’ Paid Keywords

The site keyword report allows you to see what organic keywords are performing well for your competitors. It also helps you find out what keywords your competitors are paying for.

While viewing a Keyword Share of Voice report, click on the paid traffic tab. The table shows the popularity of the keyword among advertisers running pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns in major search engines over the past six months.

The report shows the popularity and competition score for the target keyword, as well as the total number of advertisers paying to rank for the keyword. It also includes a list of sites paying for keywords related to the term.

This information is useful if you are considering engaging in PPC campaigns, as you can see how much competition there is for your target terms. It also helps you identify opportunity gaps if there are popular keywords that have low competition scores.

competition for paid keywords

You can find additional information about individual sites by clicking on the link to “view paid keywords.” This report shows more data about the specific keywords the site is using in its PPC campaigns.

The advertising activity score is a measure of the number of ads appearing for this site in major search engines, so you can see how much of a website’s budget is spent on specific keywords.

advertising activity for paid keywords

Knowing which keywords your competitors are paying for helps you see which terms are most important to them. It is a good indicator that those terms work well and are phrases audiences typically use. You can use this data to create ideas for your paid and organic content plans for your 2017 editorial calendar.  

Consider Your Competitors’ Organic Keywords

Another way to get insight into what your competitors are doing is by using Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix. The tool allows you to see what your competitors are ranking for and identify places where you have an opportunity to make SEO gains.

Enter up to 10 competitor sites into the Competitor Keyword Matrix and run the report. The chart displays keywords that one or more of your target websites rank for, along with the term’s popularity score and competition score.

find competitor keywords

This keyword discovery tool allows you to see which keywords your competitors are using and which terms are driving the most traffic to their site. The traffic score that appears below each site indicates how much traffic the site receives from the keyword.

With this information, you have a list of content ideas. You can create topics based on keywords that you know interest your audience and have a high popularity score and low competition score.

You can get even more ideas for your 2017 editorial calendar by clicking the tab to show keyword clusters.

get keyword ideas with clusters

This displays clusters of related keywords that will provide even more inspiration and insight for your content plans. You can develop content topics and blog post series ideas, and even get ideas for more in-depth content such as e-books and guides.

Create Your 2017 Editorial Calendar

When it comes to choosing topics and themes for your content creation plan this year, stop guessing.

Build a strategic plan for your 2017 editorial calendar by performing keyword research to find the terms your competitors are using, your audience is searching for, and that you can competitively rank for.

Ready to quickly discover relevant and valuable keywords and topic ideas for your blog? Sign up for a free 7-day trial of our Advanced Plan to get access to the Keyword Difficulty Tool, Competitive Keyword Matrix, Share of Voice Tool, and other competitive SEO research tools that will simplify your editorial process this year.

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