Quick Ways to Find Blog Ideas

A screenshot of SEMrush results

Content plans are usually a collaborative effort between the content and search engine optimization (SEO) teams. With keyword research, an audit of the client’s website, and a look at what competitors are doing, you can create a comprehensive plan for six months to a year. Anything beyond that and the data you’re collecting could be outdated.

As a small business owner, maybe you don’t have an SEO team or a team of writers. Maybe it’s you and you alone. You understand the importance of keeping your website full of fresh content, but it can be frustrating to find new content to write after a few years.

Compiling Quick Content

As always, the internet is here to help save time. Using both free and paid sites, starting a blog content calendar to compile blog topics isn’t as hard as you might think. (Easier than staring at a wall waiting for something to pop into your head at any rate.)

For my purposes here, I tried to come up with ideas about how to find blog ideas (not content ideas as I’ll explain below). If you’re a roofer, you may want to look up “roofing problems,” “leaky roof,” “is it time for a new roof,” and so on. The vaguer you are, the more results you’ll get.

Screenshot of Google auto-filling a search box

Google Autofill – It doesn’t get much easier than this. When you search for something using Google (or the Chrome browser), surely you’ve noticed the search engine trying to complete your thoughts for you. (Sometimes with hilarious results.) These suggestions are based on all of the other searches performed on similar topics.

For this blog, I typed “coming up with blog…” and the autofill came up with a smattering of options before I even got to “ideas.” There were a few helpful suggestions, but the initial search was also relatively vague. As it turns out, a lot of people have problems naming their blogs. For people in your industry, the results will be more specific.

Advanced tip: Adding * at the beginning or end of your Google AutoSuggest search can help uncover even more content opportunities.

Screenshot of answerthepublic.com results

Answer The Public – For more robust ideas, answerthepublic.com offers keywords, questions, comparisons, and more. Searching for “blog ideas” returned 243 suggestions, although not all will help fill up your content plan for the next six months. As always, a more refined search will produce more refined suggestions. Smaller blogging niches will have fewer results, too.

Google Trends – If you want to know what people are searching for, why not go where the vast majority of these searches are taking place? Give it a topic and it will give you a rundown of related topics, queries, and other little rabbit holes to follow. It will even break down these “trends” by region so you can focus your content on the target audience.

Review Existing Content

Maybe it’s true: You’ve already written everything there is to write about your specific product or service. First off, I don’t believe you. Second, now may be a good time to go back and see how the content you wrote a few years ago is performing.

Is a once-successful blog now languishing in obscurity? It’s time to bring it back to life by updating the content, adding more words, or even writing a new blog that reflects any changes in the industry or products themselves. New keywords or search terms may bring it roaring back to life.

If you do find a blog or two that’s outdated, don’t delete it. Even if you write a new blog, redirect the old blog. That one-time-popular blog may not have the cache it once did, but there’s a history — juice — that can give the new content a little boost.

The following is not the ultimate guide for these tools but a sampling of the few aspects that help review existing content.

Google Analytics – First things first: Make sure you’ve implemented Google Analytics on your site. The tool will give you all of the information you need to track your content, including page views and time spent on the page. If a piece of content has only been viewed a few times in the last year, perhaps an update is in order.

Screaming Frog – This tool will take an overall look at your site and give you reams of data to work with, including word counts. One key component of a webpage is the overall length, and a blog or service page with only a few hundred words just won’t get the attention of search engines.

SEMrush – This is the one tool on the list where you need a subscription, but it’s one of the more established and trusted tools out there. It’s my go-to when I need to see how a site is ranking for certain keywords as well as ideas for keywords a piece of content could be ranking for.

SEMrush returns an immense amount of information on domain names, subdomains, and even individual keywords. For my purposes, I look at search volume (how many people search for a particular term in a month), keyword difficulty (how difficult it is to rank for that keyword in SERPs, and competition (the level of competition between advertisers bidding on a given keyword for their PPC campaigns).

The above tools work on all types of blogs, from travel blogs to pet care blogs to precast concrete blogs, as well as service and product pages. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you need to create a blog calendar, but you can give it some nice chrome rims and all-weather tires.

Vetting Your Blog Ideas

You can use any one of the tools above to create a list of blog ideas relatively quickly. However, you need to make sure what you’re writing about has value, especially for your customers. Even writing about products or services you don’t necessarily offer can be of use because these topics help establish you as a resource in your industry.

You have this massive list of content/blog ideas, but they can’t all be winners, right? (Not with that attitude they won’t!) Chances are there will be a few real clunkers in there. With a little bit of research, though, you’ll be able to find the cream of the crop.

Using this blog as a guinea pig, I wanted to find the most attractive keyword or phrase to base it on. It’s a bit of a guessing game at first, but using a tool like SEMrush can help focus those guesses. The SEO experts at Webfor use it for much more, but I like to sneak in and grab some quick hitters every so often.

Because this is a blog about finding content ideas, that was the first keyword I tried. SEMrush returns the search volume of the keyword, the competition for the keyword, the keyword difficulty, and more. I go with the very top-level data just to make sure I’m heading in the right direction.

Screenshot of SEMrush dashboard

Here are five keywords I researched, starting with “find content ideas” as a starting point. I’m including search volume and competition to give you an idea of the metrics you’ll work with. I’m looking for high search volume and low competition (1.00 being the most competitive):

  • find content ideas: 10 search volume, 45 keyword difficulty, .10 competition
  • how to find content ideas: 30 search volume, 53 keyword difficulty, .14 competition
  • how to find blog content ideas: 10 search volume, 61 keyword difficulty, .49 competition
  • ideas for blogs: zero search volume and zero competition (because there was no search volume to compete over)
  • blog ideas: 2,900 search volume, 69 keyword difficulty, .21 competition

With each keyword I tried, SEMrush gave me related keywords I could try, so I just went down the path before settling on “blog ideas.” It had really good search volume and low competition. The phrase “how to find blog content ideas” had very low search volume and relatively high competition, so that would be one to avoid.

Use Keyword Surfer Extension to Validate

Keyword Surfer is a free browser tool that gives you immediate results when you use the search bar, including search volume, a list of related keywords, and Cost Per Click information. Keyword Surfer didn’t think much of my “find content ideas,” either. There was a search volume of zero, no related keywords, and CPC didn’t even register.

Following SEMrush, “how to find content ideas” fared a little bit better, registering a search volume of 20, a list of related keywords, and a CPC of $1.17. “Blog ideas” was the big winner once again with Keyword Surfer: 3,600 search volume and a CPC of $4.50!

While the numbers may not match up exactly, using these two tools is a good way to figure out if your content ideas are worth the effort, are considered “easy wins,” or are highly competitive. In some cases, you aren’t going to get the best of both worlds, but at least you know you’re on the right track.

Not every piece of content you write will be keyword-centric or demand high traffic. An “About Us” page isn’t necessarily there to generate page views, but is a necessity for clients and potential clients to learn more about you. Case studies aren’t driven by keyword searches either, and social media posts are more in the moment, although the right hashtags can boost visibility.

The best way to increase traffic to your site is to create high-quality content that appeals to people and Google alike. Using the above tools and processes won’t turn you into a master writer, but they will give you the starting points you need to create that content.

Still need help? We’re here for you. Content writing should be one of the pillars of your online marketing strategy, and our writers have decades of experience with the written word. Along with our expert-level SEO team, we’ll create a plan designed to increase the number of keywords you rank for and drive meaningful traffic to your site.