Ryan Henry President & Founder

7 Ways to Source New Content Topics for Your Website

The long-term success of your website can largely be measured in the quantity and quality of its content. Since rolling out its Panda update in 2001, Google has favored websites with lots of original, high-quality content over thin websites with little or no content by ranking them higher in the search results. Google even says that creating content-rich web pages is the most important thing you can do for a website's success.

The problem is that many webmasters struggle to create high-quality content for their website. They know content is important, but they don't know which topics to write about when creating blog posts and web page articles. If this sounds familiar, use the seven following methods to easily identify content topics for your website.

1. Google Trends

Available at Trends.Google.com, Google Trends is a free analytics tool that provides data on search trends. Using it, you can analyze the search volume of one or more keywords related to your website over a specified length of time. If the search volume for one keyword is increasing at a faster rate than others, take advantage of this trend by creating content around that keyword. Google Trends even allows you to perform a side-by-side comparison of multiple keywords, revealing their relative search volume in a colorful graph.

Google Trends reveals more than just keyword search volume, however; it also reveals related keywords -- something that's particularly useful when sourcing new content ideas for your website. When you analyze keywords in Google Trends, you'll see a chart with related queries. Scanning through these related keywords may give you some new ideas for your website's content.

2. Competitors' Content

While you should never copy your competitors' content, you can use it to gain inspiration for your own ideas. Start by creating a list of the top 10 to 20 websites competing for the same keyword rankings as your website. Next, visit each of these websites to see what content they've published. As you browse your competitors' content, make a note of any new content angles that you haven't previously thought of.

3. Autocomplete Suggestions

You can also use autocomplete suggestions to find content topics for your website. Most search engines, including Google, Bing and YouTube, provide suggestions for search queries before the user clicks the "search" button. Known as autocomplete suggestions, this feature is an invaluable source of content ideas.

To use autocomplete suggestions, enter either a partial or complete search query related to your website in one of the aforementioned search engines but don't click "search." You should then see a list of suggestions related to the query. If your website is about landscaping, for example, searching for "how to protect lawn" reveals related queries such as "how to protect lawn from heat," "how to protect lawn from rabbits," "how to protect lawn from frost" and many others. Each of these queries can essentially be turned into a new page of relevant, high-quality content for your website.

4. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo has become the definitive content research tool by many seasoned digital marketers and search engine optimization (SEO) experts. Launched 2012 at BuzzSumo.com, it reveals insight into content that's trending on social media. Just search for a keyword related to your website, and BuzzSumo reveals relevant web pages that have received the most Facebook shares, Twitter shares, Pinterest shares and Reddit upvotes. You can even filter your results by the type of content, such as articles, infographics, lists and videos.

Although there's a free version of BuzzSumo, it only reveals the 10 most shared web pages for a specific keyword. To see additional web pages, you'll need to upgrade your account to a paid version.

5. Google News

Google News, available at News.Google.com, is a Google-powered search engine for online news stories. You can use it to source new content ideas by searching for keywords related to your website. Google News will reveal the most relevant and recent news stories related to your search query. If you come across a news story that you like, you can save it to your Google News account for easy access in the future. Once you've scanned through a few dozen relevant news stories, you should have some fresh new ideas for your website's content strategy.

Google News will also recommend news stories based on your likes and dislikes in a special "For you" feed. If you dislike a lot of finance- and money-related stories, for example, you'll see fewer of them in this feed. But if you like a bunch of technology-related stories, you'll see more of them in this feed. To like or dislike a story in Google News, click the icon that looks like three vertical dots next to the story and choose either "More stories like this" to like it or "Fewer stories like this" to dislike it.

6. Visitor Comments

If you allow visitors to comment on your website, review these comments to see if they spark any new content ideas. It's not uncommon for popular articles to receive hundreds or even thousands of visitor comments. Some of these comments are nothing more than a visitor expressing his or her thanks for the information provided by the article. Others, however, expand on the content by adding the visitor's own thoughts and opinions. When reading these comments on your website, see if they reveal any new keywords or topics that you can turn into new content.

7. Social Listening

Finally, you can use social listening to source new content topics for your website. Social listening refers to the use of software to analyze social media networks for mentions of one or more keywords. Hootsuite.com is a social media marketing tool that features social listening. Using it, you can set up alerts for your website's name, website URL and related keywords. Whenever a new post appears on social media containing one of these keywords, you'll receive a notification.

These are just a few ways to source new content topics for your website. Perhaps the most useful tool, however, is your brain. Depending on the size of your website, you should dedicate between 30 minutes and one hour to brainstorming new ideas. By keeping your website filled with trending, relevant content, you'll experience greater success with your online endeavours.

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