So, you’ve done your keyword research, analyzed competitor content, and finalized your hub strategy; you’re well on your way to improving your reach on your targeted SERPs. But how do you choose when it comes to narrowing down the content ideas and prioritizing what should come first?
In an online world where ROI plays an important role in content development, you must depend on more than just a gut feeling or brand likeness to a particular topic.
This guide will discuss the importance of content prioritization and the steps you should take when choosing new ideas for development or updating existing content.
What is Content Prioritization?
Content prioritization is how we determine what pieces of content to develop and publish first based on gaps on our site. This process largely informs content planning and how we build editorial calendars to fill those gaps. Prioritization relies heavily on competitor analyses and keyword research that unveils areas in which content is lacking or nonexistent.
Why it’s Important to Prioritize Content Ideas
Content prioritization allows us to analyze which content ideas will give us the greatest return with the least effort. However, this can look different to different stakeholders. When we talk about the greatest return or biggest impact, that may be a different outcome depending on where the content requests come from or what kind of event spurs the need for new content. These events may include new products or services, website changes or updates, promotional or campaign content, new resource content, and more.
The goals we want to achieve for each event will also differ. In this case, when we discuss creating new content that impacts search visibility, we need to lean on data and examples from competitors to help prioritize content development efforts.
How to Prioritize Content Ideas for Search
The following methods for content prioritization create a framework you can follow to make the planning process more manageable.
Organize New and Existing Content
To avoid duplicating efforts and writing about something you’ve already done, ensure you’re adding new content ideas to your existing editorial calendar. This way, you may also find which existing pieces may just need updating with further information to close a content gap.
Prioritize Updating Underperforming Content
By prioritizing already existing (but underperforming) content early on, we don’t have to invest precious time into creating brand-new content that might not be necessary to reach our goals. Simple blog post updates can significantly affect your keyword growth without a major overhaul. Brand new content and simple updates sometimes look the same to Google, which means we can get it to crawl your site more frequently without needing to publish more.
After you’ve updated your editorial calendar and spotted these opportunities, start with content that currently ranks in positions 4-10. A jump from position 4 to 3 makes a more considerable impact than a jump from 12 to 11, especially since positions 1-3 are the ultimate goal. Focusing on content that we can see movement with on page one of the SERP follows the guideline of low-effort, high-impact work.
Leverage Keyword Data Insights
On the subject of low-effort, high-impact work, keyword research data can quickly inform us of which topics will bring in the most organic traffic. If you don’t already, include a row in your editorial calendar that captures the keyword search volume and difficulty information. Generally, we can get the most out of creating content for topics with a higher search volume to keyword difficulty ratio. This can vary when it comes to the funnel stage, however.
Consider the Funnel Stage
First and foremost, content topics should be relevant to your goals and KPIs, and we can stay on track by mapping each topic to the user’s journey in the marketing funnel. Label each content topic as either Top of Funnel, Middle of Funnel, or Bottom of Funnel (and add it to your editorial calendar, too). Once we know the funnel stage for each topic, it will be easier to dictate the type of content required.
The funnel stage will affect the search volume and keyword difficulty metrics, as topics lower in the funnel tend to garner less search volume yet possess more value since readers are closer to making a purchasing decision. Keeping this in mind, the marriage between keyword data and the marketing funnel makes more sense and can further help you prioritize your content ideas.
Thoroughly Evaluate Competitors
Once you’ve determined which topics will bring in the most organic traffic, you can dive into competitor coverage on the topic to see what type of content they’re creating in more detail. The goal isn’t to reproduce the same content as competitors but to improve what they have. Better yet, by comparing multiple competitors across a single topic, you can take the best of all, find what’s missing, and create a stellar piece of content that you’re confident will do better than them.
Determine Internal Linking Structure
Before you can move on to the copy brief stage, it’s important to take some time to consider what you want to be your content hub pages. It’s easier to start with the hubs and work your way down to the spokes later on, especially if the content piece you’re about to work on could be an excellent umbrella topic for multiple other existing pieces.
Building out internal linking within your hubs helps create stronger topic authority and helps the reader answer their questions in one spot without reverting to Google repeatedly. If your content is self-contained and the reader doesn’t have to do further research beyond your site, you begin to build a trust that you are dependable for answering user queries.
Repurpose Topical Research Findings
There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you write a new piece of content. Especially when you’re writing about similar topics, creating a template that can be utilized for more than one piece of content can help make development more efficient. It can also help with refining internal linking.
For example, if you are a cosmetics company looking to cover skin care for a specific skin type, you’ll likely be answering the same questions for “how to manage dry skin” as you would “how to manage oily skin.” Once one is done, the other comes pretty simply.
The final step of the content prioritization process is to create copy briefs for each of your topics, starting at the top of your list and working your way down. Following a standardized template is another way of improving your content development process efficiency and keeping your topic focused and relevant to your goals.
At its core, content prioritization answers the question, “what’s next?” Using these steps to thoughtfully digest your new content ideas will make prioritizing your work and budgeting your time much more manageable. When you utilize this framework, you’ll find that content prioritization doesn’t have to be daunting.