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When it comes to developing your content marketing strategy for 2018, the more you know, the better. And we have good news! It’s no longer necessary to pay an arm and a leg for a fancy marketing automation platform to learn what keywords you rank for, who is linking to your site, and what content opportunities are slipping through the cracks.

That’s where Spyfu comes in.

Like most advanced cloud-based marketing software solutions, Spyfu offers a suite of organic research tools for marketers. What's even better is that many of these tools are available for you to use today – right now – at absolutely no cost or commitment. You don’t even have to enter your email address.

What Is Spyfu, and Why Should Marketers Care?

Spyfu is an online, user-friendly marketing evaluation tool that allows you to search for any domain and view its entire ranking history. From PPC ad variations, to organic keyword rank reports, Spyfu cracks Google’s complex ranking algorithm to make tangible data available to everyone.

The purpose of Spyfu is to help you – *ahem* – “spy” on your competition. By learning what they’re ranking for organically, what keywords they’re paying to rank for, and who is linking to their site, you can make better decisions about your own content strategy.

But that’s not the best part. Spyfu allows you to spy on yourself. And that’s where the content magic begins. Here are 5 ways you can use the free version of Spyfu to improve your content marketing strategy in 2018.

1. Identifying Your Organic Search Competitors

Enter your own URL into Spyfu and head over to the SEO Overview. Here is where you’ll see your top organic search competitors over time. If you want additional insight, increase the graph to view a 2-5 year history. Use this information to identify who you’re competing with for ranking on the organic field.

What you can do: If your competitors are ranking higher than you, spend some time reviewing their website and marketing collateral. What messaging do they use on their home page? How do they engage with leads and customers through social media? What kind of content do they publish to their blog? How can you adapt this style to meet your unique messaging and brand voice?

If your competitors are not ranking higher than you, which ones are trending upward? These could be your biggest on-page competitors in the coming months. Review their content as well. What kinds of content do they promote? If they aren’t direct business competitors, you could reach out and offer to write a guest post for their blog. This helps to build your own authority as their site grows.

2. Learning Which Keywords You Share with Your Competitors

Scroll down a bit and see which keywords (and how many) you share with your competitors. Perhaps most powerful is the ability to see what keywords your competitors rank for that you do not.

What you can do: You can increase your content strength by using Spyfu’s keyword “weaknesses” as opportunities. Start brainstorming content that will help you address pain points, questions, or how-to’s about the keywords your competition is ranking for. Review content on your competitor's site that uses these keywords. Then, create something that is more helpful, easier to understand, or formatted in a new way (try an infographic or video instead of a blog post). Then promote, promote, promote.

3. Discovering Your Most Valuable Keywords

Spyfu populates a list of your top 5 most valuable keywords. These are keywords you are already ranking for. Just because you’re already driving traffic from these keywords, it doesn’t mean you should ignore them and move on to other priorities.

What you can do: Identify content on your site related to these top 5 keywords. Then, write new social posts and schedule them to be sent over the next 6 months. This will help to drive more traffic to the page. If the ranking content is more than 2+ years old, make sure it's still helpful, relevant, and up-to-date.

You should also ensure the content has clear channels to continue engaging with your website. Start by linking your content to other related content pieces.

4. Viewing Your "Almost There" Keywords

Your “Almost There” keywords are keywords that are getting your web page(s) to appear on page two of Google. Consider these search terms low hanging fruit. With the right nurturing, you can push your content to the first page with minimal investment. You can also implement this same strategy for keywords linked to web pages that just fell off the first page in the SERPs.

What you can do: Review content that is already optimized for this keyword. Then, identify related posts you may have on this particular topic. Link these posts together where it makes sense. This is a topic cluster best practice that helps to add internal authority to the page using the keyword. Make sure your alt text is relevant and helpful. Whenever possible, you should optimize your written content for schema best practices as well. Promoting your page on social will drive new traffic and may encourage Google to re-crawl the page.

5. Identifying Your Inbound Link Content (Backlink)

Inbound linking is still one of the most impactful ways to boost your overall organic ranking authority. Spyfu will show you your top five inbound links based on the authority of the domain that’s linking to you, and how many organic clicks it’s generating for your website. It’s critical that the content being linked to by other websites is current and useful – and drives further engagement with your website.

What you can do: Review each of your inbound links, and pinpoint the content that is being linked to. Then, make sure that content is perfect. If it’s more than two years old, it may be time for a content refresh. Be sure the overall message remains the same. After all, these websites are linking to your content to reinforce their own point. Changing the content to something completely different is not advised.

Once your content is updated, ensure there are clear paths for visitors to engage further with that content. Try implementing a Lead Flow to capture subscribers, or offer a related piece of content. Make sure there is a relevant CTA at the bottom of your post as well.

To drive more traffic, and to build a strong organic relationship with the domain that shared your content, write social posts about the post that shared your content. Then promote it on your own social channels. Try not to talk about yourself. But rather, say something like this: “Check out this great article by @DomainThatSharedYourContent about #WhateverIt’sAbout <link>”.

Have questions about Spyfu and how you can use it to your advantage? Feel free to reach out and ask our team. Swear by any other SEO or content marketing tools? Leave a message below in the comments! We're always happy to hear from our readers.

Free Download: 9 Things Your Website Is Doing to Drive Visitors Away

About the Author

Kate Moore | Content Marketer
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Kate Moore, Content Marketer

Kate Moore is a Content Marketer by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.

 Tags: Content Marketing Search Engine Optimization

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