John McDougall: Welcome to Authority Marketing Roadmap. I’m John McDougall, CEO of McDougall Interactive. Today I’m speaking with Aki Balogh, co‑founder of MarketMuse, a content intelligence platform that identifies content gaps on your website. Welcome Aki.
Aki Balogh: Great to be back.
John: Absolutely. We just had a nice chat about topical authority and now we’re going to have a little bit of a how‑to‑use MarketMuse, your software. What’s the first step?
How to Use MarketMuse
Aki: It’s very easy, it’s a three step process. First step, once you’ve gone in the tool, first step is to crawl your domain. You put in a domain, you put in your domain or your client’s domain, and you click the “crawl” button.
We actually go, and our engine just crawls all of the pages on your site. This does take some time. If you have a small site, it might take a couple of minutes. If you have a large site, it could take a couple of hours. If you have a very large site, it could take over a day.
We email you when it’s done. We need to do that so that’s a foundational step. Basically you put in your domain, you click crawl, and then you get out of the application or you do something else.
John: Go have a sandwich. [laughs]
Aki: Have a sandwich. [laughs] Depending how long it takes you to eat the sandwich compared to your site.
Aki: Basically we email you when it’s done and say, “OK, your results are ready.” Then when it’s ready the fun starts, because then you go back into the tool and then you get to step two. Step two is you put in one keyword that you want to rank for, that you want to be known for, and you click “analyze”, and the tool will give you your content gaps.
It’ll bring up fifty what we call “related keywords”. Keywords that exist in the same context as the keyword you want to rank for. And because we’ve crawled your page we also tell you the frequency of how often those related keywords come up on your page.
We color it — anything that you’ve mentioned a lot will be in green and everything you have not mentioned a lot will be in red. It’s really those red that you probably want to go after because those are your topical gaps.
John: Does that show you anything to do with siloing, does it somehow break out “do you have lots of pages on that topic?” Does it give you your site map and show you the keywords?
Aki: The tool that I’m sort of walking you through now is called Site Audit and that doesn’t audit on a domain level. That just summarizes all of your keywords across your entire domain. That specific tool does not give you a breakout but we have other tools that give you a page level breakout.
Site Audit and that domain authority type analysis is really useful for your content planning because you can look at your domain overall and say, “OK, here’s a keyword that’s very important to our business and, look, we’ve got some gaps.”
John: Those are red?
Aki: Those are red, right. You can change the threshold and get into it, you can change the threshold for what’s green and what’s red but we try to estimate that threshold based on just how many pages you have on your site.
We try to make it really easy for you. Anything that comes out as a red is your best starting point. Then that gets you to step three. OK, you’ve got a couple things that are red, you probably will because most sites — even just as an aside, we did an analysis of GNC.com.
It’s obviously great e‑commerce site and they have over 250,000 pages and when you look at GNC.com, the first thing that comes up, the first category, is sports nutrition.
We did an analysis of sports nutrition and we found that they’re doing really great for a lot of those sports nutrition related keywords, except sports drinks. They’ve only mentioned sports drinks a couple hundred times, whereas most other keywords they’ve mentioned five, six, seven, eight thousand times.
Prioritizing Content Gaps
Aki: There’s just a gap. The reason that this gap is there is just they’ve never had a tool that let them think about the context of sports nutrition and what exists in that context. Every site we’ve seen so far, even really great sites, has at least one or a couple gaps. Back to the third step, how do you prioritize those gaps? You’re going to have gaps, you’re going to have several.
How do you prioritize? We give you a couple of data points around that. One, we just give the volume. What’s the monthly search volume for that related keyword? If you have two keywords and one of them has a lot more volume then the other one, you can prioritize that. By the way, there’s human judgment here so that gap might not be part of your differentiation.
It just might not be important to you. You might not want to win in that specific aspect. If you don’t want to, you obviously don’t have to. You can de‑prioritize it. We also give you another data point which is called attractiveness. Attractiveness is basically a measure of how much relevant traffic that keyword can drive for you.
It’s a function of relevance and keyword traffic. Keyword traffic, for technical folks, is a function of volume, CPC, and competition from your pay‑per‑click campaign.
By sorting on attractiveness and looking at the gaps, you actually are able to say, “OK, this keyword has a certain amount of volume but also paid advertisers are willing to pay a lot of money for it so it’s probably very valuable. That’s the gap we should plug first.
John: You can prioritize those items that are in red that also have a high attractiveness score?
Aki: Yes. You want to — depending on what your strategy is — you’ll want to look at either volume or attractiveness. That’s how you then sort your list — and again, it really is human judgment.
Sometimes we’ve talked to companies and we say, “Well you know that such and such is a gap.” They say, “Oh yeah, we know that, but our competition is all over that. That’s not really a big part of what our product does”, and so on. You can refine that.
Everything that I’ve just talked about is our Site Audit tool, which would be the first tool when you join and you land in Site Audit. There’s a separate, competitive audit tool that you can also plug in your competitor URL and then compare what are you strong in versus your competitors and identify what your competitors are weak in and helps that conversation along. It’s basically the same tool with some additional competitors.
John: Yeah I was going to say, it sounds like it’s doing the same thing.
Aki: Same flow, yup.
John: It’s the same tool basically, but does it let you store those as “here’s my competitor” and now when I come back I can re‑look at it or re‑crawl it?
Aki: Yes, absolutely.
John: You can store it?
Aki: Absolutely. This is all stored so you can access it later and come back and see where you are. It’s one of those things where you might only use it — these tools — you might only use this every couple of weeks, potentially. You might use it once a month. Just to see what the next highest impact content that you should create is.
The fact that you’re using an intelligent…you’re using a data‑driven, quantitative process to get to your content gaps and prioritize the most important.
The fact that you’re using data is great because that means when you send it off to your content creation team or when you sit down and write your blog post, you’re spending that time wisely.
MarketMuse as an SEO Website Redesign Tool
John: One final thought is that we have a lot of people come to us to consider us for either building their website or SEO. We usually don’t do just a website, we always bake SEO into it. Sometimes people will come and they’ll — like a health care company recently came to us and they’re about to rebuild their website. They’re going to go build the website and maybe come back to us later for SEO.
If they don’t bring SEO into the equation when they’re rebuilding their website, the navigation might not be very scalable or it might have to be band-aided later if they later discover content gaps. As a web design, when companies are doing a website redesign, I’d recommend that they use your tool.
Aki: Absolutely. We found that the companies that get the most value out of this process are the companies that are seriously committed to becoming an authority on something.
They’re probably already doing content marketing or they’re thinking of a content marketing strategy. Then within that, they’re very committed to being known on the web for being an authority at something or a set of topics because when you’re starting out if you only have a couple of pieces of content you don’t have a whole lot. There’s a lot of green field.
John: Like sports drinks, you said. If GNC isn’t ranking well for that, you can tell them why. Like, “Hey, you really need to cover this topic better.”
Aki: Absolutely. They’re putting a lot of money and a lot of effort into being the authority on sports nutrition and they have this, in hindsight, relatively obvious gap. Of course, it’s only obvious once you know to look for it.
You’ll get the most value out of this tool if you’re seriously committed to owning a niche. That niche could be relatively — you don’t have to own “sports nutrition” if you’re a small, medium business.
You won’t have those resources, but you can find some specific niche that you can truly own. If you own 80 percent of that niche, if you’re the voice of authority on that niche, you get a lot of great business out of that and it’s entirely doable within a low to moderate budget even.
John: Absolutely. Well thanks for the thoughts today and for the second podcast, that’s great. This has been workingdemosite.com/authority podcast with Aki Balogh of MarketMuse. For more information, check out marketmuse.com and workingdemosite.com/authority and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.
I’m John McDougall. See you next time on the Authority Marketing Roadmap.