Need Content Ideas? Check Google Analytics

It's 8:35 a.m. on Thursday morning.  You haven't had a chance to finish your first cup of coffee when the boss asks for ideas for a blog post by 9 a.m.  You desperately try to come up with some ideas, but your mind is blank. Don't stress. There's an excellent resource at your fingertips: Google Analytics.
In addition to tracking an abundance of statistical data, Google Analytics tracks the words people used to find your website via search engines.  This data contains lots of great ideas for content.

How to Find Content Ideas using Google Analytics

First, Log into your Google Analytics account.  In the upper left-hand corner of the screen you will see a menu, which starts with Dashboard.  On the menu select Traffic Sources and then Keywords.

Next, go to the right side of the screen and look for Date Range.  To change this date, click in the date field and select the appropriate length of time.  I prefer to use at least one year of data; however, if your site is visited a lot, you may only several months of data. Now you're ready to search for content ideas.  Go to the Advanced Filter, which is located at the bottom of the page, and enter a word that is commonly used as part of question, such as "Why", "What", "How", "When" or "Where" (to search for all of these at once, use the pipe symbol. For example, "why|what|how|when|where"). Select the "containing" option and hit the "Go" button. Looking at just this one query, I've quickly developed a number of topics associated with my primary area of interest - Search Engine Marketing, including Why PPC Campaigns Fail, Why to Track PPC Goals and Why Keyword Rank is Important for SEO.

A Note about Seasonal Trends

If you work in an industry that is significantly impacted by seasonal trends, you may want to consider the timing of the date range that you select. For instance, if you're looking for topics around Thanksgiving, you may want to only look at queries between October 15 and November 30.

Gauging Level of Interest in Ideas for Content

In addition to generating quick ideas, Google Analytics provides information based on actual search queries so you know there is interest in the topics.  As you get more comfortable with the keyword data, you can start to expand the words you use in your filter such as "versus" or "types", which I have used successfully to find topic ideas like PPC versus SEO and Benefits of different types of online marketing. Hope this helps your content development efforts.  Now, enjoy the rest of your coffee.

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