How to Use BuzzSumo to Smooth the Content Ride

How to Use BuzzSumo to Smooth the Content Ride

By John Jantsch

Content and SEO go hand-in-hand. You really can’t have one without the other if you want to be successful. One of the tools I use to improve my results is BuzzSumo to ensure I’m on the right track when it comes to content strategy in an efforts to improve my search engine results. Now, I’ve written about BuzzSumo quite a bit in my Weekend Favs column and

You can’t have one without the other if you want to be successful. But, the constant need to produce content ideas makes feeding the content beast one of the bumpiest elements of the digital marketing world.

One of the tools I use to save time, get great ideas, and improve my results is BuzzSumo.

It helps guide me when I’m trying to stay on track with my editorial and SEO strategy by suggesting content that has proven to engage readers. I’ve written about BuzzSumo in other posts, but today I really want to take a deep dive into how to use this platform to hack your SEO and be a better and more efficient content marketer.

Essentially BuzzSumo is a search engine that tells you how many shares a piece of content has received in places like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It also tells you who shared the content and who linked to the content, so it’s a great little research tool for all things related to content.

Let’s put it this way, if BuzzSumo were a band, I would buy front-row tickets to their concert. Yes, I’m that big of a fan. In essence, the platform is a search engine that ranks content based on how often an article is shared.

Content research

BuzzSumo is a great tool for doing content research and coming up with keywords and keyword phrases, which can be very useful for determining specific forms of content that you may want to produce. If a piece of content has been shared a lot, you may want to consider developing something similar for your own content (don’t copy it, but see how you can improve upon the content and make it your own).

Think in terms of creating something even more epic than the most shared content around your research topic. So if 10 ways to do XXX is highly shared, come up with 25 ways to do XXX even better.

When it comes to keywords to search for in BuzzSumo, you need to think outside the box a bit and think of terms that may be related to your industry, not the industry itself. For example, instead of typing in “marketing,” try typing “SEO tips” and see what new keywords and ideas may show up in the BuzzSumo results (as shown below). If you are a plumber, you might consider something like “leaky faucet.” I’d recommend doing a bit of keyword research before using BuzzSumo so that you have a good list to test out ahead of time.

What you’re looking for in these search results are themes, whether they be with keywords, domains, content types, or even influencers that show up repeatedly.

You’ll have the ability to review backlinks from the searches and with that, you can develop a list of sites that you may want to target for you or your client to get backlinks from (an increase in authentic backlinks will help to increase your site’s SEO), or, you can develop a list of influencers to target knowing what type of content they like to share.

Creating alerts

Of all the tools you can use for creating alerts, I think this one is the best due to its interface and usability. You can create alerts for any specific search term that you want so that you can stay on top of trends related to it.

Create a list of terms that relate to your brand, your name, your products, etc. and then think of all the industry terms or competitor names you might like to track as well. Once a day you’ll get all the alerts delivered to your inbox for easy scanning.

Competitive research

Instead of typing in a keyword phrase into BuzzSumo’s search box, you can type in a competitor’s URL and see what’s been the most shared content for them and who is linking and sharing their content. These can provide very valuable data points for your strategy moving forward.

Think about it, you can see the most shared content from any website. You can track your competitors and look for ways to take advantage of their research or you can simply find other industry sites to get ideas on why they might be popular.

Finding guest content

Getting published on other sites is a great way to increase your number of backlinks and boost your SEO. This tool actually has the capability for you to filter “guest content” to see who runs and allows guest content to be posted on their site within the industry.

Make a list and start pitching your great content ideas to other sites that have already demonstrated they like posting guest content. Of course, you’re not bound by content you find on BuzzSumo, you this is a great approach for local strategic partners as well.

Of course, there’s the flip side of this equation – You can also Buzz to find and build a list of people you want to guest post on your own site.

Finding influencers

BuzzSumo is a great tool to help you build a list of people who are influential in any industry.

Simply click on the Influencer tab and type in a keyword and BuzzSumo will build a list of influencers for you based off that keyword phrase. Remember, an influential person in your industry might just be someone that likes to share other people’s content, it doesn’t mean they are a household name.

Be sure to look through the results on this one to make sure the influencers really are relevant to your particular business.

Content analysis

BuzzSumo also allows you learn more about how your content is shared and the best approaches for future content

With this feature, BuzzSumo looks through all of the articles it shares based on your keyword by network, content type, date published, content length, and related topics (among other filters). This tied in with the search results can really get you going in the right direction.

For example, when I look through my past content I see that my posts that are over 1,000 words seem to get shared far more than shorter posts.

BuzzSumo is a great tool to help round out your editorial calendar and boost your SEO through content marketing efforts.


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