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  • Matt Johnson

Content marketing guide to increase your search visibility.

Content marketing definition.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing activity which focuses on providing prospects with valuable and relevant content which educates and stimulates an interest in your services.

Content marketing refers to the type of content you create (blogs, video, etc) in order to attract your target audience and the methods of promoting that content.

Content marketing is all about your audience. Before you engage in building a content marketing strategy you need to properly define your audience segments and understand the challenges each of them faces. You can do this by creating buyer personas.

Buyer personas enable you to create content that connects with your key audiences and offers solutions to their problems.

Great content builds trust and demonstrates credibility within your target audience, and if SEO tactics are considered, it will also pull leads to your site.

Throughout this content strategy blog, we are going to use a Fintech company as an example to help you understand the process.

SEO marketing has changed.

Over recent years, search engine optimisation has changed dramatically. This is largely down to the way people now ‘ask’ search engines for answers.

People once used exact keywords to rank for the terms that they wanted their business to be associated with. Now, search engine algorithms are able to understand how ideas relate, so topics have replaced this thinking.

Using keywords that precisely match a person’s search isn’t the most important ranking factor anymore. Now we must understand the intent behind the keyword, and create content which solves for that intent.

With large changes in search queries and search algorithms, topics, subtopics and topic pages have stepped in to become the framework of a successful content strategy.

Keywords still play a major role in search engine marketing.

Keyword research tells you what topics people care about and, assuming you use the right SEO tool, how popular those topics are with your target audience.

By researching keywords that are getting a high volume of searches per month, you can identify and sort your content into topics that you want to create content on. Then, you can use these overarching topics to find other keywords you can target.

By researching keywords for their popularity, monthly search volume, competition, and general intent, you can create content which answers the questions that most people in your audience are searching for online.

Further categorising your content into the three stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) will also help you understand and solve for the intent behind searches.

SEO definitions.


Topics are the things you want your business to be known for. In other words, what you want to appear in search engines for when someone enters a related query. For example, if you are a Payments company, one topic might be ‘End to End payment processing’.


Subtopics are the interlinked content related to your core topic. They help boost your site’s relevance to the core topic when someone enters a related query in a search engine. For example: ‘What are the benefits of e2e payment processing?

Topic pages.

Topic pages (also known as pillar pages) cover all content relating to a topic on one page. They contain detailed topic cluster content; blog posts, webinars, white papers, podcasts, videos etc.

Having your core topic housed on a single page helps search engines discover and rank your content. Topic pages help boost your search visibility by establishing topical relevance and topic authority.

Choosing your content marketing core topics.

What are the primary topics you want to be known for on the web?

Core topics for FinTech companies are usually directly related to the different solutions the business offers.

For example, if you specialise in crypto payment and trading tools, then you might want to create content around these 5 key areas: accepting crypto payments, trading cryptocurrency, purchasing cryptocurrency instantly, gifting cryptocurrency, and who accepts cryptocurrency?

These 5 service areas become your core topics because you want to show up in search results for queries related to them.

Choosing your subtopics.

Your subtopics present an opportunity to match your target audience’s search queries to content on your website, therefore helping you to appear in search results at the right time for the right people.

By using your buyer personas and considering what each of them might enter into Google at every stage of the buyer’s journey, you can start planning content to match up with those queries.

Your subtopic content will be informed by conducting keyword research around your core topics to understand what your audience is searching for and how popular those terms are.

The following 6 steps show you how to conduct your keyword research and identify your subtopic content.

How to conduct keyword research.

We have compiled six key steps to conduct keyword research for your business. These are:

  1. Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you want your business to be known for.

  2. Fill in those topic buckets with relevant keywords.

  3. Research related search terms.

  4. Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each bucket.

  5. Conduct competitor analysis.

  6. Focus in on the keywords that matter.

Step one.

Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you want your business to be known for.

To get started, think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. You should come up with 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then use those topic buckets to help you come up with specific keywords later in the process.

Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas - which topics would your target audience search for that you want to appear for?

For example, if your company offers full payment processing, retail services, and a secure payment gateway then your topic buckets might look like this:

  • E2E processing

  • Secure gateways

  • PCI encryption

  • Mobile payment processing solutions

  • Online ordering

And so on...

You then want to use SEO tools like Moz to find out what the monthly search volume is for each keyphrase. This data allows you to gauge how important these topics are to your audience, and how many different sub-topics you might need to create content on to be successful.

Step two.

Fill in those topic buckets with keywords.

Now that you have a few topic buckets, it's time to identify some keywords that fall into those buckets. These are keyword phrases you think are important to rank for in the SERPs (search engine results pages) because your target audience is conducting searches for those specific terms.

For example, let’s take ‘Payment processing’’ as an example. Brainstorming some keyword phrases related to that topic might include:

  • Payment processing solutions

  • Card payment solutions

  • Mobile credit card processing

  • Merchant service provider

And so on. The point of this step isn’t to come up with your final list of keyphrases, you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases your potential customers might use to search for content related to the topic.

If you're having trouble coming up with relevant search terms, you can always ask your client-facing colleagues - like your Sales team - what terms their prospects and customers use, or common questions they encounter.

You may also find this in your FAQs. Those are often great starting points for keyword research.

Step three.

Research related search terms.

If you are struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching for, go to and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you enter a keyword.

When you type in the phrase, scroll to the bottom of Google's results. You will notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.

Also, you can use tools like Ubersuggest, Moz and Semrush to find a long list of related keywords along with their search volume and the level of competition around those key terms.

Usually, the tool’s interface will have a ‘related’ tab when searching for key terms. Here’s an example:

Find these long lists and export them to CSV (the tool you’re using should offer this option). At this stage, the more the better.

Step four.

Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each bucket.

Head terms are keyword phrases that are short and more generic - they are typically just one to three words in length. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.

The reason you want a mix is that head terms tend to have larger search volumes but are generally harder to rank for, while long-tail keywords are searched for less often, but are more specific and therefore easier to tell what the searcher is really looking for.

It’s easier to understand the intent behind long-tail keywords which makes them a key part of your content strategy.

To see this in practice, which do you think is easier to rank for?

  1. Payment processing

  2. Best payment processing platforms for small businesses

If you said #2, you’re right. While ‘payment processing’ has a larger search volume, it’s a fairly broad term so understanding the exact intent behind the search is difficult.

Whereas ‘best payment processing platforms for small businesses’ has far clearer intent - someone is likely researching to find out which processing platform is best for their business - so you want to appear in results for this search if your business can help.

Step five.

Competitor analysis.

Just because a keyword is important to your competitor, doesn’t mean it's important to you. However, understanding what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a great way to evaluate your list of keywords and find new ones.

If your competitor is ranking for certain keywords that are on your list too, it makes sense to work on improving your ranking for those. However, don’t ignore the ones your competitors don’t seem to care about.

This could be a great opportunity for you to increase search visibility on important terms.

Understanding the balance of terms that might be a little more difficult due to competition, versus those terms that are a little more realistic, will help you maintain a similar balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms allow.

The aim is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some quick wins but also helps you make progress toward bigger, more challenging SEO goals.

Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, keyword tools like SEMrush, Moz and Ubersuggest allow you to run a number of free reports that show your competitor’s top keywords.

This is a quick way to get a sense of the terms your competitors are ranking for.

Step six.

Focus in on the keywords that matter.

Now that you've got the right mix of keywords, it's time to narrow down your lists with some quantitative data. You have a lot of tools at your disposal to do this, but here’s a great methodology.

Tools like Moz, Ubersuggest and Google AdWords Keyword Planner allow you to find metrics like the monthly search volume and search difficulty for your selected keywords. You want a mix again.

Try to focus on finding keywords which have a high volume of searches, but low search difficulty (level of competition) so you can get some quick wins.

Also, you can use tools like Google Trends to see whether some low-volume terms might be something you should invest in now and reap the benefits for later.

Analysing the search volumes and level of competition will help you to prioritise your list of keywords and get rid of the ones that have unfavourable search volumes - say below 100 per month.

Planning your topic pages.

Topic pages (also known as pillar pages) are web pages that cover a broad topic in great detail. Topic pages contain all of the relevant subtopic content (blogs, videos, etc) that address important aspects of the main topic.

Each subtopic section links to content that dives even deeper into the subject matter.

If you are a cryptocurrency firm, you might have a topic page on ‘purchasing cryptocurrency’. Pages you might include in the associated subtopic content are: ‘how to purchase cryptocurrency instantly’, ‘which cryptocurrency to buy now’, etc.

Each of these subtopics will link back to the topic page. The interlinking structure helps to improve your visibility in search results and to establish topical authority for cryptocurrency.

The topic methodology is an effective way to organise your business's web content.

The more information and relevant keywords you have on a topic page and its subtopic content, the more internal links you’ll be able to create on your site, which helps improve UX, navigation and adds a significant boost to your firm’s SEO.

Content offers.


Content offers are premium pieces of content you offer your website visitors in order to convert them into leads.

Usually, they’re placed behind a form and can be downloaded in exchange for your visitor’s contact information.

Lead generation.

Topic pages and landing pages are great places to put your content offer.

After providing tons of free resources, your content offer is a way of converting visitors into leads once you’ve warmed them up with helpful blogs, videos and infographics.

If someone downloads your content offer, they have signalled some interest in your service and can therefore be considered a Marketing Qualified Lead.

They can then be placed into a CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce and can be nurtured through a process to entice them to use your business’ product or service.

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