22 May 2024 |

Moving beyond keyword analysis

By Tracey Wallace

Google’s SERP has changed, again, and there are many indications that it will negatively impact organic search traffic to sites. 

But, Google had to do something. 

Their SERP results have been faltering, losing trust to forums and social media platforms, where people feel like they get quicker, more honest answers––and don’t have to wade through a ton of ads or affiliate links to do so. 

Google also needed to show their AI capabilities––like any tech company right now. AI as part of your offering is now table stakes. How good you are at integrating it and getting users to actually use it will be the real test. 

So, AI summarized answers are live on Google for some queries, and will potentially expand to more. 

It makes sense, even though so many experts have predicted it wouldn’t happen. “Google won’t violate their contract with publishers,” they said. 

Alas, I don’t know what will happen with Google search and how it will impact content marketing or SEO, except that whatever happens, it will impact those disciplines. 

So, in light of what I don’t know, today, I want to share with y’all a little tool that I built for myself to speed up something I do know well: content audits. 

Introducing… Snackable! 

What is it:

A thematic content analysis tool for content marketers. It helps content marketers identify top performing content characteristics and trends, empowering them to craft relevant and effective content strategies that build trust throughout the organization. 

In way less words, it helps you perform more in-depth content audits, faster. 

Why I built it: 

I like to do thematic content audits at least 1x per year. I made this short template for y’all earlier this year, and explained how to use it. 

What I didn’t include in that template (at the time, I’ve since added it) was the theme and author categories, which I usually include in my audits. 

The author field you can get through ScreamingFrog, but the theme is harder. You can either back into your category (which you can often scrape with ScreamingFrog) or choose to theme assets by their product pillar. I’m sure there are a million other ways to classify your content into themes beyond those.

Either way, much of the classification or thematic attribution process is rather manual. That’s why I like to do them at the end of the year. It takes time, often 16+ hours, to perform the audit and analyze for insights. Much of that time is spent cleaning my data, and adding to it. 

I knew that AI could make this faster. So, I went looking for tools like this. None existed, though CopyAI did let me build a workflow that made it possible. The only problem was that it was expensive (~$50 for 50 articles)––and my content library is quite large.  

I may have let sleeping dogs lie at that point in time. I’m not a developer. I don’t have experience building digital tools. 

But the further into 2024 we went, the more it was clear that my team needed to understand not just which keywords we were ranking for, but what topics and themes were performing throughout the funnel taking into account all of our distribution channels (i.e. not just SEO). 

That meant, I needed to see themes across all of my content, and then look at what was performing best:

  • Top of funnel: Sessions 
  • Mid-funnel: Average engagement time per session 
  • Bottom of funnel: Conversion 

That data lived in GA4. Great. But performing a proper thematic analysis on my library of 300+ pieces of content was a bigger challenge. 

With larger content libraries and thematic analysis, you’re usually on getting a surface-level read categorization. 

Isn’t this what AI is for?

Isn’t this a job perfectly suited for AI? A data analysis function that saves us time and surfaces insights that take us mere humans far longer to uncover?

It wasn’t until I got additional requests for content audits by product pillars in Q1. 

The goal was easy: the company wanted to understand how much content we had that mapped back to our product pillars, and what general concepts we were covering in relation to those product pillars. This helps identify gaps. 

More, we wanted to see how our content spread compared to that of our competitors.

Oh goodness, did I wish I would have built the tool by then. That was what really pushed me over the edge. 

By April 2024, I’d conducted 4 content audits of one type of another––all of them taking several days to put together. 

The thematic content analysis tool I finally built took me roughly 4 hours to pull all of the data across my site and my competitors (roughly 1,200 pieces of content), and assign:

  • Meta title 
  • Summary 
  • Key concept 1
  • Key concept 2
  • Key concept 3
  • Author 
  • Pub date 

What this is not:

Now, this tool will not analyze the data for you. It also doesn’t combine GA4 data with the analysis. 

You have to do all of that. 

But this puts the more manual part of the audit on near auto-pilot, reducing the endless hours spent pulling data and classifying –– versus spent on analyzing and preparing your presentation and findings. 

How to use it, if you’re interested: 

  • Create an account 
  • Choose a plan
    • Analyze 200 URLs per month for $30 a month 
    • Analyze 400 URLs per month for $55 a month 
    • Analyze 800 URLs per month for $100 a month
  • You’ll be dropped on this screen: 
  • Name your content property.
    • This name can’t change (at this time). So if you want to analyze your blog, call it “My Company’s Blog,” versus if you want to analyze your academy or your entire site. Name it appropriately. 
    • You can also analyze competitor’s sites, but again, think through the naming convention. If you are going to analyze a competitor monthly, add the month of the analysis to the tab. These tabs will be with you forever (or until I can figure out how to let y’all edit them). 
  • Drop in a list of URLs to analyze. You can 100 at a time, up to your plan limit. 

What you’ll get back:

  • Under the “Themes” section –– you’ll get a brief overview of your content. 
  • Under the “Content” section –– the full analysis will exist, and you can then export it via CSV. 
  • From there, I upload the CSV to Google Sheets, download my GA4 data, and do a VLOOKUP to align everything. 

Now, you’re ready to start analyzing. 

What’s next:

I built this tool because I needed it.

I was also curious. To be honest, I originally had GA4 data connected to it and it broke the heck out of this thing. One day, I’ll have more money to invest so that when someone inputs their URLs and connects their GA4 account, the tool does the analysis entirely.

In the meantime, this tool has saved me dozens of hours, and I’m almost finished with my first thematic performance content audit that includes which themes are performing best for us, and any content volume gaps by themes across our competitors. 

The saved time has been spent…well..on countless other content tasks, including building a presentation deck for my findings. 

That’s a game changer for me. 

I’m curious to hear if it is for y’all, too.