The other day I ran across a neat tool that generates a word cloud for a blog. This is different than a tag cloud. A tag cloud is a cloud of words based on how you've tagged your blog posts. As such, you obviously influence the cloud based on how you tag your posts. The word cloud, however, looks at the text of your blog posts.
The image above is a word cloud. When I looked the word cloud for our b2b marketing blog, I thought it reflected our subject matter and the intent of our posts. We focus strictly on B2B. We specialize in the development of B2B content marketing assets as a primary way to convey and support key messages and establish thought leadership in a client's given niche. We help B2B clients effectively use social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing to promote these content marketing assets, and generate and nurture leads until they are sales ready.
Okay. Given what we focus on, we're doing pretty well, I said. Some of the related key words really stand out in the word cloud–like B2B, content, and marketing. Some of the content vehicles have visual prominence, like blogs, email, newsletters, site, and article. And the word "lead" pops out a bit.
But there were some words that were far less prominent or even absent, like optimize, search, SEO, social, and thought leadership. I was a bit puzzled by that. Those are things I thought we were definitely talking about and focusing on. When I went back to recent posts, I found that in some cases we cover these issues in posts, but we don't actually end up using the words as prevalently as I thought. In other cases, it had been a while since we posted about certain issues and topics. Finally, I found that all of our posts and articles tend to run together in my mind; while I've written several articles recently on blogging and thought leadership, the ones discussing thought leadership were articles published elsewhere, not on our blog.
This has implications for both visitors and search engines. For visitors, we may be talking about and around the issues, but unless we're clearly using the words that resonate with visitors, they might not connect the dots (issues, implications, concepts) in the same way we do. The key words we use give readers context within which to evaluate or consider the subject matter. Make sure you're using familiar words that give your readers context of the issues. These words serve as touchpoints and help position your content.
Secondly, it's smart to do an audit of your blog posts. What is the subject-matter allocation of your blog content, and how recent are the posts in each category? Don't just look at the category or tag of the posts, but remember to look at the copy of each post. Doing an audit will also help you sort out what you published on your blog and what content was published elsewhere.
Finally, while there are many factors that influence how well a blog post is optimized for search, the copy you use in the post an important factor. Make sure your posts are sufficiently keyword rich. This doesn't mean you should be keyword spamming. However, you should make sure you're actually sufficiently using the keywords for which you want to be found.
As a test, I created word clouds for a couple of blogs I follow. Some were spot on, totally aligned with my impressions of the blog's focus. Other word clouds left me guessing as to the intent and the content of the blog. If you simply showed me the word cloud, I could not have told you with certainty what the blog was about.
I know the word cloud is a far stretch from a complete analysis of a blog or its content. It's simply a fun tool. But it gives you some insights into how others might view your content and your focus. Just one note: If you try to generate a word cloud from a blog feed that shows only the introductions to posts, you'll obviously get different results than if you point it at a full feed.
So what about your blog? What does your word cloud look like? Is it aligned with what you think you're talking about?
If you're curious, you can go to Wordle to find out. Let me know what you think. Did your word cloud align with your mental image of your blog?
Galen De Young is managing director of Proteus B2B, a marketing consulting firm specializing in positioning B2B companies and their brands. In addition to positioning strategy, Proteus B2B specializes in the development of B2B content marketing assets and helps clients leverage the available synergies of social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing to promote content marketing assets, and to generate and nurture leads until they are sales ready.
Galen is also managing director of Proteus SEO, which specializes exclusively in B2B organic search.
Galen blogs at the Proteus B2B Marketing Blog and B2B SEO. He’s a regular columnist for Search Engine Land’s Strictly Business column and a periodic contributor to MarketingProfs. He is also a regular speaker at search marketing conferences and events, and at B2B events such as MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summits.
You can reach Galen at gdeyoung [at] ProteusB2B or via Twitter.