5 Blog Content Research Hacks That Will Save Time

blog research hacks

There is a lot of discussion about researching keywords and optimizing blog posts and both of those topics are key components of crafting effective content.

However, the most time consuming aspect of my most powerful and convincing blogs is researching relevant and compelling support for my topic. Not only do links to high powered authorities with well traveled websites strongly proclaim the veracity of the assertions made by your content, they also support favorable SEO practices.

Over time, all content creators consider the seesaw of efficiency and effectiveness and in my pursuit of the perfect balance, I have developed these five research hacks that have saved me hours of precious time and maximized my earnings.

1. Understand What Constitutes A Website with Authority

Being a successful freelance writer means extending ourselves outside of our comfort zones and writing about topics far beyond our areas of knowledge.

I have benefited greatly from learning about many aspects of technology, business, and even product lines that I never knew existed, all in an effort to have the ability to write for new clients. When I research these topics in order to gain a holistic understanding of the content, I put my eyes on everything, including Wikipedia and Wikihow.

However, these sources do not constitute what is considered to be quality research while actually crafting the blog post. Hyperlinks to high quality pages have historically been viewed by both readers and web crawlers as a vote of confidence, giving increased legitimacy to the content.

Bypassing the random Google search and narrowing your research to a few effective site categories will save time and define you as an expert.

Here’s a few examples.

  • Non-profit organizations or .org links. When writing about the disruption in the publishing industry, find a way to support your claims with statistics from US Government Publishing Office. If you have been contracted to write a piece that evaluates the financial  market, refer to recent data published by the IMF.
    Not only do .org websites have a wealth of quick and easy data points, they also typically have strong domain authority.
  • Internal links. When developing a relationship with a client, blogging 101 will instruct you to thoroughly research the client’s business in order to gain an understanding of their mission as well as to be able to effectively match the voice and tone of previously published content. Gain familiarity with the site and visit previous blog posts with the intention of being able to include them as high authority internal links. After all, if your client is not an authority in their field, they have bigger issues than just needing quality content. Internal links are also viewed favorably by web crawlers.
  • Media links. Supporting your content with current events, as reported by high powered media websites, is always an effective use of linking. Avoid sources that lean too heavily to one side of an issue or another and opt for links to straight forward reporting that supports the claims of your content or adds additional value in some meaningful way.

2. Filter Search Results

Pouring through thousands of Google search results can quickly lead a writer down the rabbit hole and create an efficiency nightmare. Using the filter bar at the top of the page allows filtering of location, time frame, and type of content in addition to a few custom search parameters.

blog research hacks

Many times, when writing blogs about current events, filtering for time frame will save having to sift through older sources. But, for pieces that discuss longitudinal topics or the history of a subject, do not be afraid to use older links. There is value in the long tail.

Google’s search algorithm now also includes RankBrain, which introduces a more holistic and intuitive way to deliver search results. In your personal life, this is great, but when you research various topics of disinterest to you in order to create well informed, convincing blogs, your cookies are stored.

This means that subsequent searches will consider those past, unrelated searches in an effort to figure out what you really want to discover. The best way to maximize your search and avoid wasting time entertaining results that are not helpful, delete your cookies between jobs.

3. Step Away from the Google

While Google is the most well known search engine, it is certainly not the only one. Bypassing google.com and researching with an alternative search engine that has the ability to pinpoint your blog topic more effectively is a welcome time saver. Here are a few examples:

  • RefSeek. An academic search engine for students and researchers, RefSeek allows for the option to search relevant books, encyclopedias, and journals. Google Scholar operates in the same way and will eliminate much of the fluff delivered by the general search engines.
  • DuckDuckGo. A superior search engine, DuckDuckGo does not track your searches, so there is no need to delete cookies between jobs to receive organic search results.
  • Ixquick. Also big on respecting privacy, eliminating the need to constantly delete cookies, Ixquick delivers results from multiple search engines at once.
  • University Libraries. If you are a recent grad, you likely still have your log in information for the university library consortium. If not, alumni may contact the library and, in most cases, receive remote log in information for accessing online journals and books. Much of the research for my most successful posts came from my university library, where free access to cost prohibitive journals catapults you one step ahead of your competition.

4. Circumvent Paywalls

If you have written a research based blog post for a client, you likely know how frustrating it is to be deep into your research and BLAM, you run headlong into a paywall. You can sit there at your laptop having an internal dialog about the merits of open access and the selfishness of the pay for access business model, or you can simply circumvent the paywall and finish up the blog post.

  • Google the headline. When you see your perfect and most precious article fade down the page to the dreaded subscription solicitation, copy the headline and paste it into the Google search bar and VOILA!– there is your article, subscription free.
  • Delete your cookies. Many subscriptions, especially local publications, track your cookies in order to solicit you for a subscription. Simply delete your cookies and you will be good to go for a while longer.
  • Go Incognito. To prevent the paywall overlords from knowing how many articles you have already viewed, use the handy “Incognito” mode on your search engine, or use a search engine that ensures privacy.

5. Create a Rainy Day Research Library

Career freelancers understand that the world of content that they will be hired to write is limitless and far reaching. One day we are discussing the five cutest dog breeds and the next day we are researching the latest in the implementation of tech within government agencies.

One way that I streamline my research and increase efficiency when I am writing about an unknown topic is to refer to my rainy day research library. Along the way, I serendipitously discover easy to use websites containing copious amounts of data that can be used as part of a fantastic blog post- just not this particular one.

In these cases, I store the link in my library for easy retrieval. I also use my personal research library to store sites that are frequently references for some of my regular clients. Having the ability to quickly access these sites without having to conduct a search saves valuable time and aggravation. A few easy-to-use tools for creating your own rainy day library are:

Although we love writing, earning a living is the ultimate goal and maximizing our time, which is our most valuable resource, is essential. Apply these research hacks and stop  pouring unnecessary time into research.

Have you used any of these research hacks?

Have you developed any tricks of your own?

If so, share them in the comments and let’s all become more effective and profitable writers.


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A graduate of The George Washington University with both a BA and Masters in Publishing, Samantha Spears specializes in business and marketing content development, but is proficient in both writing and editing for many industries. An entrepreneur herself, Samantha guarantees that she will treat your project like her own.

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