The TOP Framework: Prioritise Content That Drives Sales

Keyword research is getting easier. 

Combine Ahrefs and Keyword Insights and you can have hundreds of content options in a few hours. 

Now what? 

Should I create content with the highest search volume? 

Or how about the ones that have the lowest ‘difficulty? 

This is the situation I was in when building my own ecommerce brand. 

Hundreds of content opportunities, but what ones to choose? 

Here’s what I did…

How I grew my ecommerce brand by over 350% in 12 months

I didn’t just create randomly, I didn’t create the highest searched for keywords, instead, I created a framework to help me prioritise which content to create.

The framework helped me create the right content first, giving me the best opportunity to drive traffic and sales as efficiently as possible – we were limited on budget so we needed to make the right decision on content. 

Once I had my keywords, I clustered them with Keyword Insights and had a juicy list of over 100 content ideas.

So I looked at the following options… 

  • Traffic Opportunity
  • Opportunity to Rank
  • Potential Commercial Value

Or better known as the TOP Framework

The TOP Framework Overview

The TOP scoring model is a quick way to assign a numerical value to different content opportunities to prioritise them based on their relative value, using three parameters: Traffic Opportunity, Opportunity to Rank and Potential Commercial Value.

Each item being evaluated gets a ranking from one to five for each of the three values, those three numbers are multiplied, and the product is that item’s TOP Score.

Traffic Opportunity looks at the traffic levels that could be driven by the piece of content. Opportunity to Rank is the potential for the site to rank well for the specific keyword(s). Potential Commercial Value looks at how many potential sales could be made directly from the content.

For example, if Content Idea 1 has a Traffic Opportunity of 4, an Opportunity to rank of 3 and a Potential Commercial Value of 2, while Content Idea 2 has a Traffic Opportunity of 2, an Opportunity to Rank of 4 and a Potential Commercial Value of 5. The TOP Scores would be 24 for Content Idea 1 and 40 for Content Idea 2.

ContentTraffic OppOpp to RankPot. Commercial. ValueTOP SCORE
Content Idea 143224
Content Idea 224540

The scores can then be compared with a glance and the content idea with the highest score gets the top slot in the prioritisation hierarchy (which would be Content Two in our example). Despite having a much lower Traffic Opportunity, the Potential Commercial Value results in Content Idea 2 means it is a more viable content piece for the site.

The TOP Framework in Action 

I’ll run through the framework using a snapshot of my own keyword research. 

I was selling a cricket bat so that was the top-level keyword I put into Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.

I also added the plural ‘cricket bats’ to capture as much variety as possible.

Selecting the ‘Matching terms’ gives you every potential variation within Ahrefs keyword database.

Next up, filter the list.

I wanted to keep it broad but relevant so I removed brand names, products we weren’t going to sell, and random other keywords that weren’t relevant (like crossword clue). 

You can do this inside Ahrefs, or in the Excel export.

Now the real fun starts… 

Head over to Keyword Insights.

Start a new project, name it and set your targeting. 

Select Cluster and Context to find the best opportunities (add rank if you have a site).

I leave the advanced settings as they are, they know what they are doing.

Then upload your Ahrefs keyword export. 

They even have a cool duplicate detection feature so you don’t overpay.

Then generate your report.

Wait patiently, grab a coffee, and before you know it… 

You have: 

Keywords clustered into what keywords should be targeting a single page

There may be a few irrelevant clusters from missed brands to remove, if so, you can quickly remove these.

The final step as part of preparing the keyword research is to bring in the keyword difficulty metric from Ahrefs into the keyword cluster sheet

Traffic Opportunity

This gets scored simply by reviewing the total search volume of each cluster. 

Using the output of Keyword Insights I equally distributed the total search volume into five equal sections and assigned scores 1 to 5.

Opportunity to Rank

Next up, you need to determine how likely you are to rank for the target keywords.

This score utilises the keyword difficulty score, in this instance from Ahrefs. 

Now the score itself is by no means foolproof and has some major flaws. 

But for the purpose of the framework, we base the Opportunity to Rank off of a combination of what keywords the site currently ranks for and their keyword difficulty and use that as the benchmark.

So for us back in August 2021, we were not ranking for many keywords let alone high difficulty, so our threshold for the opportunity had to be low. 

Looking at our content list we sorted it by keyword difficulty and assigned the score based on how we felt we could rank based on what we were ranking for.

Potential Commercial Value

The final part is more subjective and likely needs to be conducted by someone with a strong understanding of the business, its products and its target audience. 

In our example you can see ‘how to hold a cricket bat’ is extremely unlikely to ever result in a direct sale, the term itself is more likely searched by someone who already has a cricket bat. 

On the other hand, our bat was pre-knocked in – making ‘pre knocked cricket bats’ a fantastic opportunity. 

With a good understanding of the market, we assigned the scores based on how likely someone would be to convert after searching for those keywords.

The TOP Scores.

So here is how it turned out with the scores…

Each score is unique to the website that it is being created for depending on the batch of content ideas. 

However, if any new content idea was found for the site, then it should easily be able to be added in and the list reprioritised. 

We used this list to focus our efforts on creating content that would drive sales.

The Results 

We have grown the brand to over £10k/month from organic search using this framework to drive our content creation process.

To highlight a few pieces of content we created and their sales… 

We don’t rank #1 yet for many of these keywords, although we do have strong keyword coverage across the board. 

We now have an additional 30+ content pieces lined up for our new product ranges coming out to further scale this opportunity.

Now what? 

The process is not designed to be perfect, instead, it is designed to make the decision-making process easier and quicker.

You can then spend less time planning, and more time creating and promoting your content to get it ranking faster and drive sales.

Grab the free template here (no email required).

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