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Authority is based on our ability to assess how well you’ve covered a topic, how successful you’ve been in the past, and how well you’re doing with current production/publishing efforts. MarketMuse calculates two types of authority: Page Authority and Topic Authority.
Competitive Advantage
Competitive advantage reflects the impact your Topical Authority has on the Personalized Difficulty score. The greater your authority on a particular topic, the less difficult it is to rank.
Content Cluster
A group of pages on a common topic linked together, usually in the form of a pillar page and supporting pages. Also known as a topic cluster.
Content Score
MarketMuse Content Score is a proprietary measure of content comprehensiveness. The technology aims to identify the ideal set of concepts and topics that a Subject Matter Expert (SME) would include in comprehensive content for a particular topic. Then we take that analysis and build a standardized scoring methodology.
Cornerstone Content
Also known as the Pillar Page, it is defined as the most important page (topic-wise) of all pages within a Topic Cluster.
MarketMuse technology looks at your entire content inventory and we build out a universe of concepts and topics that are most important based on your existing inventory. Things that it should be about to fill in the gaps, along with competitive inventories. When we cross-reference those topics against your inventory we are able to evaluate how well you cover that topic. It shows the breadth of your content inventory against this particular topic, how often you cover that topic, and its related topics.
The currency used to make purchases in the Credit Marketplace.
Credit Marketplace
A place on the MarketMuse platform where you can purchase content and plans.
The Difficulty Score is a 1-100 metric that measures how difficult it is for a domain to rank for a particular topic. This is a fairly standard metric, used by many to assess the likelihood of ranking well in the search engine results pages (SERP).
When referring to a page, it means adding more content to the specific page. When speaking about clusters, it means adding more pages to the cluster.
Opportunity is a MarketMuse composite score that evaluates the urgency and overall likelihood of success in creating and optimizing content on a particular topic. This score is meant to reflect the standard process that most content strategists go through to prioritize opportunities.
Page Authority
Page Authority is calculated out of 100. The closer the number is to 100, the higher quality that page is in comparison to competitive pages in SERP.
Personalized Difficulty
Personalized difficulty is a score out of 100. It measures how hard it is for your domain to rank for a specific topic.

This score can also be thought of more practically. It highlights the investment you would likely need to make to have an impact. If the score is very high you may need to invest in a foundation-building effort. It could indicate that there is no recognized competitive advantage yet. If it’s in the middle ground, you may need to publish just a cluster or few dozen pages, if it is low, you may be able to improve your rankings with a single page.
Pillar Page
The most important page (topic-wise) of all pages within a topic cluster. Also known as cornerstone content.
MarketMuse Metric: Quality at the page level is the comprehensiveness of your best performing content item on a topic. MarketMuse Content Score – a representation of the comprehensiveness of the top-performing content for this topic.
A query occurs every time you enter a focus topic into a MarketMuse Application and press the Run button.
Related Topic
MarketMuse topic modeling tech identifies the most important concepts that a subject matter expert would include in comprehensive content about a topic. See Topic Modeling for SEO Explained for more details.
This is when MarketMuse technology builds out a universe of topics or a topic model. It’s trying to understand a concept in the manner that a subject matter expert would cover the topic. The degree of relevance indicates the importance of including these concepts in a piece of comprehensive content on that subject. It’s a quantitative measure of how important it is for those concepts to be included in such content.
Search Intent
The intention or what a user wants to accomplish by performing a specific search. Also known as user intent.
Search Volume
Search volume is the number of monthly searches for a topic in the Google search engine. We use data from Google and a number of other sources to build the most accurate representation of search volume. This figure is updated monthly. Search Volume is found in the Topic section of your inventory, embedded within the table and in the topic cards. Pair search volume with MarketMuse’s Opportunity Score, Authority Score, Difficulty Scores, and Topical Variants (topical breadth) to further build and refine your strategy.
Seasonality shows how a topic’s popularity changes during the course of a year. Search volumes are not the same every month. We are able to show the volume’s peaks and valleys to help you understand content needs related to the topic.
Topics are the main ideas that comprise and describe concepts. In terms of how topics are used in content writing, they are the subject and ideas that underlie a concept.
Topic Authority
To determine Topic Authority we take your amount of coverage on the topic, how comprehensive it is, whether you have stand-out expert-level content on the topic, how well it performs, the potential traffic one could receive if they are an authority on the topic and the relative competition to you. We use all that to predict the likelihood of success if you create, optimize, expand, and grow clusters of content on that topic and/or use that page as part of that strategy.
Topic Cluster
A group of pages on a common topic linked together, usually in the form of a pillar page and supporting pages. Also known as a content cluster.
Topic Universe
During the onboarding process you provide us with seed topics and named competitors. We go out and look at all the content that is covered and create a universe of the contained concepts. Then we cross-reference that against your inventory to build out the prioritization.
User Intent
The intention or what a user wants to accomplish by performing a specific search. Also known as search intent.
Variants are topics that represent ideas for integrating concepts into content. They use the topic as a substring of the variant. So by adding – prefixes, suffixes, and or preceding or trailing words variants are developed.

The topic and keyword variants that MarketMuse displays align the most important user intent profiles to common variant terms. The list of variants communicates the breadth of coverage the number of user intents; the most important user intent profiles and queries.

The topics give you the depth of coverage showing you how to cover it comprehensively. The variants indicate different types of users and intents.

Use the list of variants to determine the connection between the topic and the search term.

For example, a variant containing:
“what is” shows they are looking for awareness phase content.
“compared” indicates they are looking to evaluate
“pricing” or “prices” suggests they are looking to purchase
“Columbus” or “Atlanta” reveals local intent
– a brand like Microsoft or Nalgene demonstrates they are researching brands.

So it gives you the connection between the topic and the variant. They tell the story of what the user is looking for.
Word Count
The total number of words in the content item.