Discover Keywords That Your Competitors Can’t Think Of

Tangential SEO allows you to attract more people to your website by creating content that is interesting and useful for them but not directly related to your business. 

Using this strategy, you can rank for keywords that your competitors are ignoring and reach a wider audience.

In this guide, I’ll explain everything there is to know about tangential SEO. Specifically, I’ll address the following:

  • What is tangential SEO
  • How to find tangential keywords
  • How to create an effective tangential content strategy

Let’s get started, shall we?

What is Tangential SEO?

Tangential SEO is a strategy that involves creating content around keywords that are not directly related to what you sell but still relevant to your audience.

For example, let’s say you’re selling productivity software

The conventional SEO practice would be to focus on creating content around keywords like “time tracking”, “task management”, “performance review,” and so on. 

These are the topics that are directly related to what you’re selling.

However, with tangential SEO, you can go broad and create content around topics like “knowledge management and transfer”, “how to become a virtual assistant”, and more. 

Benefits of Tangential SEO to Your Blog and Business

You might think that tangential content is a waste of time since it’s not directly related to your products or services. Meaning, it doesn’t help you convert your readers into customers.`

However, looking beyond tangential content can yield huge benefits for your brand. In this section, I’ll explain in detail how your business content marketing can benefit from tangential SEO. 

1: Tangential SEO Can Help You Get Press Coverage

You know how awesome it is when your brand gets featured in big publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., and more, right?

  • It boosts your authority and trust
  • It gives your brand global exposure
  • It increases your traffic

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But there’s only one problem.

Getting a journalist to feature your brand is super hard.

Journalists want newsworthy and original content.

You can’t just write about the same topics that your competitors have covered to death and expect to get featured.

You need something different. Something fresh. Something data-driven.

Enter tangential SEO. 

It allows you to create content relevant to your industry but explores trends, statistics, or research that your competitors haven’t touched. 

For example:

Let’s say you’re a furniture company. Writing about topics like:

  • Best patio furniture
  • Best interior design practices

It is not going to get you any press coverage. 

There are thousands of websites in your niche writing about the same topics.

But what if you write a masterpiece such as:

  • We analyzed over 13000 home office layouts and here’s what we learned about productivity
  • The rise of upcycling and DIY furniture: creativity and sustainability on a budget

These are unique tangential content ideas that your competitors are unlikely to cover. 

And they are more likely to catch the eye of a journalist and get you featured in publications.

2: Boost Brand Awareness

Unlike topical content, where you publish content closely related to what you sell, in tangential SEO, you’ll be targeting a wider audience. 

This allows you to expand your brand beyond what you sell.

Back to the “furniture company” analogy:

Using conventional SEO, you’ll be targeting topics related to what you sell. Such as:

  • Apartment decorating tips
  • Leather couch
  • Modern couches

While this approach attracts users interested in what you sell, it confines your reach to this segment of your audience.

On the other hand, tangential SEO broadens your reach by addressing more expansive subjects, drawing in new audiences previously untapped by your brand and competitors.

For example, consider the following topics:

  • Upcycling furniture projects
  • Sustainable home decorating

Creating content around them will resonate with eco-conscious audiences actively looking for sustainable options for their homes.

They might not have searched for “modern couches,” but your tangential content positions your brand as environmentally responsible, potentially influencing their furniture choices later.

Tangential content is more likely to earn more backlinks due to its originality, uniqueness, and wide appeal.

For example, this “page speed statistic” piece from Backlinko has generated over 2.2k backlinks. 

From reputable websites like HubSpot and Semrush.

This is an insane amount of backlinks that are hard to pull with topical content.

4: Boost Organic Traffic

The fact is—directly related keywords are super competitive. 

They attract a swarm of competitors, each vying for the top spot in search results. This makes it hard for a new website to rank for them.

A good example:

If you Google a keyword like “marketing automation software”, you’ll find high-authority websites like HubSpot, Leadfeeder, and PC Magazine ranking for that keyword.

Running the keyword through Semrush shows that it has a keyword difficulty of 69—indicating how competitive it is.

If you’re a new business with less authority, it can be hard to dethrone these websites.

But with Tangential SEO, you can explore keywords that are easier to rank since most of your competitors are not targeting them.

5: It Can Reduce the Risk of Content Fatigue

Constantly circling the same topics can impede innovation and fresh ideas. Your content becomes predictable and less compelling.

Tangential content brings a new blend into your content that’ll help evoke emotions.

It lets you break free from the echo chamber of your core keywords. It allows you to delve into fresh thematic areas that resonate with your audience on a broader level. 

How to Find Tangential SEO Opportunities

Since the concept of tangential SEO is to find keywords your competitors can’t think of, the most challenging part, of course, is to get those keywords. 

Typical keyword

research tools usually don’t have data for these types of keywords.

So how do you find them? 

1: Mind Mapping

One of the best ways to find tangential SEO opportunities is through mind mapping

It’s all about brainstorming different topics that are connected to your product and your audience. 

You can think of it as zooming out from your core business topics and finding new angles.

Here’s how it works:

You start with your core product and then branch out into main topics related to interests, activities, and problems your product is solving.  And as you branch out, you’ll notice unexpected connections of topics that are not related to what you sell but still relevant to your audience. 

Let me show an example.

Assume you have a company making hiking boots:

So your product is “hiking boots” which also makes it your seed keyword. 

In that case, you can put it at the center of your mind map. 

From there, you can begin your first phase of branching out to the key aspects of your shoes. 

In this case, you can branch into main themes: target audience, boot features, benefits, and maybe marketing channels.

As you branch out, you can see some topics that are not directly about the product but still matter to your audience.

For instance, “style” is not the main reason people buy hiking boots, but it’s still important for some customers who care about how they look.

In that case, it’s unexpected to see a tangential keyword, “women’s fashion trends in hiking footwear” for a hiking boot company. 

It’s not directly related to what you sell but relevant to a growing segment of the outdoor footwear market with distinct fashion sensibilities. 

Considering that, you can partner with female outdoor influencers, stylists, or fashion brands to create compelling content around women’s hiking footwear trends. 

You can collect data and interview them for more detailed insights. 

This fresh perspective and original research hold higher value for journalists and audiences, making your story compelling, which can boost brand awareness. 

And oh! This is a topic that most of your competitors are likely not to think about.

2: Using AI to Find Tangential Keywords

Using mind mapping to find tangential keywords can be effective but time-consuming. Brainstorming all the topics, especially if you’re a solo marketer can take you a ton of time. 

But there’s a better way you can find tangential keywords—using AI. 

You can generate a good chunk of valuable tangential keywords with the right prompts in minutes. 

Let’s see how:

In this case, I’ll use Bard by Google. 

So, head over to the Bard interface.

The first step will be impersonation. This will help us establish the context of what we want Bard to do.

Take a look at this snippet from our prompt.

“ Assume you’re a senior content marketing specialist. You have impeccable skills in helping businesses craft a compelling content marketing strategy. You are well versed in SEO and are familiar with the concept of tangential SEO….”

Next, give the AI directions about your core business keywords:

“ …you want to help a company that sells mattresses find keywords that its competitors can’t find using tangential SEO…”

Proceed and give instructions:

“…I want you to generate a list of tangential keywords that you can use to create tangential content which will help boost brand awareness, earn backlinks, get press coverage, and get more organic traffic. Be very accurate with your choices and explain why the phrases make excellent tangential keywords…”

Now, put everything together.

And ta-dah!

You can try the same with Claude or ChatGPT.

3: Use Reddit to Find Tangential SEO Opportunities

Reddit is a gold mine for getting customer insights and also uncovering tangential SEO opportunities.

It allows you to “eavesdrop” on real customer conversations, about their rants, raves, and random musings. 

The reason users head to forums like Reddit is to get answers that they did not find on Google. They also want to get opinions from users with similar interests as they do, giving them a pool of ideas. 

The question is,  how do you find tangential content opportunities on Reddit?

Head over to Reddit and search for the keyword that best describes your business. I

In this case, let’s assume you own an ad revenue optimization platform to help publishers boost their revenue. 

In that case, a keyword that describes the business is “ad network”. 

After that, click on one of the recent Reddit threads. 

Now, jump into the comment section. Check out how users are talking about their preferences and dislikes regarding the current market out there. This is where we can scoop up practical insights on what’s buzzing.

For example, from one of the comments, we can collect some small nuggets of tangential keyword ideas. 

This allows us to develop tangential topic ideas such as:

  • Mistakes to avoid when setting up ad units and line items in Google Ad Manager
  • 5 Proven Strategies to Reduce Layout Shifts on Your Ad-Supported Websites.

How to Create Compelling Tangential Content

Finding tangential keywords is one thing; creating content that hooks your audience is a whole other challenge

Your content needs to be:

  • Original
  • Data-driven
  • Offer value

Given the broader focus, it’s easy to slip into vagueness.

So, how do you create compelling tangential content?

Writing data-driven content.

Journalists love data, and so are your readers and search engines.  

Data adds credibility, uniqueness, and insight to your content. Plus, it helps you create original stories that stand out.

In fact, Google’s latest search quality rater guidelines highlight uniqueness and originality as top considerations for page quality. 

But how do you write data-driven tangential content?


Teaming up with businesses in different sectors opens doors to datasets you wouldn’t have alone.

Imagine you’re a fitness app company creating content about workout trends. Partnering with a sports apparel brand can help you get data on popular styles or activities.

Combining this with your own app data on workout types and locations could reveal correlations between clothing choices and specific exercises in different regions. 

This data-driven insight can then be used to create compelling content like “Top Workouts for Runners in Each Region” or “Gear Up for Winter Fitness Trends.”

This collaboration not only delivers valuable information for your audience but also strengthens your brand image as a data-driven fitness expert and potentially opens doors to joint marketing initiatives with the apparel brand.

Tangential SEO: FAQ

What is tangential content?

Tangential content is information that’s not directly related to your main product or service but still resonates with your target audience. It explores areas adjacent to your core offering, attracting new audiences and building brand awareness. Think of it as building bridges to your core business through related interests.

What are examples of Tangential SEO ?

Michelin guides: The tire company publishes restaurant guides, connecting with their audience (car owners) through their passion for travel and good food.
 Red Bull: This energy drinks brand sponsors not only athletes but also artists, musicians, and filmmakers pushing boundaries. By aligning with pushing limits, Red Bull hooks a diverse audience into unconventional pursuits.

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