Google has made significant adjustments to the way its crawlers comprehend how content responds to requests in the last few years.
More algorithm modifications, including advanced enhancements to natural language processing and machine learning models like BERT and MUM, have been made recently.
These enhancements help Google better understand how users search for topics, what kind of information they’re looking for to suit their query’s demands, and how different types of content on a site might best meet those needs.
The ultimate goal is to provide the greatest material for the user to improve their search experience.
With this in mind, focusing on establishing a subject structure that satisfies the demands of a user at various stages of the buyer’s journey, rather than just what keywords are utilized on a page, has never been more crucial.
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What Is the Difference Between Topics and Keywords?
A topic, in my opinion, is a more comprehensive approach to “keyword research.”
A subject is made up of a number of relevant terms and questions that can be found in various stages of the buyer’s journey.
The types of content you can develop around a given topic are somewhat determined by the vertical in which your site is located.
Some sites might need the following:
- Content that covers topics from the early stages of learning
- Content that expresses the company’s point of view on the subject
- It’s possible that their product offering will fix this issue
Smaller sites, particularly those run by local businesses, may only require a single piece of educational/early-funnel content that also links to material that details the services or products available to answer the problem or need the customer/user is experiencing.
Begin With a Plan
You will have a better idea of your demands if you look at the larger components of your offers and establish a top-level topic for that offering.
You can employ the typical keyword research technique once you’ve determined what your main topic focuses should be.
The primary catch is that you want to broaden your search beyond the main keyword to include more semantically relevant terms connected to the issue.
Examine the regions surrounding the topic that must be covered in order to meet the needs of the searcher. Consider what questions you may be asked about the subject and conduct research on those phrases.
If at all feasible, get out into the actual world and ask individuals in your target demographics what they could be looking for or what questions they might have about it.
Do A Competitive Analysis
Start looking into who ranks well in these spaces after you understand what content you need to do well for a topic.
If they’re already doing well in this area, it’s safe to assume they’re doing something well. There are exceptions to this rule, so keep an eye on the competitors in the market you’re pursuing.
Once I’ve discovered a competitor, I prefer to put their website through a tool to see how they’ve done for relevant terms over time.
This will provide me with some baseline information to establish whether these results are long-term or whether they are a recent jump, as well as whether it is even worthwhile to pursue them further at this time.
Examine how your competitors organize their material once you’ve figured out what they’re doing in the space you’re targeting.
Examine how they provide their material and how the site structure around that issue is set up. When working on your site, this information will serve as a starting point.
That being stated, do not plagiarize your competitor’s material. Use it as a starting point, but plagiarizing information can only cost you in the long run.
As corny as it may sound, you want to figure out what your competitors are doing well and then improve on it.
Think About Intentions
With the evolution of search engines throughout time, especially with Google’s latest deployment of BERT, it’s more vital than ever to understand the intent behind the queries you’re providing content for.
While there are numerous tools available in the SEO field to uncover themes and keywords, I’ve always found that searching for a query in an incognito window is one of the greatest methods to determine the intent behind it.
You might conduct a basic search for a single phrase and notice that the results include extra educational content related to the topic – similar to a “what is…” result.
This can help you figure out what content has to be developed (or changed) to meet the search’s requirements.
It’s critical to organize your material in a way that makes sense to crawlers and demonstrates that you’re an expert on a particular topic.
You should see more enhanced results around these terms if search engines recognize that you are providing more relevant material around a certain subject.
Using breadcrumbs to highlight the flow of your site is one of the best methods to establish this authority.
This not only serves as a second layer of navigation for people, but it also aids crawlers in figuring out how to navigate from point A to point B on your site.
Breadcrumbs can also allow you to update the structure of your site without changing the URLs, which can be extremely harmful to SEO.
Don’t forget to look at your top-performing competitors’ websites to see if you can learn anything from their site structure.
There’s no need to recreate the wheel, and you might learn something new about how to broaden your coverage of a subject as a result.
Because Google has incorporated more intelligent techniques to analyze and deliver information to match user queries, it’s critical to create a logical subject structure on your site to make this content easier to process.
This provides a compass for your content authors to use when writing.
Make sure your material fulfills the promise you made to the reader entirely and clearly. Avoid filler, jargon, and unnecessary words.
Keep in mind that quality trumps quantity!
It’s almost entirely about quality, but it’s also about discoverability. Make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases that people will type into Google to find solutions to their problems.
Then, make sure you’re keeping track of your own and your competitors’ performance. Set goals for yourself and continually seek to improve.
If you accomplish this, you should be able to start dominating your competitors with long-term results.