How To Dominate SERPs By Focusing On Topics Instead Of Keywords

Over the years, Google has made several changes to the way its crawlers understand how content answers questions.

Recently, those changes have included more algorithmic updates which include sophisticated enhancements For natural language processing and machine learning models such as BERT and MUM.

These updates help Google better understand how people are searching for topics and what kind of material The user is actually looking to meet the needs of their query, then how can the pieces of content on a site match those needs.

The ultimate goal is to provide the user with the best possible content to enhance their search experience.

With this in mind, it is now even more important to focus on creating a theme structure that addresses the needs of a user at different stages of the buyer journey, rather than the keywords being used on a page.

How are topics different from keywords?

You may be asking yourself at this point what is the difference between a topic and a keyword, especially considering that I just mentioned that keywords are still an important part of the SEO puzzle.

In my way of thinking, there is a more holistic approach to “keyword research” a topic.

A topic can be made up of many relevant words and questions that may come from different areas of buyer’s journey,

The type of content you can create around a given topic depends on the vertical of your site.

Some sites will require:

  • The material covering the initial journey learns the topic.
  • Materials on the point of view of business on the topic.
  • Probably their product offering that solves this problem.

Smaller sites, especially local businesses, may only need one piece of educational/early-funnel content that also points to content that outlines the services or products offered to solve the problem. or may be faced by the customer/user.

1. Start With a Strategy

The most important thing you can do for your site when building your site or rethinking its structure is to take a step back and strategize the topics you need to focus on.

By looking at the broader aspects of your offerings and identifying a top-notch theme for that offering, you will have a better understanding of your needs.

After you have an idea of ​​what your main topic should be, you can follow the standard keyword research process.

The main catch is that you want to expand that research to include more meaningfully relevant words related to the topic, not just the main keywords.

Take a look at the areas around the topic that need to be covered to meet the different needs of the searcher. Ask yourself what questions might be asked in relation to the topic and research those terms.

If possible, don’t be afraid to get into the real world and ask people in your target demographic what they might be looking for or what related questions they might have.

2. Research Your Competitors

Once you understand what content you need for a topic to perform well, start looking at who ranks well in these places.

If they are already doing well in this area, it would be safe to say that they are doing something right. There are exceptions to this, so be sure to continue to monitor the competition in the location you’re targeting.

Once a competitor is identified, I like to run their site through a tool to see how they have performed for relevant terms over an extended period of time.

This will give me some base information on whether these results are permanent or if this is a recent jump to determine if it’s worth researching them further at this point.

Once you understand what your actual competitors are doing in the space you’re targeting, take a look at how they structure their content.

See how they are distributing their content and what the site structure looks like around that topic. This information will give you a basic blueprint as you work on your site.

Now, with that being said, don’t copy your competitors’ content. Use this as a guide, but plagiarized content will do nothing but hurt you in the end.

As cliche as it may sound, you want to identify what your competitors are doing well and then do it better.

3. Consider the Intent

As search engines have evolved over the years, especially with the recent rollout of bert By Google, it’s important to understand intention behind questions You are creating content for the target.

While there are many tools in the SEO world to identify topics and keywords, I have always found one of the best ways to identify the intent behind a query is to simply search it in an incognito window.

You yourself may be surprised.

You can search for something as simple as a single-word query and see if the results are returning more educational material around the word – like “what is…” results.

This will help you determine what content needs to be created (or reworked) to meet the needs of the search.

4. Don’t Forget the Site Structure

Creating content around a topic isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.

It is important to organize your content in a way that is understandable to the crawler and shows that you are an authority on a given topic.

If search engines see that you are creating more relevant content around a given topic, you should see much better results around these terms.

One of the best ways to demonstrate this authority is to use breadcrumbs To show the flow of your site.

Not only does it act as a second layer of navigation for users, but it also helps crawlers understand how to get from point A to point B of your site.

Breadcrumbs can also help you change the structure of your site without changing the URL, which can be incredibly dangerous for SEO.

Don’t forget to take a look at your competitors who are performing well to see if there is any insight you can gain from their site structure.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and you may find some more information on how to expand your coverage of a topic in the process.

5. Time to Dominate

As Google has implemented more intelligent methods of processing and returning content to match user queries, it is important to create a logical topical structure on your site to make it easy to process this content.

It gives your content creators a north star to guide their writing efforts.

Make sure your content fully and clearly responds to the promise you make to the reader. Avoid fluff, jargon and meaningless words.

Remember, it’s about quality over quantity!

Well, it’s almost all about quality – it’s also about discoverability. Make sure you are using keywords and phrases that searchers will use to find solutions to problems they are experiencing.

Then, make sure you’re tracking your and your competitors’ performance. Set benchmarks and always strive to be better.

Do this, and you should start dominating your competition with lasting results.

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