The SEO industry has matured from having a keyword-focused approach to a topic-driven model as search engines now rely more on semantic search.
Although bolded exact match keywords in titles and meta descriptions are factors that still decide which pages searcher click on, new research has shown that focusing on topics first and then picking keywords is a better SEO strategy for two main reasons:
• Identifying opportunities to create relevant searchable content
• Discussing new sub-topics and ranking new semantically related keywords based on them
In the SEO realm, topic-driven content marketing strategies improves the ranking of webpages and below are some guidelines.
1. SEO audit of current site
To uncover core service pages and top-level tutorial pages which are very close on the second page and improve their rankings by:
o Creating sub-topical content that links back to those pages
o Building back links to that page
o Expanding on existing content and making it more user-friendly
o Improving user engagement on those pages
Build Organic presence by:
a) Evaluating the keyword rank of core web pages. SEMrush is a tool that incorporates results into a spreadsheet.
b) Identifying relevant keywords that have a high volume and low competition to optimize existing content.
c) Building internal links and backlinks to improve Page Authority
d) Measuring organic presence using Google Search Console. If the monthly traffic is low and less clicks, then optimize your metadata and improve user signals around website content.
Gather User Metrics by:
a) Using Google Analytics to gather metric around:
Average time on pages
b) Ensuring that the website has content that matches user intent so that visitors find what they are looking for. This will ensure that they are engaged and will keep down bounce rate.
Establish Goals and an Editorial calendar by:
a) Tracking performance of content on a monthly and quarterly basis
b) Setting up goals and KPIs of each web page and leveraging content to:
Bring new traffic
Identify choice keyword terms
Rank additional semantically related keywords
Establish thought leadership
Build brand awareness
2. Build website Architecture for More Authority
The underlying theme is to use internal linking to improve the rank of core service pages by building out sub-topics around a central piece of content.
Sub-topics are long-tail variants of topically related keywords with high search volume. Keyword planner tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ubersuggest and competitor analysis tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, SpyFu are used to pick up the following metrics:
o Keyword gaps for choice terms
o Web pages with highest traffic
o Content with highest number of backlinks
o Content having positive social signals
Additionally, analyzing what people are searching for and what’s important for them as consumers by filtering search for phrases such as Why, When, How,Where,Tutorial,What,Guide etc. helps in relevant content creation.
Other tools such as BuzzSumo and Google Trends also provide search data around related queries with high search volumes.
BY using above tools and approaches topic ideas can be found that are relevant to core topic pages.
3. Use new content to improve existing rankings
Set up internal links between new content pages and core service pages and build out links to these pages. Promote them on social media pages. This will communicate the importance of these pages to search engines.
A topic driven approach is a better strategy to improve website hierarchy than a keyword driven approach.