SEO Strategy in 2018 using Topic Clusters
A coherent SEO strategy includes organizing a website by topic. Doing this actually helps Google to figure out what a user is trying to do when they perform a search and match it to the correct page on your website. In order to make your pages more efficient, you will want to organize your website around topics so that you can perform well when it comes to long-tail keywords related to the topics on each page.
If you look at 15dn we have distinct sections talking about different things and we blog a lot.
You will want to keep in mind that you do not want to form your webpage strictly around keywords. This is not going to help your page rank better. Most businesses do understand a little of how SEO works but they only understand the basics. You want to make sure you are going to come up with a strategy for your page that will allow you to grow your business, and focusing on the keywords alone is not the way to get that done.
Step 1: Build a Topic List
You will want to start out building your page by coming up with a list of topics that you will focus on for the next month. Initially, you should come up with a list of words or phrases that will relate to your business or product. After finding about ten of these words or phrases that you want to use, you will want to use Google’s Keyword Tool to see what they give you in terms of search volume. Use the variation of the word or phrase that works for your business.
You are linking the topics you have picked out to short-tail keywords, but you do not want to dedicate an individual post to any of these keywords. Since you are just starting out you are not going to rank highly for these general topics, but later you will see how best to use them.
You will want to utilize the search volume and your competitors’ sites to be able to pick out around ten short-tail words that you want to focus on for your page. You will then rank these words by importance to your business. The words that you have chosen are called “pillars” and will be a support for a “cluster” of longer keywords that you will have on your pages.
Step 2: Build a Long-Tail Keyword List from These Topics
Now we are going to get into how you can start to optimize the pages you have for certain keywords. For each “pillar” you have created, you should come up with five to ten long-tail keywords (use your keyword tool) that are more direct.
An example that you can look at is the topic of “SEO” itself. This is a very hard topic to get to rank high on its own. There is also the chance that you will be competing with your own results because you will be creating many different pages that are using the same keyword or phrase. Because of this, in this example, you would want to write different pages on optimizing images, performing keyword research, following an SEO strategy and other subtopics related to SEO.
An SEO model you might want to use is the “topic cluster”. You will come up with subtopics that you can use for blog posts or page ideas and these will explain one of the concepts in the larger topics you came up within the first step on this page. You will then put these words into the keyword research tool so that you can come up with long-tail keywords that you will base your blog post on.
The subtopics you have come up with are a cluster. Come up with ten pillar topics that should be able to support a cluster (which has up to ten subtopics). This is how “topic clusters” work and a search engine will use this to connect people with the subtopic they are looking for. The idea is that the more specific words you can come up with and the more direct a person’s search is the more likely you are to create leads because of it. This will also cause your page to rank higher.
Step 3: Create Pages for All Topics
When you are trying to get your page to rank higher, it can seem impossible if you only focus on trying to get a page to rank because of the keywords you use. You want to take the ten pillar topics you listed in step one, use these as a type of outline, and make a webpage for each one. You will utilize the long-tail keywords you listed in step two on each cluster. The pillar page is almost like a table of contents for your reader knowing that you will elaborate more on a given topic in your blog posts later on the page.
Your keyword list will help you to figure out how many pillar pages you need to have. You want these pages to line up with the different physical locations or products of your business. This will help so that your potential customers can find your page no matter the keyword they use. Each page you create needs to have relevant content and links to your page so that users will have a better experience.
Step 4: Begin Blogging
Blogging is a great way to rank your page and get your customers engaged. This is a great way to start showing up on Google and elaborate on different subtopics that you have decided to focus on.
Once you have published your post you will want to link into it from the pillar page. Find the part of the pillar page that you first start talking about the subtopic and link it at this point in the page. By doing this, you are showing Google that there is a link between the topic and the long-tail keyword.
You will want to link this post to the topic pillar page. You can use a tag in your content management system or just a link in the article itself.
Do not include the long-tail keyword over three times in the entire page. This can cause a red flag on your page because you will be seen as “keyword stuffing” and can actually drop your ranking.
Step 5: Blog Constantly, I mean it!
You do not have to have a blog that directly relates to only one certain topic. You might want to make it so that you have blogs that are about topics that touch on some of what your customer might think is important. This will give you some weight in Google’s eyes and they might actually pay more attention to your domain because of what you are adding to it.
You want to make sure you are trying to blog once or twice a week at least. Not only will this give you more pull in terms of search engines but it will also keep your readers coming back for more. You want to make sure you are using keywords and that you are writing about the things that interest your audience in the first place.
You need to keep in my mind that if you are going to have great content you have to be in tune with what your audience really wants out of a blog. You want to answer all questions they might have. You want to make sure you are very involved with what your audience needs and wants from you so that they will continue to come to you for the services you offer them.
If you have long-form content on your blog that can be a bit boring you will want to find a way that will keep your audience engaged. A suggestion that you might try is micro-management of your SEO content. This is simply the idea of incorporating different engaging elements into your blog content so that your readers will continue to click on your page and engage with it. To be able to really know your audience you could actually test out which methods will work and which ones will not when it comes to keeping them engaged and scrolling through your blog.
Just remember that not every topic you write about will be of equal importance to you or the reader. You will want to start out by making a list of all of the pages you want to get up and running. After creating this list, you will want to make sure you put them into some type of order so that you can prioritize the most important ones and tackle building those pages first. To make sure you are able to achieve the goals you want for your company you need to make sure that this list is regularly updated.
Another idea that you want to think about when making your page is to compare your page to your competitor’s page if theirs is performing better. You want to make sure that you are seeing what works for others so that you can come up with your own, unique ideas for your business. You want to find out what other businesses are doing and find your own way to make it better. This will help you to stay ahead of the curve.
Much as we want to push for long-form content, a massive wall of text can be a big turnoff for the reader. As Google and other search engines monitor user engagement, we want to be able to keep a reader interested all of the way through or risk looking like we are not the right answer for their query.
A common strategy is to work on micro-engagement. If you have a 3000-word page, you will need to break it up into different sections and keep each of them engaging. You do not want to lose the reader at any point to boredom.
Simple ways to break up the content include numbered lists, bulleted lists, and relevant images. You can add in funny images that explain the dry content in a more fun way, or to cement your company’s brand. For example, is your company’s brand youth-oriented and in touch with all of the latest trends and memes, or is it more serious and straightforward? Always be aware of whether your content fits the brand.
Video is a big way to keep people’s attention. Explaining the content in a video “face to face” can be very powerful, or showing a product in action can really help engage the visitor. You do not necessarily need to create the content yourself if you can include professional content created on YouTube.
Infographics are great for boiling down the most important statistics from an article and showing them to the reader in a way that is instantly understandable. They can add weight to the message by ‘proving’ what is being said is true. They work extremely well for micro-engagement and often prove to be great linkbait. People will share great infographics with their friends and colleagues on social media and beyond, so ensure your company name and/or product is included in the image somewhere.
If you can, consider interactive infographics. For example, you could encourage the user to scroll through dates to show different values for those dates on a graph. Other similar calculators can have a powerful effect. For example, a loan repayment calculator could ask for the preferred loan amount and return a projected monthly repayment. Such calculators can get the visitor to begin visualizing themselves using your product or service, and cross a psychological barrier where instead of just reading your content passively they are engaging with your company. Of course, it is also a good way to stave off boredom.
Include thought-provoking questions. Include examples and stories that make the topic come to life. Ensure that everything is wrapped up in a visually appealing design that supports the message and shows your company is professional. Be acutely aware of the calls to action in your content – know what you want the reader to do after you have convinced them with your content and make it easy for them to do it. Don’t ask them to do anything incongruent with the content they’ve read – the call to action should make sense to them based on the informative, engaging, interesting content that they’ve been reading through.
Step 6: Start Link Building
The Topic Cluster model is definitely the way you want to go this year with SEO but it does not need to be used in isolation to get your site content ranked higher. The first steps above talk about on-page SEO strategies but link building is the main one for off-page SEO.
Link building is when you attract inbound links or back-links to your site from another place on the web. Generally, the more authority the link that you are attaching your page to has, the more it will affect where your page ranks.
Come up with as many ways as you can to get other pages to want to link to your page. An idea for this is to share your link with some local businesses and have them share their link with you in exchange. Try writing a few blog posts that you can share on some of the major social media websites or maybe even ask other bloggers if you can guest blog on their page and include a link to your page. A final idea might be to use your blog and post some articles that are related to the news and you might get a link from influencers in the industry.
Step 7: Keep Up to Date on Changing Practices
One of the main things you want to do for your blog is to stay current on trends and practices that are working. This is because, like everything else, search engine space changes all the time.
Step 8: Measure Your Success
SEO is a very involved process and can take a lot of your time. You will want to be able to check on your site and see how it is doing and there is a ton of different ways that you can do this. You can check by the day, by the week, or by the month to see how successful your page really is. You will want to find a tool that can help you keep track of how well your page is doing when it comes to the traffic you are getting based on the long-tail keyword that your pages are going to be targeting.
You will want to use some kind of analytics page (even just Excel) to help to keep track of how much traffic your page is getting and you can keep track of keywords, inbound links, indexed pages, ROI, leads, and ranking search engine results pages to give you an idea of where you might have opportunities to see the success of your page.
With this solid plan in place, your website traffic and sales will be sure to continue to build and grow.