Take a Topic Centered Approach to Keyword Research

Abi Benincasa, Organic Search Specialist at Ontario SEO
Abi Benincasa
December 18, 2020
Topic Centered Approach to Keyword Research

The world of SEO is changing with a shift in focus from singular keywords to content topics. As the search engines utilize more advanced machine learning technologies, we as digital marketers are challenged to update our strategies and tactics.

Google has been working towards creating a better experience for the searcher, and as a result, is much better at ranking content that is user-friendly and directly relevant to the users’ query higher in the results. This means the search engine is more focused on the intent of the query rather than just the keywords in it.

Search Volume Does Not Always Equal Leads

The goal of a strong SEO strategy is not just increasing page ranking and website traffic, but also improving sales and leads. Sometimes the highest volume singular keywords do not have the best potential for conversion. By taking a topic centered approach to your keyword research you are better able to connect with customers across their entire consumer journey.

The Importance of Topic Clusters for Keyword Research

Google is getting smarter every day. We can see from the changing Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features such as “People also ask” and “Related Searches” that google is much better at determining how search terms are related to each other. Google is also better at predicting what a user may be looking for and showing related results; for example, if a user is interested in topic A they are likely also interested in topic B. When you apply a topic centered keyword research approach you can make sure you are visible for more queries your user may have.

It is all about showing your expertise!

Think about it, users are looking for answers online every day. People want answers from credible sources that are experts on the topic they have searched. Demonstrate your depth of expertise by creating high quality content that will answer your potential customers’ questions.  

How to Apply a Topic Centered Keyword Research Strategy

Now, I am not saying to neglect the traditional keyword approach to research. The core topics you are focused on will likely still be derived from those high volume, high commercial intent keywords, but don’t neglect the smaller volume related keywords either.

Identify the Topics You are Going to Focus On

The first step in developing an effective search-engine-optimized content strategy is selecting the topics you are going to focus on. These should be something that directly relates to your business and you know a lot about. Once you have your overarching topic you can dive deeper into a more traditional approach to keyword research

What are Users Searching for and What is Their Intent?

Making sure that you create content that matches the intent of the user’s search is imperative to improve the rate users click-through to your website.

Enter your content topic into a keyword research tool and see what comes up. Split these keywords out into categories based on the user’s intent; is the search transactional, informational, or navigational? Once you know the user’s intent you can plan what type of content is needed to satisfy this query.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget about other forms of media.

Be sure to enter the query you are interested in into Google and see what comes up. There is no point in creating a long form blog if the featured snippet is held by a short video clip.

Develop Content to Build Brand Authority

The more high-quality and user-friendly content you have related to your core topic the more authority you will demonstrate for that topic as a brand. Build your credibility by referencing factual data such as statistics or research results or providing client testimonials or user reviews. The more you can back up your claims with data, the more likely it is that people will trust what you are saying. This will increase user engagement with your website content.

Show what you know and make your brand stand out by demonstrating you are expert in your field. When it comes time for a user to make a purchase or request a quote you will be top of mind as a credible and knowledgeable source.

Make Your Brand Stand Out by Occupying the Spaces Your Competitors Are Not

It can be tempting to go after the high-volume and highly competitive keywords that all your competitors are also targeting, but lower volume keywords at times can have more transactional intent and less competition on the SERP. Search for the opportunities where your competitors are not showing up. If you notice that there is a less competition for some lower volume keywords, start building your content there to gain more visibility in a less competitive SERP.

Change the Way You Approach Keyword Research and Consider Topic Clusters

It is clear that if you want to keep up with the shifts in SEO you have to revamp your keyword research and how you approach your content strategy. Our team at Ontario SEO takes a topic centered approach to developing your SEO strategy so your website content drives more leads.

Let us help you become more visible on the SERP with content that demonstrates you are an authority in your sector.