If you've been marketing your business online for a few years now, you'll remember that search engine optimization was all about keyword density just a few years ago. While keywords are still important today, what seems to matter more are the topics themselves.
There's really two key reasons why search engine optimization has evolved to become more topic driven over keyword focused.
Search Engines Are Becoming Smarter
First of all, search engines are becoming smarter. We've constantly seen Google make enhancements to its search engine algorithm, and just about all of these updates have been made to improve the user experience. Because so much content in the passed was heavily keyword focused in an attempt to earn higher rankings, the credibility of keywords in rankings is not as high as it used to be.
The Way Searches Are Being Performed Is Changing
The second big way that we've seen search engine optimization evolve to become more topic driven is through the searcher. The way that people are performing searches is changing. For instance, both mobile and voice search is on the rise. As a result, the more recent algorithm updates that we've seen from Google give preference to natural language processing (hence the Hummingbird update). Therefore, because of the changing searcher, the most effective inbound marketers are now focused on creating content around longtail keyword topics versus just simple keywords themselves.
How to Create Topic Driven Content
Going forward in 2017, an effective way to improve your search engine optimization strategy is to focus on creating content surrounding a relevant topic.
For example, if you operate a dental practice, you may choose to make "dental health" your core topic. In the content marketing world, this is also referred to as the pillar topic. From that core topic, you'll stem several subtopics that relate to your core topic. So, in the instance of the dental practice, some subtopics could include "dental implants," "gum disease," and "dental care for children." These more specific subtopics will link back to your core topic and even in between other subtopics.
Taking this "cluster content" approach can be a very effective way to increase your company's visibility when ranking for a certain topic. It also can prove to be a powerful strategy to move traffic through your conversion funnel. Not only does this offer a positive user experience, but it also helps search engines determine what to rank your content for.
When you're creating content, it's important to remember that search engines aren't looking for your content--people are. If you focus on creating quality content that addresses pain points (topics) that your audience is dealing with and proposes solutions, you'll be much more effective with your search engine optimization strategy.