If your business’ SEO strategy consists of discovering and including a few keyword targets, you could be missing out on opportunities to increase your clientele and expand your business.
At MyCity Social, we know that digital marketing is a machine made of many cogs and that keeping track of every little detail can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Providing SEO services Tampa business owners trust means that we know first-hand that a focused digital marketing strategy is a powerful way to increase brand awareness and drive up sales.
As a competitive and cutting-edge agency, we like to stay on top of everything SEO. If your SEO strategy has not changed much in the last few years, you might not be making the best use of Google’s search engine software.
Google’s engineering team has spent the last several years focusing on natural language processing (NLP) to develop a fuller understanding of page contents and how they might interrelate. Also, neural matching software has made synonyms easier to decipher, and BERT computes the once indomitable prepositions.
What does this mean? Once upon a time, Google users had to phrase their searches in terms the computer could best understand. Now, Google is much better at understanding how people naturally talk and ask questions.
For content creators, this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Most notably, using only a few keyword targets is now considered outdated. To take full advantage of Google’s sophisticated processing capabilities, the best SEO strategy now involves keyword clusters.
Understanding Keyword Clusters
If I am looking to buy a case for my new laptop, what words would I type into Google? Do you think that you would use the exact words that I would use? Would a 60-year-old man use the same word combination as his 15-year-old granddaughter? Probably not.
The fact that different people might use different groups of words to refer to the same set of items is essentially what word clustering is all about. Instead of identifying single keywords, clusters are keyword groups that have the same semantic meaning.
While “computer case,” “hard computer case,” and “plastic computer case” represent different keyword phrases, they all indicate a searcher who’s looking to purchase a computer case. If your brand sells plastic computer cases, but you only rank the first keyword, then you will end up limiting your market share.
A better strategy would be to rank for the primary keyword and longtail variants and the related phrases. We see rankings improve 10-20x using this strategy shift, with significant upticks in site traffic closely following.
Creating Keyword And Topic Clusters
Like everything in business, shifting towards a clustering strategy is not a quick-and-easy fix. It is a time and resource investment that requires keyword research, content creation, and dedicated time and attention.
However, the return on investment is excellent. Folding topic clusters into your website will create a more user-friendly and Google-friendly experience.
Here is a step-by-step outline of keyword and topic clustering to give you a better idea of how a content strategy might be updated.
Step 1 – Start with a Keyword List
The clustering approach begins in the same way single keyword research does – you just have to do more of it.
First, identify the primary keyword your website should rank, then figure out possible variations. Try to be creative and consider all the possible phrases a potential searcher might use. Include longtail phrases and subtopics.
Consider competitor’s keyword rankings. Use software to find questions, subtopics, autocompletes, or related keywords you might have missed.
Make sure to keep all of your research neatly organized, preferably on some kind of spreadsheet. Include information such as search volume, cost-per-click, and organic difficulty in keyword metrics. This spreadsheet will help you prioritize your keywords’ economic value, giving you an idea of which keywords will be the core of the cluster.
Ideally, you will select the keywords that bring the right traffic to your website. The point of clustering is to increase your chances of connecting with people interested in the products or services your business offers.
Step 2 – Divide Keywords into Categories
Keeping in mind the ultimate goal of finding and connecting with potential customers, look over your keyword list and see if any patterns start to jump out at you. Are words or phrases appearing several times? Are you noticing themes or synonyms in subtopics? Such patterns could represent functional clusters or groups.
Semantic relevance and search volume are two prime criteria you will want to consider when segmenting keywords into clusters. Semantic relevance refers to clusters with the same search intent. Search volume considers conversion potential or their economic value (CPCs specifically).
Should you include keywords with greater organic difficulty? Maybe? It depends on your website’s authority and backlink profile. More established websites can typically include these keywords. Newer websites might find higher difficulty keywords hurt their rankings.
Step 3 – Create and Optimize Content in Pillar Pages
Your newly created clusters should provide insight into your website’s content creation goals because each selected cluster represents a core topic or “pillar page.” To execute your new strategy effectively, you will want to create new landing pages that target each new cluster.
Keyword and topic cluster pillar pages need to incorporate the best on-page SEO practices. Content optimization does exactly what it says. Focus on prioritizing the following areas to improve the ranking of pillar pages:
- Topical Depth: Create long-form articles that offer in-depth exploration of the topic.
- Information Architecture: Provide a clear structure with keyword phrases included in h2s and h3s.
- Page Experience: Embed multimedia experiences such as videos, carousels, and jump links.
Step 4 – Publish Blog Content to Reinforce Clusters
To fully capitalize on clusters, build out blog content to boost the pillar page’s ranking and increase authority. Blogs can answer questions, explore subtopics, and target longtail keyword phrases related to core keywords. Eventually, you will create “topic clusters,” which will play a central role in improving your website’s overall rank.
Blog content links back to the topic cluster’s pillar page, strengthening higher value keywords. The more products or areas of expertise your business has, the more build-out potential there is for your website.
Businesses with fewer products or services will, logically, have fewer potential clusters. Maximizing clusters by exploring keywords and topic areas can still help stimulate useful content creation, giving you an edge over your competition.
Cluster Creation Leads To Long-Term Benefits
Employing a more sophisticated SEO strategy requires a commitment of time and resources. How can you be sure it is worth the trouble? By now, you know that you need a website to do any serious business in the modern world. You also know that merely having a website is not enough. Your website needs to be discoverable and user-friendly to actively attract and retain clients.
Finding keywords and plugging them into your website used to be enough. Two things happened to change that. First, just as every business now has a website, every company currently employs some basic SEO strategies. If you want to maintain your edge, you have got to adapt.
Second, Google’s search software has vastly improved over the last few years. NLP and unmatched indexing have made it much more powerful, and it is now able to better get searchers to the information they are looking for. If you do not adapt, this improvement can hurt your business.
Adopting a clustering approach puts you back in control. Understanding what Google is looking for and how it searches and ranks allows you to create content that is easy for Google to find.
The benefits of adopting this updated SEO strategy include:
- Improved longtail keyword rankings
- Improved short-tail keyword rankings
- Increases in organic traffic
- Rapid SERP improvements
- Internal linking opportunities
- Increased authority and expertise in an industry niche
Unfortunately, this is not a short-term solution that will provide a quick-fix for lagging sales. You will need to think big about content and commit for the long term.
Large companies often employ dozens of people to handle these kinds of campaigns. Dedicated in-house marketing teams focus solely on providing the individual customer experience consumers have come to expect, making it difficult for smaller businesses to compete.
Although in-house marketing may be out of reach for many independently run businesses, it is possible to leverage local resources to amplify your digital footprint substantially. MyCity Social provides the SEO services Tampa businesses have trusted to bring their digital strategy into the 21st Century. Allow us to help you execute these changes, and your business will grow for years to come.
If you are ready to take your SEO strategy to the next level by incorporating keyword clusters, consider calling in MyCity Social. We offer SEO services Tampa area business owners have come to rely on, offering dedicated service through one-on-one relationships.
Unlike other SEO companies, we are a full-service digital marketing agency. We deliver a streamlined marketing experience in one place. We are proud to offer services that provide you with high-quality, expert advice that allows you the chance to optimize your efforts. We prioritize communication and transparency by giving regular detailed reports to give you a clear picture of how your business has grown. Finally, we use specialized software, giving you access to tools to fully maximize your online presence.
Watch your business grow with the help of digital experts who have access to the latest software and cutting-edge strategies available today. Contact us now!