In this quick guide, I’m going to help you to level up your SEO game by sharing my process of doing keyword research, turning it into topical maps, and becoming a topical authority in your niche.
Unfortunately, lots of marketing people have a hard time trying to implement this strategy, simply because they don’t know where to begin, what process to follow, and which tools to use.
Other reasons preventing startup marketers and SEOs from creating effective topical maps include:
- Not understanding the importance of topical authority.
- Struggling with strategic keyword research and relevancy.
- Inability to create high-quality content that resonates with the audience.
- Focusing on short-term results instead of long-term SEO strategy.
Don’t worry! I’m going to show you how to overcome all these obstacles and create an SEO strategy that actually brings results.
Step 1: Conduct thorough keyword research and identify your niche topics
Start by identifying the main topics and subtopics within your niche – talk to your sales and support team, the founders, and other team members to map these out.
Ask the questions:
- what do we offer (in 3-4 words)?
- what product category do we fall under with our direct competitors?
- how are our customers describing our product in their own words?
Then use advanced SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush (my personal favorite), or Moz to uncover relevant related keywords and evaluate their search volume, competition, and user intent. Add them to your list.
Analyzing your competitor’s content strategy can also provide valuable insights into potential gaps you can address. Find the main terms with commercial intent that your direct competitors are ranking for and add the relevant ones to your list. Then use the “Keyword Cap” feature (if you’re using SEMrush) to find even more keywords.
If you’re out of ideas, you can give Answerthepublic.com a go as well and see if some new keywords turn up that you’ve missed so far.
Step 2: Organize the researched keywords into topic clusters
Now, it’s time to create topical maps by grouping keywords into coherent topic clusters. You can do it manually (which involves a lot of guesswork) or use tools that automate the process for you.
First, you need to do keyword clustering – it’s a process of identifying which keywords are so similar that they should be covered in one content piece vs have a separate article written about them. Use tools like Keywordinsights.ai, Contentgecko (or similar) to automate the whole process.
Begin creating topical maps based on your keyword list by selecting one primary keyword as the central topic – also known as “pillar content.” Then, group related long-tail keywords around the main topic as “cluster content.” Ensure each cluster content connects to the central topic and revolves around a specific subtopic.
This helps search engines recognize your website’s topical authority, ultimately improving rankings and visibility.
Step 3: Create high-quality content around your topic clusters and interlink them
With your topic clusters in place, you can now focus on creating high-quality content that appeals (matches the search intent and provides value) to your target audience.
Make sure your pillar content is comprehensive and covers the main topic in depth. Then, create cluster content that provides detailed insights into the subtopics, and link each cluster content back to the pillar content, as well as interlinking relevant cluster pieces.
Step 4: Continuously monitor, update, and expand your topical maps
SEO isn’t a one-time task; it requires continuous effort and adaptation. Keep an eye on your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics and Search Console. Identify which topics and pieces of content are driving traffic and engaging users and which need improvement.
Stay up-to-date with industry changes, trending topics, and emerging keywords, and update your topical maps accordingly. Revise and refresh outdated content or expand topic clusters by adding new, relevant subtopics as your website grows and your audience evolves.
By following these steps and focusing on creating topical maps, you’ll establish your website as an authoritative, comprehensive resource within your niche. This approach will not only help you rank higher in search engine results, but it will also engage and satisfy your audience, fostering trust and loyalty. In turn, this will lead to increased organic traffic, better user engagement, and higher conversion rates – setting your startup up for long-term success.
Remember, patience and consistency are key in building and maintaining a solid SEO strategy. By focusing on developing robust topical maps, you’ll create a strong foundation for your website and business to thrive in the competitive online landscape. So go ahead, copy my playbook, and unlock the rewards of a well-executed SEO strategy!