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Topic Modeling: The Importance of Connecting Keywords

Focus content around a specific keyword or longtail keyword, while a critical aspect of any online marketing campaign, shouldn’t be your sole focus. In fact, the structure and model of your posts and content are just as important as the keywords you utilize. There are four key aspects of SEO:

  • Content (topic modeling)
  • Technical SEO (schema)
  • On-page (title/metadata) 
  • Off-page (link-building)

Each of these factors is important in creating content that generates leads and conversions. Today we're going to cover the importance of topic modeling and how you can enforce a specific topic by becoming the authority with strong pillar content.

Evolution of Search

Google isn’t forcing these changes on SEO, instead, it is adapting to evolving consumer behavior. People search keywords to find in-depth information about a specific topic. In response, Google began altering its algorithms to reward content that addresses topics accurately and in great depth. Because of this, topic modeling became one of the strongest strategies for SEO. 

Topic Modeling

Topic modeling refers to writing on a specific topic in depth, and developing related content around it. Ten years ago, you could get away with merely mashing as many keywords as possible into your web pages and content, and that would be enough. However, Google changed its algorithms to emphasize topics over keywords (although keywords still remain as an integral part of SEO).

Currently, Google algorithms, reward content that is relational and builds on accurate pieces of conten that go in-depth on a specific topic. The trick to using this algorithm is to link your internal content to pillar pages to illustrate the semantic relationship between the topics you're referring to. The cluster set-up of your topics emphasizes to Google that your content is an authority and its accordingly rewarded with higher ranks in search.

Cluster model.png


Clusters are topics that are related to the keyword that you want your page to rank for.

Let's say you wanted to rank for "Property Management" - you would create content clusters around different topics relating to property management. The above image shows a good way of how a website should be structured to accurately reflect a strong use of content clusters. 

Eventually, you'll write several different topics that relate to property management, creating a wide web of different topics that all cover what you need to know about property management in depth. 

Developing Clusters

So, how do you develop these clusters? The key is to think about your content and online campaigns as a series of topics, not just keywords, that you want to develop. Your content should relate to one another and answer questions that support one another.

Eventually, you will develop your content around a series of topics – keeping all your content organized for the algorithms to crawl through and for users to visit. Not only is simpler for Google to crawl your website and see the amount of content that you have in-depth, but it's also easier for your users to find what they need. Check out this example from HubSpot on the best way to organize content clusters on your website:

New structure.png

The pillar page, the one to which all the related content is linked, is then identified by the Google algorithms as an authority on the topic. Pages that are recognized as authorities received higher rankings in search.

Preventing Cannibalizing Content

A standard issue that confronts websites that don’t adjust to the cluster-format is the cannibalization of their content. For instance, if you don’t organize your content, then you will eventually start creating pages that compete with your other pages. You compete with yourself to secure the attention of users and the algorithms.

If your website hasn’t undergone this architectural change, then, yes, it will be a tough move. However, once completed, your website will be better organized, you will streamline the development of content, and you will maximize the dollars you spend on SEO.  You will occupy a space which ensures a steady stream of leads and conversions, providing your company with a solid foundation on which to build.

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About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Samantha is the COO and co-founder of 41 Orange, inc, a marketing agency. She is also currently a member of the Board of Directors for San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Balboa Park’s resident classical ballet school since 1945. Hailing from the agency world, Sam has worked with Fortune 500 tech, financial, and consumer brands, including Intel, Petco and LPL Financial, to shape their online presence and reach their target audiences more effectively through social media and beyond. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, emphasis in public relations from San Diego State University.