Why You Should Focus on Topics Instead of Just Keywords

For many years, SEO professionals have outlined the importance of keywords in content designed to attract search engines. To this day, this advice remains at the heart of a dense and often complicated portfolio of SEO recommendations – and the advice still remains true for the most part.

However, targeting search engines via content that only accounts for keywords and phrases isn’t the best approach. Increasingly, the use of topics in conjunction with keywords is helping produce better results for brands of all sizes. To illustrate the benefits of doing so, we’ll talk today about why focusing on both types is vital for long-term SEO success.

Topics More Effectively Convey Intent

Keywords have long provided brands with an ability to convey meaning to search engines, but algorithms and methods of analyzing billions of pages of content have changed with time. Keywords still have inherent value – this cannot be overstated – but there are many situations where keywords and phrases might not convey the full, true meaning of your content. In situations such as these, even if your content manages to rank in search results, users will find it irrelevant – thereby causing a drop in visibility in these niches.

Through the use of topics alongside keywords, brands can effectively communicate intent to search engines. While you might write frequently about the role that politics plays in health care, ranking for political terms may not be the best use of your SEO potential. By baking topics into your broader content strategy, you’ll be pinging links to various SERPs that correspond with user intent and desire.

Topics Add Value to Keywords

Keywords continue to dominate the text-based conversation surrounding brand intent, but ultimately, they can only convey so much. By using an assortment of consistent topics to further inform both content strategy and SEO, your broader efforts will more effectively target niches and sub-topics where your content is ripe for growth.

By building a broader strategy that embraces both the use of broader topics and keywords, search engines like Google will more adequately determine exactly what your content is about and who most wants to read it. The end result is not only better rankings, but better follow-through on behalf of those who actually click on your links.

Topics Are Preferred by Search Engines

Despite the conversation still centered around pinging links to search engines via keyword intent and focus, topics are actually a preferred form of assessing user intent. Search engines have been changing their algorithms for years, but one notable example – Google – began valuing topics over simple keywords several years ago.

While some brand content models require addressing multiple topics and news categories, most brands can effectively boil down their content strategy into one or two specific topics. By doing such, these websites can more adequately please the search engine gods and ascend to the highest ranking SERP positions much sooner.

Search engines no longer exclusively follow a two-dimensional approach when it comes to assessing both website and user intent. Using merely keywords to target audiences isn’t enough: you need to WOmake the most of both keywords and topics for optimal success. Now that you know, you can begin altering your broader content efforts to reflect this reality.

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