As an SEO professional, it can be easy to forget the real purpose of what we do, which is to help people achieve business goals through search marketing. The more efficiently that can be achieved, the greater the return will be for our clients.
As a Web professional, you know that content, user experience, technical SEO, and inbound links must work hand in hand to improve organic visibility. If you have been around for a while, you also know that simply checking the box in each column is not enough. Google only wants to show the best results to each searcher and if your site doesn't meet their needs, they are happy to find one that does.
Content + Relevancy to Searcher Intent + Site Speed + Inbound Links + Technically Sound Website = Higher Rankings.
Today, we are going to look at how to create a topical hub on your website, letting Google know your site has exactly what a searcher is looking for, regardless of where they are in the buying cycle. This will help with the content and relevancy to searcher intent pieces of the ranking puzzle.
Content alone will not be enough in most niches/locations to achieve top three rankings. If your competitors have content hubs and 10 times as many high-quality links as you, you're not going to blow past them. However, if you are in close competition, you have a new site, or your current on-page structure is suboptimal, keep reading, this will be tremendously helpful to you.
What Does Google Think Users Want to Read?
A few weeks back we talked about how content can act as a sort of backlink multiplier and to build on that topic, let's look at the four types segments of content that Googles likes to show to searchers.
1. Reviews & Comparisons
2. Product Information
3. In-Depth Tutorials
4. Sales Pages
Google not only wants to show the best sites to those searching, but they also want to connect them with the type of information that is thought to be most satisfying to the query. When finding and evaluating keywords, it is important to perform a search to find out and make note of the typical results for each term.
Here is an example of how you could build a content hub around a specific topic, including a page type for each of the four areas.
1. Let's say that you first wanted to rank for "best link building service (s)." The first few results for that term are most likely going to be sites reviewing multiple link building companies.
2. Moving along in the buyer journey, let's say their next search is for "white hat link building services," a term like this is going to show product information pages, highlighting white hat link building focused pages. These pages are often a hybrid of sales and content pages.
3. Continuing along in their journey, let's say the buyer then decides they would like to try it themselves before hiring a professional. Using a query like "how to build links", the searcher will be met with link building tutorials and in some niches, video content would display in the SERPs for this too.
4. After trying and realizing what a time sink link building can be, the searcher finally looks for "link building service" and are greeted with a sales page to help them act on their needs.
While the example I used was with link building, this same scenario plays out every day in a ton of niches. Having content that satisfies those needs will allow you to position yourself as the expert, early and often.
Does Your Site Currently Satisfy Those Needs?
If your site doesn't have content that seeks to meet the needs of buyers in all four phases, you are going to miss out on traffic opportunities and the SEO benefits of having a topical hub on your site. If you offer multiple products or services, you can simply repeat the process of creating content addressing those areas. As a result, a properly interconnected content hub will keep users on your site longer while moving them into sales funnels you may have setup.
Additionally, this will give your site the content needed to set up proper internal silos, maximizing the effects of earned links to your site.
Grab your top 5-10 keywords, head over to Google and see what type of content is being shown for them. Group the keywords by content type shown and then see if your page matches the type of page Google like for the search. If it doesn't create a new page that does and repeat the process until all your top keywords are paired with the right kind of pages.
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