This year at INBOUND, we got a sneak peak of some brand new content marketing insights and software features from HubSpot. And guess what? It turns out that search has changed — again!
Of course, we’re not too surprised; vocal search options such as Siri and Alexa have made us a lot more conversational with our research. These days, we search the way we talk. So what does this mean for our content marketing strategies?
Well, because we all speak differently, there are now thousands of different ways to search the same thing. For example, HubSpot found that there are 1,005 variations of search terms for “follow-up emails after a meeting.” Which is pretty crazy, right?
This means we marketers have to write a lot of content to capture search traffic for one search term. We’re still so focused on writing content around exact keywords, that if we want to capture the search traffic from these keywords, we potentially have to write over a thousand blog posts. Yikes.
However, some clever marketers have recognised this and established search authority by moving away from the sea of exact keywords, and closer to search topics.
Topics, not keywords
The way to get to the top of search results is no longer around exact keywords, but around overall topics. Now, we can create one piece of content that covers a topic comprehensively; which acts as the authoritative source on that topic.
We call these comprehensive posts our ‘pillar content’. Then, from that pillar content, you can create supportive ‘spin blogs’ which cover off smaller aspects of that topic, and hyperlink to that initial authoritative content piece. Because let’s face it, we don’t want to write thousands of blogs to gain search traffic, we just want to spend our time writing one core piece. This way, you can get more traffic with less content.
Topic cluster tool from HubSpot
Fresh new content ideas will be discovered with this new topic cluster tool in Strategy. You can write your pillar content in the middle as the ‘core topic’, then the tool will help you with spin blogs by suggesting content which branches off that core topic.
If you don’t want to go for these suggestions, you can write in your own. The tool will then give you a relevancy, monthly search volume, domain authority, and core topic similarity score!
Modern SEO content optimisation
Create content for humans, optimise it for search engines. It used to be that we’d cram in as many keywords into a page as we can, but that’s no longer the case. HubSpot’s content strategy tool can help you optimise your content for crawlers, while keeping it engaging for humans.
You can really drill down into how many contacts a topic cluster is generating, so you’ll know exactly if your chosen topics are on the right track to attract your ideal personas.
These SEO fundamentals are now available to all modern-day marketers to help us establish influence in any given topic.
Who’s it working for?
Etuma — a text analysis software company — has been using the strategy and tools for about two months. Now, they’re now receiving 4x leads compared to their approach before. Considering the time frame, that’s pretty impressive!
Another great example comes from Townsend Security — a small company that builds encryption key management software. They also saw positive effects by making it to the first page of Google for their core topic!
This framework helps us answer every question around a certain topic for our ideal personas, builds up our authority on a subject, increases our visibility and leads, helps us grow sustainable organic traffic, and ultimately increases revenue.
It really changes a lot for us marketers:
Guesswork on planning content turns into new ideas stemming from your core topics.
Your content structure becomes clearly-planned out clusters to look back on.
Your content writing relies on a few topics, instead of revolving around thousands of keywords.
Your keyword strategy goes from keyword stuffing to just a few core topics and supporting links.
Your conversion path goes from blog > offer to pillar page > conversion.
Your content ROI goes from a lack of visibility to seeing the true value of each topic cluster.
This way, you can create relevant, authoritative content that gets more organic traffic, without going overboard with as many keyword-hitting blogs humanly possible.