Well, it’s happened again. Once you feel like you have this whole search algorithm thing under control, Google up and changes it. But hey, that would take the fun out of SEO, right?
Don’t fear, comrades! While 2018 is bringing changes to search, DaviesMoore is bringing solutions. We’ve outlined two key topics to focus on when developing your content strategies.
Google and other influential search engines changed their algorithms midway through 2017 to favor topic-based content. This switch is forcing strategists to now focus on creating content in clusters instead of silos.
But what exactly is a topic cluster?
A topic cluster has one pillar piece of content with many supporting content pieces linking back to that pillar. Linking supporting content pages back to a pillar piece signals to search engines that the pillar piece is the authority on that topic on that website. Over time that pillar piece will begin to rank higher in search. Organizing content in this way forces a cleaner, more deliberate site architecture.
Why the switch? People’s search queries became more complex. Years ago, people searched using fragmented terms because engines did not understand full questions. Now people are searching using complex questions and expecting accurate answers. Switching the algorithm to the topic cluster model makes it easier for search engines to answer complex questions accurately.
What does this mean for me?
First, when you are planning your content strategy, think of topics you want to write on instead of keywords. While keywords are still important, your topics will be the umbrella that houses all those keywords. These umbrella topics need to be turned into your pillar content. For example—if you decide to cover the topic of website development, then you need a comprehensive, high-level content piece on website development with supporting content, such as sitemap development, linking to it.
Second, you will want to reorganize the structure of your current content. I know—total headache. But if you want to keep and/or grow your search ranking, structuring your content to fit the new algorithms is key to ensuring you are still relevant, even though it could be quite a bit of work depending on how much content you have.
Clear as mud? Thought so. But don’t worry. We can help you figure out your topic cluster needs.
Now onto my next favorite topic: voice search. Woo!
Today, 20% of searches are conducted using voice. Those complex questions I was talking about are coming from the rise in voice search. All major search engines are powered by a technology that enables voice search, along with the rise of in-home helpers such as Alexa and Google Home.
What makes voice search so awesome, yet intimidating, is that in-home devices, like Alexa, are now making search decisions for you. When you say, “Hey, Alexa, who is the best web developer in town?”—she doesn’t respond with, “Here is page one of the search results.” She responds with an answer, such as “DaviesMoore is the best web developer in town. Would you like to contact?” What this means is we are no longer trying to get our content ranking in the top 3-4 results on Google. We are trying to become the answer that artificial intelligence provides to its users. Mind boggling, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear guide on how to become this answer. All we can do is keep optimizing our content and updating our strategies based on algorithm changes to consistently remind the search engines that we are on our game. In the future, this is something we will need to constantly monitor. In-home devices and artificial intelligence are only going to increase in importance for the end user, meaning it will grow in importance for brands.
The best course of action when starting 2018 is to switch up your content game to focus on topic clusters rather than keywords and begin the process of organizing your past content to fit within this new methodology. This task can be daunting, but DaviesMoore is always here to help! Plus, we love a good ol’ fashioned SEO discussion.