Exactly ten months back, Scalenut launched SEO Research and Writing on top of its already existing AI Copywriting suite. Since then, we have been fortunate enough to gather immense support from our user base while also getting insights on what should be the next logical steps in solving for our core mission statement -
How to sustainably help our users increase revenue via organic reach?
We added a plethora of new power-ups in the existing module like SERP features, 5-minute blog writer (Cruise Mode), enhancements on NLP Terms, and Competition research, but the drive does not end there. The goal was to solve for a brand-level cohesive content strategy. That led us to our drawing board again to figure out the big question - WHAT NEXT?
Our SEO Writing module worked really well for on-page SEO content optimization. And it was time to climb up the value-chain ladder, and add another star to the uniform. We wished to bring about and translate that same experience on a level that can help a brand with its entire content strategy.
Search engines tend to generally favor domains having authority over a particular topic. It, in a real sense, means writing and covering not just one but related topics as well for your content niche.
To understand this better, let’s deep dive.
Let me start with an example here.
You are facing a problem. You go to a person who you think might know what to do. The person digs deep into that nagging issue, the right solution for that issue, and covers all the nitty gritty around the subject matter. Not only that, they even talk of the unknown-knowns you may not even have anticipated. Won’t you feel confident about the person’s knowledge and seek advice from them? Yes, right?
Covering the 360-degree aspects of a subject can make an individual or a brand come across as the right advocate for that subject.
This is the essence of topical authority.
What is Topical Authority?
Topical authority is a measure of authority built through breadth and depth of knowledge of a certain topic. It is an indication of proven trust and authority in your niche or field.
It is also a way to showcase your expertise in a certain area through well-written content covering the main topic and its related queries. In short, the idea is to cover all use cases of the buyer journey and answer all the relevant questions the user would want to know about.
Let’s take an example of two websites that talk about cats. One has written an article covering types of cats and their physical attributes. The other has written the same plus allied topics such as the dietary requirement, safety needs, sleep routine, and many things that encompass a particular cat type. Considering the aspects covered, the second blog would have more topical authority in the eyes of the search engine.
Why is Topical Authority Important? How Does it Help?
When you have topical authority in your niche, your users perceive you as an expert and are likely to be more drawn to your offerings.
In the internet world, good content is a great way to nurture buyers. It’s the hidden player that subtly brings trust to the table.
When you or your website become the hub for your niche, your user won’t go anywhere else. In fact, they will come back for more and probably bring a friend too (share information with others).
When you write about the main topic, related areas, important keywords, address the users’ doubts and offer different types of content, you are giving your audience all the reasons why they should come to you.
It is about building a content architecture that addresses all the pain points in the customer journey.
You could be saying what your competitors are saying but when you add a ‘little’ more effort, be a ‘little’ more out there, then that ‘little’ speaks volume, not only to the user but also to the search engine.
Plus, having topical authority also naturally helps attract backlinks. Others cite you in their content when you are seen as a content authority.
How to Build Topical Authority?
Remember the content architecture we mentioned earlier? That’s how. Let’s understand how to go about that.
Start with researching the topic you want to showcase topical authority on. To know what to write, you need to figure out what your audiences are asking and want to know about. It is as “simple” as finding out what they are Googling (the terms they type into the search bar). One can use Google Keyword Planner for this.
2. Create Clusters
Once you find the keywords you wish to target, classify them into clusters. i.e., a set of related keywords. These are the keywords you will be using in a particular piece of content.
A set of keywords should be unique to a particular URL. It allows the web crawlers to group the semantics of a piece together. The goal should be to create clusters in a manner so as to avoid keyword or topic cannibalization (using similar search phrases in different URLs, in turn confusing the web crawler as to what’s unique, thus killing your own ranking). Creating Clusters is a really important part of content planning.
3. Write High-quality Content
The goal is not to be out there for each and every keyword but rather a cluster of related keywords. Create in-depth, value-adding (probably long-form) content that addresses a particular cluster. Quality over quantity. Always.
It also allows you to do internal linking, in turn increasing website engagement.
Seems like a lot of work? Don’t worry; we got you. Meet our newest module - Topic Clusters.
How to go about Topic Clusters?
Select Keywords for Building Clusters
1. Find a broad keyword
When content planning, nail down the head keyword. Keep the key term relatively broad. It may or may not be the term you are targeting at the current stage. Why do we go the broad way? It is so that you can have an overview of all the specifics that form a part of the broad term. From there, you can start eliminating what does not fit your business.
2. Decide upon a category
The key term should be of the category you want to be addressing. It makes much more sense to find clusters on “cat food” than just “cat” when researching if your business caters mostly to the former. You do not want to lose relevance by addressing things unrelated to your offerings.
3. Narrow is not the way
Being very specific about the keyword will bring limitations to the overall content plan. Let’s take the same example of cat food. Something like “healthy cat food for diabetic cat” would be TOO specific. It is not broad enough to cover sub-topics. By bringing such specificity, you could miss out on other important aspects you should address.
How to use Topic Clusters?
Topic clusters find keyword clusters for the keyword you want to address to help you build pillar content. It groups the related keywords into various clusters. You build topical authority by creating high-quality, well-researched content for a cluster.
Steps to use Topic Clusters:
- Find the Topic Clusters feature on the left navigation panel of your Scalenut Dashboard.
- Enter the keyword you want to find related ideas for and then search and select your target location. Click on ‘Create Topic Clusters.’
- Click on the ‘Open Cluster Report’ button to view the report.
4. Next, You will see the list of clusters for the main topic.
5. Click on the ‘Expand’ icon on any of the clusters to look at them in detail. Topic Clusters provides you with the Total Cluster Search Volume, relevant keywords, and the search volume for each of the keywords.
6. You can use the ‘Sort By’ option in the top right to sort these clusters by their Search Volume or the Number of Keywords in the cluster. Use the search box to search for a keyword among the clusters.
7. To share the report, click on the ‘Export’ button on the top-right corner to download a handy .csv file.
8. Topic Cluster is also compatible with the Scalenut content tool kit. Hover over to the cluster of your choice and click ‘Create SEO Doc.’ This will generate an SEO Research Document for your cluster.
9. After research and brief creation, you can start writing through Scalenut’s AI Editor and Cruise Mode.
P.S. Here is some BTS on How We Solved This at Scalenut
We started with a set of related keywords and built clusters for them.
But, at times, we would come across a keyword for which there were THOUSANDS of related keywords.
Sorting them into related cohorts is a laborious task. How to cluster them effectively was the big question.
Scalenut’s ML team came to the rescue here.
After thorough research, the team came up with deep learning algorithms powered by BERT to build clusters using related keywords.
What’s BERT now?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It’s a pioneer in Natural Language Processing and bridges the gap between natural language and computers.
In layman's terms, it makes machines (computers) figure out the ambiguous text by using the surrounding text's help to set the context. It makes sense of all the connecting words by reading the entire sentence (left to right, right to left, and thus bidirectional) and predicting the next.
Another problem we faced was getting related keywords. There were several topics for which obtaining related keywords was a tedious task. At times, they were not available, or at other times, not relevant. This took the team another month to solve. Finally, we used a combination of third-party data and our own algorithms to nail it down.
In the end, we want to say that a lot of effort has gone into building this tool. Topical authority through Topic Clusters holds the power to
- Help you develop your entire content strategy
- Drive content performance
- Get that credibility stamp and drives traffic.
SERP supremacy is not a distant reality when you have Topic Clusters by your side.