A search engine’s number one goal is helping people find quality content that answers their questions. Their algorithms are constantly evolving to better achieve that goal. Because of this, when you’re re-evaluating your website or blog’s SEO, your goal is simple. Create content on topics that address the questions people are asking, rather than addressing an algorithm or a certain keyword.
So how do you choose what to blog about, and how will those topics allow your content to stand up to algorithm changes? Read on!
What To Blog About To Survive SEO Changes
How Search Engines Are Serving Users Better
Google is evolving to look at the intent behind a query rather than searching the web for specific keywords. Recent changes such as featured snippets, the rise of location-specific searches, and RankBrain all make it easier for Google to help searchers find information on the topic they’re searching for.
RankBrain is especially important. According to Google’s developers it’s the third most important factor in their algorithm, behind content and links. It allows Google to better understand the intent behind a search without the query stating that intent explicitly. This trend didn’t start with RankBrain though. Google has been getting better at understanding synonyms and different variations of a keyword to deliver the best results for years.
These changes reflect the new ways that people search for information. For example, the rise of voice search has led search queries to become much more conversational.
Where you may have once booted up your computer and entered a more formal keyword phrase such as “coconut oil coffee,” you can now shout at your phone from across the room, “Hey google, can you put coconut oil in your coffee?” (That’s a real life example, by the way. It was very tasty.)
How does this impact your content strategy? Searchers are not all going to phrase a question the same way, so optimizing for one specific keyword won’t be as effective as it once was.
So how do you optimize your content for the ever-evolving tastes of both searchers and search engine algorithms? You don’t want your favorite blog posts to become outdated after a few months!
Think Beyond Keywords When Deciding What To Blog About
RankBrain is an example of machine learning, specifically a Google program learning from the behavior of humans. More than ever, human interest and behavior should be at the center of your content strategy. When deciding what to blog about, keep the topics your readers are interested in at the forefront of your mind, not necessarily one specific keyword you want to rank for. After all, search engines are doing the same thing!
How do you do this?
- Focus on becoming an expert in one particular topic. The goal is to go in depth on different aspects of a subject, rather than creating a page or several blog posts aimed at one particular keyword.
- Choose one core topic, such as things to do in Rocklin, CA, and then subtopics based on that topic. Your subtopics might be hiking trails in Rocklin, or great restaurants in Rocklin. You’ll want to build up your internal link building by linking back to the core topic and relevant satellite topics. (Credit for this idea goes to Hubspot. They call these groups of content topic clusters!)
- That said, focusing on topics over keywords isn’t an excuse to completely blow keywords off. Instead, you’ll want to expand your keyword strategy. Don’t beat your audience to death with one keyword, like “coconut oil coffee.” Instead, take a more flexible approach and create a list for yourself: how else will people phrase the question? What synonyms do your keywords have? In doing this, you’ll come up with a list of longtail and conversational keywords to use. For example, “coconut oil coffee” becomes “can you put coconut oil in coffee,” “bulletproof coffee,” “coconut oil coffee recipe” or “coconut oil coffee benefits.” Tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer are great for this.
- Creating a cluster of blogs addressing a particular topic, or even a longform post that goes more in depth than a traditional blog post might, allows you to address multiple variations of a keyword and address specific long tail keywords more comprehensively.
So, what should you be thinking about when choosing a blog topic?
Here’s a quick recap:
- Write for readers, not search engines. Remember that Google is evolving to better understand the intent behind a query, rather than focusing on the exact phrasing of a keyword.
- Build yourself up as an expert across a topic, rather than on ranking for one particular keyword.
- Don’t get hung up on ranking for once specific keyword. Incorporate long tail keywords that allow you to address readers more conversationally.
Writing for a constantly-evolving algorithm can be overwhelming. When you’re deciding what to blog about, it can be comforting to remember that you and Google have the same goal: to get your blog post under the eyeballs of people who want to find it.
Ready to re-evaluate your SEO strategy? Get in touch!