SEO is Dead, Focus on Topical Optimization

In my opinion, SEO is dead. Well, not dead but definitely dying — on it’s way out as we know it.

I mean, you can say that Search Engine Optimization will always be needed because search engines aren’t going anywhere and such so, yeah, SEO — the most literal form of the phrase/acronym — will always be around. I’ll give you that.

However, the technical part of SEO which is about researching what people are searching for and creating content focused on that is dead from the techy standpoint.

Google Has Been Changing Things On Us

Google has always basically said, “we want the best content to be at the top of the search results.” They said a TON of other things, too, of course. I mean, Matt Cutts (widely considered the face of Google for SEO and usability-related issues) will basically answer any question, however generic his answer has to be. Kudos to him for that. He talks a lot about the user experience and doing things that enhance that — so design stuff comes into play — but mostly his responses seem to come back to making sure your website’s content delivers value for the searcher.

Give the searcher what they are searching for. That’s all Google is trying to do so help them do it. 

We used to have a lot of tools to help guide what traffic we made next. Then, they took away the ability to see how many people are searching for specific keywords. Uhhhh. Wait, now we just have to look around and see what our customers and peers are asking and talking about?  Those tools were pretty handy when you can’t get a client on the phone, though. We all miss them.

Google wants you to make the best content on your topic — to be the know-it-all on the matter (kind of). Oh, and your site also needs to be user-friendly, fast, and maybe updated often. You should maybe also be involved in social media and such, too. But, as for on-site content, you just need to make lots of it. Outsourcing it all to the Philippines isn’t the solution. We need quality here, people.

Enter Topical Optimization

The idea of topical optimization takes the focus off the search engines and places it on the subject matter. Literally, optimize your website for the topic. Make it the most informative resource possible on your specific topic.

This could have implications for niche-specific websites. Google seems to appreciate niche or service-specific websites (e.g., a site totally focused on carpenter ant treatments will probably get better results for related searches than a site about pest control that includes something about carpenter ants treatments). That’s a topic for another time, though.

Either way, while this shift is a temporary pain the keester for SEO folks, it’s pretty good news for writers and other content creators, especially with Google leading the charge.

By the way, I fully expect these changes to lead to a much more user-friendly internet where search results won’t be totally determined by the amount of money spent on the websites… or will it just make it worse? The big companies are the ones with the resources to make lots and lots and lots of content, after all. hmm.

What Kind of Content Do You Add?

Most websites start out very service-specific. They have the standard pages each of can list of immediately — home, about us, services (with a list of services), contact, and maybe a few other service-specific pages.

A Few Content Ideas to Get You Started

For most companies, the easiest resource for your first set of content — whether pages, videos, images, or whatever — are your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s). Make a page out of each of the service-specific ones. Make those pages informative for anyone and not specific to your company or services/products.

Example: a service specific page might be “Brake Services” but one you make based on your FAQ’s might be “Common Brake Problems” or “Why Brakes Squeal.”

When you run out of ideas there, consider the issues of your specific niches or unique customers (especially those you want more of). Sticking with the brakes example above, your next article might be something like “The Best Brakes for Off Roading” or “How to Keep Brakes Cool in Sports Cars.”

Don’t Over Think Topical Optimization

In a way, this should take some of the stress off the issue. We have clients who say, “what should be added to the website next?” to which we reply, “What did people ask you about this week?” Just pull from the experiences around you and from your staff and answer the questions that came up. Make sure your marketing department (or your outsourced marketing department) knows about these things.

Just make sure your website has the best information around about your topic/service/industry.

You can also apply this content strategy to your off line sales materials, fliers, mail pieces, and other print collateral. People are simply more likely to keep or share more informative materials.

Let us know if we can help with this. It’s how we spend most of our days and we’re very good at it. Contact us online or call 832-628-0987.

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