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How To Dominate SERPs By Focusing On Topics Instead Of Keywords

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How To Dominate SERPs By Focusing On Topics Instead Of Keywords


Over the last few years, Google has made several changes to the way their crawlers understand how content answers queries.

Most recently, those changes have included more algorithm updates that include sophisticated enhancements to natural language processing and machine learning models like BERT and MUM.

These updates help Google better understand how people are searching for topics and what type of content the user is actually looking for to meet the needs of their query, then how pieces of content across a site can best match those needs.

The end goal being to serve the best content possible for the user to enhance their search experience.

With this in mind, it is even more important now to focus on creating a topic structure that meets the needs of a user’s various stages of the buyer’s journey instead of just what keywords are being used on a page.

How Are Topics Different From Keywords?

You may be asking yourself at this point what is the difference between a topic and a keyword, especially considering I just mentioned that keywords are still an important piece to the SEO puzzle.

In my way of thinking, a topic is a more holistic approach to “keyword research.”

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A topic can be made up of several relevant terms and queries that can fall into different areas of the buyer’s journey.

The types of content you can create around a given topic is a bit dependent on the vertical your site falls into.

Some sites would require:

  • Content that covers early-journey learn topics.
  • Content on the business’ point-of-view on the subject.
  • Possibly their product offering that solves this problem.

Smaller sites, especially local businesses, might only require a piece of educational/early-funnel content that also points to content that outlines the services or products offered to solve the problem or need the customer/user may be facing.

1. Start With A Strategy

The most important thing you can do for your site when either building it or rethinking its structure is to take a step back and strategize the topics you need to focus on.

By looking at the broader aspects of your offerings and identifying a top-level topic for that offering, you will have a better understanding of your needs.

After you have an idea of what your main topic focuses need to be you can follow the standard keyword research process.

The main catch is that you want to expand that research to encompass more semantically relevant terms related to the topic, not just the main keyword.

Take a look at the areas surrounding the topic that need to be covered to satisfy the searcher’s various needs. Ask yourself what questions might be asked regarding the topic and do research on those terms.

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If possible, don’t be afraid to get out into the real world and ask people in your target demographics what they might search for or what related questions they might have.

2. Research Your Competitors

Once you understand what content you need to have to perform well for a topic, start looking into who ranks well in these spaces.

If they are performing well in this space already, then it’s safe to say they are doing something right. There are exceptions to this so make sure you continue to monitor the competition in the space you are targeting.

Once a competitor is identified, I like to run their site through a tool to see how they have performed for relevant terms over an extended period.

This will give me some base info on if these results are lasting or if it is a recent jump to determine if it is even worth researching them further at this point.

Once you understand what your actual competitors are doing in the space you are targeting, take a look at how they structure their content.

Look at how they are delivering their content and what the site structure looks like surrounding that topic. This information will give you a baseline blueprint when working on your site.

Now, with that being said, do not copy your competitor’s content. Use it as a guide, but plagiarizing content will do nothing but hurt you in the end.

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As cliche as it may sound, you are looking to identify what your competitors are doing well and then do it better.

3. Consider Intent

As search engines have evolved over the years, especially with the recent rollout of BERT by Google, it is important to understand the intent behind the queries you are creating content around to target.

While there are many tools out there in the SEO world to identify topics and keywords, I’ve always found one of the best ways to identify the intent behind a query is to simply search for it within an incognito window.

You may surprise yourself.

You may search for something as simple as a single-word query and notice that the results are returning more educational content around the term – like a “what is…” result.

This will help you determine what content needs to be created (or even reworked) to fit the needs of the search.

4. Don’t Forget Site Structure

Creating content around a topic isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.

It is important to organize your content in a way that makes sense to crawlers and show that you are an authority in a given subject.

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If search engines see that you are creating more relevant content around a given subject, you should see more improved results around these terms.

One of the best ways to demonstrate this authority is by using breadcrumbs to show the flow of your site.

Not only does this act as a second layer of navigation for users, but it also helps crawlers understand how to get from point A of your site to point B.

Breadcrumbs can also help you shift the structure of your site without having to make changes to URLs, which can be incredibly dangerous for SEO.

Don’t forget to take a look at your competitors that are performing well to see if there are any insights you can glean from their site structure.

No need to reinvent the wheel and you might gain some more info on how to expand your coverage of a topic in the process.

5. Time To Dominate

As Google has implemented more intelligent ways to process and return content to match user queries, it’s important to create a logical topical structure on your site to make it easier to process this content.

This gives your content creators a north star to guide their writing efforts.

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Ensure that your content answers the promise made to the reader completely and with clarity. Avoid fluff, jargon, and wasted words.

Remember, it’s all about quality over quantity!

Well, it’s almost all about quality – it’s about discoverability, too. Make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases searchers will use to find solutions to the issues they’re experiencing.

Then, make sure you’re tracking performance – both yours and that of competitors. Establish benchmarks and always strive to be better.

Do this, and you should begin to dominate your competition with lasting results.

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Featured Image: kentoh/Shutterstock

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A Marketer’s Guide To TikTok Analytics

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A Marketer's Guide To TikTok Analytics

While TikTok might be all fun and games for users, marketers know better.

This social media channel is full of essential metrics to help brands create more engaging and relevant content for their audiences, so let’s get right to it: TikTok analytics.

Read below to learn what you’re looking for on TikTok’s analytics platform, how to interpret the data you find, and how to use that data to grow your brand’s presence.

Accessing Your TikTok Analytics

The first thing to know is that you must have a business or an influencer account to access TikTok analytics rather than a standard account.

Make the switch to a professional account by:

Tap the Hamburger icon (upper-right)> Settings & Privacy > Manage Account > Switch to a Business Account > Select your business category.

Composite image: screenshot from TikTok, annotations by author, September 2022

Once you’re set, you can navigate to your analytics by:

Tap the Hamburger (upper-right) > Click Creator Tools > Click Analytics.

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TikTok analytics creator toolsScreenshot from TikTok, September 2022

Reviewing TikTok Analytics Data

When you navigate your analytics page, you will see three different categories at the top of your screen that you can click into for more data: Overview, Content, and Followers.

Overview

Like other social analytics platforms, TikTok offers a snapshot of how your content has been performing over a select period and the % increase or decrease since the previous period (shown in blue).

This data includes two significant aspects of your channel:

  • Video views: Shown in a graphical format, you can easily pick out trends over the last month on your channel regarding how many people watched your videos.
  • Profile views: Here, you will see the number of likes, comments, and shares for each video you’ve posted over a given period.

Additional metrics offered under the Overview tab include:

  • Likes: The number of likes your videos received in the selected date range.
  • Comments: The number of comments your videos received in the selected date range.
  • Shares: The number of shares your videos received in the selected date range.
  • Followers: The total number of users that follow your account and how that has changed within the selected date range.
  • Content: The number of videos you have shared in the selected date range.

Followers

When you scroll down on that same overview page, you’ll next see that you can click into your “followers” analytics (also found as a tab at the top of your screen, as shown above).

Here you’ll be able to see:

  • How many followers your account has.
  • Your follower growth percentage since the previous period you selected.
  • Demographic information about your followers, such as gender and location.
  • The hours your followers are most active.
  • The days your followers are most active.
  • The sounds your followers have listened to.

Although the actual analytics page might not look like much, we consider this the essential metric TikTok offers (more on this later).

Content

Your analytics page’s “content” tab is a great way to see which content you post is getting the most attention.

You will see this tab broken up into several subsections showing data from the last seven days, including:

  • Video posts: Here, you can see the last nine videos you posted and determine which video had the highest number of views.
  • Trending videos: The videos with the fastest growth rate in views over the last week are presented here.
  • Video views by section: Here, you can see if people found your video via your profile, someone else’s profile, or if you appeared in their feed.
  • Video views by region: This helps you understand where your content is resonating geographically.
  • Average watch time: We love this metric because it helps show you what’s engaging!
  • Total playtime: Unlike average watch time per video, your total playtime shows you a cumulative watch time for anyone who has watched your videos.

Note: If you have more than 1,000 TikTok followers, you are eligible to host Live TikTok videos. With Live videos comes another analytics page for you to see precisely how your live video performed. Learn how to get started with a live TikTok video here.

Extra: Total Engagement Rates

SocialChamp offers a little hack to help you get another metric that could be useful: total engagement rates.

Just follow one of the below formulas to calculate this number:

formula for tiktok engagementImage from author, September 2022

Monitoring TikTok Hashtags

Metrics surrounding hashtags aren’t found in the same place as the metrics discussed above. However, it’s still worth analyzing different hashtags in your niche and seeing the number of times a post with a particular hashtag has been viewed.

To find this data, use the Search bar to find a hashtag.

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Here, you’ll be able to see the number of views that hashtag has, the top videos that use the hashtag, and related hashtags.

TikTok Analytics hashtagsComposite image: screenshots from TikTok, collage by author, September 2022

Using TikTok Analytics To Grow Your Channel

Each section of TikTok analytics provides you with the valuable insight needed to grow your page and influence the right audience. Here are the three main takeaways:

Know The Ideal Times To Post Content

This is low-hanging fruit. See when (the day and time) your followers are engaging on the platform, and that’s when you should aim to post.

Understand The Videos That People Like The Best

Look at which videos people engage with the most through likes, comments, and watch time.

If you find that your funny videos outperform your informative ones, you know what to do!

These metrics should help guide your content creation strategy.

Discover What Is Working With Your Audience Beyond Your Page

Look at the analytics for popular sounds your audience likes and what hashtags they are using, and start incorporating these into your future videos.

Final Thoughts

Love it or hate it, TikTok isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Even if your audience isn’t on TikTok yet, we suspect more and more will adopt this platform, just as they eventually did with Instagram.

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So, getting a head start on understanding how it works and creating a channel that resonates with and engages your target audience is best. (Remember, you can always repurpose your TikTok content for platforms like Instagram and Facebook!).

Happy analyzing!

More resources:


Featured Image: Petryshak/Shutterstock

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