Title Rewrites to Topic Clusters: A Roundup of BrightonSEO 2022

  ●   April 11, 2022 | Blog
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April 11, 2022 | Blog

Our teams were back at BrightonSEO last week to get the latest of all things search and spend the day with like-minded marketers on the sunny British coast. What could be better than that?

We listened to some fantastic speakers throughout the day and have summarised a few of our favourites. So, whether you couldn’t make it to the event yourself this year, or you just want to revisit a few of the topics from the day, we’ve got you covered. 

The full scoop on Google’s title rewrites – Mordy Oberstein

As many of us are already aware, Google has undergone a new algorithmic change which has resulted in title tag rewrites. Mordy Oberstein gave us the lowdown on what kind of titles Google is, and isn’t, rewriting, and speculations around the reason for Google’s title rewrites. 

Google originally began rewriting title tags predominantly using content from the webpages’ H1, however, is relying a lot less on this. So, what is Google using to rewrite these titles?

Firstly, Mordy ran us through some key SERP data to highlight why Google isn’t rewriting our titles. Essentially, data shows that title rewriters have little to do with the device you’re using, the length of your title, or the length of your keywords or intent. In the words of Mordy, and Freddy Mercury, nothing really matters. Read The Full Scoop on Google’s Title Rewrites to see the data for yourself. 

However, what the data did show is that Google is rewriting titles in order to…

  • Remove the brand name from titles on mobile devices
  • Provide more detailed geotargeting
  • Add the brand name to YMYL sites
  • Bring forward more useful information and push less descriptive elements to the end of the title
  • Remove all marketing talk
  • Change punctuation e.g. dots to dashes between the title and brand name
  • Avoid keyword stuffing 

But, why is Google doing all of this?

Well, according to Mordy, Google is simply ‘flexing’. Google relies less on H1s as a crutch for its understanding and rewriting of titles. Instead, Google is showing us that it is confident enough in its understanding of our web pages and our content to rewrite our titles using all the available information to demonstrate this. Impressive. 

SEO gap analysis: Use your competitors’ data to drive strategic growth – Lidia Infante

Lidia Infante ran us through a comprehensive approach to carrying out SEO competitor gap analysis. After all, as Lidia says, ranking is as easy or as hard as doing things better than your competitors. 

First, you should look at the three pillars of SEO: Technical, Content and Links. Next, you need to find out what you need to improve on to move the needle. For instance, if you’re already over-performing in two areas, and doing just mediocre in one, you’ll need to work on the third.

Then, it’s time to answer these three questions:

  1. Who are your competitors? 
  2. What are your competitors doing?
  3. How can you do it better?

Lidia highlights the importance of looking at all types of competitors, including your SERP competitors, brands that sell the same product or service, have the same audience and solve the same need as you, as well as asking other departments who they think you should be looking at. With these competitors in mind, you’ll then need to begin SEO benchmarking, looking at content, brand and technical metrics.

Content metrics: 

  • Keywords ranking 1-30
  • Traffic (branded, non-branded, editorial, product etc.)
  • Search volume of ranking keywords

Brand metrics:

  • Backlinks
  • Domain authority
  • Brand search volume
  • Brand positioning
  • Link gap
  • Link growth
  • Branded traffic

Top tip: If you see your competitors have a rapid increase in links, this may indicate that they are actively building links and suggests you need to up your game to compete. 

Technical metrics:

  • Core Web Vitals score
  • Pagespeed Insights scores
  • Manual site checks

Now that you have all the competitor data you need, you’ll need to make a plan for your weakest pillar. You’ll need to understand why you are underperforming and create a roadmap of how you’ll improve with actions, timelines, responsibilities and success measures. Once you get sign-off from stakeholders, execute your plan. 

Find out more about how to conduct SEO Gap Analysis.

How to do comprehensive research for your topic cluster – Chima Mmeje

Chima Mmeje’s talk provided useful insights into how creating topic clusters can help your website fill content gaps, rank for relevant keywords and offer useful information for your customers, to help them through the buyer’s journey and lead them to conversion.

First of all, what is a topic cluster? Chima describes a topic cluster as…

 “ …a group of content that revolves around a central topic and uses a pillar-cluster approach to link between related content pieces in the cluster’.

Essentially, you need to pick a topic and zoom in on it. Think of your clients and a topic they want to hear about, as well as a topic you want to own. 

There are many benefits to creating topic clusters, such as:

  • Improving your site’s internal linking structure
  • Helping you become an authority on a particular topic
  • Show connections between related content
  • Guide readers through the marketing funnel
  • Reduce bounce rate and increase dwell time
  • Improve engagement as users visit more pages on your site
  • Drive conversion through free resources
  • Close content gaps
  • Create opportunities for content repurposing

Chima offers an important reminder to repurpose everything, whether it’s for LinkedIn, TikTok or any other platform. This way you will be providing the same content in different formats to engage everybody. And, as such, your content will live forever.

But how do you go about researching for a topic cluster?

  1. Choose a topic you want to be the authority for. Ideally, this should be the first word you want to be associated with your brand.
  2. Do your audience research to help you personalise your content and make everyone feel heard.
  3. Conduct a content audit on one topic, looking at your existing content to see what can be enhanced or combined.
  4. Ask your audience what they want and what their key problems are.
  5. Carry out keyword research and gap analysis to find the missing and untapped areas.
  6. Use tools like Answer The Public and Semrush for further topic research, looking at question-based and long-tail keywords.
  7. Use tools like Buzzsumo to find trending topics.
  8. Take to social media to find out what people are saying about your chosen topic and the popular hashtags being used (aka the keywords of social media).
  9. Look at all the problems your products solve.
  10. Trash irrelevant keywords or anything off-brand. 
  11. Match keywords to your buyer’s journey and post-funnel journey to engage repeat customers.

Which keywords should you prioritise? 

  • Those with high purchase intent
  • Those with high traffic and backlinks (spy on your competitors)
  • That allow you to showcase your unique insights

The pillar will typically be the topic with the highest search volume and the cluster topics will be related topics. However, it’s important to remember that clusters go beyond search and you must be taking a holistic approach. Your content should address your audience’s needs and touch upon all points of the buyer’s journey, with compassion assets and more. 

See Chima Mmeje’s full presentation on topic clusters.

Using Search Intent in our Link Building Efforts – Chris Czermak

Chris Czermak (a rocket scientist turned SEO senior executive), gave an incredibly insightful talk on using search intent in your link building efforts.

Anyone who has had any experience in digital PR will be well versed in the process behind creating a campaign – from ideation to prospecting, outreach emails, and everything in between. But at Chris’s agency, they cut out the outreaching process altogether. Rather, the methodology behind their most successful link building efforts is harnessing search intent to generate natural links.

As natural links are still the backbone and mass majority of links built on the internet, Chris and his team believe this is the best way to build a large volume of links. So, while links are generated from sites such as gov.uk, the NHS, and Cancer Research because they are reliable sources for information and references, how can we use this logic and apply it to building links for clients?

To do this, Chris and his colleagues create complex definitions, ‘how to guides’, tools and templates, and fact files to generate reference points to build natural links. To give an example, they created a blog post on Insomnia Statistics for a probiotics company that generated over 120 links naturally and was referenced in Yahoo!, Glamour, and Vogue to name a few. This same method was applied to a variety of clients, gaining 100s of links in their relevant categories.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Chris’s presentation.

If you have any questions about the topics discussed above, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. 

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