The sets of topics and the evolution of SEO: the content must evolve

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In 2006, at the height of inbound marketing, search engines were the main source used by the readers to discover new content. In 2017, as usual.

Social networking apps, video and messaging occupy a large part of the current content scenario, but with more than 3,500 million queries a day on Google , the search is still very important that marketers can not ignore channel.

In the last decade, all followed a formula fairly standard content: we published a large volume of content with keywords and target long tail organic traffic that we converted into sales opportunities through offers of protected content.

However, this content strategy reached its limit. The search has changed a lot and it is time that the content also evolve. 

How has evolved the online search

The search has undergone two major changes in recent years:

  1. We modify our behavior regarding the search.
  2. The technology used by search engines to interpret and display the results greatly improved.

We delve into each of these aspects.

How it changed our behavior toward online search

In 2006, seeking behavior was relatively simple. We wrote queries on search engines, like “restaurants in Barcelona”, instead of using a more conversational tone.

Today, that question became something like “what is the nearest place to eat right now?”.

In fact, in May 2016, Sundar Pichai, Google CEO announced that 20% of consultations in mobile or Android devices consist of voice search.

Regardless of your personal preference, longer and with a conversational tone queries they are becoming more common.

According to a study conducted Ahrefs on search volume by keyword length, 64% of searches containing 4 words or more. And with the increase of conversational search, this search pattern is increasingly prevalent.

-length distribution of-words-clave.pngSource: Study on long tail keywords of Ahrefs

This does not mean that, from time to time, we like to talk to robots. It is rather because the quality of the results thrown by the search engines have greatly improved along with the increase in the amount of content.

We have relied too much on the above formula and publish much content that some marketers claim that provoke an “overdose of content”, so continue to produce equipment using these methods is no longer effective.

"While the amount of content has increased dramatically, not so with quality."

While the amount of content has increased dramatically, not so with quality. It is true that there are still outstanding content publishers and specific sites that may you eat frequently. However, the vast majority of content that is published today does not fall into this category.

In addition to our search behavior, we have also changed the general way in which we use the Internet to interact with the various sites. First change desktop to mobile laptops, and now use smart phones so small they fit in the palm of your hand.

Readers glancing content and looking for quick answers.  The emergence of messaging apps also reduces the chances that visitors fill out a long form too. This has logical consequences for our thinking about the content to expand our audience, improve brand image and ultimately, generate sales opportunities.

The impact of updates search engines

In this article we will focus specifically on the Google updates, because if we consider core searches, images and YouTube, this search engine controls 90% of the online search market.

During its early years, Google basically searches disaggregating analyzed consultations on key fragments (ie individual keywords appearing), and showed the results to exact matches. At that time, marketers who placed more keywords in their content were those logically classified in the results page; However, this situation changed when Google began adjusting its algorithm.

If we go back just a few years back, we can see all the changes in history that led to the search experience we have today, and we can also find lessons that apply to our own content strategies.

Let’s look at 3 of the most important updates from Google and how impacted our strategy.

Penguin algorithm update: force since April 24, 2012.

This update was designed to penalize the webspam and those sites that perform excessive optimization techniques black hat SEO. With the upgrade Penguin, it began to penalize webspam activities (such as keyword stuffing and link systems) and impact on 3.1% of searches in English .

In the official announcement of Penguin, Google described a blog post talking about the physical and had relevant content. However, the publication also included completely irrelevant links to pages offering cash loans and other sites. This form of keyword stuffing meaningless is the perfect example of a tactic that Penguin penalizes SEO.

Conclusion:  includes links and relevant keywords in your content, but do not abuse them. While there is no magic number of what is right and what is wrong, watch your content from the reader’s perspective and use your good judgment to determine whether it is too much or not.

Hummingbird algorithm update:  announced on August 20, 2013.

According to the information we have, this was a key update algorithm that focused on improving semantic search. Since the tone of the searches became more and more conversational, Hummingbird is now a core algorithm that interprets and translates queries into meaningful results.

For example, if before the Hummingbird algorithm realizabas a query like: “What is the best place to buy an iPhone 7 Near my house?”, The search engine would have recognized each keyword individually and searched for matches. Hummingbird, Google began looking for the true meaning of these words and translate them into a better result. 

If we analyze the above example, the word “place” indicates that the user searches for a physical shop where you can buy the iPhone 7 and not a website. Hummingbird analyzes all the consultation and try to understand the intent behind the words used in order to display relevant results.

Conclusion: Currently, we are looking in the same way we speak. If you will focus only on keywords, you’d be wasting a lot of traffic from searches with conversational queries. Start thinking about classifying your content on different themes and adjust the way you you elaborate content main pages.

RankBrain algorithm update:  announced on October 26, 2015.

In October 2015, Google announced that machine learning, through RankBrain, had been part of their algorithm for several months and was now the third ranking factor most influential.

Importantly, Google considers more than 200 sorting signals when assessing a page. After his announcement, RankBrain immediately became the third most important factor that Google uses to determine the ranking. 

But what makes RankBrain? In short, this algorithm helps interpret searches to find pages that might not contain the exact words of the query. For example, if you search for “shoes” Google understands that maybe want to find “sneakers” and incorporates this factor results.

While Google was beginning to understand synonyms of words before this update, RankBrain that learning led to a higher level and put the main focus on topics based on content.

Conclusion:  now more likely that users will find your content even if they did not use exactly your same keywords. When we combine this update Hummingbird is clear that we need to change our thinking, planning and creating content.

Depending on our conduct search and technology updates in search engines, there is no doubt that the content guide we used to use to evolve. It is possible that the same formula we used in the last 10 years even generate modest results, but will not help us adapt to the way that potential customers are looking for our content today, or how search engines work .

Does this mean that the keywords are irrelevant?

No, keywords are still very important. However, many marketers rely solely on keywords to analyze their content strategies. If we consider these changes in search behavior and technology, your next guide content should be based on broad themes that match user intent and with specific keywords they use.

For example, if you help companies to redesign their websites, you probably want to appear on the results page of a search engine with the term “website redesign.” In this case, “redesign of the website” is the overall theme. However, perhaps some users might find “redesign an existing website,” which is basically the same query, but with different keywords. 

With so many changes in technology, search behavior and how we interact with the content, it is clear that you must also change our way of creating content to attract users.

Here you will find the core principles of the new content guide.

New content guide

The new content guide includes general topics that would classify organized in 3 parts: sets of topics, main content and content classified by subtopics. This model can help you establish areas of influence on general topics and at the same time, build a solid information architecture.

Subject Sets

Matt Barby, global head of growth and SEO HubSpot , explains: 

“The fundamental idea why a program content based on a set of topics is to allow greater coverage of a variety of key issues, while architecture is made effective information is created during the process.”

Instead of imagining each of the variants of the exact keywords, think about the issues that you want to classify; so you elaborate the content you cover these issues in depth. Then it includes relevant keywords in the content based on themes. To get a clearer explanation, let’s compare a table of topics with a keyword:


A set of general issues comprehensive content is represented in the center (called primary content), surrounded by subtopics classified by content. The model looks like this:

set model temas.png

A set of topics should be specific to the subject with which you want to sort and should be short (ideally between 2 and 4 words).

For example, HubSpot, “inbound marketing” is a set of issues and we main content devoted to describing the methodology. You can have multiple sets of topics on your site all topics that are relevant to your company. 

main content

This type of content is the heart of this new strategy. Usually it consists of a single page (such as a landing page or website) that provides a comprehensive overview on the subject. 

If you have a lot of content, this page may already exist on your site. If not, or if you want to include a new topic, check out this scheme decisions to help you decide when to create new main content.

flow diagram-of-set-main--final2.jpg

There are 3 fundamental aspects of the main content that you should consider:

  • Unprotected content: the main content should not be protected. That means that this material should be available so that search engines can crawl and visitors can read without having to fill out a form. You can include a form on the page, but do not use it to hide such content. 
  • Comprehensive content: the main content must be complete, which usually means you have a large format. Think of all the questions you frequently receive your sales teams, customer service and technical assistance regarding a specific topic and prepares responses in the page content.
  • Related terms: do you remember what we mentioned earlier about updates to the algorithms? Be sure to mention your focus sometimes on the page, but also includes synonyms. So, no matter how users search for that topic, you’re likely to find your page.

Content organized by subtopics

This type of content should be related to your main content; revolves around the same general subject, but longer and should answer specific questions. The content could be presented as articles or blog site pages, and should contain a text link that redirects to main content. 

This hyperlink tells search engines all these contents relate to each other. In addition, since all your content organized by subtopics redirects to the main theme, also manage to create authority within your site.

Here’s an example of how the scheme could be your website:

new estructura.png

This new approach helps attract more traffic from general topics and still continue to attract traffic from long tail keywords. It is a better solution for your visitors as you can give them the answers they expect to find no technological barrier. 

Your best content should be exceptional, complete and be organized in this structure not only for crawlers search engines can discover, but to show answers to queries based on specific topics. Content creation has evolved in recent years and now reached a turning point in which we are going through an even more important development. 

As marketers, it ‘s our responsibility to create valuable content that users actually want to consume; useful content, human and easy to find.

Ultimately, we all want to achieve our goals (either increase traffic, sales opportunities or qualified by marketing opportunities), but we must begin by making our content matches what users are looking for and how they work the search engines today.

What do you think of this article? Tell us in the comments.