This is an update on a post from 2021. As I always say, the ABC’s of SEO have been the same since it started, but the DEF’s change every ten minutes.  Google just gets better at measuring what they deem important.  With the “Helpful Content” updates in recent years, we have seen the supporting content discussed in this post from just a few years ago become increasingly important. Sometimes the labels change, but it s the same concept. Topic relevance may not be topic authority.

John Mueller has shared a lot of information over the years that sets the SEO world abuzz.  From quotes on duplicate content to pointing out that Google ranks pages and not websites. The latter news taken too casually may have someone believing that the content you build on your website has no bearing on the other pages around it. This is far from the case. Google has always taken the links around and coming into a page as a major ranking factor and content has always been king for SEO.  If anything, it is more than ever.  Links are still extremely important and the neighborhood directly around a page (your website) carries a strong message to Google about the individual page.

But how do  small business owners fight against the big brands that have such powerful websites?

Fighting to Rank in SEO with Topic Authority

So what does a small business do to fight back? How do you rank for the bigger and broader terms? I typically recommend to small business clients that they aim for specific but relevant and build from there.  You can build your site reputation around a subject area by creating detailed content that supports it. Often small businesses are, by naturem targeting a subsection of information. A local car place is already targeting their local geography and not nationally, so they have already gone a step toward niche.  On top of that, they may only be selling Lexus or Chevrolet, another step of detail.  The more targeted they can be, the less competition, and at the same time more relevant to their business. It isn’t about the most traffic, but the best traffic. If you sell Toyota’s to northeastern PA you don’t necessarily need BMW searchers from Oregon.

Google looks at the site as an entity with a level of authority and reputation around different topic areas. A site about medicare is going to be stronger and more trustworthy for content around medicare choices than it is for a post on used cars.  Even with good links, they are going to struggle to rank on a used car post more than on one in their subject area. You need to build a good site architecture and if you want to rank for broader searches like “physical therapy NJ”, you want to build specific content around all of the sub-topics, niche, and supporting information around that area. All of those little answers you provide to specific questions build your reputation around the higher volume search in Google’s and your customer’s eyes.

Build specific pages in a clearly thought out site architecture that links from topic to topic to make it easy for the users to find what they want, but then also navigate back to the sale.  The detailed sub-topic pages and answers to detailed questions should link back to the main and more general page on your site so when the user gets the specific answer they need they can easily find their way back to buy. Google will also see this connection and give more power to the broader topic page.

Supporting Content Ideas

If you need help with supporting content ideas in your subject area, consider what customers and clients as you every day. If someone has asked, there are others searching. For a more tool-based approach, I have written about content idea generation a number of times in the past, like here with PAA’s and here with the “entity tool” for content ideas. Lots of ways to feed the Google beast with useful and informative content about specific issues, questions, and needs in the subject area.

SEO Entity ExplorerThink of all of the problems your product or service solves.  One service may solve a lot of different problems. You can write about each of these issues and how you can be the solution.  Lead them down the path to help them understand how to get from their pain to your solution to the pain.  You know what you offer and all of its benefits. Just put it in the words your potential customers need to lead them there. Have an answer and a solution for all of the questions, concerns, or issues and lead them back to the main page. The content will help them and also serve to boost your reputation in the Google algorithm. You will become a known source of solutions and, in turn, with some added SEO basics and help, will rank for more and more relevant search.

Remove hurdles on the customer journey. Explain price, process, solutions, your reputation, etc to help make their purchase journey easy.  The more transparent you are and “helpful” you are at presenting you know what they are struggling with and that you are the solution, the better you will rank and convert.

If you need help with getting this all set up and going, give us a call. We love this stuff.