Content Marketing Blog mint

Content Marketing Blog

How to Use Topic Modeling for Structuring Content

Marrying Technology and Creativity Gets Results

Keeping up with how Google’s search and ranking algorithms work is akin to the arcade game “Whack-a-Mole.” Just when you think you’ve conquered the challenge, another change pops up, and you're struggling to get your website and your content to rank on SERPs again.
While we aren’t privy to the intricacies of Google’s algorithms, we do know that topic modeling is part of the process. This glimpse behind the curtain gives you useful insights to consider as you develop your content strategy. To ensure your content produces results – i.e., shows up for your audience – use topic modeling as a foundational pillar of your content marketing plan. 

An Overview of Topic Modeling to Guide Your Content Strategy

Before we examine approaches to topic modeling, let’s briefly explain the concept.

  • Topic modeling examines search words and phrases, looking for the contextual relationships between them. When the context of keywords or inquiries shows up repeatedly, topic modeling will give higher ranks to that context (and associated content).
  • We’ll use Justin Bieber as an example topic. He's well known for his musical talents, but in recent years, he's also interacted with Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church. Justin recently married model and TV personality Hailey Baldwin, daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and niece of actor Alec Baldwin. He has a history of getting in legal trouble and has been open about his struggles with depression. He’s also known for his philanthropy, donating to more than 20 causes.
  • After scouring through searches, you learn that “Justin Bieber” and “music” occurs more often than “Justin Bieber” and “charity.” Topic modeling would then rank sites and content about Justin Bieber’s music higher than his charitable activities.

Our example reflects Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), a popular method of topic modeling. This technique groups content found in posts, articles, and website pages into topic clusters based on recurring words. The LDA process mirrors how we think, grouping content based on contextual clues and intent. When the content is grouped to reflect associations, like "Justin Bieber" and "music," it becomes easier to bring it to the top of a SERP.

You can invest in software to help with topic modeling. From our perspective, however, getting content aligned with the intent of an audience looking for answers starts with critical thinking. You may find it useful to do a bit of manual topic modeling in the early stages of your content strategy development. After you have a framework of understanding about your business, applying AI-driven analysis to thousands of pages of related content can give you robust support for your strategy.

Focusing Your Content with Topic Modeling

Mapping out topics relevant to your company or product starts with a few fundamental questions:

  • Since search engines rely on word associations for ranking content, ask, "What keywords are most relevant to our industry?" Be sure to include a list of phrases and words that should never link with your brand. You want to avoid terminology that will confuse customers or doesn't fit your brand's identity.
  • A useful follow-up question is: “What questions do customers have about our industry/company/brand that we can answer?” A question and answer structure for your content provides the clear context that search engines rate highly. Do some competitive analysis to support this activity; you’ll learn what they’re sharing and can decide how to uniquely position your brand.

Next, create a list of focused topics and the intentions for your content, whether it’s blog posts or pages on your website.  This step of the process will help guide your strategy and provide you with a rubric to use if you’re evaluating current content. You can revise unfocused material and add new content to fill information gaps. Importantly, topic modeling helps you identify opportunities for unique content. Going back to our Justin Bieber example, let’s say we’re adding content to a fan website. The main landing page may be purely informational, but we find nothing about the topic of ‘Recently Released Music.’ We create a new page with the intention of helping visitors buy Justin’s latest single through a link or ecommerce feature.

With the list of topics and intentions complete, it’s time to develop your content. Keep your ideas tied to the topic associated with your keyword or phrase. You'll still need to mention the keyword to get exact match search results, but you don't have to stuff your content with it. Incorporating concepts related to your topic will increase your content's relevancy. We recommend following natural language processing (NLP) constructs as you write.

  • Reference the questions customers ask and provide clear, concise answers in your content.
    • By concise, we mean sentences less than 30 words in length!
    • Clarity refers to your word choice, which should naturally reflect how your customers talk.
  • Incorporate SEO tactics like headings, lists, and word placement to improve the readability of your content and make its contextual meaning clear.

Topic Modeling - A Checklist for Mapping Your Content Strategy

Activity

Purpose

Tips

Identify keywords and phrases relevant to your industry, company, or brand.

Begin identifying topics and word associations.

Include words you never want associated with your brand.

Think like a customer and ask questions about your brand that you can answer with content.

A Q&A framework for content establishes the context search engines seek.

Check out your competition to learn the questions (and answers) they provide.

Create a list of focused topics and intentions for each type of content.

Gives your team specific direction for developing new content and assessing gaps in existing content.

Complete this activity for your entire website to ensure each page contributes to your overall story.

Develop content around topics and keywords or phrases.

Connect with your audience and get recognized by search engines.

Use Natural Language Processing constructs like short(er) sentences, reader-friendly language, and SEO tactics such as headings and lists.

From an SEO perspective, clustering topics together logically on your website or blog posts will get you more recognition from search engines as an authority on the subject.

The last part of this process—developing content—is essential. You can identify keywords and outline your content strategy by using topic modeling. What matters most to your customers, however, is thoroughly researched, well-crafted content.

Do you want to learn more about topic modeling and how you can apply it to your content strategy? Talk to the experienced team of SEO copywriters at MintCopy, a content agency in Mississauga, Canada. Our team has the experience and knowledge to help you develop the plan and content you need to stand out online.

You can use our online form to reach us. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date with content marketing trends.

Share


Recent Posts

Sheetal Pinto - 7/22/2021 06:00

According to eMarketer, Google Home is the most popular smart speaker in Canada, with Amazon Echo right behind. It’s estimated that almost 20% of the population used smart speakers in 2020. Even more important, voice technology is on the rise, as Media in Canada reports. Over 88% of Canadians are using voice search. If your business isn’t addressing voice search in your SEO content, you could be missing out.

Sheetal Pinto - 7/15/2021 06:00

Imagine yourself in a real-life social situation. Will you stand around and talk to others in the room even if they aren’t listening or seem bored and disinterested? Umm, awkward. It’s no different in the online world, but many of us don’t realize it. If your Facebook posts are talking but nobody is listening, your social content is not doing a very good job.

Sheetal Pinto - 7/8/2021 06:00

What if there was a way to position your brand as authoritative? What if your content could provide social proof? What if you could show your customers how successful you are at helping other customers? The winning solution in your content strategy is case studies. You can accomplish 3 key content marketing goals with case studies—build credibility, generate interest, and encourage conversion.
Case studies capture stories of how your brand solved a problem for a real person or business. A case study lets you paint a picture through words to make your business shine. Your customers’ success stories are just waiting to be told. A case study is a valuable content piece in which readers can see themselves getting results.   

Sheetal Pinto - 6/24/2021 06:00

Recognizing the value and importance of content marketing, you’ve decided you need help. Professional copywriting delivers the results you want. So, you’re now looking for a content agency. There’s no shortage of options. Sifting through the different agencies in a simple online search can be time consuming. You need a plan to find the one that fits your needs and is up to speed on the latest content best practices.
Here are four questions you can ask to help you sort through the field to find a content agency that will drive results.

Sheetal Pinto - 6/17/2021 06:00

Small business owners wear a lot of hats. As an expert multitasker, you’ve probably learned that there are times when you can manage two or three things at once. Then, there are those jobs that need your full focus. We are thinking, bookkeeping, inventory, and content editing and proofreading. If you’re involved in both creating and posting content, wearing both hats at the same time can cause confusion in the final output. With years of experience creating content for a range of industries, here are proven tips from our SEO copywriters for editing content and then proofreading content; because they aren’t the same thing.  

Sheetal Pinto - 6/10/2021 00:00

In the lean, mean structure of smaller businesses, in-house copywriters often don’t specialize in copywriting. It’s just one of many hats they wear as part of their overall duties. Creating high quality digital content isn’t easy. Consumer behaviours change, Google’s algorithms change, search trends change, and all of this means content must adapt. Copywriters who work on their writing skills and keep up with the user experience will be more effective. Here are four tips from great novelists that can take your content writing to the next level.

Sheetal Pinto - 6/3/2021 13:19

Thirty years ago, we were using desktop-based PCs with dial up connections. Today, smartphones fit in the palm of our hands, allowing us to be connected from literally anywhere in the world. Wearables go a step further; you just strap a smartwatch on to your wrist and it packs a punch. People consume content differently, too. Instead of reading long documents, most people skim content for quick answers. Your content strategy must keep up with your audience. Using pillar pages and cluster posts to organize content is an efficient approach that benefits your readers and your SEO rankings. And oh, your writers will thank you profusely, too!

Sheetal Pinto - 5/27/2021 06:00

You are an expert in your field, which gives you a lot of credibility and authority when creating content for your business. You don’t have to be a copywriter to share your story. You simply have to know how to tell it to your reader. Here are some of our best tips to help you create high-quality website content.

Sheetal Pinto - 5/20/2021 06:00

Search engines organize content to help users find information easily. As people get increasingly adept at using online search, the rules for indexing and ranking content keep adapting to accommodate user trends consumer behavior. It’s no longer enough to have backlinks and keywords, two of the main elements in SEO. Your content must stand out by being relevant and engaging to the reader. As the top search engines change their algorithm to reward high-quality content, it’s your chance to set your site up as one that people love.

Sheetal Pinto - 5/13/2021 06:00

For a long time, it seemed as if SEO favoured large, nationwide brands with huge websites and massive online presence. Small businesses were finding it difficult to compete against these deep-pocketed digital brand marketers. Enter Local Search, which helped level the playing field a little. Now, if the user was looking for a local business, it became easier to find one. Today, users use search not just to find brands, but to find information. Search engines are constantly changing to give users relevant information, at whatever stage they are in their journey. We’re seeing another trend in search, that of search equity to give more businesses a chance to show off their expertise.