Topical Authority With Andy Chadwick

Topical Authority With Andy Chadwick

Topical Authority With Andy Chadwick

Episode 043

We’re joined by Andy Chadwick this week to chat about the topic of topical authority aka hub and spoke content aka pillar and cluster content.

Whatever you want to call it, if you can nail it with your site it can lead to awesome Google visibility and traffic.

We went in-depth in this chat with plenty of gold nuggets dropped during this 50+ minute chat.

You can check out Andy at his personal site here or his software tool Keyword Insights.


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Michael 0:00
Hi guys, Michael here before we get into the show, if you’re a Twitter user head to at service scaling, I’m tweeting a bunch of stuff. I’ve learned scaling our digital marketing agency, and I think you’ll find it pretty interesting. All right, let’s get into the show.

Unknown Speaker 0:15
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your hosts, Michael and Arthur.

Michael 0:37
Hello, it is time for another episode of the SEO show. I’m not joined by Arthur again this week. Instead, I’m joined by Andy Chadwick. Andy is an SEO consultant based in the UK. And he is the co founder at a couple of different software tools, one of which deals with content, spokes and hubs and clustering keywords together. And this is basically what we had a good chat about today. Another term for that is topical authority. It’s something that’s been touched on in previous episodes of the show, Matt diggety, most recently was talking about it. And I thought it would be good to have someone come on to the show and go quite in depth on the topic of topical authority. So that’s why we had Andy on the show. It’s a really great chat. It’s a long one went for over 50 minutes today. But we really got into the I guess the the depths of Hub and Spoke content and how you can plan it all out and map it all out and internal linking and the types of results you can expect when deploying a topical authority approach or a hub and spoke approach to your SEO. So that’s Enough waffling for me, you don’t want to hear me talk about it. And he had a lot of gold. So without further ado, let’s jump over to the chat with Andy Chadwick. Hi, Andy, welcome to the show. For our listeners who may not have heard of you. If you could just give us a quick overview of who you are and what you’re doing. That’d be awesome.

Unknown Speaker 1:54
Yeah, cheers, Michael. Yeah, no. So I’m Andy. I’m one of the cofounders of snippet consulting, which is a boutique SEO agency. But then, I’m also the founder of snippet digital, which is sort of an offshoot of snippet consultancy, and we make SEO tools. It started off just making them for businesses who had, you know, little requirements, and we’ve ended up spinning one, while our most famous one called keyword insights, which is a SASS tool, which helps basically turbocharge your content strategy. So co founder of sniffing, consultancy, and then I guess the main thing we’re known for is keyword insights, which is the SEO SAS tool to help with content.

Michael 2:36
Awesome, okay, well, I came across you. Funnily enough, I would say through your your keyword Insights tool. I was doing a bit of search on the topic of content hubs and spoke content. Another term for that is, you know, pillar and clusters, or, I guess the general topic is topical authority, which is spoken about quite a bit in the SEO world at the moment, I found a blog post he had done, and I checked out the tool and thought it was pretty cool. And we hadn’t actually had anyone on the show to talk about that topic before. And with your posts being so in depth, I thought it’d be great to get you on. But um, I always like to start with the very basics. And with this, you know, I’ve thrown a few terms, you know, pillar and cluster hubs and spoke topical authority. If you can maybe fill in our audience on what it is exactly.

Unknown Speaker 3:22
Yeah, no problem. Yeah, as you said, they go by 30 names your topic clusters have pages, spoke pages, topical authority, they’ve got so many different names. Essentially, it’s, it’s really simple. It’s a simple and effective way of well increasing traffic your site and it works by creating these central pages known as hubs. And then these link out to various sub pages known as cluster content or spoke content. So for example, you might have your central piece of content might be let’s say you were writing a blog around well keyword research, you might have a central blog called The Ultimate Guide to keyword research. Although just a caveat, I hate it all these ultimate guides so anything, you know, we need a new name, but there’s, there’s about 30 ultimate guides to whatever topic you’re on. But essentially, you’ve got one central piece on the ultimate guide to keyword research. And this goes into loads of different aspects of keyword research talks about how very briefly, it covers how to do longtail keyword research, how to do short term keyword research, how to generate your list doing something else or something else. But this ultimate guide links in links out to more specific guides on each topic. So even though we briefly covered in our ultimate guide, How to do longtail keyword research, it links to a more in depth guide on how to literally just covering how to do longtail keyword research. So it’s it’s more of a more of an index almost that covers everything briefly summarises it and then links out to these these cluster type pieces. And the reason it works really well, is for two reasons. First of all, if you if you plan, it works for planning, and it works for when you actually, you know, linked, link them all up on your website. From a planning point of view, if you if you plan your content in this way, you’re more likely to thoroughly cover a subject if you’re if you’re, before you’ve even started writing, if you plan it on, I don’t know what sort of I use lucid, but there’s Miro, there’s some of the, you know, diagram planning tools, or even just in Google Sheets, if you plan your your verbs, and then all the spokes off of that, before you start writing, you know, you’re going to cover a topic pretty thoroughly, because you’ve got all the various, you know, aspects around that topic. And then once you’ve actually written them, it works really well again, because you’re internally linking between everything that is topically similar semantically similar. So you’re giving, you know, search engines, just a way to crawl from topic to topic, and really understand the similarities. And the the points between them is why Wikipedia was so successful is because if you go on any one of their pages, it links out to, you know, other pages if you’re reading about Barack Obama, or talk about the White House, and you can click a link and then read about the White House. And once you’re reading that, you can click a link that talks about the colour white, and it just all links up. It’s really good for what’s another idea known as the Knowledge Graph, which is this idea that you cover thoroughly a topic, and everything around that topic. So, you know, Barack Obama is a person associated with the White House, the White House is a building associated with a government, the government is this idea. You know, you’re giving it all this this Knowledge Graph information. So that’s why they work. And there’s a bit of theory behind. Yeah, why they work.

Michael 6:45
Okay, cool. Well, I want to jump into how this all works. You know, like, how you actually go about building them? And few questions I have around, you know, I guess the the focus of the pages. But before we get into that, so the listeners get a feeling for what might be possible, you know, traffic or visibility. Why is that? Let’s say, traditionally, a website owner might throw up a few pages on the services they offer, and they have their homepage, and let’s say they’re a lawyer, for argument’s sake. What could they expect? Or what are the types of growth you’ve achieved with this strategy in the past that justifies going and really covering the topic of law in depth through a lawyer? You know, is there any result?

Unknown Speaker 7:23
Yes. Yeah, so there’s, I mean, there’s plenty of case studies, I think we post on the site, but we’ve grown depends, again, you know, the niche and where you are, and how competitive it is. We’ve grown a startups traffic from nothing to 80,000 visits a month in a year, which was just massive. And that was in a very competitive niche. That’s a furniture company in the UK. So they’re competing with, you know, for listeners, these are massive UK brands, but they’re competing with Marks and Spencers. Next oak furniture land, these huge furniture companies that they just didn’t have a hope with before and just covering content in this way. Yeah, we’ve basically blown even them out of the water in terms of our editorial content. And why that works with them as well. It’s not just because you could just say, Oh, well, you’ve grown this site 80,000. But are they actually making any money from it. And the reason it works is a lot of those posts then have been guides about buying. And we’ve made the calls to actions through to our products very clear and ways. It’s subtle, unclear, which I know sounds like an oxymoron. But it isn’t the blog isn’t written to sell the call to actions or put in a way which users are actually clicking through. And I think our top blog posts, which are just editorials, I think 20% of the people who read them. And there’s, I think there’s five to 6000 visitors a month on each one 20% of people actually click through in view of byproducts of which three to 4% of them actually then go ahead and buy. So our editorial for them is absolutely smashing it in terms of bringing visitors in and actually converting interestingly, for more established companies, the growth is a little bit more modest. But in terms of percentages, but actually still works really well in terms of numbers. So we’ve got a massive American client. And they we grew their traffic, I think theirs by 110%, over three, four months. And considering we’re talking about moving it from I think it was 500,000 to six 7000 It’s still big numbers. And the problem there wasn’t so much that their content was bad or the authority is bad. It’s that we needed to know what topics they hadn’t covered or covered thoroughly. And then all we did was plug the gap with adding more content into it. So you can see really good results for both competitive niches and startups to really establish companies that already have a lot of content.

Michael 9:59
Great So when you’re writing this content, is every single piece written for the user and written to try and encourage, like a click through to a product page or, you know, are you saving that for the Hub Pages and other spoke pages more just as backup, you know, to give that, you know, depth of coverage, but it’s more for Google’s benefit? How do you sort of decide, you know, when you’re creating content, which is which

Unknown Speaker 10:26
to be it? Yeah, to be honest, we write it all without any call to actions, and we stick it on the site. And then we wait three or four months, and we look at analytics, and we’ll see how people are reacting to our people reading or they’re engaging with it. Were the ones they are the ones that they are, and we feel like it would make sense to put a call to action we do so not all of them. And there’s not even a rule. A lot of people talk about 8020. You know, the Pareto principle, we don’t have that it’s just be looking at the blog isn’t getting traffic, if it is, is there a way we can naturally introduce a call to action. So a good example. And actually, another example of a client we’ve pushed their organic traffic to, I think, from nothing to eight to 9000 a month, again, a startup company called Les them’s hardware. And the reason this was so impressive is they they sell locks and you know, screws and bolts, so they’re up against, again, huge giant. So in again, in the UK, it’s screwfix. And being Q these massive hardware stores, we couldn’t compete with them. And one of the things ladies hardware I wanted to rank for was Euro cylinders. So we wrote a load of Harbin con cluster content around Euro cylinder. So the first one is the ultimate guide to Euro cylinders. And then I know I sort of contradicting myself there about the ultimate guide. I couldn’t think of a more a better name for that one. Yeah, yeah, this one was the ultimate guide, and it ranks number one for Euro cylinder. So it must be the ultimate guide. So yeah, we we realised we couldn’t go up against being Q and screwfix. And these other massive companies for the term Euro cylinders. And that’s one of their main products. So what we did was made the ultimate guide to Euro cylinders. And that talks about euro cylinders in general, how to choose them, what sizes they are, what they do, why they’re good, a good type of luck. And individually, it locks it links into other blogs around what to do if you’re, you’re gonna get stuck, how to replace a Euro cylinder. What’s the best? What’s the security ratings on Euro cylinder. And now, if you type in Euro cylinders in the UK, we’ve almost changed the intent that that Google used to show before it would show 10 out of 10 commercial pages, it would be by your cylinders, by your cylinders, by your cylinders here, etc, etc. It’s now nine and one, we’ve got the one Blogspot there, which is really interesting, because actually, if you looked at it, it was the SERPs you’d go, we could never rank a blog there. But we thought we’d have a go by making this really helpful guide to buying them, because you sometimes see that Google will push a guide there. And it did it it ranks and we didn’t have any calls to action for it. And it’s doing really well. And obviously quite naturally. We in that in that blog, in that ultimate guide, we talk about four the four different types of Euro cylinders, one is like a thumb turn one one is one with a key. And so it actually made sense to certainly put a little call to action on each one, you know, view or buy or view or your someone’s collection here or buy this type of Euro cylinder here. So we didn’t do it to begin with, but we were looking in his eye actually, we can have a call to action here without without forcing it. There’s other times you shouldn’t really do it and maybe just a call to action on the bottom. So going back to that furniture company, we’ve got there’s a guide on there, one of their best performing guides is how to get rid of scratches off of your dining table. If you stick a call to action near the top there, it looks really salesy. So we just done a nice one at the bottom, which basically goes into either way, this whole guy’s been telling you how to get scratches off your dining table, if that’s simply too much effort, you know, view our range here, and it’s just a nice call to action at the bottom. We haven’t tried to run me at the top so it looks natural. So yeah, to answer your question, we go back after the blog to start generating traffic and see if there’s a way we can do it naturally. And if there’s not, we maybe try and make it at the bottom which doesn’t have that much of a click through but yeah, we just don’t want it to look too salesy the blog otherwise we’ve seen in the past where we’ve tried that and then ends up losing its ranking.

Michael 14:40
Right. Yep. Okay. Well, you mentioned they’re competing with big brands and let you know, retailers that are dominating the SERPs. And you might think that you don’t have a chance to compete, you know, with the, I guess, on a like for like basis, you know, straight product page versus product page. But you could have a chance with this hub. and spoke approach, what would be the first step in building out a hub and spoke strategy? Like I would imagine there’s a range of steps you go through to research and filter and prepare content maps and the like. So how do you go about it?

Unknown Speaker 15:14
So I’m trying to do this without plugging the tool, because you gotta wait. Yeah, so I’ll talk about how we do it. And then I’ll talk, maybe touch on like some free and alternative methods of doing it. But to be honest with you, it’s, it’s why we we created keyword insights. It was for our own agency, because we were spending so long doing this. Just to cover top level, what keyword insights does, it does, it does three things. First of all, it allows you to generate a list of keywords. So you can use Ahrefs, or SEMrush, or any other tool or keyword planner, or there’s some free ones out there as well, I think Uber suggests is free, or maybe it’s paid for now. But

Unknown Speaker 16:03
we have that built into our tool, it’s so you can plug in a seed keyword, let’s call it dining tables, and we’ll generate another 1000 2000 Odd keywords for you. Again, like I said, you can use Ahrefs or SEMrush to do that keyword research for you. And then it’s got a clustering part. So that part is called keyword discovery, discovering loads of keywords around a topic. And then it’s got a keyword clustering module. And what keyword clustering does is we scrape. So what we do is you don’t your list of keywords, and it can be from keyword discovery within our own tool, or you can bring your own data from IHS or SEMrush. Either way, you upload it into the clustering module. And what we do is analyse the search engine results for every single keyword in that list. And you can adjust the settings. But if you leave them a default, we cluster them together if if they if a keyword shares four or more URLs and the top 10 In common with another keyword. So what that means is what would simplify that what we’re saying is, if this keyword shows at least four URLs in the top 10 With this keyword, according to Google, then Google thinks they mean the same thing that the same intent so we’re clustering together them together. Okay, and actually is here we see some really interesting things because sometimes keywords you think should be in the same cluster and targeted on the same page. And sometimes you think there should have been two different ones. And you see surprising results either way, a good example was we did one the other day. And it also depends on which country you’re, you’re doing it for. So we analyse whatever country selecting the tool, we analyse that specific country. And you see it differ from country to country. A good example was we had a cluster, we were doing it for a skating company. And we had skate wheel and various terms around skate wheel in one cluster. And the word skate wheels in a different cluster. The user of the tool came to us and said I think your tools broken, wizened skate wheels in the same cluster of skate wheel ones, just the plural of the other one. We always say, Well, Google the two results. And you’ll see actually, the results are at least 60% different. Because that’s how our tool works. It literally works by you know, analysing the live search result page. And if Google showing two different results, then that means if you want to target those two different keywords, you need two different pages. And interestingly, in that example, what what was what was happening is skate wheel was showing very transactional pages how where to buy them? Well, you know, buying them or that kind of thing, or skate wheel showed more informational pages, comparing the different types of wheels. So there were two very different keywords. Just a caveat here, where I am going to plug other free tools, there are fleet free clusterings very useful for basically grouping keywords together and working out what pages you need to create. There are free versions of clustering that uses NLP and natural language processing the problem and that there’s loads of great scripts out there, there’s loads of free tools out there. The problem with using NLP is in that example, I’ve just given it would group skateboard and skate wheels together. Because on a on a word vector diagram, those two words mean the same thing. Yeah, that’s why we actually scrape search result pages and analyse search result pages because, you know, we’re playing in Google’s universe, right? So we want to optimise towards Google showing not to work natural language processing, not to what you and me think the same thing means. So there are free tools out there to cluster and it will still be useful. The reason we have a paid tool is because we are using religiously analysing the live search results. So there’s that Anyway, coming back to clustering. So by grouping these keywords together, we’re already showing you and you get this report. It’ll show you these keywords can be targeted on same page. These two keywords can be tough because on the same page, these keywords so you now you can see what pages you need to create. Then what we do and there’s another report that we give you is we cluster the cluster so to speak So we then work out. So we’ve clustered the keywords, and that shows you what pages in screen. And then what we do is cluster the clusters, which means we then work out how the clusters are related to each other. And we do use natural language processing for that. And then what you’re seeing the report is this drop down, and it’ll have a head cluster. And I will show you all the related clusters under that. So you can really quickly see the head cluster as your hub. And you can see all the clusters that fall under that. So it’s a really quick way for us to dump in 1000s of keywords, and within five to 10 minutes, or depending how many keywords you put in. If you dump in 1000 keywords, it’ll take five to 10 minutes. If you dump in 250,000 keywords, it’ll take two or three hours. But it’s a very quick way for us to dump it all in and quickly find all the clusters and spokes. How I used to do this for free, just if you don’t want to use a paid tool is first of all, I would use the free clustering

Unknown Speaker 20:59
tools out there. And like I said, if you just type in free clustering, you’ll get loads. I have said as the caveat, there is an issue with that in that it will be grouping keywords together that Google wouldn’t group together, I used to use a free tool. And then I would manually be going through and adding filters to let’s say it was anything to do with scratches, I’d add a filter on my keyword table to find all the clusters at scratches. And then I put another filter on to do with everything to do with oak tables. And I’d basically be manually trying to find my customer and hubs like that. But yeah, that’s that’s why we invented the clustering tool. There is then a third module in our tool. So once we’ve mapped out all our hubs and clusters, and what we do is we still have this on our screen on the right hand screen. On the left hand screen, I’m looking through the report, we send you a mapping it all out on on lucid again. So here’s everything you need to know about fixing dining tables. And our clusters are to do with atrophied structures and dining tables, how to fix crayon marks and dining tables, how to fix spill dinner on dining tables. And because we’ve clustered the them together using live result pages, we know that these group of keywords can be tagged on this page, these can be targeted on this page. And yeah, I’m just mapping them out on on lucid or mirror. A lot of people would use Excel or Google Sheets, I am more visual than that. And I like to then plot all the internal links between all the clusters themselves and all the hubs. Because another problem people have is they, you they think if you’ve got a hub in a cluster, I have a topic a topic. Don’t just make them in isolation of each other hubs can link to other hubs and clusters can link to other clusters. Is the 100% still not sign 100%? And it definitely shouldn’t be. So that’s why I use lucid because then I started mapping the links between various apps and things as well. That weren’t quite long winded, if that makes sense.

Michael 23:00
No, totally makes sense. Like I, personally, when I’ve done this stuff in the past, I would, you know, get my big keyword lists, expand on the seed keywords, dump them into Excel, and then apply a bunch of filters and just filter stuff based on a hunch, a guess, you know, stuff that looks like it should go together. And then you map it out in Excel. So you know, I’d have the hierarchy of pages and then different hubs beneath that. So this approach that you’ve got here, where you’re looking at what Google is telling you in plain sight, you know, these are the things that are relevant or related. To inform your your Maps makes a lot of sense. I want to go to the very start of it. You mentioned putting seed keywords into a tool like keyword insights or trusts or SEM rush. What What’s your process for finding seed keywords? Like are you going as deep as pulling up all of the competitors in a space and pulling, you know, I guess keyword themes off their site, and then maybe looking at questions and answers. You know, people also ask that sort of stuff like what were you hunting down the seed keywords to start with?

Unknown Speaker 24:02
I guess so some of it is. Some of it is you can’t really put a process on it. It’s just obvious. So in the in the table. So going back to the furniture company example. We know we want to write about dining tables. So I stick dining table as my seed key within and, you know just comes up with modes of potential ideas, of which then one of those ideas might be. So when you dump keywords into our clustering tool, if it doesn’t have at least another keyword that shares four years and comment, it gets categorised under this thing called no cluster. So what happens is when you get your report, you’ve got let’s say you stick 1000 keywords in there, that 1000 keywords might turn into 50 clusters. And then one of those clusters is a big one called no cluster and that’s full of all the keywords that didn’t have anything in common. And I go through that. So if it’s just sticking dining tables, the Probably be a lot of keywords clustered around dining tables, kitchen tables, dining tables, where to buy dining table, all that. And then in the cluster in the no cluster, there might be how to get rid of a script from a dining table, because it might be well, that had nothing in common with either 999. I got one that was actually quite interesting. So I’m gonna do more on that one. So I’ll just take that one and put that one back in. And now I’ve got 1000 ideas just to do with scratches and dining tables, which then form another 50 clusters. And then there’s another big no cluster there with other ones like specifically how to fix a dining table, once you so it’s quite an iterative process there, which you’re looking at whatever you plug into at all. And it’s just based off of your, your idea that okay, dining tables, do look at them, oh, there’s some of this no cluster. Okay, let’s get some more around that. So that’s one way. The other ways as you said, I just get a number of competitors. And keyword insights doesn’t do this yet. But I think we’re building out to do this. But you plug in a competitor’s domain, or a few competitors, domains into hrs or SEM rush or SERPs, that’s another one. And you just plug in the domain, and just get loads of their keywords, all of them. If it’s specifically editorial keywords you’re looking for you can and they’ve structured their blog in a nice way, you could just put their, you know, their blog folder in so if it’s, and just get all the keywords to do in their blog. If you want all the keywords, you know, just put the main domain and, and then what I do is I go through and I get, like in three or four competitors, download all the keywords, D duplicate or I merge them all together into one D duplicate all of them. And then again, I do now I wouldn’t have done this before, but I do now just whack them straight into keyword insights. The reason being is it suddenly makes safe if you’ve done that exercise, and you’re left with 30 to 40,000 keywords that can be quite daunting. So if you stick that into keyword insights, your 40,000 keywords suddenly turns into maybe three or 4000. Because it’s it’s grouped all the like ones together. Yeah. And it just shows you all the pages. But yeah, to answer your question on how I get them once an iterative process where I’m looking at the node cluster and going okay, there’s more to be done around that. The other one is quite simply just plugging competitors domains in and if it’s just editorials into hrs or SEMrush and downloading the keywords that way.

Michael 27:22
Okay. And then I guess, you know, catering to that the topic of topical authority. Is it more? Like, how do you know when you’re done? I guess it’s more you feel you’ve just done enough research? You’ve got enough in there, the list is big enough? Like how do you know when you’ve exhausted everything?

Unknown Speaker 27:39
is a good question. I guess just when I’m fed up, but like, if you, as you’re, as you’re mapping them out, like you can see, I guess it starts is how confident are you in your keyword research? I guess. So we, we make sure our keyword research is always like as massive as it can be. I used to work at an agency and we would spend, I think, four to five hours on a keyword research, which just didn’t. Now we spent 20 to 30 hours on it. And it’s literally making sure we’ve come I know when I’m done when I start adding loads of keywords or when I’m de duplicating it’s still saying like, Oh, yeah, we removed 1000 We moved 2000 Again, yeah, but if you keep getting our we’ve only removed, you know, five, you can still keep adding to it, you can still keep adding to it. So I guess I know when I’m done at the keyword research stage, because I’m just keep adding to it until, as I’m D duping it saying like, Oh, yeah, no, you’re really removing a lot of rows.

Michael 28:40
Awesome. And I like that this can make what’s normally an overwhelming, I guess end result, you know, big keyword research doc, like that is great. And all you can give it to clients, I look at all these keywords we’ve researched. But this is a way of taking it and actually breaking it down into I guess, you know quantifiable deliverables that can be created in terms of content, right, once you’ve got your clusters and everything figured out and build out your map. The next bit, of course, is writing content. What’s your process? Like? Do you? Do you use a preferred sort of vendor or you use freelancers, even AI content, you know, for spoke pages? Have you played around with AI content? How do you approach content writing?

Unknown Speaker 29:26
Yeah, so the third module and keyword Insights is only recently released two weeks ago, but it is a content outlining tool or a concept briefing tool. And basically, yeah, once you’ve got your, your topics mapped out, so again, it was to solve a problem we had what I used to do. So the idea when you’re writing a piece of content, right, is that you want to create a piece which is better than everyone else’s, it’s going to be more informative, more comprehensive, and cover more topics. And so the way to do that was I take one of the pages or one of the clusters that are too would have shown you and choose the head keywords. So say there’s 20 keywords in a cluster, I choose the one with the most volume, because that’s if you optimise towards that one. In theory, you should rank for all the other ones as well, because that’s the point of the cluster. So I’d look at that head keyword. And I’d Google that. And then I’d open up a tab for each of the 20 results. And what I’d be doing is scanning down and basically just pulling in all the headings, the heading twos and rewording them slightly, but pulling in all the headings that had to basically what ranks in position one isn’t necessarily the most comprehensive, it might cover quite a few topics that the one in position two, isn’t it, but position two might also cover quite a few topics that position one doesn’t. And position three might have a different angle together. And so the idea is I’m going through, I’m pulling in headings to each deleting certain ones, adding other ones, until I’ve got like a load of heading outlines, which includes the best headings from all 20. And then what I do is go to the people who asked questions, and I go, okay, there was also these other questions that people were asking, let’s include them. And then what I would do is go to Reddit and Quora and get typing the question there, because my theory being if people are going to people also, if people are going to Reddit and Quora, it’s because I’m asking a question on a forum. It’s because they haven’t found a satisfactory answer to their question on a blog. So I’m getting those questions involved as well. And he used to take me so this is why they called the research stage, it used to take quite a while because you’re going through, like 20 tabs. And so what we did was created this content brief generator. This is partners messaging me, so I’m just gonna turn that answer do not disturb. So yeah, what we did was create this content brief generator, which analyses the top 20. For you, it shows you all the headings in one really neat place. And so you can see, it’s like a pick and mix, you can really quickly see all the top headings, heading ones heading twos and threes. And you can just fire them across into the content brief on the right hand side, we also pull in all the peoples who asked questions, we pull in all the Reddit questions you can pull them across. And then to make it easier for our writers or for us. So to answer your question, we do it in two different ways. We create a content outline or constant brief, and we either use it internally to, to then write or we send that to a freelancer to write, but the quality is in that research stage. And that’s what used to take the most time. So yeah, we give you all the headings, or we show you all of them in one place, you can fire across the ones you’d like without having to open up 20 tabs, they’ve got this other button and our content we’ve generated called extract bullet points. And what we do is if you click that, it also analyses the actual paragraphs under the headings. And because we don’t and we’re very clear about this, we could, because our tool is built on that we could make it so that we could generate AI paragraphs for you. We don’t think that’s a good idea. Because they all are working in the same way. They’re all there’s there’s tools out there that can actually detect if text has been AI written. And it’s pretty accurate. We’ve been trying it, and we even tried to outsmart it and it can’t be outsmarted. So what our tool does is summarises, summarises the points in a paragraph and generates bullet points. So you can find the bullet points across into your brief.

Unknown Speaker 33:33
And what that means is when you come to writing, because if you give, if you give a writer, an AI generated paragraph and ask them to rewrite it, there’s still this bias in their mind where they basically just read change a few words and doesn’t quite work. So what we’ve done is giving them the bullet points of it, and then it still forces them to write that into prose, which very much has their own spin on it. Yeah, so yes, we have played with AI content, we’ve even tried to do it in our tool, it doesn’t work to a quality that well can cannot be detected. So what we do do uses AI to generate summaries of each topic. And that still has to get read into prose. So yeah, we have this content refried that allows you to see all the results really quickly, it allows you to see all the headings actually summarises the main points under them, and he’ll fire it all across in, you know, 510 minutes make this really detailed, brief. And in the people also asked, we’ve also got another part in the brief called Title AI where we use AI to come up with headings that aren’t covered in the top 20 that aren’t in the people also asked and that aren’t in the Reddit, but could be related. So you could even include these topics that others haven’t written about at all. And then we generate the brief that way. So that’s how we or the outline and then that either goes to like I said, freelancer or we use it internally just to build upon.

Michael 34:51
Cool. And so when that contents written when it comes to internal linking strategy, is that something that is just done After the fact like you sort of look through the content and see words that make sense to link elsewhere or, you know, you mentioned your map had internal links in it, are you feeding that into your brief and you’re very specific about, you know which other articles these articles should be linking to?

Unknown Speaker 35:14
Yeah, so that’s part of the brief. We have no saying this should link to this one, this one and this one. If it’s not already written yet, just, it’s in a spreadsheet so that when it’s live, we remember you know, where they are going to be linking to, we try and get a few of the cluster, we try and do a few that. So this is the other thing, we’re big on it, we’d make sense. And a lot of guides tell you to write the hub piece first, and then write the clusters around it, we often go the other way we write the clusters first. And then because you can start integrating the linking between them, and you’ll see results quicker. And then we write the hub that covers all of the clusters, and then we link that back to all of them, if that makes sense. So we go the opposite way to what most guides will tell you. It works really well.

Michael 36:02
And do you? Do you publish this stuff as and when it’s ready? Or do you try and batch it all up and publish in one hit to try and cover a topic?

Unknown Speaker 36:11
It really depends on the client at this stage. So internally, we publish it when it’s ready. Some clients like to wait until they’re all done, because their mind works that way. And they you know, link up all the internal links, that’s just how they want to do it. It’s I mean, it’s fine. Either way, I guess we just want to get them up and get them indexed and get them, you know, at least on Google’s radar, or things radar or any search in his radar first, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you remember that you’ve got to go back in and add those internal links when the other ones are ready. And you’ve got a system for doing that. Mm hmm.

Michael 36:44
And what about like, let’s say you’ve you’ve, you publish a few spoke pages, and then you go and publish your hub, and all the links and everything, and then that hub starts ranking? Well, you know, the main head terms, you are going for ranking? Well, but you haven’t necessarily covered that whole topic, super in depth, there might be extra articles. Are you still seeing this all the way through? Are you sort of letting the traffic dictate? When you stop publishing content within a, I guess, a topic?

Unknown Speaker 37:14
Do you mean like, if if we’re still seeing, like,

Michael 37:20
yeah, so let’s say you had a pillar page, and then all of the hubs, let’s say you had, like the spoke pages, you had like 50 topics that you wanted to cover, and you publish maybe 20 of them? And then you started to see really good results already, in terms of rankings, your main, your main pages ranking? Well, are you still going to see it out and publish all of those extra 30 pages that you haven’t published? Or are you going to put a move on? I guess, I’m coming back to this one of like, how are you really trying to go super in depth always, even if you’re starting if you’re seeing good traffic results?

Unknown Speaker 37:55
Again, it depends on I think it depends on your business goals. So for the Knowledge Graph, it’s good to cover as many hubs and spokes as possible in a given topic, so let’s go back to this hardware shop I was talking about, we should really, in theory, be talking as much about DIY and building and things as possible. Because we’re going to cover this topic of building DIY, fixing things, adding you know, locks, as in depth as possible, we’re casting are now wider to top of the funnel audience. But there are specific hubs and spokes that are more likely to convert than others. So for example, on that same site, we have got hubs and spokes around how to fix a decking or something like that. We don’t actually sell many tools that help with doing decking. So if that hub and spoke is doing okay, I’m not probably not going to add to it and cover much around decking and how to fix it and how to paint it and all that because it’s good to get that, you know, Knowledge Graph that Google sees and authority on the subject of DIY and whatever. But just covering decking to its death is not it’s not a good use of their time or budget because they don’t really sell me tools to do with it. And then he uses that or convert or just see that we’re a hardware store and potentially buy something else not related to decking as a byproduct. On the other hand, they do sell Euro cylinders. And so I have tried and made it a mission to leave no stone unturned with coming up with topics to do with Euro cylinders. What are they? How do you fix them? What happens when they break? Are they easy to break? What are the different security right so that is a lot more aligned with what we want. So I guess it does come down to your business goals. And there’s no sense in covering a topic in its entirety for the sake of it. It just I would do that where it Alliance your products we’ll, of course, over time, you’ll start to, you know, you can go back and add to your decking one, especially if you think you’ve covered everything, but I don’t think that I’ll ever be the case for most niches.

Michael 40:11
Yeah. So it sort of reminds me of when people say they’re a T shaped marketer where you’re sort of, you know, you, you do enough on the site to cover a topic to have that topical authority, but you’re going really deep on the stuff that’s actually going to lead to commercial outcomes to you. So,

Unknown Speaker 40:26
yeah, exactly. I think that’s a good way of putting it.

Michael 40:30
Okay, cool. Well, is there anything I haven’t asked you about this that you’re doing or that you’re seeing out there that you think would be beneficial to the audit?

Unknown Speaker 40:39
I’ll tell you something we found a lot of success in lately. And it’s a question we keep getting asked, predominantly, because it’s actually another part of what the tool gives you. And it’s only just flagged to me yesterday. But another part of what the tool gives you is it tells you the intent behind every every keyword and every cluster. So what we do is you’ll you’ll have a number, there’ll be three columns in the report, one that says product, one that says says blog or transaction one that says blog or one that says other. And we’ll give you a number of 10 being the 10 results of Google. So if in the column, if say the key word was CBD oil, the other column might say that sorry, the transactional column might say, nine, and the informational column might say one. And what that means is nine results were informational, and one result was transactional. And what we’re seeing, and what we get asked a lot, and it’s just something to bear in mind is, and so there are other tools out there, like SEMrush does this, and I’m not gonna say they copied us, but it did come out after us. But basically, they, they will just give you this, this keyword is transactional, or this keyword is inflammation. And it’s not that clear cut. And the reason we give you numbers is because it isn’t that clear cut. So we say five and five, or six and four, or three and seven. And it’s this idea of fragmented intent. So some keywords, have a very fragmented intent. And you can rank both a transactional and a informational page, I think, iPhone seven iPhone 11. That’s a good example. Five of the results will be informational iPhone specs, everything you need to know about iPhone, should you get an iPhone, and the other five will be commercial, buy an iPhone here. Buy iPhone 9999, whatever it might be. So you have five and five. And a lot of people ask us are if I create a page targeting iPhone 11, buying iPhone 11, another page about everything you need to know, we’re not going to cannibalise myself for that keyword. And we say like no, you know, because the intent is fragmented. And you can actually rank twice. We’ve made a whole strategy out of going after these fragmented keywords by going after the ones where we can rank twice. And there’s so many keywords, especially with that hardware example I gave you earlier, where we have both a transactional and informational page. So I guess what I’m saying is, and what I’m noticing is a lot more people are worried about cannibalization. When there is there is that intent difference. And it’s actually why I thought I would write that I had a little experiment with with myself where I wanted to see if we could change the intent out of the top 10. Which is why I wrote that ultimate guide to Euro cylinders, because actually, our tool showed us that 10 results were transactional. So I wanted to see if I wrote a detailed enough guide, can I change the intent to make it at least a bit more fragmented, and it happened, and it’s a really good strategy. And I’ve done the same with the furniture store. If you type in if you’re in the UK anyway, and type in extendable dining tables, nine results will be where to buy Well, buying them. And then we’ve got one result, which is our little furniture client, which is I don’t think it’s called The Ultimate Guide to acceptable dining tables, but it’s where to the best places to buy dining tables and why. And our guide, little rank, a little guide ranks there and we have 80% of the people in London that guy click through to our products and buy them. We’ve just physically changed the intent to make it more fragmented, and it’s in no way cannibalising our product page, which also still ranks on page two. So I guess to answer your question, don’t worry about cannibalising yourself if the actual intent between the two pages is completely different, you can still go after a keyword with two very different pages.

Michael 44:30
That’s, that’s awesome. And are you are you finding like in the spaces where you’ve managed to shift the intent of a search result or like the search results page, sort of? Have you mixed up in 10? Are you up against other websites that are deploying this sort of hub and spoke strategy? And it’s been yours that has been able to change the intent Are you going in there and doing it for the first time and that’s why this intense changing?

Unknown Speaker 44:57
I couldn’t I haven’t seen other people. So when we’ve written those guides, no one else has written one, which is why it’s ranking. We forced it. In terms of the hub and the spoke. I haven’t seen anyone so with it with a small start at once, like, layman’s hardware in the furniture store. Yeah, I mean, these teams were these huge sites like screw fix and make you have amazing SEO teams behind them, the content they write is really good. But because they’ve got the authority that those sites have, they, they don’t, if you really analyse the hubs and spokes and how they’ve linked all the content together, they haven’t really ever covered a content like a piece, any particular topic in a huge amount of detail. Because they have haven’t felt as though they’ve needed to, which is where we’ve come in to capitalise on that. And it’s, it actually comes down to the quality of your keyword research. They’re not nothing to do with you planning your hubs and spokes. It’s going after, like I said, the keywords that being very thorough in covering a topic and making sure you’ve got every keyword that covers that. So I didn’t mentioned earlier because this talk wasn’t about keyword research. But as part of our keyword research, we actually, once we’ve got the seed keywords or the big group, we then actually scrape Reddit for a lot of those questions for the questions. And then we use the Reddit questions and we actually use AI to summarise the Reddit question so because you know people on Reddit Ask things in really weird ways like, Hey, guys, anyone done? That’s not you don’t want a keyword that starts with Hey, guys, no keyword research. So we actually use a bit of AI to just summarise it. So if it was, Hey, guys, anyone know how it can replace a Euro lock, we summarise that is replace Euro lock, and then we scrape all the people also ask questions to do with Euro locks. And then we add that to our keyword research as well. So we’ve got a really thorough, we know we’re covering even these longtail keywords that are being asked on forums that perhaps won’t show up in keyword tools. So we’re covering our topics in a lot more detail than the established guys. If you don’t have access to AI, and so if you don’t, you don’t need to do that ourselves. It all sounds very complex. There are again, freeways or cheap ways to do this. So I would go and open a Reddit or open if you’re in a medical niche, there’s loads of medical sites with the last questions. You know, there’s there’s literally a forum for everything. If you’re a Shopify store, or you want to sell shop because I had a Shopify client recently, and he wanted to create, as in he sell Shopify apps, it didn’t have a Shopify store, he sells literally Shopify apps. So we went on the Shopify community, and we got loads of questions from the community. And he didn’t have the tech to obviously run it and scrape it and use AI. So to give you something actionable, we just had the community up on one page, and we had an Excel sheet on the other. And there are little extensions you can get where you can just click and scrape all on one page. So we did that got a load of questions. And then we just dumped them into people also ask there’s a there’s a cheap tool by gentleman and his mark called, I think it’s called people so asked actually, people also ask Yeah, people also ask, it’s really, it’s called also Yeah. I played around with that. Yeah, yeah. So you could, you could just upload all of the questions you’ve just manually taken from a community or a forum into that. And then it will send a CSV with all the longtail questions. And honestly, go after them as well. Like the all the peoples who ask questions, these are zero volume keywords, if you if you start going after them. And to plug our tool again, if you cross them together, you also then get all the questions that are very similar in nature. So we found we did this the other day we scraped we have 3000 4000 keywords was generated another two or 3000 people. So ask questions. And when we clustered all the people, so ask questions along with a forum questions. These there was there was loads of zero volume keywords, but there was like 50 to 60 of them in each cluster. So you can imagine keyword tools aren’t picking them up because people are asking the same question in about 1000 different ways. So you don’t have to cluster them or do that. I’m just saying that. Just from our little experiment, we found that people also ask questions and forum questions. When we scrape tonnes and tonnes of them and cluster them together. There were just loads and loads and loads in a cluster all this had zero. But the fact was, it’s they have zero because people are just asking them, you know, under different ways. Yeah. So I guess what I’m saying is even when you look at people to ask and it says zero volume, I can guarantee if you optimise towards it, just based on our research, people have asked that in 100 different 1000 different ways across forums as well. So definitely worth creating articles around that.

Michael 49:51
Yeah, awesome. Awesome. Well, um, this has been really good. You know, it’s something we haven’t spoken about a lot on the show, but it’s definitely stuff that where Doing a lot more often in terms of trying to systemize. And I guess build process around this? I think definitely, keyword Insights is something that I’m interested to play around with in our business. But before, before we wrap up, I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions, because I ask everyone that comes on the show the same three questions. It’s not related to Hub and Spoke or topical authority. It’s more general SEO questions. So it’s interesting to get your take on these. The first one, what would you say is the biggest myth in SEO?

Unknown Speaker 50:37
Work out? I think, I think. So, in our content, brief partner tool, we’ve tried to be careful not to give a word count we have now so many people asked for it. But we’ve we’ve purposely made the range quite big. So we make you should make a brief or an outline of your content as comprehensive as possible, in that you cover all the titles that others are covering and add to it. But in terms of the actual content that goes under those titles, in terms of answering the question that that title is, it doesn’t need to be it doesn’t need to be long if it doesn’t have to. If you actually, for some topics, the brief doesn’t even have to be long. We’ve seen clusters that have, like answer a question, but remember if they’re in a cluster is because they need its own page to rank. We’ve seen clusters that answer a question in literally two or 300 words and go after it and write two or 300 words. You might get a bit more if there’s a few people also ask questions that you can also add there. But it doesn’t need to be long if it doesn’t have to be just answer it comprehensively. And don’t waffle. I’ve got this thing with writers who waffle on that. I try not tell them. I always I think it’s the word blog. When you tell them they’re writing a blog. Their mind goes into this idea where they either go really chatty and informal. I’ve got I think I’m a writer’s nightmare, because I hate I’ve got both. There’s loads of things I hate. I hate rhetorical questions. I hate. I hate this. I hate this sentence that everyone uses, especially in sales copy, whether you’re looking for this or this, this is sure to be the thing for you. I hate all of that. And I try and get rid of that. So I try not tell. I tell writers, they’re not writing a blog, they’re writing a guide or something. And just that shift in mindset, because I don’t know what it is when you tell someone that’s a blog, which is why I hate the word blog. They suddenly start going, Oh, is this a chatty thing? And they ask these rhetorical questions. You know, if you’re looking to buy a new table, this is the guy for you. Why not read more? Like it’s just? Yeah, so getting rid of all that waffle and just going, this guide will help you do this. I think that’s better, and you don’t need to worry about word count.

Michael 52:52
Yep, I agree. In fact, with sales copywriting, you know, you’re writing a headline and the sub headline, you want to write it, and then get rid of as many words from it as possible to really make it cut through. And I think with content in general, that needs to happen a lot more. Because the big ones like recipe sites, for example, you got to read like 500 words about this person’s history with the recipe before you get to the rest of it.

Unknown Speaker 53:14
Yeah, so frustrating. Right? Well, that word count is the biggest myth. That’s a myth.

Michael 53:21
Okay. What would you say is the most underrated thing in SEO,

Unknown Speaker 53:26
internal linking probably we’ve, we’ve seen massive results is going through seven talks about backlinks. And they’re great. But we’ve seen massive results just by going through and just optimising our internal links. And there’s loads of ways you can do it. We’ve actually got a little internal I think there’s a free script actually I’ve seen out there. I have a look for it. And most it after, but we’ve got our own script, which looks at each URL and groups and together if there’s something similar, if they’re talking about something similar. So you can find external exact way H refs has a thing within it that allows you to basically the problem of hrs is one is it looks for if you’ve actually used the keyword, which is a good way of doing it, but it’s not the only way because you know two topics might have a lot in common but you might not have used a keyword so hrs looks for anchor texts, that you can include internal links, or there’s loads of guides out there to find internal links quickly using cheap or even free software if your site is small enough, like Screaming Frog, the crawling spider software so there’s loads of links out there but or even just manually sometimes I’m literally reading through, especially on smaller sites, clients blog, and yeah, easily I’ve just wrote another blog Oh, that’d be a good place internally link to so internal links is really underrated.

Michael 54:47
Yep, totally agree with that. We’ve we’ve had examples where, you know, a page that we’re trying to rank for a particular keyword, it’s just stuck it’s not going anywhere. There’s been links built you know, all the on sites good And then going through the site and manually adding links in content that’s relevant back to that page, getting Google to come recrawl it and then changing nothing else. There’s no updates in the meantime, and you see the rankings jump up. So definitely agree with you on that one. The last one is about tools. You know, in the SEO world, we love software, we love tools. We’ve already spoken about a bunch today. But if you had to get three tools to get the job done for the rest of your SEO, Dave, we’re not even that late. What would you say are the three most vital SEO tools you use?

Unknown Speaker 55:34
I’m not going to plug our own one. So our own one aside, because I mean, we made it because it’s useful. So keyword insights aside, I would use what sort of size are we aiming at? Because again, it depends on the size because these these, these some of these tools are ridiculous pricing points for like enterprise clients. And I, you know, I worked at an enterprise agency and the thing we use them a handful of times, so I guess, ones that are transferable to an hrs or a sem rush and go whichever way you want, I find hrs a lot easier to use. I think SEMrush has lost its way a bit just cramming loads of stuff in. So H refs, I would then look at something like Screaming Frog, definitely. That’s a must. I couldn’t live without that one. I use that daily. And what other ones do I use? It wouldn’t be. I want to see if we get if we see three or four. And that’s what we just made our own one because we combined it all into that one. Yeah. Screaming Frog H refs, and oh, actually, well, a VPN or something like there’s. It’s called SERPs, something. We do a lot of work in different countries and stuff. So I like to see the results in different places. So I use what’s it called? SEO browsers like a Yeah, I can view the SERPs from different places. But aware that might not be completely relevant to people who aren’t doing that. But that’s the one that we use a lot of.

Michael 57:05
Okay, that yeah, we use a VPN for that. That’s pretty cool that there’s sort of in browser type thing. It sounds like there. So I

Unknown Speaker 57:11
think there’s there’s a few of them, actually. SEMrush is a good one. But there’s there’s some of the some other ones as well.

Michael 57:19
Okay, well, awesome. Well, that’s been a really great chat, you know, an introduction to this topic. And it’s been really great finding out how you go about things there. I’m sure people that are listening are probably going to be interested in they want to check out keyword insights or snippet, digital or even yourself directly. So if people want to go find out a bit more about you or get in touch, where can they go?

Unknown Speaker 57:41
i Yeah. So actually, can I just quickly change on my answers? I just remembered a tool that we use a lot of that a lot of people struggle with, if you’re especially doing tech SEO, there’s this. There’s a company called Merck, was it called there’s technical And there’s an it’s great for free tools. There’s loads of free tools and technical And on that, there’s like, I’m just looking at them now. Because I use it daily. There’s so many, there’s a main one I use is the robots dot txt tester. So the amount of people who are and I’ve never find it a little as the same thing, the amount of people who want to actually see the blocked URL accidentally in robots. txt, this will test that this also tests your htaccess file, it also does fetch and renders href Lang testing. It’s got so many things on there. So it’s free. And that’s a really good tool that we use daily. But yeah, sorry. Going back to your question. So I’m on Twitter. Funnily enough, under the tag, digital Cocker, and I’m aware I’m speaking to an Australian so hopefully, you’ll know what a qualquer is, but not me. I do

Michael 58:50
pretty much have you got any say I?

Unknown Speaker 58:53
Yeah, he’s the reason the reason I chose it because I absolutely love them. And it was a really bad so my original when I was a first freelancer, my, my domain was digital My handle was Victor Cocker. And it presented me with so many issues that people didn’t have to spell qualquer they didn’t know what qualquer was, is it could have more problems that cause more problems than it solves. So I changed everything rebranded, it’s just my personal websites now Andy, which is dull. Definitely check out keyword, which has at all my Twitter is still digital qualquer because I found the guy who owns Andy Chadwick has a Twitter handle, and I reached out to him and he wanted money for it, which is fine. I changed it and then I realised I’d lost everything I was ever typed in, which was bad. So I had to change it back again, which sort of paid for twitter handle I don’t use now someone else’s probably nicked it. But yeah, digital quicker on Twitter, Andy Chadwick on LinkedIn. Andy chadwicks. My website. Keyword Insights is our is our tool.

Michael 59:55
Awesome. Well, Andy, it’s been really great chatting to you. Thanks for joining us on the show today and Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:02
No, thank you very much. Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it. Thanks. Thanks for listening to me and for your time as well.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:08
Thanks for listening to the SEO show. If you like what you heard, don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review wherever you get your podcasts. It will really help the show. We’ll see you in the next episode.

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