You heard it here first (although Rand Fishkin said it in 2016): it’s time to stop tracking and reporting on your keyword rankings. Why? Because your data is almost definitely inaccurate.
There are basically two reasons why your data is inaccurate:
Personalization. If you go allll the way back to 2012, Google was already altering search results for different people based on what (limited) knowledge that had of you. But now, Google knows more about you and serves up results based on that. Especially your search history.
If you consistently visit Hubspot for marketing news, when you search for a marketing related query, Google is more likely to serve up Hubspot to you first because it knows you like Hubspot.
Location. Desktop or mobile, it doesn’t matter. Google serves up results based on location. You’ve definitely seen this when searching for restaurants, retail stores, or the closest gas station. That makes the answer to the question, “who ranks #1 for ‘Pittsburgh restaurants’?” an even more challenging task.
Add in the fact that Google now has a position zero (the featured snippet) for a lot of searches, it makes it even harder to determine where you really rank.
So what’s the solution? Topic Clusters.
Wat? Yes, topic clusters. Rather than looking at the performance of content on a page-by-page basis, take several pieces of content, focused on the same subject, and analyze search performance that way.
Here’s an example of how you could that. First, you need a piece of “pillar content.” This could be a super in-depth blog post or downloadable that your Topic Cluster is going to be built on. From there, as you write supporting blog content, add it to the outer rim of your topic cluster. Here’s an example of what we mean.
This model will help you analyze the performance of your content regardless of each individual piece’s goal.
Need the full lesson? There’s still more to learn…