I’ve spoken about the topical authority concept many times before. In my previous speeches, I’ve used theoretical examples. Today, I’d like to use a practical one. I’ll describe the methodology and the details of the case study realized by Senuto and Pracuj.pl, which resulted in generating 130k visits monthly on the website thanks to the use of topical authority.
We showed the following case study at IAB HowTo: win SEO in 2018, that took place 23rd of April 2018 r. in Warsaw.
In a nutshell, according to the topical authority concept, Google prefers to refer users to complex sources of knowledge. If there are 3600 phrases entered in the search engine for diabetes, it means that for the ‘type 2 diabetes’ Google will prefer to refer to a website on which, apart from type 2 diabetes, there’s a description of type 1 diabetes, the definition of insulin, and other phrases on this subject.
At the end of the last year, Sebastian from Pracuj.pl contacted us.
He wanted to solve the problem of the website, which he takes care of as an SEO Expert. The problem identified by Sebastian was as follows: as the Pracuj.pl, they didn’t reach all users. The Pracuj.pl website is a leader in Poland when it comes to helping people find employment, but the goal of Sebastian and his team was to reach all the people functioning on the job market.
In order to verify this hypothesis, the following actions were carried out on the part of Pracuj.pl:
- Grouping of content and additional dimensions have been introduced in Google Analytics (e.g. user’s life cycle, to be able to assign them to an appropriate target group),
- surveys have been created on the website,
- interviews with users were carried out,
- internal data was analyzed.
All the data collected from the above mentioned activities allowed to divide the users into 6 groups:
- I have found a job.
- I have a job and I am content.
- I have a job, but I am not content.
- Maybe I should change a job.
- I have decided– I am changing a job!
- I am looking for a job.
The next step was to assign a percentage to each group.:
- I have found a job — 3%
- I have a job and I am content — 22%
- I have a job, but I am not content — 5%
- Maybe I should change a job — 24%
- I have decided – I am changing a job! — 1%
- I am looking for a job — 45%
The sixth stage, which includes jobseekers, has been assigned to 45% of all users of the website. The final conclusion was as follows: Pracuj.pl as a website reached only 46% of users on the labour market, so 54% of users didn’t visit their website at all.
The strategy chosen by Pracuj.pl in order to reach the group of 54% of users was to publish high quality articleson the porady.pracuj.pl website. This idea fits in perfectly with the topical authority concept, which is why Senuto became involved in the project.
At Senuto, we have been developing content planning technology for more than 2 years now. We have implemented it so far for many customers and we are planning to put it in our SaaS as well.
The goal of the technology is to plan the articles for the website so that at the category level and at the level of each article the website receives a high topical authority. The report can be based on several types of input data:
- customer domain — the system will automatically select keywords to which the website should rank for and it doesn’t, and will plan article topics;
- competitive domain — the system will determine the competitive keywords for which the customer’s domain should rank for and divide them into articles;
- category — our keywords are categorized in about 3600 categories; the plan of articles can be limited to a specific category.
The mere matching of the phrases to the article is not done at a linguistic level, but at a semantic level, which is particularly important in the case of the topical authority concept.
The following is a simple example of how standard content planning differs from content planning using our technology.
Topic of the article: Employment contract
In the standard process of writing an article I would base it on a simple search for keywords related linguistically. In the case of the topic ‘employment contract’, I’d receive the following list of keywords:
– notice of employment contract model
– notice of employment contract
– notice of employment contract by an employee
– employment contract
– employment contract termination
I’d probably plan my article on the basis of these keywords. This is not a bad technique, because it’s been doing its job for many years. However, such an article wouldn’t receive a very high topical authority ratio.
In addition to the simple language relation, Google requires that we take a comprehensive approach to the subject and respond to as many related queries as possible. Senuto Content Planning Tool takes it into consideration.
One article may incorporate over 30 different keywords. What’s important, they’re not merely language-related. The results include phrases such as:
- employment contract,
- a contract for a specified period,
- the third contract for an unspecified period
and several others that are not linguistically interlinked but are connected semantically.
Of course, topical authority operates at the level of the whole website as well, so one article within a category is not enough. In order to build up an expert website in a given field, we have to plan plenty of articles.
*Not a real-data screen.
In this case, our system planned 582 articles. In total they covered 5.9k keywords. In the best-case scenario their publication gives the possibility to obtain over 2.2m visits per month from organic search results (20% of this traffic would already be a great success).
At this point I’ll both describe how the cooperation between Senuto and Pracuj.pl was organized, and indicate what internal activities were carried out at Pracuj.pl. This will illustrate how a process like this is introduced within such a large organization.
Process: our part
Stage 1. Collecting information in order to identify the most precise article topics. We’ve analyzed following input data:
- competitive domains — we’ve chosen the competitors that operate on the educational market in the context of work;
- categories — we’ve picked the keywords’ categories linked to the specific target groups.
Step 2. Preparation of the plan: On the basis of the information gathered in Step 1, we’ve prepared a content plan. We needed several iterations for this, as the technology was still in its infancy. The Pracuj.pl team decided that the most convenient form of data delivery would be .xls and in this form the content plans were delivered to them.
Stage 3. Performance monitoring: We monitored the results internally in Monitoring Senuto — 9626 keywords were checked everyday. We collected the entire TOP 50 but took a closer look at several major competitors.
Step 4. Optimization, internal linking: after the publication of all the texts, we decided to optimize them further by internal linking. The articles planned according to the topical authority concept must link one to another. We have developed a mechanism that automatically points you:
- the source of the link: the URL where a link should be entered;
- anchor text: text to be linked;
- position: current position in Google for a specific phrase (anchor text);
- target article:the link;
- estimated change of ranking position: information on how much traffic the website will gain if the position for a specific phrase increases by 1 position. This factor helped the system decide which anchor text to choose when there were too many of them in one article.
In total, we have created 600 links between articles. However, the internal linking process is continuous, and the number of links will certainly increase. The articles will also acquire new keywords systematically.
The internal process of Pracuj.pl
Stage 1: Selecting the article topics — from the content plan prepared by Senuto, Pracuj.pl chose the articles, which were consistent with their brand communication strategy.
Stage 2: Analysis of compliance with the brand — Pracuj.pl is a big brand and cannot afford to publish content that is not in line with the company’s communication strategy. Additional verification of the content was therefore necessary in this respect.
Stage 3: Writing process — after the topics were selected, the process of writing was outsourced. Pracuj.pl cooperated with setugo.pl, who delivered a high number of articles in a short time.
Stages 4 and 5: Substantive and stylistic analysis — at this stage the articles were edited and underwent proofreading.
Stage 6: Publication of the content — only after the first five stages were completed, the content was published in the porady.pracuj.pl website.
To sum up, as a result of the cooperation between Senuto and Pracuj.pl we’ve planned about 600 articles on 9626 keywords with a total potential of 986 716 visits monthly (such would be the estimated traffic if the website for all these keywords was on the 1st position).
These 9,626 key phrases were monitored day by day. Currently the website is visible on 4,703 phrases in TOP10. In September 2017 there were 947 of them, so this number increased by as much as 3,108 phrases (445% increase).
It is worth mentioning that these are not the only phrases that the Pracuj.pl website obtained thanks to the articles planned within the framework of the cooperation described above. While creating the content, we are not able to fully predict which keywords will appear in search results.
Currently, the Pracuj.pl website is visible on 10,647 phrases. For comparison, in September 2017 this number amounted to 364 phrases, so in real terms the website gained 10,282 phrases in TOP 10, which in total gives us about 17 phrases in TOP 10 per article.
* The following traffic data is estimated.
By monitoring 9626 phrases, we are able to calculate the estimated traffic that the website achieves with the written articles.
Currently, the value of traffic exceeds 130k visits per month, which means that one article generates an average of about 200 organic visits per month.
Apart from the domain of Pracuj.pl we also monitored their closest competition for selected keyword phrases. We compared how the number of phrases in TOP 10 for Pracuj.pl and their competitors changed in time.
*22nd of January is a statistical error.
When we started to monitor the positions of Pracuj.pl for those keywords, the website was second on the market. However, already around October 2017 it jumped over the leader. Currently, the second most important website is visible in TOP10 on 979 phrases — it is 3,076 phrases less than Pracuj.pl. Therefore, the Pracuj.pl website has become the unquestionable market leader.
The best articles
Let’s take a quick look at how well the articles written according to the topical authority concept can rank.
Some of the articles published at Pracuj.pl are visible on up to 169 phrases in TOP10, which shows that a precisely planned article can cover a fairly large amount of keywords.
Expenditure and profit
In terms of expenditure and profit, we can demonstrate two regularities for such a project:
- Cost of the session — Sebastian summarized all the costs related to the project and calculated how the cost per session will change in time. The cost per session has dropped from $1,41 to $0,04 within 11 months and will be getting even smaller.
The costs dropped significantly and now they constitute only a small part of money paid at the beginning of the project. It is also worth noting that such projects become profitable only after a while. In the case of Pracuj.pl, the period between April 2017 and August 2017 was quite expensive when it comes to cost per session, but within 4 months the cost became relatively low.
b) Google Adsequivalent — on the basis of 9,626 phrases monitored by us in this project, we also calculate a Google Ads equivalent. This metric shows an estimated cost of a Google Ads campaign run in order to achieve the same amount of traffic.
Currently, the equivalent is $14,706 — that’s what Pracuj.pl would have to spend monthly on the AdWords campaign in order to achieve the same traffic that was obtained with organic search results.
A content creation project never ends. The positions of the articles still naturally move up and until all the chosen phrases end up in position 1, there is a room for optimization. We are considering a number of options, some of them may be implemented in this project.
- Examination of search results — we’ll probably want to compare our articles with other articles visible in the search results on given keywords. This way, we will be able to check whether the low position is caused by the fact that the competitor’s article is i.e. longer or has different headings. This would allow us to make accurate recommendations for optimization of the existing content.
- API for internal linking — articles that have already been published and those that are new, have a certain position in SERP. The system can detect their positions automatically and use the API to control the internal linking.
- External linking planning system — we’ve been working on a system that would allow us to determine both internal and external link locations. In fact, we’d like to point out the best websites to acquire backlinks from.
The project carried out by Senuto and Pracuj.pl basically had two dimensions:
- As Senuto, we wanted to see whether we were able to redefine the content planning model, and we’ve managed to do so. We’ve proved, that the topical authority concept was correct and that currently it has a significant impact on organic search results.
- Sebastian and his team from Pracuj.pl wanted to reach the remaining parts of the market and they achieved their goal. This process is still ongoing but has already delivered satisfactory results.
If someone wants to repeat this success, it is worth to remember that:
- It’s not a short-term project. It’s true that this method will generate traffic after just a month, but the critical mass may not come even after 6 months. Especially in case when we don’t have such a strong website as Pracuj.pl.
- You need to know your target group. Sebastian and his team defined the target group very well, so it was possible to plan the content according to their needs. At the very beginning you also need to think about who you want to communicate with. If you provide a website with a wide range of topics, such as health services, it’s worth dividing the plan into specific categories (heart diseases, lung diseases, etc.) — my experience shows that it’s better to cover specific categories quickly than to slowly cover the entire industry.
- Find a room for your content. In such a project it is worth to have a separate place for the content you’ll be publishing. This is important for the content architecture. You won’t be able to provide the context and the information structure for internal linking if you do not separate your content from the rest of the website.
How long did the article publishing took?
It took about 6 months with a rate of 100 articles per month.
Were there any links added to the content?
There were no external links added.