At the time of writing this blog, 2021 is just hours away for us here in the UK and another 12 months lies ahead of us (hopefully it’ll be marginally better than the last 12, which were frankly, rubbish). With that new dawn on the horizon, it’s worth asking what this next year, and decade, means for content marketing, SEO and the new techniques that will impact how Google, search engines, and users perceive your content, and how that will affect your ranking.
So in the lastest Embryo blog, I’m going to be looking at the importance of ontology. We’ll be examining why talking about topics in relevant content, as well as the usual keywords, will impact algorithms, rankings and relevance scores. As you’ll see, the future of search is already here, and it requires all new elements and standards to be implemented if you want to be successful, which I’m going to presume you want to be.
What Is Ontology In Relation To Search Engines?
When it comes to ranking on Google, the process used to involve a copywriter, or member of a company, writing a piece of content, adding in a few keywords here and there (often in a fairly clunky way), and publishing it, in the hope Google, or other search engines, would deem it worthy of a page one ranking on the SERPs.
However, as we head into 2021 and the roaring 20s, mark 2, we’re going to see a complete change to the way content is ranked and positioned on SERPs… this is where ontology comes in.
Ontology, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is ‘a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them’. What that means is that as well as knowing the basics, you’re able to showcase your knowledge about other topics, properties, and how they relate to each other.
A good example would be this, imagine if you knew nothing about football and were tasked with writing a 1000 word document about Manchester United Football Club. Your 1000 words would cover the big broad information points (i.e. they are based in Manchester, play football at Old Trafford and their most famous manager is Sir Alex Ferguson).
However, if you were a Manchester United superfan, your 1000 word document would look a lot different. It would naturally be far more complex, and feature certain details that only fellow experts/fans would know about (i.e. they won the Champions League in 1999 thanks to a last-minute goal from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pierluigi Collina was the referee of that match). This level of detail, this ontology, if you will, is something that Google, and other search engines, is starting to deem far more important in 2021 and beyond.
Why? Well, quite simply, if you can showcase your in-depth level of knowledge to users, and search engines, then, by proxy, you’re showing both parties that you are best placed to offer the relevant product and services.
How Do You Come Across As Knowledgeable?
Well, if you’re knowledgeable about the product or services that you’re offering, then you’re naturally going to sound informed. However, to assist that, there are techniques and applications you can use to showcase your ontological knowledge. Frase, for instance, is a great tool because, instead of giving you simple keywords, it offers you relevant ‘topics’ that have been featured in the top 20 searches for any given word.
In fact, this blog that I’m writing is being written with Frase, and besides my copy is a list of phrases such as ‘trends’, ‘person’ and ‘structured data’. These words won’t necessarily have any keyword volume but are being used on pages that are already ranking for a particular keyword, in this case, ‘SEO ontology’. By incorporating these niche words in, we’re showing Google that we know what we’re talking about.
You want your content to sound like it has been written by your most knowledgeable salesperson, basically. Compared to your average Joe Bloggs, they are going to be able to provide a far greater, more natural, level of depth and insight to users because they know more about the thing they are selling than 95% of people. The key, in that last sentence, is the word ‘natural’, as we head into the 20s Google is going to be rewarding content that is informative, but also well-written, and friendly to users. Crowbarring keywords in just ain’t going to cut it anymore.
What This Means For 2021 And Beyond
Essentially, it means you need to think beyond a list of keywords that have a good monthly search volume. Those keywords, rather than being considered the only thing in your arsenal, should be thought of as a jumping-off point, a place from which the relevant ontological topics are found, used and deployed. This is how you will create successful content in 2021 that’s going to earn you good rankings.
Provide answers to questions, give as much knowledge away as possible, show off, and don’t hide anything for fear of it being stolen. Google, and other search engines, may seem mystical and to some extent, they are but, a good rule of thumb, and one that I’ve been told to use is that ‘if it is hard to do, Google will reward you’. So, if you think writing 1500 words about a product or service that you offer, such as a guide to content marketing, is tiresome, lengthy and involves you thinking about how to word it naturally, then, chances are over time, Google will reward that hard work.
Here at Embryo, we go beyond keywords and write content for our fantastic clients that will still be relevant and well-ranking in 2030, let alone 2021! We’re always looking forward, always finding ways to meet the demands of users, their queries and the infamous algorithms. I hope this blog has informed you a little about how SEO ontology, as well as keywords, are the two key things that will impact user experience, trends and documents.
In the meantime, Happy New Year and here’s to a memorable 2021!