Focus on topics and not keywords: the “Pregnancy” case study

We are living in a world full of algorithms. Most of them are trying to personalize our experience. Why? Because there are millions of articles online on the same subjects. Google, Facebook, Pinterest & co try to suggest content based on our browsing history connections, locations, preferences, etc. because users' behaviors change regularly. In this context, how to set up a content strategy that works? How to reach your audience even if you are a small local entrepreneur helping pregnant women with great products? In this article we are giving some tips about how to beat the competition on the broad topic of "pregnancy".

Start at a topic level not at the keyword level

Let me be clear: to have the slightest chance to get a decent ranking on Google, you have to pay attention to how Google works while creating your new articles. As a matter of fact, Google uses topics to serve various types of content to the end user (read more on the official Google blog).

The Topic Layer is built by analyzing all the content that exists on the web for a given topic and develops hundreds and thousands of subtopics. For these subtopics, we can identify the most relevant articles and videos—the ones that have shown themselves to be evergreen and continually useful, as well as fresh content on the topic. We then look at patterns to understand how these subtopics relate to each other, so we can more intelligently surface the type of content you might want to explore next.

Nick Fox - VP of Product & Design, Search and Assistant at Google

This is fundamental because a query is just a way to express what a user is actually trying to accomplish. So, for instance, how to build a successful content strategy about a pregnant woman who goes through several physical and psychological stages for 9 months?

While looking for ideas on “pregnancy”, you may have access to a tool such as Ahrefs which will give the results below in the keyword explorer section:

  1. A keyword difficulty score at 64
  2. The average search volume
  3. An indication of the breakdown of clicks
  4. Etc.

Now, let’s have a look at the keywords they propose: as we can see below, the tool is very powerful at providing us with keywords ideas (pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy calculator…), but there is no topic suggestions.

In fact, this tool has more than 10K keywords suggestions grouped by sub-topics but they are all directly related to “pregnancy”, as you can see in the “parent topic” section.

If you refer to the tags cloud below, you will decide to cover the following sub-topics to create a relevant article about “pregnancy”:

  • Symptoms
  • Test calculator

For many content experts, all the above data about keywords are great. But remember our starting point here was “pregnancy” and we end-up with sub-topics that are only related to “pregnancy”. Do they address all the intents of a woman during her different pregnancy stages? I doubt it.

To build the best content plan about “pregnancy”, you have to make sure your landing page properly covers the intents or the needs a woman want to fulfill during her 9-month pregnancy. Pinterest is usually a great source of inspiration, let’s have a look at their tags to go beyond “calculator” or “pregnancy test’.

These ideas are all relevant to build a comprehensive content plan about “pregnancy”:

  • Pregnancy announcement
  • Photoshoot
  • Outfits
  • Workout
  • First trimester
  • Stages
  • Diets

That is why you have to start building your content plan at the topic level instead of the keyword level to maximize your content performance and ROI.

Relevant topics has nothing to do with search queries

As seen above, “husband announcement” or “photoshoot” are linked to the subject “pregnancy”. But it is not obvious to find these associations thanks to a keyword generator. BETTER CONTENT can help you to solve this issue because we process NLP analysis of various pieces of content online to provide you with original content ideas. Thus we are able to provide you with concepts you would not imagine they are linked to your main subject – “pregnancy” in this example – such as :

  • cells
  • immune system
  • system
  • pathogens
  • response
  • phagocytes
  • host defense system

These ideas should be the starting point of your content strategy.

Once you have gathered all of them, then – and only then – you can input these related topics into your favorite search volume tool. The next step could be to Google them to see what type of results rank well or to analyze Google top pages structure with a tool such as SERPerator by Mobilemoxie. As you can see below there is a direct connection between “pregnancy” and “cells”:

You could also use topics to find content partners using Sparktoro for instance or even on social media to find viral content on Twitter or Instagram depending on your goal.


Keywords generators are great to find keywords ideas. But the web is becoming more and more strategic and algorithms are serving results at a topic level. Therefore content strategists should think in terms of topics rather than queries or keywords to successfully identify all the concepts or situations that are linked to the subject they want to write about. This is the right way to create a relevant content that addresses all users’ intents.

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