Topic pages certainly aren't anything new in the online media world, but I often wonder why more news sites don't utilize them. Topic pages, which can be defined as pages that aggregate content relating to a specific subject, provide a service to readers and also help increase search-engine optimization (SEO) value for your site.
Topic pages provide three primary functions:
- Give readers a valuable resource to find additional information about a subject.
- Build SEO value by linking to related content within your site.
- Increase a site’s stickiness (the average number of page views consumed per visit), which ultimately can lead to more revenue by serving more ad impressions for a site.
Content managers often stress the importance of building link density within an article's body, but what I've found is that some sites I work with just don't have enough related content to do that.
For the sites I work with, I've started creating topic pages for as many subjects, companies, organizations and other similar content that I can identify. Here's an example of one list of topic pages I've built for a B2B site that covers the trucking industry. The list is actually becoming so long that I will probably have to come up with a better way to organize it.
The idea behind building these pages is that every time one of these topics is referenced in an article, I automatically have a strong inbound link to point readers (and search engines) to. Here's a live example of this strategy in action. Notice that within the first three paragraphs of this story, there are a total of five inbound links, none of which existed before creating topic pages for this site.
There are also a few SEO tactics I employ for each topic page that I build, which can ultimately help your topic pages rank higher on search-engine results pages (SERPs):
- Using a keyword-rich title for the topic page (IE: Cargo Theft Prevention News, Information).
- Providing a keyword-rich description at the top of the page to help search engines identify what kind of content can be found on the page (this also helps readers).
- If the topic page relates to a specific company or organization, I will include a direct link to that group’s website, as well. Again, this is valuable for SEO and readers.
The only drawback to using topic pages is that they do take time to create and maintain. In order to remain a valuable resource for readers, topic pages need to be updated regularly any time a new article is published that fits in that subject category. A good content management system (CMS) will usually allow you to create archive pages, which simply require you to “tag” the story to a specific category in order to update that archive page with the latest content.
These topic pages often don’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but that’s another thing I like most about them.