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Topic vs Keyword

Keywords are phrases used to search. Topics are concepts related to a particular subject. A well-written piece of content on one subject can rank for many keywords.

Topics help you focus on the critical matters that are dealt with in a conversation on the subject. Topics help you organize information and they include core concepts such as semantic relevance which further set them apart from their keyword cousins. Consider them a keyword’s more insightful second cousin.

Keywords on the other hand are words we often substitute for search terms. They can be divided into types: Broad match, Phrase match, Exact match, and Related. They are quite useful for entering into search engine results pages (SERPS) and obtaining results. But they flounder a bit when being used to guide a story’s narrative because they lack the semantic relevance of topics.

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Some of the output from a popular keyword tool compared to MarketMuse, when provided with the term “content marketing.”

What the keyword tool did was take the phrase “content marketing” and add different terms to the end. While it provides ideas for what your audience may be searching for, it doesn’t help create an article on the subject of content marketing.

MarketMuse takes the focus topic “content marketing” and analyzes thousands of pages of documents to determine the most relevant and essential topics that experts talk about when discussing content marketing.

Additional detail can be found on our blog here:
Topic Research vs Keywords for Content Strategists
The Difference Between Keywords and Topics

Updated on June 11, 2024

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