Semantic Cocoons: SEO includes all techniques to improve the positioning of a page in the results of search engines. Essential to the visibility of companies on the net, SEO is made up of four major pillars: page indexing, the content offered and the keywords they contain, off-site SEO based on netlinking, and On-site SEO based on the internal mesh of the website as well as on the semantic cocoons. In this article, we invite you to shed light on this last point: find out everything you need to know about semantic cocoons!
Semantic cocoon: definition and history
The semantic cocoon is a natural referencing strategy developed by Laurent Bourrelly in 2004, On this occasion, the SEO consultant realizes the power of on-site optimization: the structure of the website and the mesh between the pages greatly influence the appearance of the site in the first results of search engines.
Semantic cocoons, therefore, consist in optimizing the architecture and mesh of a website. Links are created between semantically close pages, in a hierarchical manner. The contents are thus classified into mother, daughter, and sister pages – the child pages of the same mother page are considered as sister pages.
Theoretical structure of the semantic cocoon
A semantic cocoon comprises different levels and sub-levels. The contents must then respect a certain structure:
- The parent page is organized with H2 level titles then paragraphs detailing the concepts that flow from the general concept. Each paragraph then includes a link to each of the child pages .
- The start of a child page must link to the parent page .
- The content of a child page ends with suggestion links that refer to the sister pages (for example: You may also like).
The contents of the site are thus linked to each other in a hierarchical manner … But beware! Links always depend on the semantic proximity of the pages. Thus, if one scrupulously respects the strategy of semantic cocoons, no link is established towards a page of another cocoon, even if a keyword appears in the article. The semantic cocoon strategy is therefore completely opposed to the structure adopted by Wikipedia, which creates a link to a page as soon as it provides more information on a keyword.
SEO impact of the semantic cocoon
Implementing the semantic cocoon strategy has a positive impact on the SEO results obtained by the website. Semantic cocoons thus have many advantages.
1. Position yourself on high search volume queries
Some keywords are highly sought after by Internet users and many companies want to seize this opportunity. This phenomenon induces an inevitable consequence: the content produced on highly sought-after keywords is more and more numerous. It then becomes particularly difficult to stand out and appear in the first results of search engines. Semantic cocoons here have the advantage of facilitating positioning on competitive queries. Indexing robots are indeed attentive to the relevance of content. A page that refers to internal content from the same theme is then perceived as relevant: the site is considered precise and rich in information for the reader.
2. Reinforce its relevance with long tail keywords
Unlike high search volume queries, the long tail is a natural referencing technique that focuses on rare, long, and specific queries. The goal is to generate traffic on less sought-after, but more precise expressions. The semantic cocoons allow here to develop the lexical field of a page to cover all the long-tail keywords. Precise content revolves around generic pages: the website is then considered an expert on the subject, which strengthens the page’s referencing.
3. Improve its consistency in terms of content
Semantic cocoons are an opportunity to develop a specific theme, rather than scattered around in the creation of heterogeneous content. This gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert on a subject, without falling into the pitfall of content shock. In the end, your website will be more consistent in terms of content, an element that also particularly appeals to Google’s algorithm.
4. Make sure to meet the needs and issues of their personas
The whole point of a content strategy is to generate leads, prospects, and then customers. To do this, businesses need to focus on their buyers personas in order to create quality content that meets the needs and concerns of these ideal customers. Semantic cocoons here allow you to deepen a subject with different content: you therefore make sure that your pages cover all the potential questions of your buyers personas … They will not need to look elsewhere for an answer!
5. Multiply the entry points on its website
You will have understood it: semantic cocoons aim to create pages, sub-pages, sub-sub-pages… on a theme. In addition to covering all of your buyers personas’ questions by digging deeper into the topic, you cover all of the possible keywords and queries that they will type into the search bar. You multiply the entry points to your website and increase your traffic and your business opportunities.
6. Be clearer and more readable for Google
Just like the H1, H2, H3, and other Hn structure your articles, the mother, daughter, and sister pages structure your website. This hierarchical classification is thus clearer and more readable for Google, as well as for your visitors. You are therefore more likely to be among the first results of search engines
How to build a semantic cocoon?
Before you start creating your semantic cocoons, you should define your buyers personas. These typical profiles will indeed allow you to fully understand your target to direct you towards the most appropriate cocoons. Once this step is completed, you must define the queries or keywords on which you want to position yourself.
5 steps to create a semantic cocoon
- Step 1: Classify your requests into level 1 categories, also called silos;
- Step 2: Once categorized, subclass your queries with more specific, level 2 keywords;
- Step 3: Once again subclass your queries with long tail, level 3 keywords;
- Step 4: Create internal links between the mother, daughter and sister pages of your semantic cocoon;
- Step 5: Optimize your pages continuously!
Are semantic cocoons and inbound marketing compatible?
If the semantic cocoon is an effective structuring technique to optimize the referencing of a website, it has certain limits when it comes to inbound marketing.
First of all, because the goal of inbound marketing is to generate leads. The contents therefore contain a “call to action” which invites the reader to request an appointment or to download a white paper. For example, Links are thus made to conversion pages, by nature outside the cocoon.
Then, because the creation of content as part of an inbound marketing strategy is based on the buyer’s journey, in other words: the buyer’s journey. Consumers go through different phases before making a purchase: becoming aware of their problem, considering solutions that will allow them to solve it, making a decision to purchase a solution. The content offered must then respect the reader’s state of maturity. If it is in the purchasing phase, for example, it would not be relevant to make a link to a content discovered, even if it is similar to a mother page. The reader would in fact risk stepping back in his purchasing journey, which should be avoided at all costs.
Finally, because it is relatively complicated to perfectly respect the structure of the semantic cocoons. This strategy indeed requires publishing a large amount of content on a very specific subject … and this is often not compatible with an editorial calendar intended for lead generation. In addition, strict respect for semantic cocoons amounts to depriving oneself of internal links, often useful for the reader to understand a concept outside the cocoon.
On the other hand, the technique of semantic cocoons can be used occasionally to position oneself on keywords with a high volume of searches and high business value.
Semantic cocoons: good practices
If the semantic cocoons are not perfectly compatible with inbound marketing, it is nevertheless possible to adopt some good practices. They will allow you to take advantage of this SEO structuring technique, without harming your conversion objective.
- Add a link to the mother concept at the beginning of the article . If the item is buy-stage content, link to the page that presents your offer for that issue.
- Link to articles that delve deeper into a concept in paragraphs of your content.
- Make suggestions at the bottom of the page , referring to articles dealing with the same lexical field.
- Optimize the SEO of your content . Certain other strategies exist to make your content appear in the first results of Google searches. Optimize for example your Hn and make sure to include the right keywords in your article.
By following these few good practices, you increase your chances of being at the top of the ranking! The main thing is to bring your expertise on subjects that interest your targets, by offering in-depth and quality content. Do you want to be supported in the development and optimization of your content? Please do not hesitate to contact us!