Semantic SEO in 10 Steps to give Google what it wants

Welcome to SEO Conspiracy.

Today, I will teach you how to answer one question: why are you relevant on a topic?

In other words, why do you deserve to rank first on Google for your favorite keywords?

If you are an individual, an organization, or a company, how do you become famous on the Internet?

Let me get into your brain for a minute because I’ve been there before you:
• Are you afraid to wake up and see your ranking dropped when you open up your analytics tool?
• Do you learn one truth about SEO, and then someone says the exact opposite?
• Do you struggle to find the right assets to build a powerful website?
• Did you learn so much stuff about SEO that it’s a big messy cloud in your head, and you can’t figure out where to start and what you are trying to achieve?
• Are you tired of Technical limitations and marketing priorities killing your SEO plan?
• You are chasing algorithms, struggling to stay alive Google Update after Google Update?
• Are you listening to SEO who still focus only on Google Desktop version?
• Do you want to hear one more time: « it depends »?

I will not trap you into a sales funnel. I won’t ask for your email against a supposedly magic solution to increase your traffic by 257% in less than seven days.
Then you receive a bunch of stuff you don’t care about, in your inbox.
Finally, you end up buying some courses or tools, but you are still a bit confused, and most importantly, you don’t get the results you expected.

It’s not my style to do something to others when I don’t like it when it’s done to me.
I take the opposite approach. No strings attached here.

I bet on delivering high-level content that will make you understand what is required, step by step, to achieve results in SEO.

You will take out of the equation that pounding question mark: how do I rank first on Google?

If you listen and apply what I’m about to tell you, the only question mark remaining is: do you have the means to reach your goals.
Do you have the resources (time and/or money), to execute the plan? My end game is simple; if I can prove I can deliver results, the rest will follow.
I’ve been doing this since I started being a content creator and keynote speaker, which served me well.

By the way, I’m an SEO Consultant by day and Search Engine Hacker by night since 2004.
Let me prove I talk the walk and walk the talk.
Let me explain how and what to feed Google.

We will go way beyond Google SEO, especially when it comes to the desktop version of Google SEO.

I will share how to be visible all around the Web, whenever the Intent is Search.

I won’t tell you about community management on Facebook or how to stream on Twitch.

My world is about Search.

If people search, I want to be there, wherever it is.

I’m not saying community management on Facebook or live streaming on Twitch doesn’t interest me, and it does contribute to the whole debate about how to become famous on the Internet.

My strategy uses what is called Semantic SEO.

I build a solid SEO layer, but it’s integrated within a global Multimedia Content Marketing Strategy.
We will focus on algorithms.
I won’t break your head with math, but you will learn how to give Google what it wants.

Also, that includes doing everything around SEO, for SEO to work.
You will learn how to give Google what it wants, from an algorithmic standpoint.

The only variable remains, how good are you?

Will you just be able to produce food for Search Engines, or will you also be interesting for human users?
My job stops there. I’m nobody to judge if you create good content or not for humans.
We slide into a debate about opinion, and I won’t get into it.
What I can promise is: if you listen, understand, and apply, it will work.

Coin a Flip SEO

The only problem with what I’m about to explain is simple.
Usually, it takes a good 10 to 15 hours in video or audio format, with my clients and students to lay down the entire plan.
This text is very long, but I know your time is precious.

So now my challenge is to shrink down ten times how to explain my strategy.
Right now, you are reading the text version, but you might also be listening to the audio podcast.
Even without looking at a screen, I will make sure you understand what’s going on if I share something visually.

Since I started to work on my solution, I broke down all the steps required.
I believe in the power of checklists.
To solve a complex problem, I want to break down into steps, simple steps.

What we will go down today is my entire checklist. I will share how to win the game of getting attention from your potential customers on the Internet.

We will go from A to Z, a proper checklist to go from wherever you are now to building a brand, getting qualified traffic, and funnelling in qualified traffic.

Another point I would like to make is: nobody owes you anything.
We live in a noisy world. It’s hard to break through the insane volume of messages geared towards your audience.

Getting attention is the name of my game. Furthermore, I’m into the game of undervalued attention.
On the Web, 90% of the people doing some kind of business are fighting in the last 10% portion of the Information Funnel.

90% of the information funnel is undervalued, underutilized.
Please note I said « information funnel » and not « conversion funnel ».

90% of the information funnel is vastly undervalued and underutilized.

Also, if you are doing your job in this 90% of almost virgin territory, you will gain a tremendous advantage when it comes to the fight in the last 10% of the Information Funnel.
At this stage, you get into the famous Conversion Funnel, but more on this later.
What follows is fully packed with high-level information, and the plan works for real.
I’m not here to show you some Analytics screenshots or Customer testimonials. I want to prove my point. If I succeed in making my point across; you will know I’m not full of it.

I started thinking about it in 2004, I’ve applied it in its operational form since 2007 and told everybody about it in 2012.

The only problem is if you don’t understand French, there is a good chance you didn’t come across it.

Thousands of websites rank first on Google with my strategy, and dozens of tools have been developed, following my footsteps.

Search for « cocon sémantique », and you might get a sense of what I achieved in my native language.

Translating to Semantic Cocoon didn’t work; thus, I called it the Topical Mesh. Hold on; we’ll get into it very soon.
I witnessed countless times SEO strategy proven to fail. Let me rephrase: I can’t say these strategies don’t deliver results. Sometimes they do. It’s just like flipping a coin. However, I can say for sure that these strategies often don’t bring enough results or show some limitations quickly. Yes, you might reach the first page of Google SERP, but are you number one, and can you stay number one?
Yeah, it might bring some results, but it’s never up to what you expected.
For example, did you open a blog and post content to please Google? Now you got some traffic, but you are not selling more products or services.
Did you try to copy the leader in your industry, but you never came close to take a chunk out of the leader’s market share?

You are smart enough, and you started to get interested in SEO. You are smart enough to know something is not right about how you manage your SEO strategy, but can’t figure out what’s wrong?

Semantic SEO is the way to go.

My specialty is Semantic SEO. I don’t mean I don’t know the rest since I started my career as a marketer in 1994.
Yes, in 1994!!!

Then, I started to get serious about SEO in 2004.
Like I previously stated, my strategy is called the Topical Mesh, and it’s been around for a while.

Even if the starting point was 2004, I applied it for my clients and myself in 2007.

2012 changed everything.
I gave a keynote in the South of France, explaining for the first time what you call today Semantic SEO, Topical Clustering, Topical Semantic Entity Clustering, or whatever makes it sound genius.
I like how Topical Mesh sounds.
It sounds exactly like what I mean.
In French. If you search for Cocon Sémantique, you might get a feel of what I created.
Some people translated it into Semantic Cocoon, but I don’t like it.
In French, we don’t have the word « topical ». It’s the exact term I need to define my strategy.

Thus, let me introduce you to the Topical Mesh.
Hold on, you will understand in a couple of minutes why topical is a better word than semantic.

Semantic SEO with a Topical Mesh twist

Pre-requisite :
• Notebook + pen
• Project (existing or new)
• Basics of SEO: keywords research, backlinks, Pagerank
• Work

1/ Marketing/ Branding exercices

Understand who you are talking to and who you are.
We will need this to move forward, but there are two other levels of ambitions: how to answer four vital questions in five seconds: how are you going to help me, who are you, what are we doing now, and why you? Finally, what is your Unique Value Proposition?

2/ Mindmap Buyer Persona

Forget who you are, you don’t have a site, and you are not yourself anymore.
You will need to immerse yourself into your buyer persona.
The first and maybe the most challenging step is to understand what you are selling, beyond the products or services.


From an organic perspective, when you build the mind map from a buyer’s point of view, it often leads to your offer
being way deep into the structure. It’s ok; we will deal with it next.

3/ Grey Area Analysis

What I call the Grey Area are your positions on Google, where you rank between the Top 4 and Top 20 and Top 30.

There will be decisions to make :
• It’s all good, my page is perfect, and it answers correctly to the intent.
• My page needs improvement, but there is potential
• The URL has nothing to do with the intention. Let’s move ahead with a new and better fitting solution.

4/ Mindmap Offer

You become yourself again. It’s time to pull out your keyword research, all your data, including the Grey Area Analysis, and rework the mindmap to make the offer meet the demand.

Still, don’t try to bring your chosen keywords close to the centre artificially. Leave your essential pages where they belong in the structure. We will take care of this in the next step.

It’s also time to build links between silos. Always remember to basics of my strategy. It’s all about who is in relation to what and why. Extreme siloing is a neat solution, but I won’t get into it today
Just watch out if you have to maybe crosslinks between silos. Perhaps they need to merge or be reshaped in a more efficient structure.

5/ Hierarchy

Rank each node from 1 to 4. Rank each node, each page, according to the commercial value.
1 represent around 5% of your content, which equals about 65-70% of your income.
SEO ambition is max. Investment is no limit. Everything we do is geared towards pushing these pages to the top.
Just be careful here. If you want your product page to rank first on Google, but the first 100 results are product pages, this might not be what Google wants. For now, let’s keep it simple. By default, Google is eager to rank high informative evergreen content.
I will tell you about the Smell of the SERP. It’s about understanding what does Google want versus what does Google has.

6/ Internal linking

Understanding siloing is easy. Again, it’s all about who is in relation to what and why. You build a deep pyramid of content, using a smart internal linking system.
Starting from the top of the pyramid, you go down into silos where each page is linked to the mother, sisters, and child. Even if we brake out the structure with the links between silos, as long as it makes sense, it will work.

7/ On-Page SEO Optimization

Let’s play the mystery word game.
I have a word like the jaguar, the car, on a card and I want to make you guess it.
Some games on TV and board games are based on this idea.
If you understand the mystery word game, you understood the Topical Mesh. It’s happening on the page, around the page, within site, and also around the URL « off-site » with backlink.s

8/ Link the Topical Mesh to the rest of the site

There are many solutions we can apply. Each case presents technical limitations and marketing priorities, which will make SEO step back.
To high-level on you for a second, I recommend cloaking if you want a perfect structure for GoogleBot and still have a Christmas tree of links for the user.
Check out if you want to know more.
A former student of my BootCampSEO (french) created this open-source cloaking solution. He took my old cloaking codes and upgraded them to a fantastic 100% free solution.


It’s a discussion for another day, but if you modify the internal linking, using cloaking, it’s not Black Hat SEO.

Give a different content to the human user and the robot, and it violates Google guidelines.
It’s not illegal; it’s not forbidden; it’s just not what Google likes. It works, I like it, but I don’t complain if I get caught.
The simplest solution is to create a directory or subdomain (I like directories better) and install WordPress. I
recommend using the pages instead of the posts because you won’t have to deal with chronology. WordPress arranges posts by date. Chronology does not work from a semantic perspective. It works if you keep a personal diary, but not if you want to do Semantic SEO and the Topical Mesh in particular.
I have a couple of plugins to help out. will build the site for you. You attach the content to each node on the mindmap, and the plugin will build the inlinks correctly.

Also, is the complete solution if you want to create a Topical Mesh from A to Z.
Anyway, I’m not going too much into the tools today.
My tools and the ones I recommend can be found on
Tools are cool, but they are only there to make your life easier. First, learn how the system works, then feel free to use tools.
To link the Topical Mesh to the rest of the site, I like the good old HTML Sitemap. Make it beautiful; make it amazing enough to show to your mom.

9/ Smell the SERP

Smelling the SERP is the most challenging skill to acquire, but it’s the most rewarding.
Once you understand what does Google wants, it’s magic.
Once you can analyze what does Google has right now compared to what does it want, it’s incredible how well your content gets rewarded.
Look at everything on the SERP.
Compare [Olympic Games] with [women shoes].
It takes thousands of hours to stare at Google result pages.
After a while, you will figure out what does Google want.
Google wants to answer different intents, and some results are just doing an average job. Especially when it comes down to nuance, Google AI is dumbing out the information.
Help Google by feeding it what it wants instead of what it has.
It’s the most powerful SEO superpower I know.
Not many SEOs master this skill because they don’t know how to see. You learn how to see by practising and testing. There are no shortcuts, no magic tools.

10/ SEO layer within a global Content Marketing Strategy

One topic equals dozens or hundreds of pieces of content in text, image, video and audio format.
I do SEO in multimedia; I do everything around SEO.
The first step is the creation of the content. Around one topic, I create dozens, hundreds, thousands of pieces of content in multimedia format.
Step two is distribution. Throughout the week, flood the Web with your content. You are not spamming; you can’t saturate a social media if you do it right. If your content is interesting, people will like it.
If you suck, improve.
Step three involves promotion. Nobody does it, but it’s the key.

Enter the conversation around your topic.

Wherever it takes place, whenever, always make sure you get into the conversation.
Don’t be a fool, saying « hey I love your content, can we be friends? Check out my profile ».
Take the time to read, watch or listen. Then put down a thoughtful comment, something meaningful. Try to engage in a conversation with the author or other people who commented. Give out your point of view, even if you disagree.
Step four is about analytics. Data is power. Base your decisions on data.
Step Five: Rinse and repeat.
Do this once a month if you suck.
Do this once a week if you are average.
Do this once a day if you want to be a Rockstar.

11/ Private Link Network

Build one site per week, and you will end up with 50 at the end of the year
I’m not talking about some ugly smelly PBN, Private or Public Blog Network.
My way is a link wheel, continuation of the Topical Mesh spirit.
Take control of some of your backlinks by building a decent private network.
It’s a topic I need to dissect in details later.
Be creative, build small websites that don’t smell SEO from 10 miles away.
Of course, you have to pretend these websites are not yours.
You have to do everything you can to make it « natural ».
For example, build tons of outbound links.
Don’t just buy expired domains and link from every homepage to your homepage.
Less is more, work smarter.

12/ Feed it to Google, then adjust

It’s simple.
The truth is on the screen.
You prepared well, but Google will tell you if you are right or wrong.
It’s binary.
Usually, I give it around three months, then I adjust.

13/ Tools

Another day, I will get in-depth about tools.
Right now, I just want you to realize how far we went since I started this Semantic SEO journey.
I started in 2005 with
And today I have
It blows my mind.
Never in a million years, I thought we could have such beautiful and amazing tools.
Today, I can build a website in 5 minutes with Rank4win.
Over here in France, we have the best Semantic SEO tools because we got a considerable head start. Check out to discover the tools I co-developed, or I recommend.


In my opinion, the Topical Mesh is the best solution to rank first on Google and win the game of undervalued attention throughout the Information Funnel.
Today the world is complicated. To break through the noise requires a solid strategy and a rigorous execution.
If you want to rank first and stay first, you will have to decide if you have the means to achieve your goals.
Depending upon your ambitions, I won’t lie. It’s work. It’s a lot of work.
SEO is hard, but it doesn’t have to be this mysterious magic trick performed by gurus.
Today, the spirit of my strategy is the same that it was in 2004 or 2012.
It’s all about who is in relation to what and why.
Of course, today is a much different world than when I started.
It blows my mind to see that so-called SEO Experts are still giving you lessons about how to rank on Google, desktop version…
All I know is… people are spending days and nights on a device called the smartphone. As far as I know, they don’t waste their time searching on Google. Still, if the intent is there; if that person is looking for answers to questions or solutions to a problem, I want to be there. Wherever people are searching, I want to be present. I want to be present throughout the entire information funnel vs fighting for SEO on Google; the desktop version is not dead. It’s still going strong.
However, the game has changed. Technology has evolved, and behaviours are changing, for the better or worse, I don’t know. That’s a topic for another day.
Even if we only focus on Google, being visible on Google mobile version is way harder than on the desktop version.
On the desktop, you might be happy with ranking somewhere on the first page for a competitive keyword. On Google mobile, there is no space for a second. The real estate of the SERP is expensive. IMO only the first organic result wins. If I bring up vocal Search, there is also no spot for number two.

I showed you that winning at SEO or Content Marketing with a solid SEO layer is no mystery. I have a sound solution that works.
Just do it.

Inaction is the number one enemy here. If you do stuff, you will get results. I just showed you how to work smart.

Still, you’ve got to do the work.

Never give up.

You won’t bleed, you won’t even sweat. It won’t hurt, I promise.
Test it out, get back to me, let’s move forward.

Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to how I achieve results for my clients, my students, and myself.

You know what to do.


À bientôt,


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