How themed is your website to appease both your target audience and search engines? From the two extremes, the first being “keyword cannibalization”, where the overlap in keyword use and abuse pushes far past the norm and the second, meaning that there is no structured topic, form or function whatsoever.
Having a themed topical thread throughout your website as a focal point aids (1) conversion for users and (2) establishes precedent for search engines.
Content is the cornerstone of a successful SEO campaign. Without it, your website may lack the needed velocity to acquire or maintain relevance amidst the content wars fought online daily to acquire or defend market share.
Once you understand the need to “feed the search engine spiders” frequent and relevant content through updates, they will reward your website with a deeper crawl frequency (more pages indexed) and more traffic based on the crux of your contents topicality.
- Keyword cannibalization
- Pages to Keyword Post Volume
- Deep Links, Tiered Navigation and Naming conventions (loose, exact, general)
Keyword cannibalization – keep in mind search engines can read, and there is no need to repeat something again and again and again and again. Don’t insult their resolve or ability to determine context by stuffing keywords or repeating the same old new same one million and one ways to make a point.
Consider this an element of over-optimization (which should be avoided), just keep the tone natural and If you must, layer various semantic variations from using keyword co-occurrence naturally as it occurs from various pages contextually and consolidate specific anchor text to specific preferred landing pages.
One page can rank for 3-5 semantic variations, such as a singular, plural and synonymous stemmed key phrase based on a root keyword. Natural language is just that “natural”, so before you consider redundancy as an SEO technique, think of the long-tail and alternate mid-tail keyword variations to populate your pages alternatively rather than using a recurring semantic set which may lower your pages relevance score.
Unlike human readers, if search engines have to wade through “more of the same” keywords, then their equivalent of boredom translates as de-indexation to reduce clutter in the index.
Pages to Keyword Post Volume – Every keyword has an on page and off page tipping point. Finding what that is, is not the problem; crossing it is another story and getting your pages or preferred page into the top 10 results is the real challenge.
There are metrics you can use as a baseline to triangulate the needed on page and off page push using SERP position, volume of one page content (per keyword) and number of internal and / or deep links required to make your pages a contender.
Start with keywords within reach and gradually target more competitive phrases and variations through using the root phrase in keyword-rich themed categories (sub folders) while adding layers of content to support the theme (articles, blurbs or posts) to reinforce topicality.
Every new page is a new opportunity for your website to cement authority and rank for yet another variation of a keyword or rank for a more competitive root phrase based on the tactful overlap of content and internal links.
Once you cross the tipping point, you need to maintain the momentum until your website can fend for itself without vacillating violently (and acquires stability in the search engine result pages.
Once you crack the top 10 or top 3 positions for a keyword, this means you have established a degree of authority and can opt to selectively link relevant posts or pages to each other to produce numerous double rankings to potentially increase conversion by 200% per keyword.
Since rankings are by the page and the fastest way to get a new page into the top 10 is by linking to it from a page ranking in the top 10 for something close or similar. We call this the buddy system and it is a very effective tactic for establishing dominance in a market or niche.
Tiered Navigation and Naming conventions and Deep Links – The trifecta to theming a website is through applying consistency in three critical areas.
- Tiered navigation – If the keyword is competitive, then it should have its own targeted landing page. That page should be easily assessable through primary or secondary navigation (my next point) as well as be as close to the root folder or in the root folder to establish the precedent to search engines that “this page is important” within the site hierarchy.
- Naming Conventions – the naming convention should be synonymous with the pages topic and employ “exact match” hyphenated keyword occurrence. If your page is about blue widgets, then make sure your naming convention reflects “blue-widgets.aspx, php., .cfm or whatever extension your programming platform employs”.
- Deep linking – meaning that once you decide on the purpose of a page, you need to build links to that page from other sources (deep implying to pages other than your homepage). This augments the authority that page carries in the algorithm and transforms it into a preferred landing page for the keywords used in the links to that page.
When in doubt, simply take a look at Wikipedia. Wikipedia ranks for millions of keywords due to this type of continuity (title, url, h1 continuity) and then uses contextual internal links (linking from keywords in the body text) to create selective preferred landing pages as a result.
You can also emulate this tactic rather easily to establish continuity and develop your content strategically to chip away at competitive keyword verticals through this method. The strategy, add as much relevant content on the topic strategically over time, while using enough keyword variations to add a robust semantic footprint to your website.
Keep in mind that 60% of all searches are unique “meaning that search engines have never even seen them before”. This represents a vast array of opportunity since there are virtually 1000 ways to find the same thing through slightly modifying your query through different keywords or key phrases.
SEO is all about presumption and positioning. By placing your semantic seeds in play (fresh relevant content), those seeds can bear fruit and stem into multiple long-tail keyword variations. This translates into a creating a larger lip of the search engine funnel to embrace a broader array of traffic actively seeking content like your own.