Before you start an SEO campaign, you should find the best keywords based on thorough keyword research. Just like you wouldn’t just jump in your car and start driving in hopes of reaching your destination before you’ve defined it, similarly, you will need a map or blueprint to reach your goals with SEO.
That blueprint is like a wire-frame that represents all of the keywords your website will be optimized for, the more coherent and encompassing they are, the more thematic authority your website can acquire for that topic.
If you overlap enough semantic keywords about a topic within your website, eventually search engines will take notice and reward you based on the continuity and structure of your information (the site architecture), which, if based on relevant market intelligence can rise to the top 10 with a fraction of the effort, links or time.
Since time, energy and effort are required to acquire keywords organically, it’s better to be efficient from the onset and perform the proper due diligence prior to initiating a campaign rather than using a wild west approach to SEO.
Think of keywords as a bridge between you and your audience. Google only pays attention to 1000 given results for any particular search term, it’s their way of algorithmically filtering out duplicates or lackluster pages according to their search engine indexes quality standards.
What this means to you is, the more desirable a keyword is, the more dense the competition is going to be for that keyword or key phrase combination. To gauge and assess the competitiveness of a particular keyword, simply place quotes around a keyword “like so” in a Google search box and hit return. The number you see indicated what the competitive threshold is for that particular shingle (word or group of words).
Just like with all things that occur in nature, there is a hierarchy. That hierarchy is based on trust and authority. For example, a new website out of the gate (under 1 year old) has very little chance of ranking for a competitive one word phrase like “internet”. To capture a ranking of that capacity over 50,000 internal links/pages referencing one page is required and 30,000 + links from other sites. So, how likely is this to occur and in what type of time line?
The point is, since you understand that chronology is important (for establishing the proper ingredients and metrics) and that things such as co-occurrence, link popularity and topical relevance (having enough content) also are hard-wired into the equation. Finding keywords that correspond to your websites’ theme act as the hub at the center of the campaign and your content / pages are like spokes in the wheel of relevance.
- The age and authority of your website (if search engines trust it as a cited source).
- How much content you have on your pages about the topic (topical relevance).
- How many pages are linked properly (internal links).
- How many websites link to you with the said keywords (external links).
All play a part in the impact that your content has within the index.
A topic mentioned by an authority site can appear in the top search results by the sheer value of its aggregate link weight. As we speak, tag pages from authority sites (like Technorati) are ranking for some of the most competitive keywords in our industry (such as SEO and Search Engine Optimization) in the top 10 results.
So, this brings up a very good point. Compare a like to a like and what is competitive to some can be accomplished from mere happenstance from another website (with authority). So, instead of just thinking from a linear perspective and thinking only of the keywords above the surface at the tip of the iceberg, you have to dig deeper into the significance behind the keywords and look for semantic similarities, synonyms, modifiers and common combinations to find profitable keywords.
In closing, below are links to resources to posts from the past from our blog on the topic.
- Should you Target Competitive Keywords or the Long-Tail?
- Exact Match Keywords or Broad Match Keywords?
- How to Use Thematic Modifiers
- Targeting Keywords within Your Reach
- Keywords and Co-Occurrence
- Optimizing the Most Searched Keywords
- Leveraging Keywords from the Past
- How to Extend your Keyword Empire
- How to Evaluate Competitive Keywords
The take away is, the more relevant content you have on a topic, the higher each page can rank for individual keywords (up to 20 or more synonymous key phrases if optimized properly) as well as each page can contribute a buoyant ranking factor back into the overall site through internal linking.
You can essentially create a ranking juggernaut if you understand the underlying principles of search engines and how they interpret information. Content is king, but you must start with purpose. Define that purpose by selecting keywords within your reach until you can scale your authority on the topic and acquire what once was considered a competitive ranking, by a mere blog post or addition of a page alone. That is real SEO…