1 truth about SEO is that Google is a question and answers machine. The user asks a question and Google answers it. Google has a big bank of catalogued knowledge known as websites to find that answer. The more reliable the answer you provide, the higher you will appear in Google and be the answer to the question. Google catalogues websites using keywords.
The user searches:
“How much does a PlayStation 5 cost?”
In this search term we have a selection of keywords including
The fat head – PlayStation 5
Chunky middle – PlayStation 5 cost
Long tail - How much does a PlayStation 5 cost
Google will instantly search those keywords in its database of websites and promote the websites which best match those keywords for an answer.
This all seems simple, right? Put what you think is the right keyword/s on your site and Google will put you number 1. Wrong! Ranking for keywords is complex and requires a substantial understanding of your audience and what people search for. Doing this wrong can cause your website not to rank or for you to rank with the wrong audience. Today we are going to talk about how to rank your website for the right keywords.
1. Don’t go in blind
Go on to Google now and type a keyword like “photography”. It will be pot luck based on your previous search history as to whether this will apply to pictures, buying equipment, photographers, photography websites and so on. This applies to your website. If you build a page on your website with no clear idea as to what the keyword ranks for then you could either never rank for it or rank in the wrong arena.
Using tools like SEMrush’es keyword overview and keyword magic lets you view the search terms around a keyword. I personally know we set our sights for photography aimed at small businesses, the automotive trade and property. If we generically aimed for “photography” this would be the arena we would compete in…
None of it relevant. By seeing this though we know that “photography” is not right for us and we can save wasted hours trying to rank for something that is not beneficial.
2. Not all keywords are built equal.
Keywords are a popularity contest. Some keywords are more desirable, and their popularity brings a difficulty level. Ranking from 0-100%, keywords will be either easy to rank for (0-60%) or difficult to rank for(61%-100%). In real world terms this means you could be waiting weeks to see results or months on to years. When selecting keywords, you want to try and choose keywords which have a good traffic volume and up to 60% difficulty level. This will ensure you see results sometime soon.
After you have built these up to a good level and built yourself a strong authority, you can start gunning for the big boys, those fat head and chunky middle keywords which have a difficulty level of 70%+ and higher traffic volume. An alternative to try and rank for these keywords is to pay for Google AdWords. Be aware these more popular keywords will cost more money per click. SEMrush will help you identify these difficulty levels and the cost per click.
3. It is about answers
One simple truth, Google is a questions and answers machine. So you have your keyword list, you know it is right for your industry… now what? You need to answer some questions! Website like answerthepublic.com offer free search queries on keywords. Here you can see what people searched around a given keyword. Picking out what is relevant to you, you can then start to answer those questions on your page. The more questions you can answer, the better you will rank. That being said, it helps to know what the top pages of Google answer. If you have answered everything on side B when your competitors and what Google expects is on side A, then that will be wasted time and effort. Adding side B to A will not hurt, but not answering the most queried questions will.
Make sure you have a solid knowledge of the subject and most importantly, are not a carbon copy. You cannot rewrite the bible, but you can make it your own. Use language which your business uses, apply your expect knowledge and make it readable. Nobody enjoys brick walls of text. Use concise paragraphs, bullet points and images.
There is more to making your website rank for keywords including on page performance and authority however, understanding keywords is a great way to start.
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