When we talk about keyword research, it starts with opening up Google Adwords Keyword Planner or a similar online tool. From there, we’ll type in a prospective phrase and perhaps pick a geo-location before seeing a page of results, identifying the most appropriate keyword and then calling it a day.
OK, maybe we don’t really “call it a day” at that point. In fact, our work is often just getting started at this phase in the game. We still have to either create a new page of content or update an existing page by implementing the keyword and supporting terms.
If you think the new or updated page will automatically show up on the first page of the search engine results within a couple of months, think again. Going beyond basic keyword research is just the first step in propelling a landing page or other piece of content to page one of the results. Keep reading to find out what you need to do.
To Basic Keyword Research and Beyond!
Part of the battle in optimizing online content is being able to distinguish user intent. There’s a huge difference between search terms that are meant to learn more about an item or concept and search terms that are meant to research products or find an item to purchase.
3 Types of User Intent in Search
SEO experts generally recognize three types of user intent when it comes to search queries:
Navigational searches happen when the user already has the name of a website in mind and is just trying to find the official domain. In most cases, there is only one right answer when the user is conducting this type of search.
Informational searches try to answer the user’s question or help him or her learn more about a specific topic. Relevant information can often come from several different web pages, and the user in this situation generally is agnostic to which source provides the answer.
Transactional searches mean a purchase is about to take place – or, at the very least, the user is researching a product or service that will lead to money changing hands at a later date. Like informational searches, transactional searches are often conducted without a specific website in mind. The best product and/or the best price often win out during these types of searches.
Understanding the Different User Intent Types
In Keyword Planner, you’ll often get a mix of informational and transactional search terms in your results list. The key is not optimizing for an informational keyword if you’re hoping to get search users to buy from you. The inverse is also true: You don’t want to have an informational content piece optimized for a transactional keyword, because then your content is misleading search users.
Therefore, you need to go line by line in your Keyword Planner results and be able to distinguish which keywords are informational and which ones are transactional. Make sure the type of keyword you choose lines up with the intent of the page you’re optimizing.
Do you want search users to buy a product or service from you? Go with a transactional keyword.
Do you want to lead users to and keep them on your website by providing high-quality, relevant information? Then make sure you optimize for an informational keyword.
Checking out the Competition
Many SEOs forget to check out the existing results for a desired keyword before they embark on optimizing a piece of content. They’re missing out on critical guidance in helping their content reach the first page of the results.
All you’ve got to do is take your targeted keyword and type it into Google. From there, you’ve got to click through to the results on the first and even second page. Review these individual pages for their length and presentation, including how they address the given search query.
At this point, your goal is to concoct content that you feel is much, much better than your competition, whether you’re creating something from scratch or giving an existing page a facelift. Can you go more in depth on the subject? Can you provide additional relevant information that your competitors are leaving out? Can you make the piece more visually appealing than what you’re seeing in the search results under that keyword?
If the content you’re optimizing is more informational in nature, keep in mind that long-form content does well on Google – not to mention on social media and in other arenas, too. If you’re trying to sell a specific product, especially if it’s one that other ecommerce sites carry, refer to these 10 tips for maximizing organic traffic to the desired page.
Don’t Forget to Focus on Backlinks
As you are going beyond basic keyword research and assessing your competition for a certain search phrase, you should also take a look at what kind of backlinks each of the competing pieces of content has. This is easy to do through the Moz toolbar or Majestic. These tools will show you how many other sites are linking to a page you’re currently visiting.
You can also visit the pages that link to your competitors and see the context of why they linked out in the first place. You might find that some of the results Google gave you for a search term might have been created years ago.
After Your Optimized Piece is Complete
Once your content page is finished, you may want to reach out to the sites linking to your competitor and tell them you have something that is more current and informative than the older results you found. All it takes is a cordial email or phone call. If you’re able to get a response, you may see some of those sites switch their link from your competitors to you, or they might just figure out a way to link to your site from the very same page.
As you’re checking out the links to competing content pieces, you may notice a few pages are lacking in high-quality backlinks, even though it is one of Google’s foremost ranking factors. Perhaps these competing content pages have links from low-quality sites, comment spam, etc. If this is the case, then it’s really time for you to start working on acquiring your own high-quality backlinks to your finished piece of content. Don’t be afraid to personally reach out to companies or websites that you think would find your content relevant. Use these tips if you’re unfamiliar with the process of organically reaching out for backlinks.
Getting to Page One
Understanding the different types of keywords and sizing up your competition will be crucial to crafting content that deserves to be on page one of the search engine results. Once you see what your competitors have done, you’ll get ideas on how to do it better.
Everyone behind the content that’s featured on page one has likely moved on to other affairs, such as other web pages that are targeting other keywords. Using the advice you just read will help your content ascend to page one of the search rankings while your competitors’ backs are turned, meaning more web traffic for you.
Eminent SEO can help when it comes to creating a new page or optimizing an existing page on your website. We conduct throughout keyword research and deliver high-quality content, as well as follow-up organic link-building efforts. To find out more about our Website Marketing Services, click here or call 1-800-871-4130.