Crawling. Indexing. Ranking. Are you ready to rewrite your entire website (including blog posts!) every time Google decides to change their search algorithm? This probably doesn’t “rank” high on your to-do list, and for good reason! You know in your heart of hearts how important it is for your website to rank high on specific keywords. You probably have your main keywords burned into your brain — ouch — and are using them whenever you can.
Search engines whole reason for existence is to find relevant content . . . YOUR content . . . content that is compelling to readers and answers the burning questions on their minds. You’re solving a problem for them and have the perfect solution! Unfortunately, if search engines aren’t compelled by your content, it’s nearly impossible to bring more potential customers under your spell. In a splash of good luck, you don’t have to optimize every single piece of content on your site. Instead, you need to look for the key content that draws 95% of your traffic and put all your attention into those pages. Sounds crazy? Let’s walk through how it works.
Quantify Your Content
It’s an unfortunate fact, but the vast majority of the content on your site will not pull its weight. It’s great, interesting information but users (and by extension, search engines) simply aren’t going to be interested. SEO, or search engine optimization, is very much a game of numbers. If your content doesn’t have a solid strategy driving information around specific keywords that point to your business, your site will linger on the 7th page of search results — or beyond. That doesn’t mean that you should stop developing content for your site. All content creation should include an element of research and be the very best content on the web for that single keyword. One page. One keyword. Always.
SEO Keyword Ranking
There are a great number of amazing tools for keyword selection and ranking if you have some time on your hands. Yes, this is absolutely important — but you’ll likely also need a dark room, some headache medicine and a fair bit of time to sort through all of the myriad data points to find the best keywords for your business. Some of the things to keep in mind when you’re projecting your results:
- Search volume: The number of searches for a specific keyword or set of keywords that happen on a monthly basis
- Organic difficulty: How difficult it is to compete with other sites who are already ranking on a particular keyword.
- SERP crowding: A measure of the noise that already exists on a particular results page
- Searcher intent: What searchers truly mean when they type a particular word or phrase into a search engine
If this sounds a bit overwhelming, Moz has created a fabulous keyword target template — a free tool that lets you fill in the blanks and may guide your decision making. Now that you’ve got the basics under control, how do you get started on optimizing your content?
Stick to Your Specialty
Could you research random keywords and find some that seem to have a magical number and write great content for them? Sure! But if your website isn’t truly keyed to that topic — for instance, a hair salon trying to key in on cash advance traffic — you’re not going to get the long-term benefit of the strategy. It’s best to be sure that your keyword strategy sticks close to your core so visitors are engaged and continue to browse your site.
Creating great content for the web requires thought, time and attention — not just great writing skills! When you realize that such a small percentage of your content can drive significant traffic to your site, it makes sense to give those articles or pages a brush-up to be sure you’re adequately targeting keywords in a way that works.