With every new Google update, factors that impact website rankings change substantially. What all updates so far had in common is that keywords have remained relevant. Well researched keywords are still one of the most important factors for ranking on Google. However, the way those keywords are handled has changed in a meaningful way.
It used to be that simple repetition of a keyword would get you ranked for that keyword. In essence, it was focused more on the quantity side of things. This was mitigated by other factors. Now it is reformed to value quality more. What this means in practice is that it is no longer enough to have a keyword mentioned in your content. You need to supply a solution for the needs and answers to the questions that the people who type in that keyword have.
So, in a way similar to how it handles backlinks, Google handles keywords as well. The number of repetitions is still fairly important. Including keywords in anchor points and subtitles seems to still have an impact. But the core of this factor has been moved one step towards the more generalized. That is, an emphasis is being put on what the intent behind the keyword is.
This is a fairly broad term that describes what exactly prompted a search query with a specific keyword. Knowing that the intent behind searching for a keyword is finding answers to a set of questions helps shape your content accordingly.
For example, someone might be searching for the term SEO tools. Their intent is presumably not only to find out what SEO tools are but to get to a condensed set of information that covers most facets of SEO tools.
This has lead to a change in the way how keywords are being researched.
Selecting Your Keywords:
1. Defining Your Field of Interest
The first step is coming up with a very broad field in which you want to create content. Think of this as a large container. It will usually have to do with your field of business. Or if you own a blog, the topics you write the most about.
2. Outlining Topics
Once you have done that, try to list some important issues in that field. What is currently relevant? What might interest your reader? If you have a business, what might prompt a customer to come to you?
3. Setting Goals
Make sure to set a google ranking goal. Having a clearly defined goal on a quarterly or even monthly basis is the norm. This will help you work towards a reasonable, achievable outcome. And by having them clearly defined, you will know which steps you have to take to achieve them.
4. Defining Your Topics
Out of the set of relevant topics pick out a few that fit your business or blog the best. Narrow down the selection to a few issues that you want to be the authority on. This will provide you with a set of smaller âcontainersâ. These containers now need to be filled with keywords.
5. Defining Your Keywords
To create a list of keywords you want to rank in, a few factors need to be taken into account. The first one is competition. That is, how hard it is to rank for a keyword.
A good rule of thumb for that is â the more general the keyword, the harder it is to rank for it. These are called header keywords. The other side of that are longer, specific keywords. They are oftentimes specific questions on a topic and are called long-tail keywords.
Focusing on either alone is not a good idea. Try to have a mix of both. A few major header keywords to compete for in the long run. And a nice set of long-tail keywords to quickly gain traction.
Another factor that is tied to this is the search frequency of keywords. There are many fantastic tools that allow you to look into what the search volume and frequency for a keyword is. Those with lower volume will be easier to rank for. They will also by default give you less traffic. Finding a balance in your niche is crucial for success in this aspect.
Finally, find out which keywords your competitor neglects. Or, conversely, which ones they focus on. This will bring your list to a final, condensed form. Tackling your competitors in the head keywords with the most traction while chipping away at the market share on long-tails that they neglect is the best course of action.
At this point, the only thing left for you to do is to create the quality content that will make sure you end up on the first page of Google results.