Have you wondered how 1 single article can rank for hundreds, or even thousands of keywords?
This type of article has basically squeezed massive SEO traffic out of a single topic. It can rank for many different variants of the same keyword query.
A specific question can be asked in a hundred different ways. You can’t guess it all.
Think of Wikipedia pages.
No matter the keyword variation or how you type your question, Wikipedia pages almost always rank first for a given query.
Because their articles contain incredible amounts of long tail keywords, sub topics and internal links.
Thus, making them very relevant to best match keyword searchers.
In this post, I’ll show you how to optimise your article for maximum search traffic with 3 main strategies:
- understand searcher intent
- use content gap analysis to find competitor keywords
- brainstorm hundreds of relevant keyword searchers
#1. Understand Searcher Intent
Behind every search is a person trying to solve a problem.
Searcher intent is the why behind people’s search. There are 4 reasons why people search for something:
- Informational: looking for an answer (i want to know)
- Transactional: ready to purchase (i want to buy)
- Directional: location specific (i want to go)
- Navigational: looking for specific brand
How to Analyse Google SERPs for Searcher Intent
The best way to understand searcher intent is to study how Google ranks pages.
So we can analyse what kind of content Google thinks is relevant and leverage SEO opportunities out of it.
Query 1: “bookkeeping for businesses”
Let’s say I am selling accounting software and I’m trying to reach searchers for this search query.
My target customers are managers, small businesses and entrepreneurs, looking for bookkeeping solutions.
Step 1: Look at the Adwords Ads displayed
I see that the paid ads at the top have commercial intent. Like this one from Xero, Try Xero for Free.
Intent A: I want to try free trial
Step 2: scroll through the organic results
Majority of the ranking pages have informational intent. Such as “how to”, “tutorial”, “tips”. The intent is to answer “I want to know” moments in the searcher’s journey.
Intent B: I want to learn how to do it myself
Step 3: Look at related searches at the bottom of SERPs
Intent C: I want to know the basics
Based on our analysis, we can see that Intent A and Intent C type of “I want to know” dominates organic search results.
Google is telling us that people have “I want to know” and “I want to learn” intent when searching for this stuff.
So, if you’re creating content, your style should be close to those pages currently ranking in position 1-5.
This helps ensure you’re writing to answer the right searcher intent.
#2. Content Gap Analysis
Having a good SEO strategy is foundational to your success in search.
If you’re building content to rank on Google, it’s best to know what you’re up against.
Who are ranking on page 1 currently?
How easy will it be to outrank your current competitors?
Understanding your competition can make or break your SEO efforts.
Find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for
Use a free tool like Spyfu and enter your competitor’s website.
In this example, I typed in copyblogger’s site.
Go to the ‘SEO Keywords’ tab and look at the top keywords they are ranking for.
Look at the ranking difficulty and the estimated click value of each keyword.
Sweet spot: ranking difficulty of less than 30 and click value of at least 1,000.
Keywords that meet this sweet spot criteria are your ideal keywords. Because they bring in significant traffic potential and are not too difficult to rank for.
#3. Brainstorm hundreds of long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are the best way to make your article more comprehensive.
These are 3-5 words long phrases related to your main keyword topic.
By adding long tail keywords, you increase the relevance of your article. This is very important in SEO.
After the Hummingbird algorithm update, it changed the way Google parsed queries. Google learnt to use semantic context. It could understand search intent, phrases, similar themes and related topics.
The more expansive your article is, the more contextual relevance it has.
Find seed keywords for your article topic
Seed keywords are ‘head’ keywords.
These are one word or short phrases, usually the main topic of your article.
Such as, “travel blog”, “blogging”, “vegan diet”, “cheap flights”.
Generally, the higher the search volume of a keyword, the higher its search demand.
First, come up with 5-10 seed keywords first. If you’re stuck, brainstorm your top 3 content categories.
The, throw these seed keywords into Google Keyword Planner.
- set your target location
- select keywords with avg. monthly search volume of more than 100. Avoid keywords that have ‘0-10’ search volume. This usually means nobody is searching for them.
Generate long tail keywords based on semantic context
The key to long tail keywords are its semantic meaning to your article’s topic.
Long tail keywords usually have very low or sometimes 0 search volume in keyword planner, but that’s not important.
Search volume is only important when researching for your seed keyword, which forms the focus of your article.
Building semantic context and developing relevance of your entire article – that is the purpose of long tail keywords.
One of my favourite tools for finding long tail keywords is LSI Graph.
Just plant your seed keyword and it’ll generate tons of highly relevant long-tail keywords. Voila!
Oh, and if you want to learn more about semantic context, topic clusters and how to create semantically rich content that Google loves, check out my SEO e-course for bloggers and entrepreneurs, SEO Demystified.
Final tip: validate your keyword strategy with content gap analysis.
Theory is always easier than reality.
I found that coming up with keyword ideas isn’t the hardest part, there are dozens of marketing tools out there to do it for you.
But validating long tail keywords and its relevancy takes your content strategy to another level.
Go back to step #2 on content gap analysis using Spyfu, and copy the URLs of the top pages from your competitors.
Visit those top pages (at least 3) which are relevant to your seed keyword.
Analyse their page level keyword usage, sub-headings (H1,H2,H3,H4), title and meta description.
These give you real insights into how top performing pages leverage long tail keywords to rank well on Google in the first place.
Finally, weave these strategies together and create your next bangin’ piece of content. Good luck folks!