Once you find competitors keywords, trying to rank for them is another story.
Do you spend resources trying to rank for the most competitive, high commercial intent ones; or do you focus on the low hanging fruit?
These days, everyone is talking about keyword difficulty. It seems like targeting easy keywords is becoming the go-to strategy of SEOs all over the place. After all, who doesn’t want low competition keywords with high traffic? I know I do!
Here’s the fact:
You can’t base your entire SEO strategy and beat the competition solely on “easy to rank keywords.”
In case you missed it, Google Hummingbird totally changed On-Page SEO. The power of swapping out page title tags and tweaking your keyword density lost its sizzle. Topical site relevance is the new on-page SEO trump card (not to be confused with Donald).
If difficult keywords are central to your niche, you can’t skip out on them.
We’ve decoded seven good reasons why competitive keywords shouldn’t intimidate you.
1. You Need To Make Your Website Topically Deep
If you skip out on difficult keywords, you’ll have topical gaps in your site relevance. This has everything to do with LSI keywords.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is part of Google’s algorithm.
They are longer variations of the main keyword and used by search engines to determine the relevance of different aspects of web content. In other words, it helps search engines such as Google to figure out the whole thought of written content.
Modeling for your website is almost like optimizing a page for LSI keywords. Google wants to see that your website has topical depth coverage for your LSI keywords.
If you skip out on a keyword because it is too competitive, Google will see that as a topic gap. For example, Marketmuse sees my site lacking in topics around “Google Keyword Planner” to rank my specific article high.
I couldn’t believe that I’ve written over 5k words on keyword analysis and not mentioned the topic “keyword search” once. In any article. And that includes the 32 keywords within the topic.
Search engines usually look for the most relevant keywords each time a particular search term is entered in the search box. Since determining the thought of a whole content is a difficult task for the search engine, it uses LSI phrases to figure out the relevancy of a particular page or website.
So if you skimp on content around competitive keywords, Google will see your site less relevant for the keywords that you do target.
So how do you make LSIs work for you?
First, you have to understand what they are. If you don’t have money for a paid tool for your competitive analysis, you can always examine the SERP.
Then do a site search with those keywords. If you have 0 keyword coverage, try to edit some pages to add them in. If you see a keyword that catches your eye do an intitle: site: search to see if you have a page dedicated to that topic. If not, create one.
A good long-tail SEO strategy would be placing LSIs in the heading, page title, title tag, content, and highlighting them in sections throughout the article.
Alternatively, you could also use these phrases as anchor texts for links leading to different pages on your site, so you won’t have to use the same terms over and over again.
Or, they could be anchor texts for links leading to other sites.
Or, they could be anchor texts for links leading to other sites.
However, you should never, ever do keyword stuffing. This SEO strategy simply doesn’t work anymore, like in the olden days. As a matter of fact, it can even get you into trouble because search engines may tag you as manipulative, spam, or fake. Go for optimal keyword density using proper LSI keyword placement, together with comprehensive content, and you’re good to go.
The graphic above proves that explicit content dominates Google ranking as compared to shallow content. The evaluation was based out of comparison from 10,000 URLs. This applies to your entire site as well. You skip the hard keywords, you’ll have gaps in relevance.
2. Free Tools Are Just Wrong These Days
Today, there are bunches of free keyword research tools to help you discover which keywords to target. Some of the most popular options are Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools), Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Bing Keyword Research Tool.
However, they don’t provide as much value as you would get from their competitors – the paid keyword analysis tools.
It turns out that Keyword Planner’s search volume data is more imprecise than ever. This is because it rounds up the figures, so the numbers end with at least one zero. Also, it now combines related terms altogether, so they end up in a single pool of keywords with bigger search volumes.
As you can see, the search volume is really wide; but more importantly, the message with #2 is competitive keywords is where the volume is (for the most part). You can’t spend your whole life looking for small wins.
To compete with the market leaders, you got to hit them where it counts – the high traffic, competitive keywords – just don’t bank on ranking on page 1 for it right away.
None of us want to use inaccurate data. If you still wish to rely on Google’s Keyword Planner for your marketing ventures, use it to get ideas and proceed with caution.
3. Keyword Difficulty Analysis Is Not An Exact Science
Look, I’ll be the first to admit this: but I spend way too much time looking at keyword difficulty. While I admire all the SEO competitive analysis keyword tool providers for coming up with this metric, you can’t always rely on it.
I’ve swung out on “easy keywords.”
I’ve hit home runs on “super difficult keywords.”
There is just too many ranking factors for the tools to analyze this. The best I can do is focus on the top 2 signals. Content and links. I ask myself these two questions:
- Can I easily produce better (topically depth) content?
- Can I get more linking domains?
If the answer is yes to either, I’ll do my best to get top rankings. If not, I’ll create the content anyways and focus my link building on the pages where I know I can get links to (the ones already getting links).
4. You Might Actually Get Traffic For Competitive Keywords
You know there’s a big joke in the SEO for years.
The truth is, you don’t have to to be on page 1 to get decent traffic. I wrote this article on Google Keyword Planner with no intention of ranking, but I get about 1K visits per month mostly being on page 2.
But no one would rather be on page 2.
So how exactly do you rank on page 1 for competitive keywords?
- Create an evergreen power page or linkable asset related to your competitive keyword. Evergreen content is timeless; therefore it will stay relevant and interesting to your target audience. Provided that you have valuable content, there are higher opportunities for driving traffic, sparking discussions, and creating conversions for your business.
- Promote your power page and build whitehat links to it. White-hat links enable you to build a customer base that exclusively buys products from you and also willingly recommends you to family and friends. It also provides customers way better shopping experience.
- Figure out related topics around your competitive keyword and make sure you have site coverage. Market Muse is a great tool for this. This software is designed to be a semantic search content optimization tool, generating topics and keyword variations so you can quickly develop a content plan for your website.
- Link your power page to your money keyword page. Building links to commercial content are challenging, that’s why having a power page to generate inbound links is crucial. Link your power page to your money pages. This concept is called “authority sculpting.” Just be careful to not spam it up with the same keyword over and over again.
- Link your blog related blog posts to money page. Interlinking between website pages is a proven potent SEO strategy for several years now. This needs to be done apparently because valuable information, such as your blog posts, are usually not found on the homepage.
- Optimize for intent. Don’t just make a big map of LSI keywords and stuff them in your content. Try to figure out intent for each topic and serve up the right content. You wouldn’t include buyer intent keywords in your informational content. You can also use proven ad copy in your content and calls to actions.
- Avoid blackhat SEO. While blackhat SEO techniques do drastic changes to your page’s visibility, it can cause more harm than good if detected by search engines like Google. In worse cases, your site can be taken down permanently from rankings. For this reason, techniques such as keyword stuffing, content copying, unnatural looking links should be avoided for good.
5. Reduce Your Ad Spend By Targeting Long-tail Money Keywords
Long tail keywords increase your organic search traffic per month. Since traffic is acquired naturally, you’d be able to slash off a significant amount from your advertising expenses. Also, you’d reduce the relative amount of time working on your Adwords ad copy or analyzing search term report from Keyword Planner.
Did you know that 57% of Amazon sales are derived from long-tail keywords? This just shows that longer keywords with commercial intent convert quite well.
If you’re not targeting these keywords on your blog, chances are, you are missing out a lot of search traffic.
What to do?
In addition to integrating long-tail keywords, make sure to define the purpose of your content, understand your target audience, know your long-tail keywords, and write unique content that revolves around your choice of keyword variations.
6. Domain Authority Is A Long-Term Game
I start off any SEO project by looking for low hanging, easy to rank keywords. But if you spend your entire life looking for quick wins, you’ll only take small steps.
Targeting high commercial value keywords won’t happen overnight. You need a long-term consistent strategy to build your domain authority (DA). You need to bake in an effective SEO strategy to obtain traffic for your money keywords.
So how do you increase your DA?
The first step would be creating fantastic content for your target audience.Your website should contain high-quality content with tons of valuable information. You’ll also need content specifically for the purpose of promotion and link building.
Avoid looking for cheap, fast wins with link building. You might end up with toxic backlinks, which is an expensive problem to fix.
Wait patiently, and your DA score will rise gradually. SEO success doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time.
7. You’ll Miss Out On Building Your Sales Funnel
Money keywords matter or highly competitive keywords = more money.
Your sales funnel should absolutely include high commercial, difficult keywords.
You can capture a lion’s share of search engine traffic if you focus on matching user intent at each step of the sales funnel. The brand that understands customer behavior better wins. Period.
At this point of the buyer’s journey, you need more than SEO. You need your best persuasive content in your title tags, headings, and call to actions.
Keyword-stuffed content, just won’t do. Neither will link bait content.
When inside your sales funnel, what are the steps your customers go through? Let’s take a look.
- A customer becomes aware that you exist.
- You educate them about why they need your product.
- Customer evaluates the benefit of purchasing the product.
- The customer engages with brand and is persuaded to buy
- Customer commits and is now hooked.
- You made a sale! Good job!
- You’ve successfully established trust and customer turn into a loyal/repeat buyer.
Take Your Competitor’s Keywords Head On
Ready to take on those big boy keywords? Follow the steps below and let me know how it works for you.
- Figure out the LSI keywords for your most competitive, high commercial value keywords.
- Create a linkable power page from one of those topics.
- Optimize your site to include your money LSI keywords on multiple pages.
- Focus on user intent.
- Drive your traffic through internal linking to a landing page to convert.