How to Choose Keywords for SEO Page Optimization

How to Choose Keywords for SEO Page Optimization

Mapping keywords to pages of content on your website is a concept which is about as old as SEO itself. Similarly, it is an equally tried-and-true concept to score a page of content against the chosen keywords to see how well optimized it is for the selected terms. Volume Nine is no exception to this. For years we have proudly thought of our SEO Dashboard as one of the best tools out there to target and map keywords to pages for on-page optimization.

However, as the the world of search continues its march towards more dynamic, complex, and relevant search results, it is more important than ever that the concepts behind effective SEO keyword targeting adjust with the times. The keywords you optimize content for today need to be highly targeted, relevant, and deliver useful content to your audience based on their search intent. In this post, we will cover these topics and more.

A Sneak Peek Summary of this Blog:

  1. Having quality, relevant content is more important than ever to be successful at SEO.
  2. In order to be relevant, it is important to know and properly target the keywords you are trying to rank for with each page of content.
  3. We can map keywords to pages by thinking of them as one of three things:
    1. Primary Keyword Phrases
    2. Keyword Variants
    3. Related Words

Understanding The Types of Keyword Targets for a Page

The days are long gone when we can optimize a page for a whole bunch of different, potentially unrelated keywords. The search engines are just too good at knowing if your content is actually about a particular keyword phrase. More importantly, they have also become very, very good at knowing if your content matches the search intent.

Intent matters because essentially it is just mimicking user behavior and user knowledge. Your site’s visitors will know almost immediately if your page is or is not relevant to their query.

Given all this knowledge, it becomes very important to have a tight, relevant group of keywords mapped to each of your most important URLs. This starts with what we call this the ‘Keyword Phrase’ – or, the primary thing the page should rank for. But people search for many different ways, so we also need to also think about the common keyword phrase variations and related words when selecting our targets.  In both of these instances, we are getting at the intent behind the person using the main keyword phrase.

Understanding these definitions is important before trying to do SEO keyword targeting. With the basics now understood, let’s talk about how to properly select the keywords for each type.

Choose Your Target Keyword Phrase Carefully

The first step in in mapping proper keyword targets is to choose a primary keyword phrase. This keyword should be the most important and most relevant term for which the page would rank in a Google search. The keyword phrase is also what the page should primarily be optimized against.

Think of it this way: this is the one, single most important, if-we-rank-for-this-we-can-conquer-the-world type of keyword.

 

WARNING: Don’t just pick the highest volume and (and therefore, probably most competitive) term you can find.  Often slightly longer tail keywords with less volume are more relevant to your actual business service or product and the resulting conversions could easily make up for the lower amount of search volume.

Let’s use one of V9’s services as an example: the SEO audit service page. In this case, we decided that we would like to rank for (and optimize against) the term “seo audit service” ahead of everything else*. Just to be sure we cover the basics, this means that we would optimize the page for this keyword in places such as the Title, H1, and body copy. These are all old-school, but still very important, SEO techniques.

*We do want to rank for “seo audit” as well, but we chose to optimize the page for “seo audit service” as it was the most relevant for what the content is about. 

Let’s Talk about Keyword Variations

While choosing a primary term for a page is important, Google doesn’t think of content as being limited to a 1-to-1, keyword-to-page match.  There are a whole bunch of ways that people might search for things and there are also very related things as well.

We like to think that Google has this all figured out and based their Keyword Planner, Google Suggest, and Related Search Tools on these concepts – it certainly  seems like they do!

In the simplest terms, we think about related terms and relevancy as being about all the related ‘stuff’ which is probably closely related to the target keyword phrase. In our example, it stands to reason that someone who searched for an “seo audit service” could have searched for a number of related topics, such as a technical seo audit, a link audit, or a keyword audit. This is exactly where the keyword variants come into play.

How To Make The Content Relevant

The final step in this process is to map ‘Related Words’ to the page. We do this to capture words that represent related content which you think the searcher would like to see on the page.

Or, to put it another way, what type of content do you think a searcher would be looking for when doing this query?

In our example, it is probably safe to assume that they would be interested in things like: the types of reports generated in the audit, the templates & tools used, the process, results, and of course, the price. This is where the selection and mapping of related words comes into play.  All of these related words not only represent an opportunity to be included on your page, but they are also opportunities to understand the type of content you should be producing.

 

Ways To Find Useful Keyword Variations & Related Words

It is important to remember that the only reason we try so hard to find the correct keywords is so that we can develop content which is relevant to your audience. It is not just so we can stuff them on a page.  To help find queries and ideas which will drive meaningful traffic, we can actually analyze a page based on the primary keyword to generate more ideas. We have actually integrated three reports into our Dashboard to help with this:

  • Relevant Keyword Phrases: This report shows the most relevant keyword phrases on the existing page as rated by the Alchemy relevancy technology. These recommendations are a great spot to find new supporting and related keywords based on the content already on the page.
  • SEMRush Keyword Phrases: When the page is analyzed, we look up related keyword phrases using the SEMRush tool. The data here are all of the related keywords as defined by SEMRush, using the primary keyword as the &l‘base’ term. These recommendations are a great spot to find new supporting and related keywords.
  • Google Related Keyword Phrases: When the page is analyzed, we look up related keyword phrases using Google’s analysis of the page. The data here are all of the related keywords as defined by Google.

Here is an example of all the relevant keywords found for the audit page, as provided by Alchemy.

Summary:

In the coming months, Volume Nine will be rolling out this keyword targeting methodology for all our clients. In fact, we are even going to be opening it up for client’s to use on a page-by-page basis, so they have the ability to add, map, and score keywords in real time.

For now, see below for a summary of all we have covered in this post.

  1. Having quality, relevant content is more important than ever to be successful at SEO.
  2. In order to be relevant, it is important to know the keywords you are trying to rank for with each page of content.
  3. We can map keywords to pages by thinking of them as:
    1. Primary Keyword Phrases
    2. Keyword Variants
    3. Related Words
  4. Using third party tools, we can see what sort of content the search engines see which is related to the target keyword.
  5. BONUS: Once we have a tight group of keywords, the new Single Page Scoring Tool can help show how well optimized and how relevant a page’s content is for its keywords.
  6. DOUBLE BONUS: The final step would be to optimize, adjust, expand, and develop content for your site, based on the learnings from the score.

 

  • Great information. Actually, we should consider goforseo.com/using-lsi-keywords-for-seo-benefits keyword variations rather using only some restricted keywords for link building. This blog is going to help many readers. Thanks for sharing.

    • Barb Dittert

      Great point Sunil. At Volume Nine, our best practice is not to use exact match keywords constantly. I enjoyed reading your blog post – you made a great case for using LSI keywords throughout your content.

  • Brain Follins

    Very useful information on keywords.

    • Barb Dittert

      Thank you! We are glad we could help!

  • Thank You! very useful info……