Keyword optimisation

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How does keyword optimisation work?

Keyword optimisation is the set of techniques aimed at matching the content of one’s own website with what our target audience is actually looking for.
Here’s an overview of these techniques.

1. MODIFIERS (search intent, money terms, geo)

Modifiers are all those words that refine and clarify the search intent of a query.

Most SEO experts divide search intent into 4 categories: informational, navigational, commercial, transactional.

A matter of semantic context

Although WHY and WHAT people are exactly looking for is extremely relevant, we shall not forget about other factors, such as the WHERE (geo modifiers) or the WHEN (seasonal modifier: for example, looking for a Christmas gift).

So, at the beginning, it is good to keep a keyword list as large as possible and to organise it into categories.

In the long term, it is important to check which modifiers brought the most traffic and insist on them.

2. related search/parent topic

SEO is all about expanding and refining.
A simple way to expand a keyword list is by looking at related searches of a kw at the bottom of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) on Google or Wikipedia.

About refining, different keywords can often be grouped by their parent topic.
A parent topic is a more general kw that encompasses more specific keywords.

For example, the longtail keywords “how to publish a video on Facebook” and “how to publish a video on Twitter” can be grouped into “how to publish a video on social media.”

And, then, the more specific keywords can be used as subtitles of the more general keywords’ page. Data about parent topics can be found on premium platforms, such as Ahrefs.

3. content-gap analysis

If one wants to rank for a specific keyword, a pretty effective preparatory technique consists of a content-gap analysis.

A CGA can be done:
1 in general,
2 on competitors,
3 on our own SEO strategy.

In general, it means to google a specific kw and analyse the results.

Any relevant content on that topic, which is missing from the serp’s Top 10, can be an interesting SEO opportunity.

On competitors, it means to see for what kw they rank (or not) for and try “steal” traffic from them by producing better content.

On ourselves, it means to identify missed opportunities in our own content.

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4. blogs & wikis

It is important to produce informational content.

Not only because most of the searches have an informational intent but, even more importantly, because people are more likely to link informational content to their website.

And we know that backlinking is the most powerful drive of domain/url authority.
This is why it is so easy to find educational content on the web: any guide, tutorial, wiki, or blog with relevant instructions/ explanations drive traffic.

Top informational articles have a table of content, categories, snippets, and anything that offers an intuitive and smooth navigation.

Finally, top informational content is what convinces a visitor to remain on the website.

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5. reverse engineering

Reverse engineering consists of inverting the process of guessing what people are looking for by taking a look at what they are finding.

While content-gap analysis focuses on what competitors are not doing, RE is about seeing what they are doing.
And then trying to do it better.
So that one can rank better for the same keywords.

RE aims at assessing the ranking difficulty of a specific keyword, so that one can decide whether the business value of that keyword is worth the effort.

Online forums and question repositories, such as Quora or Haro, can also help assess a ranking opportunity.

6. Content discovery vs delivery

This distinction is relevant to the search intent of users: are they asking for inspiration or for precise pieces of information?

In the first case, think about Youtube’s recommended videos: it is about offering an excuse to watch whatever, watch more.

Content delivery is about giving users what they want, as soon as possible, straight to the point.

So, no long introductions nor blabla, rather a table of content and, right after they got what they wanted, a call to action to make them stay.

This distinction is not official (was it Seth Godin? Who knows. Who cares?).

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7. terminology check

Sometimes one takes for granted that all people use the same words to refer to the same objects or concepts.

This is why check terminology matters.

The idea is to double check, not only on Google, but also on popular collaborative platforms, such as Wikipedia, which terms are more in use.

Do people use smartphone, mobile device, or cellphone? Are they using all three?

Mostly, a terminology check is an educated guess.

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