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Competing with so much content on the web makes it hard to outdo others in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) battle, even if you publish great content. Without the right keywords, search engines may not be able to find your content.
But coming up with great keywords that will make your content rank well isn’t always easy. Content producers often look for keywords with high search volume when doing keyword research. But it can be difficult to rank well for these keywords as they are usually high competition keywords.
To find better keywords, you need to dig a little deeper when doing keyword research. Here are eight factors to consider when qualifying a keyword:
Related: 7 Best SEO Tools to Help You Rank Higher in Google
1. The search engine results do not match the search intent
Google ranks content based on its relevance to search intent. The more closely your keyword matches the search intent, the more likely Google will find it, provided it’s not a highly competitive keyword. To remind, keywords with low search volume can be just as effective if it matches the search intent.
If you do a Google search with your keyword, do the results on page one match the keyword? The fewer results that match a user’s search intent, the more likely your article (that matches its intent) will get a higher SERP ranking.
Longtail keywords usually work best because they are more specific. Let’s say your keyword is “what is a chatbot and how does it work” and the search results return articles about “best chatbot software”, then you may have found the golden word.
Why? Because it means that Google doesn’t find many articles that exactly match the keyword. Instead, it brings up pieces similar to what users are looking for.
Google tends to point first to websites with more influence and popularity (ie sites with a higher number of backlinks and authority). It’s harder to compete with high authority sites if your site has a low DA (Domain Authority) score.
That’s why I recommend checking your site’s DA score, as well as any sites on the first page of Google. Domain authority is an important factor to consider when looking for the right keywords to target. If other websites on the first page of Google have a lower DA than yours, that’s excellent news – it means you have a good chance of outranking those sites because your website is more popular.
You can see what a site’s DA is by adding a website audit tool to your browser. I use a combination of Moz and Ahrefs extension bars for my browser.
3. Forum sites appear on the first page of Google
Google tends to refer to articles first. Let’s say your keyword search shows forum sites like Quora, Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook groups on the first page. In this case, Google may struggle to find relevant, good quality articles on the topic. This is a golden opportunity for you to write an article on the subject that could potentially land you an excellent spot on page one.
Related: Getting Your First Rank in Google: Everything You Need to Know
4. Ecommerce Sites Show Up in Search Results
If you’re writing an informative piece of content, but your keyword is bringing up ecommerce sites, there are two possible reasons for it: one of which you could use to rank better.
The first reason is that your keyword may be missing the search intent flag. Try adjusting your keyword to see if it returns different results. Second, it’s another indication that Google can’t find any relevant articles on the subject. If you know that your keyword is unrelated to commercial intent, Google will likely place your informative article above commercial content.
5. Short articles are on page one
If your keyword search returns shorter articles of 800 words or less on the first page of Google, you can beat them by a longer piece. This is why:
More text makes it easier for Google to understand the content and index it accordingly. That increases your chances that Google’s crawlers will find your piece and match it correctly with a search query.
A recent study analyzed 11.8 million search results and found that an average high-ranking article in the top 10 had an average of 1477 words.
Google rewards content that provides value. Longer, more in-depth articles that contain a lot of data and cite research are considered more valuable to the reader.
You can target more keywords in a longer article, increasing the chances of search engines finding the article.
Well-researched articles attract more backlinks and more backlinks increase your domain authority.
6. The displayed content is out of date
If your Google search turns up a lot of old content on the first page, your new content may outperform the older content if it offers new information or a new perspective.
But what qualifies as “old” content? There is no set answer as there are many variables to consider. News articles can be as old as a week, but other types of content can have a shelf life of 6-12 months.
On the other hand, evergreen content can continue to deliver results for years to come if it remains relevant and optimized properly. You can also update your old content with new information or keywords to keep it fresh and appealing to Google.
Related: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Content for Better Google Rankings
7. Poor Content Quality Appears in Search Results
Google algorithms have gotten smarter. Poor quality content that search engines tries to attract with keyword stuffing does a website more harm than good. Google is a master detector of rank manipulation tactics and typically ignores websites that resort to black-hat SEO tactics. On the other hand, Google likes well-structured, good quality content that includes:
A strong headline that includes your primary keyword
Lots of white space. Text broken up into subtitles and numbered lists makes it easier for Google to understand what the piece is about.
However, if you find a lot of poor quality articles in your search results, you can easily beat them by creating a well-constructed article.
8. Low page speed websites are among the results on page one
Another ranking factor that Google takes into account is page speed. The longer a page takes to load, the more likely visitors are to bounce after a few seconds. And if visitors don’t spend a lot of time on a website, it starts to drop in rankings.
If you analyze competitor sites and find that they load slowly, your faster web page could give you an edge in the rankings race. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to test the speed of your page.
Why the right keywords are important
In a study by Search Engine Country, over 90% of respondents said they are likely to only look at page one of a search result. If they don’t find what they’re looking for on page one, many people would rather start a new search than go to page two.
That is why it is important to choose the best keywords. The right keyword can get you a coveted page one ranking. The wrong one can drop you on page two – a small difference with a big impact on your website’s visibility. These eight keyword strategies can help you improve your search engine rankings and help you win the SERP battle.
- 1 1. The search engine results do not match the search intent
- 2 2. The domain authority of the websites on page one is lower than yours
- 3 3. Forum sites appear on the first page of Google
- 4 4. Ecommerce Sites Show Up in Search Results
- 5 5. Short articles are on page one
- 6 6. The displayed content is out of date
- 7 7. Poor Content Quality Appears in Search Results
- 8 8. Low page speed websites are among the results on page one
- 9 Why the right keywords are important