Learn About Keywords in 2015 from Moz's Whiteboard Friday


6 years ago

Whiteboard Friday is a weekly show presented by marketing experts — and more often than not by Rand Fishkin, aka @randfish on Twitter. This video series started out more than 8 years ago, and has since then become one of the most influential knowledge bases about Online Marketing.

As cofounder and ‘Wizard’ of Moz (formerly SEOMoz), Rand Fishkin has a deep knowledge of SEO, which he has been sharing almost every week through the Whiteboard Fridays. One of the most common topics in these videos is: Keywords.

Since SEO was born, keywords have been an important instrument, albeit very controversial. This is why I want to summarize what I have learned from Rand and Whiteboard Fridays about Keywords as an SEO factor in 2015.

Keyword targeting hacking

In some verticals, we can bump into limits to doing keyword research, for instance when we feel that the terms for which we are targeting our content don’t have many variables. This can happen when we are only focused on the product we offer, leading us to this question: “What can I do to have more keywords to target and create product-oriented content?”

Well, as I learned from Rand, there are a few ways to work around this:

  • Do not be solely focused on keywords directly related to your product. Start thinking about your market-related topics.
  • Find the actions people interested in your product would like to accomplish.
  • Look for influencers your users follow. You can gather info on what they talk about and get some keywords ideas from them.
  • Use Facebook Ads Manager to get knowledge about the activities of the people who could be interested in your product.
  • Ask your actual audience what other topics they would like to see on your website. You can use polls or even interviews in exchange for something valuable.

We can use these tips to brainstorm and get a lot of topics to use in our keyword research process. Try it for yourself: looking for content creation opportunities is a great experience.

Video - Hacking Keyword Targeting

Source: Hacking Keyword Targeting by Serving Interest-Based Searches

The evolution of keyword research

As I mentioned before, keywords have been highly controversial, mostly because of changes in their impact and use over time. We need to be aware of their evolution as an SEO tool: doing keyword research the way we did 5 years ago won’t work anymore.

AdWords Keyword Planner

The numbers we see through AdWords Keyword Planner are not as accurate as they used to be. This tool is only providing info in order to benefit its commercial purpose. It will only show you related terms that can work for your PPC campaigns.

This means that we need to rely on additional tools to gather data. We can count on resources like Keywordtool.io to find related searches. We also need to do some research into communities and forums to find the words people are using to talk about our product’s market. Once we have collected data from these other sources, we can still go back to AdWords Keyword Planner to obtain an average search volume.

Content creation around keywords

The rule to follow should be: Topic targeting instead of Keyword Targeting. It is my conclusion from what I have seen and read during the last couple of years.

Stop creating one page for each keyword you find in your searches. Instead of that, you should create one page for every topic and use the related words to create unique pieces of content with a really big value for your users.

How to evaluate Keywords

Once you have defined keywords for your content strategy, it is time to evaluate and prioritize them. My favorite way to do this is using Google Spreadsheets. A couple of years ago, I used to write down a group of keywords and their average monthly search volume… but things don’t work like that anymore.

The number of elements we should evaluate in 2015 has increased. Rand gave us a really good group of factors that we should definitely have in our spreadsheet:

  • Difficulty: This metric can be measured using Moz Keyword Difficulty tool, which basically looks at the average of every site located in the first 10 results.
  • Opportunity: This is definitely a new metric which emerged from the evolution of the SERPs. Let’s start with a 10 as the base for this metric. So, if you see 3 AdWords ads, the opportunity is going to be reduced to 7. The same goes for Knowledge Graph, news box, images or video.
  • Business value: You can gauge it through your own intuition: What value will this keyword bring to your business? You can figure it out by thinking about the kind of people who could use each term, what they are looking for, and whether this meets your content strategy goals.
  • Requirements or Options: On that point, we have evaluate what resources we need to create content that will rank well for this keyword. Should we have a video team? Should we do external research? Do we have access to the knowledge required to produce the content? That kind of information is what you should consider in this step.
  • Prioritization: The goal of this last step is to group and prioritize what to do first. Sort the keywords by using the alphabet and use numbers to prioritize them. For example, this keyword is 1A, this 1B and this 2A.

Video - Why we can’t do keyword research like It’s 2010

Optimal Keyword Repetition

If we go back six years in time, Keyword Stuffing was a pretty common practice. We used to see many websites with the same specific keyword everywhere. In those days, that practice worked well to manipulate search engine rankings. Fortunately it does not work like that anymore, and we can even get get penalized by search engines

Because of that, we must be careful not to fall into keyword stuffing. There are some considerations to have in mind when using and repeating keywords in our content:

  • First of all, the result snippet. It is what the users are going to see even before they get into your website. So think about it seriously. Does it look like you are offering the info people are looking for? Are readers going to be persuaded by your title, description and URL? If your result doesn’t look trustworthy, it is unlikely anyone will click it.
  • Keyword density: this metric is not reliable when optimizing keyword use. You should use your own judgment to know whether you are really giving a good user experience.
  • There is no perfect formula to know how many times to repeat a keyword but thanks to his experience, Rand give us some recommendations (that we must of course adapt to our case): Use it once in the title, once in the headline, two or three times in the content and once in the meta description.
  • You can also consider to optimize images’ text alternatives, url and subheaders, although I recommend not to use the same keyword. Try to use related terms or synonyms.

If you have been working on SEO for a while, I’m sure you have noticed the changes over the years. If you are just starting on SEO, you should know this world is in constant evolution. This is why I want to invite you next October 1st to a free live class with Rand Fishkin from Moz on Platzi. You will learn how to optimize your website for search engines the right way. Don’t miss out the live class.

Video - How much keyword Use



6 years ago

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