Strategies When Examining Keyword Difficulty

In this post, I will blog about the Strategies When Examining Keyword Difficulty

Keywords are the words that give your site visibility on search results to rank higher than your competition. Appling strategies when examining keyword difficulty will help you make better choices. Prominence on the first page of a search engine gives you more chances of getting clicks.

There is no magic or secrets to this process. Anyone can do it if they are willing to invest the time and effort in doing the research. Posting relevant content on the web using keywords will give you more visibility.

Educating yourself on the fundamentals of keyword difficulty will help you to choose which queries or keywords to compete for, dust avoiding wasting time and money chasing keywords that are hard to rank for both now and in the future. It boils down to three essential factors.

You’re Competition. The number of pages that shows up on your search for your query or phrase. View the pages that currently rank for each term

Competitors Domain Authority (DA). The strength of a web page as determined by your link profile both quantity and quality and social signals. MOZ has a free tool that will help you determine your (DA).

Relevance of your keyword. Google quality score on how useful page content matches your search phrase. It includes both on-page ranking factors like keyword presence and off-page signals like anchor text.

Do Research

You will need to do research into competitive analysis metrics if you want to unseat your competitors from their sought-after top ten spots.

If you can afford them, there are lots of online tools that can take the guesswork out of doing your research. Tools that can tell you exactly what keyword your competitors are using, how and where they are using them, and the ranking position on Google for each keyword. Tools like SEMrush, Spyfu, MOZpro just to name a few.

Develop a strategy around your most competitive keywords by making a list of them and exporting it into metrics-rich CSV’s for easy tracking and reporting.

Developing an understanding of what makes the pages that are ranking well effective is the first step in strategizing your own successful keywords.

To determine keyword difficulty, you will want to know the top ten search results and how many competing web pages there are. Calculate how many external links are in these pages and the number of links that point to the domain page. Each page should be analyzed to determine the level of optimization.

A good indicator of competition is learning how many pages are relevant for a successful query. You can run a search to see how many pages are indexed.

Boolean Searches

Boolean Searches

Boolean Searches

A more accurate number can be obtained using boolean searches. Boolean searches are an advanced search operator allowing users to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results. For example, a Boolean search could be “hotel” AND “New York.” This search would limit the results to only those documents containing the two keywords.

Let me give you a heads-up warning. Google will interrupt your search every once in a while and force you to fill out a Captcha. They want to ensure sure the boolean searches are coming from a human.

Remember that just ten(10) sites with better ranking will keep you from being on the first page, but don’t be distracted by the number of competitors. There are more important factors to weigh. Use them to calculate the keyword difficulty metrics.
Your research should be non-personalized and be sure to ignore universal “fillers” such as images, local searches and news links. Search engines make it difficult to find non-personalized results and there is currently no perfect trick for depersonalizing results.

Page Authority and Domain Authority

Pages that rank well will usually be linked to other external sites and linked from other domains. This can make some keywords difficult to rank. Look for top ten sites with fewer link exchanges if possible when looking for your own keyword possibilities.

Linking between sites does affect ranking, but it is inconsistent. A few high-quality links can supersede a site with many low-quality links. Page Authority and Domain Authority are measured on both the quantity and the quality of links, plus some other factors. The free program, Open site Explorer, can help you determine the strength of the domain and the pages it is on.

If a page achieves high Page Authority with fewer links than others in the top ten, it could mean that that the external links are stronger. This is particularly the case if the Domain Authority is lower than the Page Authority. High Domain Authority and a low link count is an indicator that the page ranking is affected positively by strong internal links.

Investigate Your Competitors

Your best investigation comes from viewing your competitor’s pages to see how they are optimized. Look for different signals and note the placement of the keyword.

Is in the title or at the beginning of the piece?
Is the keyword used often in the copy?
Is the keyword in image alt text?
Is it in the domain name?
How much content is on the page and is it quality text?

Do not over analyze. Rank the optimization of each page based on your general impression. This up close and personal review will enhance your understanding of how the top ten sites invest in their rankings.

This level of research requires a lot of concentrated effort, so you should have your list of keywords edited down to a manageable size. Remember that this is not scientific. You are attempting to quantify a qualitative assessment. Different people will come away with different opinions.

As you do your research you will begin to understand your keyword landscape with a lot more nuance than your initial process gave you. For a high-level overview, coordinate the averages and your competitors’ numbers. This will allow you to filter and sort the results in a way that reveals the best keywords for your site.

When selecting keywords, use that information to create three lists:

1. short term keyword targets
2. Medium term keyword targets that will take time to become effective
3. Long term keyword targets that will prove successful after a period of concentrated effort.

You can refer back to this research over time as you build your web presence. It will help you assign keywords effectively as you improve your existing pages and build new ones. Over time, and with sustained effort, you may find yourself on that valuable first page.




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