How You May Be Using Keyword Rankings Wrong
For the longest time, keyword rankings were at the center of all SEO efforts. It centered on getting higher rankings for keywords that were relevant to your service and product. Today it’s no longer the single-solution to SEO measures because there are too many other variables at play. Let’s get a better understanding of how things have changed and how you can take advantage of newer dynamics. Read on to see what our local Manchester SEO experts think about keyword rankings:
How keywords worked initially
When search engines were first gaining ground, keyword ranking was the focus-area of any SEO goal. And it was relevant during that phase because focusing only on keywords did wonders for your website. Most SEO measures revolved around a single idea – determine a phrase or keyword that represents your business, and start creating links and rankings for that particular phrase/keyword.
For example, if you had a website about camping and backpacking in Yellowstone National Park, your keywords would revolve around this information. So, you would choose something like “backpacking in Yellowstone National Park” as your keyword and start working on getting it a high ranking. You could take up a slew of measures that would boost your ranking for this particular group of words. Your blog posts would feature this phrase in cleverly inserted segments. They would appear on headings and meta descriptions, link your content to popular backpacking platforms and communities, etc. And you would soon find yourself appearing on the first page of the results when searching for these keywords online.
This was all great until you’d find that the rankings aren’t really doing much for your sales. Conversion also depended on a host of other variables that worked in tandem with keywords to boost your business.
Why This Model Wasn’t Sustainable
Focusing only on keywords did get you some results, but most of the success was on paper and data. The rankings and traffic look good initially, but it doesn’t do much for your bottom line and organic traffic. Ultimately, the bottom line is why you’re taking all these SEO measures in the first place. If sales and profits aren’t happening, no ranking will single-handedly fix the problem.
So, if the rankings aren’t creating organic traffic, how do we create a more conducive environment for sales? The answer will depend on the context of your business and situation. But a good starting point is to find what your website visitors came looking for. They may arrive on your site through good SEO, but whether they stay and make purchases depending on how you follow up. Each visitor on your website is a potential client, and what they want form your website is a great cue on how you should respond.
Through a comprehensive analysis of customer behavior, your ‘potential customers’ come under different groups. Getting an accurate understanding of these potential clients will help us determine what solutions to create.
Visitors who are aware of your business and search your service by name
These visitors are arguably your most valuable traffic because their arrival is real and genuine. You don’t have to utilize search engine dynamics to maneuver them to your website through clever product adverts and keyword placement. This is the category of potential customers where you need to focus. This doesn’t mean working only on these visitors. On the contrary, it implies working on the other categories so that they convert into this group.
Visitors asking questions and looking for help
This category is perhaps the largest group of potential clients out there. Everyone, at some point or the other, goes online looking for answers. From the user’s end, search engine inputs are getting more detailed and specific every day. So, if you only rank high on “backpacking in Yellowstone Park,” for example, you may get some traffic, but you’re missing out on the vast majority of potential visitors online.
To work in this category, you need to branch out into related fields and platforms to make yourself more relevant. You need to focus beyond mere keywords and create links with long tails and associated content. Your business should have social media strategies that engage people on their home feed online. Be part of events and engagements that draw more eyes on your brand and product.
Visitors in search of product reviews
Product reviews are a huge part of influencing consumer patterns and behavior. A quick browsing of any product on Amazon shows how much we depend on other buyers’ perspectives as we make a decision. Product reviews are helpful ways of getting first-hand information on how specific features of an item work.
The great thing here is that this information is not just useful for buyers, but also for brands and sellers. You should keep tabs on the current reviews and trends that are making the rounds. You can use this insight to mirror relevant information on your website so that conversions are higher and your bottom line improves.
Beyond Keyword Rankings
As you can see, these different categories of potential clients and customers look for different resources. You can tell by now that no single keyword or phrase can cater to all these diverse requirements and destinations people aim for.
This is not to say that keywords are entirely obsolete or irrelevant. They still have a crucial role to perform in directing traffic your way and making your brand more visible. But it would help if you remembered that other variables come into play when we speak of organic traffic and meaningful conversions.
Keyword rankings are relevant and useful, but only if utilized correctly. They are definitely not a goal in themselves. As a sensible business owner, your approach should be to take keyword rankings as an indicator, not a result. It’s like the halfway point beyond which you use the information available to capitalize on engaging your visitors. Keyword rankings still act as one of the most important sources of determining customer behavior. But remember to keep checking on changing trends and patterns that will help you see beyond rankings and reach higher conversion goals.