SEO

How to Identify Which Keywords to Rank For

If you know anything about SEO and getting organic traffic, you know that ideally you want to get traffic that will convert into paying customers.

So what do you do?

You try to identify which keywords are most relevant to your company or product, and you try to optimize your site and build links for those keywords.

But what happens once you’ve started ranking on all of your top words, but you hit a plateau in the amount of quality traffic you’re getting? How do you figure out which keywords to target next? It’s not as easy as it seems, but hopefully this guide will help make the process a little bit simpler.

You’re probably already using a tool to monitor your SEO performance. Chances are, the tool you’re using is either Moz, Ahrefs or SEMRush. Congratulations, you’re already one step ahead. The only issue with these tools, is unless you have one of the pricier packages that can track and unlimited amount of keywords, you need to be strategic with which terms you choose to keep your eye on.

Here are a few tips to help you strategize just which keywords to rank for:

Google Webmaster Tools Search Analysis

What Google’s Search Analytics tool does, quite simply, is analyze your performance on search.

Duh.

First:

Go to your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard. It will look like this:

search console

Then go to the drop-down  that says Search Traffic, and select the Search Analytics tab.

search console

You’ll see something that looks like this:

search console

Now, notice at the top, it says Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position.

For now, I just want you to focus on the Clicks and Impressions tabs. Once you select both of those tabs for your site, with Queries selected, you will see a list of (most) of the keywords you are currently getting clicks and impressions for.

The number of Impressions simply mean the amount of time your site appeared before someone during a Google search. Clicks literally means the number of times someone clicked on your site instead of any of the other sites that appeared for that impression instead.

Makes sense, right?

This is what it will look like:

search console

 

So how do you now identify, based on this information which keywords to continue targeting, and which ones to add to your SEO strategy?

Well, I like to look at the Clicks over Impressions rate. There are a couple different factors to keep in mind:

  1. Volume of impressions versus volume of clicks
  2. Overall conversation rate

What do I mean by these two factors?

By volume of impressions versus volume of clicks, I mean that sometimes a word is worth targeting even if the number of clicks you are getting for the term is substantially lower than the number of impressions the term is getting.


This can be caused because of the location in which you are ranking for that keyword.

If your SEO strategy depends on only targeting the United States, for instance, the rate of clicks to impressions will differ drastically from the rate of clicks to impressions when looking at the keywords on a global scale.

In order to remedy this, just filter in the country you are targeting where it says Countries. Here’s what my list of terms looks like when I only look at the United States, which is the country that we spend most of our time targeting.

search console

The next factor is the overall conversion rate. This is calculated by following this very easy to remember formula:

Clicks / Impressions * 100 = Conversion %

So for instance, that first term on the list has a click conversion rate of 79%! Which is unbelievable, so we should definitely continue targeting that term.

If we look at the third term from the bottom, which has 1,475 clicks and 23,727 impressions, we know the click conversion rate is about 6%, which is still really good.

Depending on the level of competition and overall search volume of the term in question, I would recommend going after any term that has a conversion rate of over 4%, especially if you’re getting over 1,000 clicks to that term. If of course, you’re getting 20 clicks to your site, but the URL itself is getting over 50,000 impressions, you can probably remove that term from your SEO strategy altogether.

You can download the list of terms from Google Search Analytics and track your priorities in a spreadsheet.

Track Competitor Keywords

Another way to identify which keywords you can rank for is by tracking what your competitors are targeting. There are a few ways you can do this, but I recommend using one specific tool.

SpyFu is a tool that pretty much…spies on your competitors. Why this is amazing, is because you can learn just how many keywords those competitors are ranking for, which keywords specifically they are ranking for, and you can even see what their Google Adwords spend is, and which paid keywords they are targeting.

If you think this sounds super intrusive, it kind of it, but it can definitely be a tool to not only help you get ahead in your organic rankings, but work towards slowly crushing your competition.

You can go to SkyFu’s website to test out the product by pasting the URL of a site into the homepage.

search console

The tool starts at $49/month billed annually for the most basic feature, so it’s not necessarily cheap, but if you’re just trying to get a general idea of what to rank for, you can probably get away with just using it for one month.

Don’t think that these two options are the only ways to figure out what you rank for. If you have some other methods that you use to help you identify which keywords you are already ranking, please share them in the comments!

Can you boost your SEO with an infographic?

Everyone knows that one of the best ways to boost your SEO is with quality backlinks on reputable sites. But actually acquiring these types of solid links can be excruciatingly difficult, especially if you are a smaller company or a start-up (and if you’re a start-up, then you need those links more than anyone). You likely reach out to as many influencers as possible who you imagine might be interested in your services or product, but in reality the rejection you face can be quite devastating and discouraging. So how do you provide those influencers with an opportunity they simply cannot reject?

Every marketer has one thing in common- they are looking for content. In fact, according to Neil Patel, the two biggest struggles that marketers have is producing engaging content and producing enough content. That being said, it makes sense that if you provide these influencers with a piece of engaging content that they can use or repurpose, you highly increase your chances of getting a link. Infographics are an excellent example of the kind of content that can be re-posted multiple times. Do you see where I’m getting at?

If creating great, link-worthy content is a marketer’s greatest obstacle, then you need to make sure that the time you’re spending on researching and producing that content will result in something highly optimizable. Long-form thought pieces and case studies are great, but if you also have a way of providing your readers with an easily digestible take-away, like an infographic, they will be more likely to link back to your site by repurposing the visual.

So:

Before you even begin creating your infographic, you need to start off by figuring out what kind of content people actually want. Naturally, you’re going to want to create an infographic that still appeals to your niche. If you’re the in the “Health and Wellness Blogging” niche, for instance, you will want your infographic to focus on something that people are searching for within that area.

Once you know which keyword you are tracking you can use a tool like FAQFox to find questions that your target audience is asking online.

FAQFox image

Just plug in your main keyword and enter a few forum sites so that the tool can scrape them for questions. I usually use Quora and Openforum because of their popularity, thus ensuring that I will get a wider range of potential questions.

quora questions image

If you want something more narrow, you can search through a specific health blog’s forum. A quick Google search will show you a vast number of potential forums to scrape through.

The next step is to contact influencers and bloggers who are interested and who write about the subject matter. I generally use Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer or Buzzsumo to find relevant leads. Brian Dean of Backlinko suggests sending your leads an email to gage their interest letting them know about the content you are producing. Keep it relatively short so as not to lose their attention. Here’s an example Brian lists in one of his articles of an appropriate initial email:

email outreach image

 

At first, don’t ask for a backlink. Rather, try to sell the idea of your content and its value to the blogger or influencer. Once they respond, you know you’ve grasped their interest and you can follow up by sending them a direct link to your article, as well as the embed code for the infographic you created. More on that in a bit.

Now:

Now that you’ve gaged their interest, you can get started on your infographic. There are a couple of ways that you can choose to create an infographic. The first option is to contract a designer or an agency, but this can cost you anywhere between $250 to $5000. If you are a bootstrapped company or an organization on a budget, this can be quite costly. Another option is to create your own infographic using an online infographic tool. Many tools available have a wide variety of free and paid infographic templates to choose from. Make sure that when you are creating your infographic, you include your logo and a link back to your site at the footer.

Finally, once you publish your design on your blog along with your article, ensure that you include the embed code for your infographic at the end of your post, directly underneath the infographic. Feel free to use the one below and format it as needed:

<a href=”PUT THE URL YOU WANT YOUR IMAGE TO LINK TO HERE“><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-3047″ src=”PUT THE IMAGE LINK HERE” alt=”PUT THE KEYWORD YOU ARE TARGETING HERE“/></a><p style=”text-align: center; font-size: 14px; padding-top: 4px;”> <a href=”PUT YOUR SITE URL HERE“>PUT MAIN KEYWORD HERE</a></p>

Not only does including the infographic embed code make it easier for people to add the image to their own sites, but you can therefore ensure that the alt tags and URLs included are all pointing back to you.

Next:

You need to promote your infographic. The great thing is you already have a list of awesome leads that you can reach out to. You already know that everyone who replied back to your original email showing interest will be eagerly awaiting your follow-up with the finalized post. Once again, send them the link to your blog post, and include the embed code in the email so that all they have to do is copy and paste.

After that, syndicate your infographic to as many sources as possible. If you are a contributor to any marketing blogs, you can easily repurpose your infographic on those sites and link back to the original post. You should also post your infographic on Visual.ly. If they like your infographic, it can get selected as a staff pick, and is thus more likely to be featured on the home page. Companies like Fastcompany, Mashable, and TechCrunch sometimes find infographics on Visual.ly to include in their own content as well.

Finally:

About a week after your promotion, you can use Buzzsumo to check the backlinks from your original post, and also do a reverse image search on Google to see who might be posting your infographic on their site. If you notice that some people have posted the infographic, but haven’t linked back to your original post, you can reach out to those bloggers and request that they add a link back to you. The majority of the time they will respond and be more than happy to take you up on your request.

Unlike some articles and other written content, the best part about infographics is that you can repurpose them multiple times. Google won’t dock you points for featuring an image, as long as the accompanying text is unique. Infographics are a perfect way to summarize lengthy and complex information since they are so easy to skim. Optimize your content for SEO by incorporating a visual component, and open up the possibilities of acquiring backlinks to your site.