A client of ours recently asked us to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) their website for a long list of keywords. Due to the nature of their numerous offerings, we could have easily taken a “mile wide and an inch deep” approach. The result would have been that their rankings wouldn’t have performed well inany search.
The Creative Department tends to target even less words – up to five Primary keywords (usually 3-5) and several potential Secondary keywords. We do this for the following reasons: [Note when we say ‘keywords’ we usually mean ‘key phrases’ e.g. “digital agency” or “Cincinnati digital agency” = 1 keyword].
- The success of the Primaries is what success is ultimately measured upon. If we’ve ranked the website toward the top of the first page, we’ve succeeded. Depending on the market, it may make sense to place Secondaries on tertiary or landing pages, but not to the detriment of the Primaries. Once you place the Primaries and appropriate permutations thereof, there often is little room left on a given site. If you have five primaries, you might have ten or twenty plus permutations to also take care of.
- In the same vein, it comes down to room within Meta Tags, Page Titles, etc. These have to be in a certain order and length, and most of these tags can barely fit three, much less five, keywords. Note that we will also need to have these keywords in the rewritten URLs and, of course, permutations thereof. Does you site even have ten or more main pages?
- In order to succeed we will need to get links for these Primaries. For example, within a given Link Building campaign, let’s say you plan to obtain 1000 links. With five Primaries, you can choose to get 200 links for each keyword (or some combination thereof). With ten Primaries, only 100 links, and so on. There is only so much ‘link juice’ to go around at any given time – it should be focused on your Primaries.
- As with most advertising campaigns, you cannot take a shotgun approach with SEO. This is not like PPC where you can target hundreds of words at will and overnight. Advertising campaigns must have a targeted purpose. For example, you cannot say everything to everybody all at once. Similarly, Google will get confused as to what your site should really rank well for. After appropriate research and careful writing of tags, we will plant the seeds and, over time, they grow into what we desire.
- After performing proper keyword research, often there aren’t more than five Primaries that represent substantial, qualified organic search traffic especially in your software market. There may be more, but they will represent a fraction of the potential traffic and therefore, by definition, are Secondaries.
- Lastly, once we win with the initial keywords, one can always start to introduce more. By adding specific landing pages, sub-domains, and micro-sites, more space can be added to target more words (while leaving the originals alone).
In short, pick your battles. A website can target a lot of searches poorly or a few really well. Since your site will not obtain traffic unless it’s on the first page of results, the trick is to identify the most important keywords to win with. If you win at those, move on to the next ones.