Partner Bootcamp

Suc­cess with Key­words: How to Do Effec­tive Key­word Research

For your con­ve­nience, we tran­scribed our Part­ner Boot­camp – Suc­cess with Key­words: How to Do Effec­tive Key­word Research

Read the sum­ma­ry and key take­awaysor watch any of our pre­vi­ous webi­na­rs.

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Webinar Transcript

[Down­load­able ver­sions of this tran­script, the pre­sen­ta­tion deck, and oth­er mate­ri­als are avail­able in the Resource Cen­ter].


Wel­come back, every­one, to the third install­ment of the Part­ner Boot­camp webi­nar series. This time, we’re dis­cussing how to do effec­tive key­word research and key­word selec­tion.

[slide: Meet the Expert]

So, again it’s me. I’m Bernard, and I am your web fos­sil of 18 years. Out of the 18 years of work­ing on the web, I’ve spent the last five years with SEO Reseller and it’s been a great ride. Aside from that, I’ve also worked with four pre­vi­ous com­pa­nies pri­or to SEO Reseller. I’ve tak­en a cou­ple of com­pa­nies to mul­ti-mil­lion-dol­lar sta­tus. Over 300 websites—that num­ber is actu­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant­ly larg­er now—and so are the thou­sand mar­ket­ing cam­paigns; that’s also sig­nif­i­cant­ly larg­er now.

[slide: What Hap­pened Dur­ing the Pre­vi­ous Webi­nar]

Before I move on to the meat of this con­ver­sa­tion, I want to talk about what hap­pened on the pre­vi­ous webi­nar in case those of you lis­ten­ing were not here on the pre­vi­ous install­ments. Pre­vi­ous­ly, on the Part­ner Boot­camp series, we dis­cussed how you could effec­tive­ly use each part of SEO Reseller Site Audit to win new clients and how to rec­om­mend the right solu­tions and begin a suc­cess­ful SEO cam­paign.

Like we said last month, the suc­cess of the cam­paign real­ly depends on the right key­word selec­tion. A suc­cess­ful SEO cam­paign begins and ends with your key­word selec­tion: Is it smart? Are you tar­get­ing rel­e­vant terms? Is it already men­tioned in the busi­ness? Is that what the audi­ence types into the query? That’s every­thing that goes into key­word selec­tion, and we’re actu­al­ly going to do a deep dive on this top­ic specif­i­cal­ly with this webi­nar.

We also talked about acces­si­bil­i­ty, index­a­bil­i­ty. We talked about how search engines are actu­al­ly copies of the World Wide Web, and that the result you can get from your web­site depends on how com­plete and how com­pre­hen­sive a search engine’s copy and under­stand­ing of your web­site is inside their own main­frame. We talked about onpage which is essen­tial­ly meta con­tent and onpage con­tent, and how to use your URLs, your H1 tags, your meta titles your meta descrip­tions, and so on and so forth.

We also talked about a healthy back­link pro­file, what your dig­i­tal foot­print looks like ver­sus your com­peti­tors’, whether you’re men­tioned nat­u­ral­ly or whether you’re men­tioned unnat­u­ral­ly.

And I showed you guys a cou­ple of sam­ples of some penal­ties that you can get from Google if you are fol­low­ing a method­ol­o­gy that isn’t com­pli­ant with what Google stan­dards are.

If you guys want to view the videos, you can fol­low the link below by going to, or you can also go to the SEO Reseller web­site and find the record­ings and the videos of the webi­na­rs there.

And at any point in time, if you guys have any ques­tions, feel free to ring us through the toll-free num­bers below. We’ve got a US, UK, and Aus­tralia num­ber, and a toll-free US num­ber. 

[slide: PPC Pro­mo]

Before I move on, it is shame­less plug time. This is real­ly the part where I wish I had a prompter that I can press where I have some project man­agers singing, “Shame­less plug”, but on this webi­nar, what I want­ed to talk about as part of my shame­less plug is a PPC offer to get you guys start­ed.

We start­ed offer­ing PPC as an orga­ni­za­tion because we real­ized that our part­ners want­ed to work with com­pa­nies that are an all-in-one solu­tion, every­thing under one roof. We want to help you guys start dri­ving instant traf­fic for your clients espe­cial­ly if their web­site is new. And in order to get you guys to do that, we’ve cre­at­ed a pack­age where your set­up fees are waived if you sign up your clients for six months’ worth of the cam­paign. There are more details that you can get by fol­low­ing Or feel free to dial us up and talk to one of our project man­agers.

[slide: Dis­cus­sion Overview]

Mov­ing on. This is what we’re look­ing to cov­er dur­ing this webi­nar for the next 50 min­utes. We’re going to talk about key­word research and how it lays the foun­da­tion for your SEO cam­paigns and how it makes it eas­i­er to set expec­ta­tions with your clients. I’d like you guys to join me for the next three-quar­ters of an hour on the third Part­ner Boot­camp webi­nar and learn how to win key­word research and key­word selec­tion to dri­ve more busi­ness and more val­ue for your clients.

The top­ics that we’re going to talk about are under­stand­ing what key­words are and what they real­ly mean rel­a­tive to a mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy and the sales fun­nel. What is the users’ intent and what clas­si­fi­ca­tions of key­words fall under the inten­tions of those users?

We’re also going to talk about how to deter­mine and how to select the ide­al key­words for your cam­paign. And then just SEO method­ol­o­gy in terms of key­word den­si­ty and group­ing.

And then just to make sure that this is all action­able for you guys, we’re going to talk about chal­lenges in key­word selec­tion, mean­ing what kind of objec­tions are you bound to get from the clients that you make your pitch­es to. And then we’ll have a 10 to 15-minute Q&A ses­sion or as long as it takes and we will try to address as many ques­tions as you guys put into the chat box.

[slide:What Are Key­words?]

Before I dis­cuss this slide I want you guys to remem­ber that there’s a chat box on the upper right side of your screens. Feel free to punch in your ques­tions at any point in time. There’s no need to wait for the last 15 min­utes of the con­ver­sa­tion.

Let’s talk about key­words because this is about key­word research and selec­tion. Key­words are essen­tial­ly terms that are used in search queries, and they are the terms you want your web­site to be rel­e­vant for when your tar­get audi­ence cre­ates a query inside Google or any oth­er search engine.

A lot of peo­ple seem to think that key­words were invent­ed by the SEOs or search engines. But in real­i­ty, they’re not. The gen­er­al mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ty has been using key­words inside adver­to­ri­als and ad copies for the last 70 years. So this is not a new con­cept.

But let’s talk about key­words from the con­cept of search and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing specif­i­cal­ly.

A key­word or a key phrase is essen­tial­ly a core term that’s rel­e­vant to your busi­ness. Either that or it’s a query that a user will type into the search engine in order to find the ser­vice that your clients ren­der.

Key­words are also said to be long-tail or short-tail vari­a­tions. Short-tail is a mis­nomer. There are actu­al­ly no short-tail key­words; it’s got a tail or it doesn’t have a tail. But I guess SEOs just, through the years—because SEO is a two-decade-old industry—decided that for eas­i­er ref­er­ence, key­words have been referred to as long-tail and short-tail. But essen­tial­ly, when your core term is sup­port­ed or fol­lowed by, or even pre­ced­ed by a pre­fix or suf­fix, it turns it into a long-tail vari­a­tion of that term. And I’m going to keep using these words—core term, key­word phrase, long-tail variation—a lot in the next 40 min­utes.

Bernard: Again, feel free to punch in your ques­tions on the chat box on the upper right cor­ner of your screen, and I’ll answer them dur­ing the Q&A por­tion of this con­ver­sa­tion.

Let’s talk about under­stand­ing your key­words.

[slide: Under­stand­ing Your Key­words]

Your key­words make it eas­i­er for you to nar­row down your key­word list. They help you dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic to the site, mean­ing, if you under­stand the query that users are try­ing to search for, if you under­stand the gener­ic terms that peo­ple type into a search box in order to find a ser­vice like yours, then you will dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic over to your web­site.

Once you dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic to your web­site, eventually—if your user expe­ri­ence engi­neer­ing is good—you’ll con­vert your traf­fic into cus­tomers. And those cus­tomers could ulti­mate­ly walk into your estab­lish­ment or com­plete a trans­ac­tion on your web­site online. Using the right key­words accord­ing to the dif­fer­ent stages in the sales fun­nel allows you to man­age your cus­tomer jour­ney from aware­ness to infor­ma­tion to desire build­ing to con­sid­er­a­tion to con­ver­sion.

[slide: User Intent Clas­si­fi­ca­tion for Key­words]

Let’s talk about user intents and clas­si­fi­ca­tions before I move on to the sales fun­nel.

Essen­tial­ly, what we teach our employ­ees here is that key­words are seg­re­gat­ed into four pur­pos­es. Key­words can be nav­i­ga­tion­al in nature, they can be infor­ma­tion­al in nature, they can be com­mer­cial, or they can be trans­ac­tion­al. What do we mean?

Nav­i­ga­tion­al key­words are com­pa­ny or brand queries, or they’re domain queries. An exam­ple of this might be, for, it might be “seo reseller” with or with­out the space. That could be a nav­i­ga­tion­al key­word for us. For, they’re nav­i­ga­tion­al key­word would be “nike”; and for Macy’s it would be “macy’s”, and so on and so forth.

For infor­ma­tion­al key­words, these are gener­ic terms. Take for exam­ple, Nike’s infor­ma­tion­al key­words might be “sneak­ers”, “per­for­mance sneak­ers”, “per­for­mance shoes”, “sports shoes”, “bas­ket­ball shoes”. These are gen­er­al, com­mer­cial­ly benev­o­lent terms. And peo­ple are typ­i­cal­ly just curi­ous, they’re ques­tion ori­ent­ed, or they’re research-based queries. They are solu­tion-seek­ing queries. The user is look­ing to get edu­cat­ed. That is the pri­ma­ry pur­pose. There’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly an inter­est in a poten­tial busi­ness rela­tion­ship or a pur­chase.

Com­mer­cial key­words are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Com­mer­cial key­words are infor­ma­tion­al key­words. How­ev­er, they have future busi­ness impli­ca­tions. For exam­ple, “thai­land activ­i­ties”, “thai­land scenery”, “thai­land provinces” are infor­ma­tion­al terms. But if you start putting in “thai­land vaca­tion pack­ages” they become com­mer­cial­ly inten­tioned. “thai­land vaca­tion”, “thai­land hotels”, or specif­i­cal­ly, even if they type in “bangkok hotels”, these are com­mer­cial key­words.

Trans­ac­tion­al key­words are actu­al­ly pur­chas­ing key­words. If you guys have run SEM or PPC cam­paigns before, these will look like “thai­land hotel deals”, “bangkok hotel deals”. These are trans­ac­tion­al key­words. The busi­ness impli­ca­tion is clear and present. The con­ver­sion oppor­tu­ni­ty is high.

A pro tip for all of you guys: fol­low­ing these four user intents helps you iden­ti­fy the best-fit­ting key­words for your clients.

Just a thing to note: when­ev­er you guys do key­word research, what you’ll find is that infor­ma­tion­al key­words typ­i­cal­ly have very high traf­fic val­ues. When I say traf­fic val­ues I mean the rel­e­vant queries that are hap­pen­ing for that term. How­ev­er, the val­ue to bid for those terms is par­tic­u­lar­ly low. It’s because inside the con­ver­sion fun­nel, these are the terms that are the fur­thest from a pur­chase. If you do PPC or SEM your brand is prob­a­bly going to be the cheap­est key­word that you bid for. Infor­ma­tion­al key­words are going to be slight­ly more expen­sive. Com­mer­cial key­words are going to be more expen­sive, and trans­ac­tion­al key­words are going to be very expen­sive.

An exam­ple of an expen­sive trans­ac­tion­al key­word (actu­al­ly, this one’s not going to be super expensive)—“buy floor­ing online” is a high-val­ue trans­ac­tion­al key­word.

[slide: Apply­ing Key­words in the Sales Fun­nel]

Let’s take a look at the sales fun­nel. When you apply key­words into the sales fun­nel, the sales fun­nel is essen­tial­ly you try­ing to define what your cus­tomer jour­ney looks like. The cus­tomer jour­ney takes you from brand aware­ness to prod­uct infor­ma­tion to con­sid­er­a­tion to build­ing desire to pur­chase. These are what the sec­tions of the fun­nel rep­re­sent. The key­words fall in this order:

Infor­ma­tion­al and nav­i­ga­tion­al key­words fall in the high­est tier because these are aware­ness and infor­ma­tion­al dri­ving terms. These pages must be designed to edu­cate. These pages must be designed to state what­ev­er your unique sell­ing propo­si­tion is. An exam­ple of an infor­ma­tion­al key­word would be “new york hotel”.

When you move them over to the con­sid­er­a­tion phase, it might be “hotels in man­hat­tan new york”. And when you try to build desire, it could be “best hotels in man­hat­tan new york”, “five star hotels in man­hat­tan new york”, and if you’re try­ing to con­vert them, then the peo­ple that are doing the search might type “online book­ing for best hotels in man­hat­tan new york”, “best pric­ing for man­hat­tan ny hotels”, and so on and so forth.

In short, though, if you take a look, the key­words get longer as you go down the con­ver­sion fun­nel. So while the search queries may decrease at the bot­tom, their prox­im­i­ty to your con­ver­sion fun­nel is high­est at the bot­tom. So high search vol­ume at the top but far from con­ver­sion; low search vol­ume at the bot­tom but high poten­tial for con­ver­sion.

The longer the tail of the key­word, the clos­er to the con­ver­sion por­tion of your fun­nel; and the more gen­er­al the key­word, the high­er up it tends to be.

[slide: The Val­ue of Traf­fic]

Let’s move on to the next slide, and I want to show you guys traf­fic val­ue and this is about Dis­ney. Dis­ney would be an exam­ple of a nav­i­ga­tion­al term. It is a brand. But when some­one types “dis­ney” it tends to be com­mer­cial­ly benev­o­lent. Why do we say com­mer­cial­ly benev­o­lent? We say com­mer­cial­ly benev­o­lent because you don’t real­ly know whether the person’s just doing research about who’s Walt Dis­ney, when was the Dis­ney com­pa­ny found­ed, who the first mas­cot was, is it talk­ing about Dis­ney appar­el, Dis­ney car­toons, the amuse­ment park—the bot­tom line is you don’t know. It’s a brand­ed search. So the dis­tance to con­ver­sion? Extreme­ly, extreme­ly far. Now if Dis­ney were to do a PPC cam­paign, that would be the cheap­est key­word that they would ever bid for.

Let’s cre­ate a vari­a­tion and let’s assume “dis­ney­land” or “dis­ney (space) land” would be a vari­a­tion of the term “dis­ney”. This one is an infor­ma­tion­al key­word and you don’t even know which Dis­ney­land they’re look­ing to go to, right? Ana­heim; Flori­da; Tokyo; Hong Kong; there are sev­er­al. So “dis­ney­land” is still an infor­ma­tion­al key­word, still far from the con­ver­sion fun­nel. High query but mid traf­fic val­ue.

Type in “dis­ney­land hotels” and now we’re talk­ing about some com­mer­cial action, because it looks like there is a poten­tial con­ver­sion inside the query. When some­body looks for Dis­ney­land hotels they’re typ­i­cal­ly look­ing for an expe­ri­ence. And so all you have to do now is nar­row down where this user is com­ing from and so on and so forth. So a great exam­ple of a long tail con­ver­sion vari­a­tion of this query is “hong kong dis­ney­land hotel deals”. The search vol­ume is the low­est of all the dif­fer­ent types of key­words. How­ev­er, the prox­im­i­ty to the sales fun­nel is extreme­ly high.

It would sit here. So, I’ll move on.

[slide: Google’s Micro-Moments]

And again, if you guys have any ques­tions feel free to ask them at any point in time.

Now why do we teach our employ­ees about nav­i­ga­tion­al key­words, trans­ac­tion­al key­words, infor­ma­tion­al key­words, com­mer­cial key­words? In Google’s own words, Google trans­lates queries into what they call moments. And Google trans­lates key­word pur­pos­es into “I‑want-to-know” moments, “I‑want-to-go” moments, “I‑want-to-do” moments, and “I‑want-to-buy” moments.

In short, “I‑want-to-know” moments are infor­ma­tion­al key­words. Con­sumers act on a need to learn some­thing new instan­ta­neous­ly. Or they could be peo­ple just doing research.

Peo­ple that do “I‑want-to-go” moments, the con­sumer expects a loca­tion-based query, and queries are focused on maps, local search­es, some­thing with­in their prox­im­i­ty, and so on and so forth. It was very ear­ly on, I think data com­ing from 2010 and prob­a­bly ear­li­er, when Google real­ized that search­es were usu­al­ly, 60 per­cent loca­tion based. And that’s why they’ve invest­ed so much in the robust devel­op­ment of Google Maps.

Now, what are “I‑want-to-do” moments? “I‑want-to-do” moments are con­sumers using their smart­phones, their desk­tops, or what­ev­er their device is to look for ideas while doing a spe­cif­ic task. And queries could be focused on how-to con­tent, or where to do some­thing, or oth­er expe­ri­ences they might want to do. Like take for exam­ple, if you guys went to an exot­ic beach and look­ing for what activ­i­ties could be done there, those are “I‑want-to-do” moments. These are what you use your com­mer­cial key­words on and these are where you take advan­tage of desire-build­ing infor­ma­tion.

And then, of course, you’ve got “I‑want-to-buy” moments, which are trans­ac­tion­al key­words. The con­sumer has decid­ed what they’re going to buy; the ques­tion is, are they going to buy with you? And their deci­sion will be influ­enced strong­ly by what they find online and usu­al­ly last minute. So these tend to be your com­mer­cial and trans­ac­tion­al queries.

[slide: Deter­min­ing the Ide­al Key­words]

I’m going to move on to Deter­min­ing the Ide­al Key­words. But before I do that, please feel free to send your ques­tions via chat on the chat box on the upper right, and we’ll dis­cuss them in the last ten min­utes.

The next sec­tion I’m about to dis­cuss with you guys is SEO Reseller method­ol­o­gy. And this is what we try to edu­cate you on, and what we teach you when you’re deal­ing with your clients.

When you try to deter­mine what key­words could poten­tial­ly be suc­cess­ful, what fac­tors can affect suc­cess­ful key­word selec­tion, these are the four fac­tors that we teach our project man­agers or ana­lysts, and then ulti­mate­ly, our part­ners.

Key­words that tend to dri­ve suc­cess for a cam­paign are key­words whose pur­pose to land­ing pages match. The intent of the key­word and the intent of the page match. The key­word will usu­al­ly have exist­ing rank­ing equi­ty.

If the key­word has exist­ing seman­tic rel­e­vance your chances for a suc­cess­ful cam­paign are high­er. And if the key­words are already sup­port­ed by incum­bent con­tent on the web­site, then your poten­tial for suc­cess is even high­er.

I’ll just repeat the four: key­word pur­pose to land­ing page match; exist­ing rank­ing equi­ty; exist­ing seman­tic rel­e­vance; and sup­port­ive con­tent. Don’t wor­ry; I’ll dive into each one in more detail now.

[slide: Key­word Pur­pose to Land­ing Page Match]

Let’s talk about key­word pur­pose to land­ing page match. This goes back to the four types of key­words we dis­cussed, also goes back to Google’s four moments, right? Key­words can be nav­i­ga­tion­al, infor­ma­tion, com­mer­cial, or trans­ac­tion­al in nature. If you’ve got a nav­i­ga­tion­al key­word, that ide­al­ly lands on the home page. Don’t try to tar­get a mon­ey term onto the home­page unless the mon­ey term is the core busi­ness.

Take for exam­ple, if the client you’re pitch­ing was a lawyer, don’t try to tar­get the term “divorce” or “prenup­tial agree­ment” onto the home­page because that’s only one of the ser­vices that they offer. You tar­get that to their cat­e­go­ry pages. But what you would want to tar­get to the home­page would be the domain name, the reg­is­tered name of the prac­tice, or the lawyer’s name. These are ide­al key­words to tar­get nav­i­ga­tion­al­ly onto the home­page. And the home­page is pri­mar­i­ly a nav­i­ga­tion­al page.

Infor­ma­tion­al pages. We ran a research a cou­ple of months ago. Actu­al­ly, there are also some blogs, like Search Engine Jour­nal and Moz, that did their own research. They found that the pages that tend to rank on the first page for a hun­dred ran­dom key­words were pages that had 1800 words or bet­ter. We actu­al­ly ran a par­al­lel test and what we found was, against a hun­dred ran­dom key­words, pages with 1600 words or bet­ter tend­ed to rank on posi­tions 1, 2, 3.

Why is that? Well, for the same rea­son Wikipedia ranks for a lot of infor­ma­tion­al terms, right? The pur­pose of the user is to research. They want to learn infor­ma­tion and there­fore the more infor­ma­tion-rich page tends to rank. And I side with Google on this one; they’re doing exact­ly the right thing. What key­words you will allow your clients to have sort of depends on what type of pages they already have or are will­ing to have inside their web­site. If they insist on hav­ing pure­ly infor­ma­tion­al key­words, but they also insist on hav­ing high­ly designed, low con­tent pages, it’s not going to work.

If they’re try­ing to tar­get com­mer­cial key­words, take for exam­ple, car­bon fiber sports bikes might be a com­mer­cial term that would usu­al­ly not fall on your home­page unless that’s the only thing you sell, and you’re not sell­ing any oth­er bicy­cle parts. But if you’re sell­ing com­plete bicy­cles or acces­sories or what­not, a key­word like that would prob­a­bly fall bet­ter inside your cat­e­go­ry pages, which are then com­mer­cial in nature, bring­ing your cus­tomers clos­er to the end of the con­ver­sion fun­nel.

Infor­ma­tion­al key­words must fall on infor­ma­tion­al pages. If your clients don’t have infor­ma­tion-rich pages, the next ques­tion you need to ask is, “Are you will­ing to have infor­ma­tion-rich pages?” Because if they’re not, then you need to tar­get the key­words that require less con­tent, such as com­mer­cial and trans­ac­tion­al key­words.

Don’t allow trans­ac­tion­al key­words on infor­ma­tion­al pages, and don’t allow infor­ma­tion­al key­words on prod­uct pages. You will do your cus­tomers a dis­ser­vice.

This is the por­tion of the pitch where you need to be the pro, you need to be the expert. And some­times being the expert means you diplo­mat­i­cal­ly say­ing no. You need to know what’s right for the brand, what’s right for the web­site, and under­stand what kind of pages Google wants to present to its users in order for you to dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic into the web­site.

[slide: Exist­ing Seman­tic Rel­e­vance]

Let’s talk about exist­ing seman­tic rel­e­vance. Just to remind every­body, the first thing we talked about was key­word pur­pose to land­ing page match. The sec­ond top­ic is Exist­ing Seman­tic Rel­e­vance.

What’s exist­ing seman­tic rel­e­vance? Sim­ple: the site is already talk­ing about that top­ic. There­fore, Google—the search engine—and oth­er search engines have already estab­lished a con­tex­tu­al rela­tion­ship between you, your brand, and your gener­ic top­ic.

I’ll teach you guys a hack. This one is a great cheat. The eas­i­est way to pick your key­words is to let Google show which key­words are rel­e­vant for you. Let Google do the work. Use the Google Key­word Plan­ner. If you guys don’t know what the URL is, it’s down there at the bot­tom. You just go to Or you guys could type key­word plan­ner on Google and then fol­low result num­ber 1. Don’t click the ad; don’t make Google pay for its own ads.

Go to the Key­word Plan­ner and type your domain name inside the Your Prod­uct or Ser­vice box. Take note: don’t type it in your land­ing page; type it inside the key­word box. Type it in the prod­uct or ser­vice box. Once you do that, click Get Ideas.

And once you get ideas Google will present you into this page and will typ­i­cal­ly drop you either in Ad Group Ideas or Key­word ideas. Select Key­word Ideas.

Take a look. If you guys typed in, Google under­stands that the word is rel­e­vant to “cof­fee”, “frap­puc­ci­no”, and oth­er cof­fee-relat­ed terms. In short, Google already under­stands that there’s a rela­tion­ship between that brand and these gener­ic terms, right? Cof­fee, incred­i­ble, Frap­puc­ci­no, incred­i­ble.

[slide: Exist­ing Rank­ing Equi­ty]

Num­ber 3. And before I move to num­ber 3, I’ll just remind you num­ber 2, so num­ber 1. Key­word to land­ing page match; num­ber 2. Exist­ing seman­tic rel­e­vance; num­ber 3. Exist­ing rank­ing equi­ty.

For those of you that were part of the pre­vi­ous webi­nar, we talked very quick­ly about why our method­ol­o­gy puts caps on our search vol­ume in order for it to rank. That’s because that’s the lim­it that allows us to rank 80% of cam­paigns, 60% of key­words on to the first page. How­ev­er, just as with any rule, there are excep­tions. And the excep­tions are sim­ple. Don’t deny your clients a key­word if it’s good enough to be on the first page of results. Don’t tell your client no, you can’t have that key­word if they’re already on the first page.

Here’s an exam­ple. One of the clients that we work with wants to rank for “kitchen fur­ni­ture dubai”. I know that most of the guys lis­ten­ing are not in the Mid­dle East but this is an actu­al cam­paign that we’re work­ing on. One of the clients we are work­ing on wants to rank for “kitchen fur­ni­ture dubai”. They do cus­tom fur­ni­ture. If you take a look, the num­ber of impres­sions are 2,931 and the num­ber of times they got clicked is 9. The search vol­ume on this key­word is par­tic­u­lar­ly high, which would make them exceed the search vol­ume lim­its that we allow for spe­cif­ic key­word groups.

How­ev­er, if you take a look at the posi­tion, it’s already good enough. The brand’s rela­tion­ship to that term is good enough to be on posi­tion 8. That tells you the search engine has a good under­stand­ing of the rela­tion­ship of the brand to that gener­ic key­word.

Key­words like this are eas­i­er to rank. All you have to do is take a look at what posi­tions 1 to 7 are doing, what ele­ments they have and you don’t, and lever­age those ele­ments. So when a client has exist­ing rank­ing equi­ty against a key­word, this is one of those times when no is the wrong answer.

Here’s anoth­er way for you guys to find exist­ing rank­ing equi­ty. The pre­vi­ous tool that we looked at was the Search Con­sole. This is a third par­ty tool called SEM­rush. And if I plugged in “star­bucks” against SEM­rush and did an overview of what they’re rank­ing for, if you take a look they’re already rank­ing for these keywords—“birthday rewards”—so if they ever talk to you, don’t tell them you can’t rank for that key­word or we don’t want to run that key­word. “Calo­ries in a lat­te”, although I don’t know about the com­mer­cial via­bil­i­ty of that term, but you can’t say you can’t have these key­words because Google already under­stands the strong rela­tion­ship between these top­ics and your brand.

[slide: Sup­port­ive Con­tent]

Bernard: Let’s move on to the last. After I’ve moved on from exist­ing rank­ing equi­ty, the last thing you need to take a look at in order to iden­ti­fy whether that key­word is a good idea or not is Sup­port­ive Con­tent. In short, is the con­tent already talked about inside the con­tent of your site?

One of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a per­fect­ly opti­mized page is key­word tar­get­ed­ness. You can’t rank for a term that you’re too ashamed to men­tion. You can’t. In order for you to become rel­e­vant for a term you must be free to men­tion that term inside your page.

The key­word top­ic and the client should have the fol­low­ing rela­tion­ships:

The first kind of rela­tion­ship is called a seman­tic rela­tion­ship. A seman­tic rela­tion­ship is sim­ple; you’re actu­al­ly talk­ing about the top­ic. You’re actu­al­ly talk­ing about that key­word. The next rela­tion­ship your con­tent has to have to the key­word is a con­tex­tu­al rela­tion­ship.

What is a con­tex­tu­al rela­tion­ship? You’re already talk­ing about top­ics that are relat­ed to that key­word. And then the last rela­tion­ship that you need to take into con­sid­er­a­tion is called a syn­tac­tic rela­tion­ship, or syn­tax.

What is a syn­tac­tic rela­tion­ship? The term exists in your web­site in exact­ly the same order as the query. An exam­ple: Inside a query for “white label social media”. If you take a look, it drops you to the seo­re­seller domain with a URL for white label social media. But more than that, the syn­tac­tic match exists inside the con­tent of the page. And then we also have oth­er pages that con­tain that.

Now why would a page like this rank, right? This is where Google is estab­lish­ing a seman­tic rela­tion­ship between the site’s home­page and white label social media, and so on and so forth. And Google just orders this based on rel­e­vance and the pow­er of those pages, and so on and so forth.

But in short, it would be eas­i­er for you to rank pages, it would be eas­i­er for you to rank key­words where you’ve got pages with great sup­port­ing con­tent for that key­word exist­ing.

[slide: Short-tail vs Long-tail]

Let’s talk about the use of long-tail ver­sus short-tail key­words. When do you use short-tail or long-tail in your key­words? And the answer is, it sort of depends. It depends on what your web­site is sup­posed to do.

If you’re a brick and mor­tar store, if you’re an exist­ing busi­ness, if you’re a real busi­ness, and you require foot traf­fic in order to con­vert cus­tomers, then the pur­pose of your web­site might be to inform, cre­ate aware­ness, build desire, and that’s it. And your def­i­n­i­tion of a con­ver­sion might be the acqui­si­tion of your cus­tomers’ emails so you can put them into some form of mar­ket­ing automa­tion. But the pur­pose of the web­site has to deter­mine whether you’re doing long-tail vs. short-tail key­words.

It also depends on the com­pe­ti­tion that you’re try­ing to win. Infor­ma­tion­al or com­mer­cial terms are great at dri­ving huge bulks of traf­fic. How­ev­er, longer tail vari­a­tions are more suc­cess­ful at dri­ving con­ver­sion. So it’s a bal­ance of what the SEO cam­paign real­ly is, what the bud­get of the client is, and how much time they’ve got on their hands.

When­ev­er I talk about win­ning an SEO cam­paign and select­ing key­words, I like to use the wed­ding anal­o­gy.

[slide: The Wed­ding Anal­o­gy]

You need to fig­ure out what is your client try­ing to achieve and what is nego­tiable with what they want to achieve.

When you run an SEO cam­paign it’s like run­ning a wed­ding. And a wed­ding can either be cheap, beau­ti­ful, or fast. A wed­ding can be cheap, beau­ti­ful, or fast in the same way that an SEO cam­paign can be cheap, effec­tive, and fast. You can get two out of three. You can’t get all three.

A wed­ding can be beau­ti­ful and fast, but it’s not going to be cheap. A wed­ding can be cheap and fast, but it’s not going to be beau­ti­ful. And a wed­ding can be cheap and beau­ti­ful but it’s not going to be fast.

This anal­o­gy is what I use when­ev­er I need to describe SEO cam­paigns that run with us. I need to find out when I talk to cus­tomers which one is nego­tiable. Is the bud­get nego­tiable? Is the mar­ket­ing goal nego­tiable? Or is the time nego­tiable? But one of the three things has to be nego­tiable.

[slide: Key­word Den­si­ty and Group­ing]

I’ll move on to talk­ing more about our method­ol­o­gy and this time it’s a guide to key­word den­si­ty and group­ing. Remem­ber, feel free to make use of the chat box on the right if you guys have ques­tions.

Let’s talk about SEO Reseller’s key­word den­si­ty and group­ing.

When we talk about key­word den­si­ty and group­ing, remem­ber that we’re very Pan­da mind­ed. We want to make sure that the page is not spam­my, that it doesn’t overuse the key­words and it’s obvi­ous­ly not just built for a bot. When we take a look at key­word den­si­ty, we take a look at both page den­si­ty and con­tent den­si­ty.

What’s page den­si­ty? Page den­si­ty is the num­ber of times the key­word is men­tioned inside the entire page’s source code. That means includ­ing navs, includ­ing brand­ing, includ­ing foot­ers. How many times are the core terms used or how many times are the key­words used through­out the entire page?

Con­tent den­si­ty just talks about how many times the key­word is men­tioned with­in the body, HTML tags.

So when we assess web­sites, in order to fig­ure out whether they are over-opti­mized or not, we try to make sure that key­words are not men­tioned greater than 5% of the time through­out the page.

When is there an excep­tion to this? If the brand is very close­ly named to the gener­ic term, you actu­al­ly can exceed 5%. How­ev­er, if the brand is not close­ly relat­ed to the gener­ic term, we always try to trim it down to be less than 5% per­cent through­out the entire page. And when we cre­ate con­tent for it, we try to lim­it the con­tent to become less than 3%.

These are crit­i­cal mark­ers because you could get Pan­da warn­ings if you over-opti­mize you key­words to greater than these val­ues.

Bernard: When we actu­al­ly exe­cute your con­tent, we will only write 1–2% key­word den­si­ty in any web­page con­tent that we cre­ate. And when we cre­ate off-page con­tent and then we blog out­reach for you the con­tent will only con­tain the key­word a max­i­mum 1–2%. And we real­ly try to lim­it it clos­er to 1 then we try to lim­it it to 2.

When we do on-page con­tent for you, one of the things that we will do is we will men­tion oth­er rel­e­vant ser­vices, oth­er rel­e­vant top­ics and we will hyper­link them to the most rel­e­vant pages that they need to be sup­port­ed with. When we exe­cute off-page, we try to lim­it it with­in 1–2%, with one exact-match to two par­tials, and only one key­word is hyper­linked to the client’s site. And there are 1–2 oth­er seman­ti­cal­ly relat­ed terms point­ing to oth­er rel­e­vant web­sites.

Google does not like adver­to­r­i­al con­tent. If your off-page looks like it’s endors­ing you, it is a clear sign to the search engine that you bought the link, or there is a com­mer­cial rela­tion­ship between you and who­ev­er post­ed the con­tent, and that’s link buy­ing, which vio­lates Google’s qual­i­ty guide­lines.

Try not to inter­vene in what kind of off-page there is about you. The only thing that mat­ters about off-page is the refer­ral traf­fic and the noise about you online.

More on key­word den­si­ty and group­ing. Key­word group­ing is the prac­tice of cat­e­go­riz­ing key­words into groups in order to sim­pli­fy PPC cam­paign admin­is­tra­tion. How­ev­er, for SEO we also group our key­words.

An exam­ple is dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing com­pa­ny, and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ser­vice provider. I have seen clients group dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ser­vice togeth­er. Those are not all con­tex­tu­al­ly the same.

A dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency is an enti­ty, a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing com­pa­ny is an enti­ty, a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing provider is an enti­ty. A dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ser­vice is a ser­vice, and there­fore it does not mean the same thing to the user. There­fore, you should not try to tar­get them with­in the same page.

Make sure that when­ev­er you get key­word group­ings like this from your clients, try not to say yes to every­thing, or else, you’re doing them a dis­ser­vice while you’re doing the pitch. So don’t say yes to every­thing. Be the experts that your clients need and some­times the right answer is no.

Let’s give you guys some prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tions of what we’ve learned so far.

[slide: Chal­lenges in Key­word Selec­tion (and How to Over­come Them)]

Bernard: If you guys are exe­cut­ing a 30-minute to 1‑hour pitch, here are a few objec­tions you might over­come when it comes to you guys giv­ing them key­words.

[slide: Chal­lenge #1: Say­ing No to a Key­word]

Chal­lenge no. 1 is say­ing no to a key­word. Take for exam­ple a spe­cif­ic van­i­ty key­word. In SEO we try to teach our part­ners that it’s all about gun­ning for mul­ti­ple lit­tle grails than gun­ning for that one holy grail.

Should you try to hit a key­word with 10,000 exact search­es a month, or should you try to hit 10 key­words with 10, 20, 30, 120 search­es every month? And the answer is, you’re most like­ly going to rank for the ones with small­er search vol­umes. How­ev­er, you’ll dri­ve traf­fic to the web­site today.

A great exam­ple is the key­word Fam­i­ly Law Hous­ton. For some rea­son, this key­word is incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to rank, and the Hous­ton area is incred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive when it comes to law terms. More com­pet­i­tive than Boston, more com­pet­i­tive than New York, and more com­pet­i­tive than Los Ange­les. I don’t know what it is with Hous­ton but it’s very com­pet­i­tive in terms of legal terms.

If the client tells you, I want to rank for “fam­i­ly law Hous­ton”, you should not be abashed about begin­ning a con­ver­sa­tion ask­ing them, would it not be bet­ter to rank for divorce, child cus­tody, child sup­port, prenup­tial agree­ments, and oth­er relat­ed fam­i­ly law terms that can dri­ve traf­fic to them soon­er rather than try­ing to gun for that one holy grail core term which is “fam­i­ly law Hous­ton”? Look for eas­i­er wins in order for you guys to dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic today. And you’re not going to dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic today real­ly, because SEO is momen­tum dri­ven. How­ev­er, the more sen­si­ble the term, the more sen­si­ble the term is to the com­pe­ti­tion, the more sen­si­ble the term is to the com­peti­tors, the more like­ly you are to dri­ve rel­e­vant traf­fic to your client’s web­site today.

[slide: Chal­lenge #2: Water­ing Down the Van­i­ty Key­word]

The next chal­lenge you might encounter is water­ing down the van­i­ty key­word.

What’s a van­i­ty key­word? In tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing, we have two goals: brands will have a tac­ti­cal goal and they will have a strate­gic goal. Strate­gic goals tend to be goals that are high­ly rel­e­vant to rev­enue. Tac­ti­cal goals are—the deci­sion-mak­er gets a kick out of achiev­ing that result, like take for exam­ple, for SEO Reseller, I look at the com­peti­tors and one of my van­i­ty goals is I just need to make sure I’m high­er than that com­peti­tor, that com­peti­tor, and that com­peti­tor. And those are ver­ba­tim instruc­tions I give to my mar­ket­ing team.

An exam­ple is when the client or your deci­sion-mak­er, or in our case, the boss wants to beat the com­peti­tor for a spe­cif­ic term, even when they’re already on top spots for over a hun­dred key­words, what you should do is set expec­ta­tions on what you can and can­not win. This is so impor­tant. Don’t try to over-promise and under-deliv­er. It is sig­nif­i­cant­ly bet­ter to under-promise and over-deliv­er.

Focus on long-tail vari­a­tions that dri­ve busi­ness today espe­cial­ly if the domain is young and the web­site is new. And some­times the right answer is no. But remem­ber that just because it’s no today does not mean it will per­pet­u­al­ly be a no to your client for­ev­er. What if some­times the answer is not yet? And we can explore doing that a year down the road, two years down the road, and so on and so forth. And yes, you can retain SEO clients that long.

[slide: Chal­lenge #3: Tar­get­ing for a Spe­cif­ic Term, but the Equi­ty is on the Home­page]

Bernard: Let’s talk about chal­lenge num­ber 3. Tar­get­ing for a spe­cif­ic term, but the equi­ty is on the home­page. This one is a great chal­lenge. I love see­ing this chal­lenge and I love it when I see my SEOs over­come this.

An exam­ple would be, you’ve got a term that you want to rank for, like take for exam­ple the ear­li­er exam­ple I gave was “car­bon fiber sports bike”. If you’re sell­ing dif­fer­ent types of bik­ing gear, bik­ing equip­ment, or bicy­cles all togeth­er inside your web­site, but “car­bon fiber sports bike” ranks on the home­page, obvi­ous­ly there’s some­thing wrong.

Take note: that isn’t always the work of a slop­py SEO that worked on your site. But remem­ber, for the home­page it’s easy to steal equi­ty for a lot of key­words because the home­page is typ­i­cal­ly the most pow­er­ful page in your domain.

What’s the right way to rank the right page for the right key­word? I’ll give you guys an exam­ple from expe­ri­ence. The client offers a large range of vaca­tion ser­vices and they’re a resort in Col­orado, but they want­ed to rank for a spe­cif­ic term, which is “white water raft­ing in Col­orado”. The prob­lem was, that term was rank­ing in the home­page and the home­page isn’t just talk­ing about “white water raft­ing”. It’s talk­ing about all the dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties that you could do in the Col­orado resort.

What we need­ed to do was make an inner page more rel­e­vant than “white water raft­ing Col­orado”. Inside the site audit, what we found was, every time the term “white water raft­ing Col­orado” was hyper­linked, it was hyper­linked to the home­page. And that’s a prob­lem. Because you’re giv­ing the search engine a sig­nal that your home­page is the most rel­e­vant page for “white water raft­ing Col­orado”. So what we did was we built an inner page that would become rel­e­vant for the term “white water raft­ing Col­orado” and we built a… This is an I‑want-to-do moment, by the way, in the eyes of Google, there­fore cre­at­ing a com­mer­cial page is what was appro­pri­ate.

We cre­at­ed a page for white water raft­ing, we cre­at­ed con­tent that was algo­rith­mi­cal­ly com­pat­i­ble with rank­ing, with mak­ing it more vis­i­ble on Google. We split the term “white water raft­ing in Col­orado” between the home­page and the inner page just so the rank­ings didn’t drop like a rock.

The moment we got the word “white water raft­ing in Col­orado” two posi­tions below the home­page, it was then time to take the con­tent from the home­page and all the inner links from the domain and trans­fer them to the inner page. And then we got the inner page to out­rank the home­page. So that’s what we did in order to get a spe­cif­ic term high­er on the search rank­ings.

This is an exam­ple of match­ing the key­word to the pur­pose of the page. The pur­pose of the key­word must be a match for the pur­pose of the page.

[slide: Syn­the­sis]

In sum­ma­ry, under­stand­ing your key­words helps you select the right terms accord­ing to the dif­fer­ent stages your cus­tomers are in inside your search fun­nel. Or where they are or how mature they are inside your cus­tomer jour­ney.

You have to cat­e­go­rize key­words accord­ing to user intent, which is nav­i­ga­tion­al, infor­ma­tion­al, com­mer­cial, or trans­ac­tion­al. Or, accord­ing to Google, I‑want-to-know moments, I‑want-to-go moments, I‑want-to-buy moments, and I‑want-to-do moments.

Key­words should also match the pur­pose of the land­ing page. The pur­pose of the key­word needs to match the pur­pose of the land­ing page, or you’re not very like­ly to rank.

Find exist­ing seman­tic rel­e­vance between the key­words that the client wants and the web­site. And if that rela­tion­ship is not there, ask your client, if you want this com­mer­cial term, are you will­ing to build a com­mer­cial page? If you want this infor­ma­tion­al term, are you ready to build an infor­ma­tion­al page? And if the answer is no, then they can’t have that key­word. This has more to do with your sales­man­ship than any­thing else.

Just because you like being right doesn’t mean—just because you got your first no through the door and closed the deal any­way doesn’t mean you should get addict­ed to it. Don’t deny your clients a key­word if it’s good enough to be seen on the first page or even on the high­er sec­ond page. Don’t deny your clients a key­word if it’s good enough for Google to dis­play you as a result of search on the first page or the high sec­ond page.

The key­word top­ic and client should have a seman­tic, con­tex­tu­al, or syn­tac­tic match to the pages.

And key­words need to respect the right den­si­ty and should be in cor­rect key­word groups.

[slide: For Our Part­ners]

For our part­ners, we’ve actu­al­ly cre­at­ed a down­load­able PDF Train­ing Guide of what we’ve cov­ered in this con­ver­sa­tion so far, and it’s the How to Do Effec­tive Key­word Research Guide, and it is avail­able through the link here, which is, or you guys can go to your dash­board and down­load it from there.

[slide: Q&A Ses­sion]

I’ve already cov­ered about 48 min­utes of our time, actu­al­ly about 49 min­utes, so we’ve got about 11 min­utes left for ques­tions and answers. I’ll start with the first ques­tion.

Q: I have a client with a page on safe­ty pool cov­ers. Con­tent on the page is low because there’s only so much you can say about them. How do you get around that? Yoast SEO said con­tent was too low.

A: Here’s the first thing, safe­ty pool cov­ers sounds infor­ma­tion­al and it could be con­vert­ed to a com­mer­cial page. What you need to do inside that page is to edu­cate a user. The ques­tion is—I don’t believe there’s only so much you can say about them. Like take for exam­ple, what kind of pool shapes are they com­pat­i­ble with? What are the ben­e­fits of pool cov­ers? Are they for chil­dren in the house? Are they there so that you main­tain your pool less fre­quent­ly, so that you change water less fre­quent­ly? Are they usable for all pools of shapes and sizes? Do you need them if your pool is indoors? There are so many ques­tions that can be asked for that top­ic so I think Yoast is right, you need to add more con­tent onto that page. Take note, if we go back to a few webi­na­rs before, when you add more con­tent, make sure you also add con­tent in dif­fer­ent for­mats. I hope that was help­ful and I didn’t dance around your ques­tion.

Q: Between the title and the descrip­tion, which holds the high­est weight in Google’s algo­rithm?

A: Great ques­tion, easy to answer. The title. The descrip­tion has no algo­rith­mic weight in terms of rank­ings. The meta descrip­tion is a CTR tool. It is part of the onpage con­tent of your site as far as key­word rel­e­vance, key­word tar­get­ing goes, but please don’t try to opti­mize your meta descrip­tions for rank­ings. Opti­mize your meta descrip­tions for click-through. The meta descrip­tion is not a pow­er­ful rank­ing fac­tor. It is a pow­er­ful click-through con­vert­er, and that’s what you need to use it as.

Q: Why is it nec­es­sary to put a cap on the month­ly aver­age search vol­ume?

A: I got this ques­tion the last time too and this is real­ly based on our method­ol­o­gy. The rea­son we try lim­it you guys to 2000 exact match­es per five key­words in an organ­ic pack­age is because based on our method­ol­o­gy and our obser­va­tion, that is what we can rank 80% of the time and for 60% of its key­words on the first page. More than that and we can’t pre­dictably say that we will be suc­cess­ful 80% of the time or that we could get 60% of the key­words on the home­page. The method­ol­o­gy is designed with just enough pow­er to rank enough key­words, and that is unfor­tu­nate­ly its lim­it. Now, remem­ber, in spite of that rule let’s go back to one of the top­ics that we talked about ear­li­er. Don’t deny your clients a key­word if it’s good enough to be on Google’s first page or on the high sec­ond page, so that’s not a hard and fast rule that’s set in stone. How do you get over the rule? Talk to your project man­ag­er. It’s always just a nego­ti­a­tion and SEO is an opin­ion game.

Q: When group­ing key­words, is there a dif­fer­ence between the plur­al and sin­gu­lar vari­a­tion, and do I need to put them into sep­a­rate groups?

A: This one’s a great ques­tion. When I per­son­al­ly con­sult for an SEO cam­paign and I’m work­ing on a web­site that is a sin­gle brand, I don’t offer them plur­al vari­a­tions of their key­words. Think about it, if you were a user, when do you type in plur­al vari­a­tions of a key­word? Essen­tial­ly when you’re look­ing for choic­es. When you’re look­ing for choic­es, when you’re look­ing for selec­tions, and there­fore you’re expect­ing to land on a web­site that offers you that selec­tion. Like take for exam­ple, “hotels Bris­bane”, “hotels new york”, “hotels los ange­les”, what are you guys look­ing for? You’re look­ing for your options. If you were one of the hotels inside New York, would you real­ly post your com­peti­tors inside your own web­site? Prob­a­bly not. There­fore, I would strong­ly advise rank­ing for the sin­gu­lar ver­sion, and leave the plur­al ver­sion to review web­sites, aggre­ga­tor web­sites, and so on and so forth. Now if push comes to shove, yes you can opti­mize them. But make sure that the way you men­tion that key­word is high­ly read­able, and sounds good inside the body con­tent, because it doesn’t, you won’t rank for it. So yes, there’s a dif­fer­ence between the plur­al and the sin­gu­lar because the plur­al is a com­par­a­tive search in nature and the sin­gu­lar is not. The sin­gu­lar could be aware­ness build­ing, infor­ma­tion build­ing, con­sid­er­a­tion build­ing, desire build­ing. So there’s a dif­fer­ence. Do I need to put them into sep­a­rate groups? If you must have both, not real­ly. But again the rec­om­men­da­tion is you should only have one.

Q: How do you test if the key­word is con­vert­ing?

A: This is a tougher ques­tion to answer. The cor­rect answer to this is a bit tech­ni­cal. If you want to test if a key­word is con­vert­ing, the first thing that you have to do is make sure that your Google Search Con­sole and your Ana­lyt­ics are inte­grat­ed. Because if they’re not inte­grat­ed, you’re going to get your key­words in a Not Pro­vid­ed col­lec­tion inside Ana­lyt­ics. Inte­grate them togeth­er and there is a way for you to track what key­words got impres­sions and clicks from your Search Con­sole and then dri­ve that to Ana­lyt­ics. If you are map­ping your key­words on to spe­cif­ic pages, you can then mon­i­tor how they’re per­form­ing in your Ana­lyt­ics and how your users are using your web­site and how the user expe­ri­ence is like after that. This one is more than a webi­nar on its own so it’s going to be dif­fi­cult to answer. But the right answer is inte­grate your Search Con­sole and your Ana­lyt­ics, set up your goals and your fun­nels inside your Ana­lyt­ics. And that will ulti­mate­ly allow you to track which key­words are effec­tive for you. The eas­i­est way, by the way, is to take a look at your Search Con­sole. The key­words that dri­ve the most impres­sions and clicks are the most effec­tive key­words. You’re not going to find them in Ana­lyt­ics. Your result-dri­ving key­words are inside your Search Con­sole.

Q: If I start an SEO cam­paign with you for one of my clients, how much say will I have in the key­word selec­tion?

A: It sort of depends. How much expe­ri­ence do you have with SEO? If you have a lot of expe­ri­ence with SEO, you’re going to have a lot of say. If the project man­agers have more expe­ri­ence than you in SEO, and our project man­agers will typ­i­cal­ly have any­where between 3–5 years’ worth of expe­ri­ence in SEO, I will strong­ly rec­om­mend that you guys allow them to ser­vice you well by giv­ing them a strong say in what key­words will wind up being suc­cess­ful or not. But if the ques­tion is meant to ask, are we going to bull­doze our way through you so that we can get our key­words and get you to pay for it, the answer is no. Get­ting the right key­words for a cam­paign is a nego­ti­a­tion between you and your project man­ag­er. We want the same thing. We want the web­site to rank. We want it to have more traf­fic. We want the busi­ness to become more suc­cess­ful. I hope I didn’t dance around that ques­tion and that made sense. If that ques­tion was not sat­is­fac­to­ry, by the way, feel free to call these num­bers, and the project man­ag­er will explain to you what our key­word selec­tion process is like.

Q: Do we, the agency own­er, fol­low a project brief tem­plate? There seems to be a lot of detailed ques­tions the SEO needs to know. It will actu­al­ly be bet­ter for the SEO to ask since they’ll be doing the work. And I think the agency is best suit­ed for the sale and that is it. But if you’re putting the tech­ni­cal SEO stuff, and the sale is in the hands of the agency, is there a good project brief scope work­sheet for us?

A: Great ques­tion. The answer is yes. When­ev­er you guys launch a cam­paign with us, your project man­agers will send you intake forms with the infor­ma­tion that we need to write the con­tent, opti­mize the site, and so on and so forth. Even opti­mize the site, like cre­den­tials to the web­site, is it built on Word­Press, and so on and so forth. So we do give you a project brief, we send out an intake form with any cam­paign that you guys launch with us. The oth­er thing is I would expect our project man­agers to have a con­ver­sa­tion with you in order to under­stand what our mutu­al client’s busi­ness is about. Because it allows the project man­ag­er to relay that infor­ma­tion to his team that will exe­cute the work. So yes there are intake forms, yes they’re in the dash­board, yes your project man­ag­er will send them to you, and yes I expect that con­ver­sa­tion to hap­pen.

Q: When cre­at­ing an inner page to rank a key­word, would you rec­om­mend plac­ing it on nav­i­ga­tion tab or not?

A: That depends. How impor­tant is the key­word? There’s a rule here. Google’s index bud­get is high­est on pages that are close­ly relat­ed to the key­word, mean­ing the more shal­low the page, the more like­ly you are to rank it. When you cre­ate an inner page, and you want to put it on the nave, the ques­tion is, is there good user val­ue to that page being nav­i­ga­ble from the nav­i­ga­tion of your home­page? Is there val­ue with that page being direct­ly nav­i­ga­ble from the home­page? Or from any page, for that mat­ter, because you’re putting it inside the nav­i­ga­tion. So if there’s high user val­ue in that page being eas­i­ly acces­si­ble, high­ly vis­i­ble, yes put it on the nav. If your intent is just to rank that page then there are sev­er­al ways to boil­er­plate that but you don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly want to put it on the nav. Let’s go back to a cou­ple of webi­na­rs ago: Google rule no. 3. Build for the user. If you build for the user the page will rank.

Q: Is it advis­able to tweak the con­tent of the web­site even if it’s already rank­ing just to insert your tar­get key­word?

A: Great ques­tion. First of all, it wouldn’t already be rank­ing if Google didn’t under­stand that there actu­al­ly was an exist­ing seman­tic, con­tex­tu­al and syn­tac­tic rela­tion­ship to the page. So, if we’re say­ing rank­ing, the rule that we have in the office is, if the page already ranks on posi­tions 1, 2, 3, don’t touch it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? So don’t tweak the con­tent on the web­site if it’s already rank­ing. And when I say rank­ing, I mean posi­tions 1, 2, 3. If it is rank­ing for posi­tions 5 through 10, yes by all means tweak the con­tent espe­cial­ly if the con­tent of the land­ing page and the key­word don’t match.

Bernard: I’m out of time and so that’s the last ques­tion I can have. Buy you guys tossed in some pret­ty chal­leng­ing and some real­ly great ques­tions. I look for­ward to see­ing you guys next month on the next Boost Your Busi­ness Webi­nar. I’ll wrap this up. Thank you very much for your time. If you guys have more ques­tions, feel free to sched­ule a call by click­ing here or dial our toll-free num­bers, our US num­bers, our Aus­tralia num­bers, and our UK num­bers. We’ve got project man­agers that work Mon­days to Fri­days on your hours. We’re a 245 com­pa­ny. And if you want to send us an email, feel free to email us at Trade secret: I receive those emails too. Thank you very much, you’ve been a gra­cious audi­ence. I appre­ci­ate your time, and I hope to see you next time on the next Boost Your Busi­ness Webi­nar. Cheers!

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