Having a good strategy is the most important part of an SEO campaign. Without this there’s no defined aim, and if there is, then it’s not driven by data and will be doomed to fail. It’s necessary to establish the best keywords by looking at intent, volume and competition.
User intent will dictate the kinds of results Google will show. For example, the keyword ‘trampoline’ will show ecommerce sites selling trampolines. However, the keyword ‘best trampolines in Australia’, will result in blog and review websites that compare and contrast different trampoline models.
The content that you’re trying to rank for should match the user intent, or it will not be possible to rank.
Volume is another key factor. Volume is the amount of people searching for your keyword. Depending on the type of business you run, this should be in the context of a certain area. For ecommerce businesses this may be limited to all of Australia for example, but for local health clinics, the only volume that matters might be within 5Km – as this is approximately the amount of distance clients are willing to travel.
Local keywords that include suburb names are by default localised, but generic keywords should be looked through a location-based filter. Th main targeted keywords should have at least some volume.
Some businesses are extremely niche and have services and products that have very low search volume. Although higher search volume is ideal, if the business is selling high-ticket items, then this can make up for the lower visitor counts. This happens in industries such as insurance and mortgage brokerage.
Competition is the final factor that should determine the choice of keywords used in an SEO strategy. The lower the competition the better, obviously, but highly profitable keywords with lots of volume tend to have more competition. It’s a trade-off. The right amount of competition is inherently linked to the niche itself and the players within that niche.
So, for example a niche like plumbing may seem competitive – tons of plumbers have their own little websites. However, very few of them know anything about SEO. Their websites usually are not set up correctly, nor have they built any authority with Google.
Moreover, plumbers are only focused on local business, and so the amount of plumbers in serious competition for a particular suburb online may only be 3 or 4. This would be a very low competition niche.
On the other hand, a niche like air travel is extremely competitive. This is for many reasons, including that the players that take part in this niche are very rich and have a lot of money to invest in marketing, including SEO – which is where most of their business comes from.
These players are also quite established and have large authoritative websites full of content that sit on aged domains. The competition is super tight because there’s a lot of money at stake and the main players are able to obtain customers both nationally and internationally.
This means that all the big businesses are competing in every location, unlike the plumbers where only a few businesses compete for a particular area.
Some analysis can be done on the competition that can roughly determine how many backlinks and how much content will be required to beat them in Google rankings. This is a great way to also find out what they’re ranking for, as it can give you ideas for other keywords to target.
Is The Keyword Competition Realistic For The Campaign Budget?
Once these three factors are established – intent, volume and competition, they should be compared to the campaign budget. With the budget in mind, it’s usually possible to determine with a good amount of accuracy if it’s possible to rank for a particular keyword.
For example, competing for the keyword ‘health’ is basically impossible. You’d be up against some of the biggest websites on the internet that throw millions of dollars into SEO each year, and have done so for over a decade.
It’s important to be realistic with what can be achieved for your budget. Generally, if in doubt, long-tail keywords should be acquired first. This will not only build your authority in Google for your niche, but will also help you pick up traffic along the way. This is highly recommended for new websites or those with little authority in a high competition niche.