Growing Organic Search In 2019: Your Guide To Keyword Expansion by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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The goal of keyword expansion is to target new, untapped keyword opportunities that will generate more traffic and leads to your site. Expanding your keywords will help you gain an edge against your competitors by finding keywords with less competition and higher conversion rates.

It’s important to note the late 2018 updates on RankBrain, Google’s machine learning algorithm, and how they changed the algorithm’s understanding of both intent and context. On August 1, 2018, Google conducted a broad core algorithm update; although it affected sites from all niches, it seems to have disproportionately impacted sites in the health/wellness niche, according to Moz data.

Based on the keyword trends I have observed and my own extensive knowledge in the SEO space, let’s take a look at what these updates mean and, perhaps most importantly, what they mean for your site.

Enter EAT.

SEO experts have inferred that this update might have tried to enhance Google’s ability to determine a site’s EAT (expertise, authoritativeness and trust); sites with a higher EAT would often rank higher after the update. For example, after the update, the top result for “keto diet” was dietdoctor.com. Dietdoctor.com had articles written by physicians who have authored many books and have their own Wikipedia pages.

This update exhibits how a searcher’s intent for a search like “keto diet” is led to tailored content by reputable physicians; the intent for a search like “keto diet” is most likely informational. (Note: I conducted this search on Google after the algorithm update.)

EATing isn’t everything.

Although EAT is a good theory as to why some sites lost or gained significant rankings during the update, I believe that matching query intent to relevant content is a better answer. Just as some sites with seemingly high EAT gained significant traffic during the update, similar sites with high EAT lost significant traffic during the update.

This decline in traffic to sites like Forbes, IGN and Men’s Health poses an objection to the EAT theory; each of these sites lost more than 30% of organic traffic overnight after the first August update. According to the EAT theory, these sites should’ve gained traffic.

Matching query intent to content better explains this because sites like dietdoctor.com had content that directly answered the most likely search intent for keywords that saw rankings increase. For example, when I searched for “keto diet,” I found that dietdoctor.com had its content curated around educating the searcher. Forbes, IGN and Men’s Health all had dozens of articles around keto diets, but dietdoctor.com ranked first because its content was laser-focused on educating beginner searchers. 

Consider matching query intent.

Having content that is specifically tailored to and addresses intent is your best bet to rank higher in the current Google landscape. If the query intent is purely informational, you’re better off having content that is tailored around educating the reader rather than advertising features of a product. Ensuring you’re finding the most important keywords for your site, finding the most relevant query intents and designing a content strategy around that intent is optimal.

Another important aspect of keyword expansion is latent semantic indexing (LSI). LSI is the main algorithm that search engines use to recognize other words that are similar to the main keywords used in the search. Terms that used to be scored as synonyms and produced similar results now display different results as the intent behind those terms evolves. This has led to both an evolution in searcher expectations and their correlated rankings on SERPs.

How can you leverage this to your website’s advantage?

To expand your website’s keyword footprint, start by performing keyword gap analysis to figure out where there are holes within your site’s relevance scoring. The first step is to identify your top keywords (say, up to 100) — these would be the keywords you identify as being the highest impact/highest priority terms related to your business. Then, scrape (or “screen scrape” using a tool like ScrapeBox or Scrapey) all the current URL rankings on page one of Google. This step is important; you need to gather all the current ranking URLs in order to find where your competitors are ranking but your site is not.

The next step is to download all keyword rankings for those URLs (using a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush or Term Explorer), drop them into an Excel file and do a VLOOKUP against your own total keyword rankings for the URL that ranks for each target term. This is vital because it gives you a complete list of keywords that your competitors have established rankings for and you have not.

Next, take those terms and group them into topics. Once this is done, you can use tools like Clearscope or MarketMuse to identify parent topics. By grouping these terms into topics and deducing parent topics, you have created a topic map that you can use to tactically execute on creating and expanding your content — this will allow you to expand your keyword footprint within your target SERPs.

The topic map that you have generated now goes back to the original concept of matching query intent with content relevancy. By tactically tailoring your content around targeting the current representative intent of the SERP coupled with the above process for keyword expansion, you are positioning your site competitively to grow its organic traffic.

May 1, 2019 at 08:21AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/05/01/growing-organic-search-in-2019-your-guide-to-keyword-expansion/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/
http://bit.ly/2CMy7Yu