Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about keywords, relationships and traction. Despite the fact that not all keywords are worth pursuing, for those that are, there is a formula to keep in mind. There is no need to target keywords, if you can target entire markets instead.
How to Use SEO to Target Markets and Not Just Keywords
Depending on the size, focus and degree of optimization for your website, finding your respective pages tipping point can provide tremendous insight into how to proceed with a campaign.
Consider it a mechanism of weighting in the algorithm involving numerous metrics and values; but for all intensive purposes we refer to it as the keyword tipping point; and when used collectively, it can be devastating to your competitors.
This tipping point is a moving target and vacillates based on the number of websites targeting the keyword, their degree of optimization, on page strength and volume of content on the topic.
Sites with thousands of pages can rank easier for an aggregate term due to the relevance model of citation being a prevalent ranking factor. You can rank as a result of on page internal linking and page strength, off page links or a combination of the two.
Authority sites have the ability to catapult rankings in the search engine result pages despite the fact if the website features related content or not. Consider them “pent up” and at any opportunity that suppressed ranking potential springs into action with just a good title and a few mentions on a page.
When attempting to wrap your head around the authority site mode, consider this “pent up energy” as a non-keyword specific transient ranking factor “like a credit” than can be applied at any time through any keyword from any page.
Each page that ranks for a specific intention / keyword can acquire its own citation and / or legitimate page rank to contribute back to the website as a whole (think Wikipedia here). Page rank has the tendency to flows upwards, so over time the entire site benefits as each page gains more buoyancy.
If the page happens to acquire links, it’s even better for SERP longevity. After that, the grandfather effect of SEO kicks in (pages or websites that have marinated for years) and are the proverbial 800 lbs Gorilla in an industry.
This is why it is particularly important to understand where the lever of relevance resides, when you have to overcome an adversary such as this for a competitive keyword.
In addition, the keyword’s tipping point is also affected by how many unique pages search engines have dedicated (crawled, indexed and ranked) for the keyword in their database. Just like finding a key to an unseen lock, once you have crossed the line to quantify relevance for a keyword, your site should appear in the top 1000 results.
From there you are in the index; however you must distinguish your page from your competitors if you ever want it that page to be considered for a higher position in the hierarchy and respective SERPs (search engine results page) and creep up from the entry point to a top 10 position.
The key is to this strategy is (a) using pages collectively to tackle competitive keywords (b) cultivating keywords collectively and (c) feeding them with enough deep links and internal links to become buoyant. This sounds easy enough, but you have to scale the amount of resources you have to ultimately provide a website with enough content, links and relevance to breathe.
Consider it like this, when you go to a game such as a professional football, baseball or basketball game, you can sit in the cheap seats, or you can sit in the skybox; (SEO is very much like this). Considering as the analogy goes, it’s the very same game, depending on your perspective and the circumstances ROI is different for everyone and price is only an issue compared to the results it can produce.
Some companies spend more money in a day to compete more than others spend in a year. The bottom line is, you have to know when degree of engagement you can dedicate, the budget you can allocate to crossing each keywords tipping point, and how much of the market you can tackle (based on resources and return on investment).
If you are targeting local keywords, then 25-30 links per *preferred landing page should be enough to distinguish your website from competitors (who are more than likely riding on rankings from just their home page).
If you are targeting national keywords and / or market segments, then that tipping point may by more like 300 links to a main landing page and no less than 25-30 links for the supporting pages (which could be hundreds needed to push the results to the top).
The secret sauce to SEO is in the deep links and created laser-like pages to rank for 3-5 keywords each and “not trying to blend pages to make a catch all”. The more refined the focus of a page, the more chance it has to make an impact and fend for itself in the search engine result pages.
If you can create dozens or hundreds of pages like this, the aggregate ranking factor “flips the switch” transforming your website from a rag tag nebulous array of content to a theme dense ranking juggernaut, capable of targeting markets, not just keywords.
But first, you have to (a) identify (b) assess and (c) equip each page with enough link flow, on page internal links and off page deep links to give it the ability to (1) punch a hole in the SERPs for relevance and (2) defend itself until the holistic ranking factor of the website kicks in.
Tips to find the tipping point:
Use this Google Search Operator in a Google search box:
Now do the same for the top 3 competitors that rank for the keyword, this will give you an idea of how many pages they have dedicated to the keyword in question. If they have 500 instances of the keyword on relevant pages and you have 10, then you clearly need more content to compete.
You can also use:
And compare the respective differences between your website and / or page and your competitors to mine the gap and determine the discrepancy therein. Our SEO Ultimate WordPress SEO Plugin can help you with this type of analysis with its new competitor researcher module.
The last piece of the puzzle is to observe if a generic page is ranking or a “keyword specific page” is ranking for the keyword in question.
A real competitor understands the value of message matching and giving the searcher what they want, hence, those competitors who have taken the time to “develop each page” and cultivate a page to rank vs. just their generic catch-all home page is the one you will want to assess for the next metric which is…
How many deep links are supporting their landing pages?
If you can use simple search operators to see what the average number of deep links are, where they rank for allintitle, allintext and allinanchor and then apply those same key performance indicators to your own websites metrics, you can then fill in the blanks through tactfully crossing the gap by mining the SEO tipping point.
Here’s an Example:
Competitor 1 has 100 pages of content dedicated to “keyword X” and each page is indexed, relevant and passing link weight via internal links to “Champion Page Y” the proverbial check out page; and the check out page has 85 deep links to it, then that page will dominate the SERPs (search engine results page) depending on the competition.
If you see a high average across all of the metrics, then you know which ones your site lacks such as (a) not enough content (b) not enough instances in the title (c) not enough links collectively to the aggregate / supporting pages or the preferred landing page, etc.
The notion is, find and exceed the tipping point on a page by page and keyword by keyword basis to make the most impact with your own websites semantic ecosystem and topical theme.