All you hear these days is “content is king“. Apparently, you just have to stuff your blog post with keywords, then wait for the Google fairy to sprinkle its magic dust.
So why does this never work for you?
A common SEO mistake
Imagine you started a new business selling Gift Hampers online.
You did some keyword research and saw there were a lot of searches each month for the term “christmas hampers”.
So you write a really detailed blog post about Christmas hampers, covering lots of topics you think are relevant.
All of your H2 and H3 headings are copied from the ‘People also ask‘ questions shown in your Google search results. The SEO experts told you to include these.
You publish your post, giddy with excitement and anticipation.
After a few days, you check the rankings, but no sign of your blog post in the top 100.
It's early days you tell yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day.
You check again in a few weeks, and it's up to position #46. Still no traffic from it, but things are looking up.
But over the next few weeks, your blog post climbs to an all time high of position #24 before dropping back out of the top 50.
You feel disheartened.
The advice from the SEO ‘gurus' was that you should write a long, detailed post covering all possible angles.
So why isn't your post higher up in the rankings?
Don't overcomplicate your SEO
What simple thing could you have done at the start to give you a fighting chance of getting to the top of the Google search results for “christmas hampers”?
You'll kick yourself when you read the answer. But you're note alone, as most website owners overlook this simple, yet powerful step.
When you're targeting any keyword, the first thing you should do is…
Simple as that.
This will tell you exactly the type of content that Google thinks best matches the user's search intent. Because Google's algorithm has already decided what type of content it thinks people are looking for when they do any type of search.
There's no point trying to make it change its mind.
So what do people want to find when the do a search for “christmas hampers”?
Here's a clue – not a blog post!!
What do all top 3 pages in the search results have in common?
They're all shop category pages. No other other page type gets a look in.
Trying to rank a blog post for this keyword is a complete waste of time.
What you should do is build a Product Category landing page that delivers a better user experience than any of the top 5 pages.
Get your basic on-page SEO right
“Christmas Hampers” needs to be prominent in your meta title and description, URL permalink, H1 header tag and the first sentence of your category description.
Just like Gifts.ie have done on their Christmas Hampers landing page:
And it certainly helps if you have a range of hampers listed on the category pages, with relevant names such as:
- Christmas hamper for her
- Christmas hamper for him
- Children's Christmas hamper
- Christmas gourmet food hamper
- Christmas hamper of Irish foods
- Christmas hamper for grandparents
- Corporate Christmas hamper baskets
- Festive chocolate hamper
- Christmas Eve hamper
- Christmas pudding hamper
- Stephen's Day hamper
You get the picture?
Not only does this make sense commercially (by making it easier for a customer to choose an appropriate hamper) it also boosts the relevance of the page by including related terms.
So, the next time you're wondering how to rank for a particular keyword, take these steps first:
- Search the keyword on Google and check out the top 3 ranking pages.
- Check the meta tags and headings on each page for clues on how to structure your title & description.
- Analyse the content on each page, and think how you could improve the user's experience (Tip: adding a well-researched FAQ section can really boost your page)
- Think of some unique content ideas you could develop around your main theme. e.g. Musgrave MarketPlace surveyed businesses in 2020 to highlight new trends in Christmas corporate gifting, and the survey results attracted huge media coverage (and backlinks to the Musgrave Marketplace website).
Before you start building any new pages targeting search keywords, remember this…
The pages that appear at the top of the search results are the ones that Google thinks provide the best all-round answer for the searcher.
Your job is to take the clues from the pages that rank already, and build a better experience for your users.