Google My Business Tips for SEO

Google My Business SEO Tips

Google My Business is an important tool to utilize for SEO. While a well-optimized listing can drive SEO results for local businesses in particular, national and global companies can also see keyword ranking gains and website traffic increases with Google My Business. It’s an SEO best practice for all businesses to ensure your listing is optimized and up to date.

What is Google My Business

When you search for a business name in Google, you may see some information about the company appear in the right margin of the screen (or, Knowledge Panel). Here’s an example of what you find when searching “SoMe Connect

This screenshot is what our Google My Business profile looks like. As you can see, it contains company information such as:

  • Company name
  • Type of business (Internet marketing service)
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Photos
  • Reviews

Google My Business is a free tool which allows you to manage your company’s appearance across Google, including Google Maps and Google’s search engine results.

SEO Benefits of Using Google My Business

As mentioned previously, Google My Business can make a large impact on a local SEO campaign. The “Local Pack” found in Google’s organic results when searching for locally-focused keywords populates with companies that have Google My Business profiles.

For example, when searching for “Social Media Agency in Chicago,” here the local pack results are as follows:

Often times, the local pack will appear before the organic search results, giving you an opportunity to appear further up in search engine results.

Beyond local pack rankings, publishing and maintaining a Google My Business page sends additional signals to Google between your company and its location. This can enhance the keyword association Google’s bots make between your company and a geographic region, which can move your website further up in organic search results for relevant and locally-focused search queries.  

There are additional benefits of using a Google My Business page that aren’t directly tied to SEO. For example, the platform reports on analytics pertaining to your listing (customer actions, search queries, photo views, etc…), allows you to respond to user reviews, publish new photos, and more.

Overall, using Google My Business has important SEO benefits as well as reporting insights, customer engagement functionalities, and much more.

How Does Google My Business Work?

The first step to using Google My Business is setting up and/or claiming a profile for your business. You can do this by visiting https://business.google.com/ and searching for your business.

Your business may already exist in the system, in which case you will need to “claim” it. Otherwise, you will add your listing as a new company.

You will be prompted to enter your company’s information through the next several steps, such as address, business category, website, and more.

After all of this information has been entered, you will need to “verify” your business. The verification process includes Google sending a postcard to your business address. This postcard will contain a code that you will need to verify your business.

Google essentially wants to be sure that a legitimate company is being added to Google My Business, and receiving mail to a physical address is an effective way to weed out fake or spammy business submissions.

Sometimes Google will make an exception and allow you to verify your business by phone. This offer is typically extended to businesses with several locations/franchises. Call a Google My Business representative to see if this option is available to you.

What if Someone Else has Claimed my Business?

If your company already has a Google My Business profile, you will need to clear an extra hurdle before you can start managing your listing. The current owner of your listing will need to grant you access. A request for access can be sent through Google My Business.

If the current owner denies your request, you may have the option to appeal the denial. If the current owner is unresponsive for a week or more, you may have the option to simply claim the business listing without approval from the current owner.

More information on requesting ownership of a business that has already been claimed can be found here.

How to Optimize your Google My Business Listing

Accurate & complete profile: This may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to provide as much information about your business as possible. You want to leave as few fields blank as possible to increase the perceived legitimacy of your profile not only to Google, but also to users.

In the same vein, ensuring your listing information is accurate and consistent is crucial. You may have heard of the importance of “NAP consistency” before, and the same logic applies to Google My Business.

If your website lists a different address than your Google listing, one of the two needs to be updated for consistency. The same goes with your phone number and business name appearance (don’t list yourself as “Example Company Inc.” your website displays “Example Company” on your website).

Business Categories: Once your profile is set up, you can enter a “Primary Business Category,” and “Additional Categories.”

While it is important to ensure the primary category most accurately describes your business, supplementing it with related additional categories should never be overlooked.

Your primary and additional categories send signals to the Google bots on the types of keywords to associate with your company. In the screenshot above, we use these categories to tell Google “Not only are we an internet marketing services company, we’re also a marketing and consulting agency.” Capitalize on your keyword ranking opportunities with business category listings.

Reviews: Reviews are the most valuable functions offered by Google My Business. As seen in this study from 2017, reviews play a significant role in determining where you rank in Google’s local pack. The more positive and diverse your reviews, the better you can expect your local pack positions to be.

You should try to acquire as many positive Google reviews as possible. Reach out to past and current clients/partners and ask for reviews. Also be sure to respond to negative reviews in a professional manner – this will enhance your company’s credibility with both Google and users.

Posts: Google Posts is a more recent addition to Google My Business having launched in the summer of 2017. This function allows you to highlight promotional offers, events, specific products, and more.

With functions like featured snippets, answer boxes, knowledge panels, etc… receiving more engagement, users may be less inclined to click through to websites when Google offers so much information within their search results pages. Google posts enhances your ability to expose users to important information without visiting your website.

Google My Business and SEO

Optimizing and maintaining a Google My Business profile is an SEO best practice. The local pack and organic ranking benefits are well worth the time investment, and the additional customer engagement functionalities and analytics data further sweeten the deal.

A complete local SEO campaign involves much more than Google My Business. Contact us to learn how we can help your local rankings.

How to Write a Title Tag for SEO

SEO Title Tags

What is a Title Tag

A title tag is the text which appears at the top of a web page’s Google listing, and also in a browser tab. The title tag for SoMe Connect’s home page can be seen in the screenshots below:

 

 

Title tags are denoted with HTML code which, on the SoMe Connect website, looks like this:

<title>Social Media Agency | Chicago Digital Marketing Agency</title>

Title tags had a maximum length of 55-60 characters before becoming truncated with an ellipsis in Google’s search results. In 2016 however, this character limit was increased to 70 characters.

The Importance of Title Tags

When thinking about the importance of title tags, there are two primary factors to consider: search engine bots and humans.

For search engine bots, title tags are used as a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. In other words, title tags influence the keywords Google bots associate with your website. If your title tags aren’t optimized for search engine bots, you could be missing out on an opportunity to improve your keyword rankings.

For humans, title tags are essentially a headline. They play a major role in enticing people to click through to your website when seeing your listing in Google’s search results. If your title tags aren’t written in a way where they entice people to click on your links, you could be missing out on an opportunity to bring more traffic to your website.

How to Maximize the SEO Value of your Title Tags

 

Use Your Keyword(s)

Since Google’s bots use title tags as a signal for which keywords to associate with your website, use your web page’s target keyword(s) in your title tag. However, you should exercise caution in over-using keywords in your title tags.

You don’t want to “keyword stuff” your title tags such that they don’t make sense. This somewhat speaks to a larger issue – when thinking about a keyword targeting strategy from a more general perspective, you should limit the types of keywords you optimize each page for.

For example, if you have a home improvement company, and you have one service page covering all of your offerings – window installation, exterior renovations, bathroom remodeling, etc… – you will end up diluting your keyword focus such that your one large service page will be unlikely to rank for any keywords.

Instead, if you were to publish individual pages tailored to each of your unique service offerings, each of those pages will have a clear keyword focus with a better chance of ranking for their designated keyword(s).

Sometimes it makes sense to target multiple keywords per page, but only if they are closely related. The keywords, “Internet Marketing Company,” and “Digital Advertising Agency” are good examples of keywords that are so closely related, it makes sense to target both on the same page.

Coming back to title tags, if you want to use more than one keyword in a title tag, be sure they are closely related.

How to Write Title Tags

Stay Within the Character Limit

As mentioned previously, the character limit for title tags has been increased to 70 characters. If your title tags are too long, they will be truncated in Google’s search results with an ellipsis. You could be missing an opportunity for users to read a full title tag which would compel them to click on your links.

On the other hand, utilize as much as space as you can in your title tags. A short title tag could be a missed opportunity to give users a reason to click on your links.

Write a Compelling Title Tag

Sometimes, writing a title tag that only includes your keywords can result in boring, bland copy. When thinking about writing title tags for humans, you should approach a title tag the same way media organizations approach an article headline.

Your targeted keywords do not need to appear verbatim in a title tag. Using keywords naturally in a title tag as part of a compelling headline is the best way to optimize for both search engine bots and humans.

Using this blog, let’s look at an example of a good and bad title tag using the keyword phrase, “Title Tag Best Practices.”

Example of a bad title tag:

Title Tag Best Practices | SoMe Connect

This title tag is 39 characters long, which leaves us 31 extra characters to use. Our keyword appears in this title tag, which is good.

We also have a pipe separating our keyword and brand, which is also good. Google bots view pipes and dashes as “keyword separators.” Essentially, we’re telling Google that “Title Tag Best Practices,” and, “SoMe Connect” are to be viewed as two separate keywords by using the pipe in this way.

It’s also good that we have our keyword appearing as the first phrase in this title tag. Google’s bots place a heavier weight on the first text they read, so we’re sending a strong signal to the bots with this title tag.

However, few people are likely to find this headline very interesting. And since the Google bots take user engagement into consideration, keyword rankings could be withheld from us if few people click on our link – even though we’re optimizing for the Google bots here.

Title Tag Best Practices

Example of a better title tag:

Maximize the Performance of Your Title Tags with These Best Practices

This title tag is 69 characters long, utilizing almost all of the space we can use.

Our target keyword does not appear verbatim in this title tag, but that’s okay. Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to pick up on “Title Tag Best Practices,” in this string of text.

The keyword appears toward the end of the title tag, which could result in the bots giving less weight to the keyword. Not ideal, but acceptable in this case since we’re really writing this title tag with the intention of being an interesting and compelling headline.

As a general rule of thumb, if you ever run into an SEO issue where you can either optimize for the search engine bots or humans, always optimize for humans. Search engine bots are always being refined to behave more like humans, and they currently place a heavy weight on your website’s level of engagement as a ranking factor.

Why is Google Not Using my Title Tag?

One final note – a title tag is a suggestion of what to display in for your web page in search engine results. We are at the mercy of Google’s AI at the end of the day, and that AI may choose to use a different title tag.

Sometimes it’s merely a matter of the time it takes for your website’s listing in Google to reflect an update you made to your title tag, but other times, Google will simply choose to display a different title tag based on a search query.

Using the same screenshot as the earlier, here’s what SoMe Connect’s title tag looks like when you search “Digital Marketing Agency,”


Here’s what SoMe Connect’s title tag looks like when you search for “SoMe Connect,”


In this instance, the Google bots think this title tag is more relevant to the search query and display their results accordingly.

SEO Benefits of a Company Blog

Benefits of a Company Blog

It should be no secret that content is among the top three ranking factors Google uses to determine organic search rankings. The more content you have, and the higher the quality of that content, the more keywords your website will rank for, giving you more visibility in organic search.

Working at a digital marketing agency, a content strategy is usually always something we recommend to our clients. The content we recommend can come in many forms, including:

– Product and/or service pages
– Blog content
– Long-form white papers
– Guides and resource articles
– Video and imagery

The content you find on a product/service page is typically tailored toward keywords with “conversion intent,” that being, a keyword with a greater chance of leading to a conversion.

After all, someone typing in the exact product/service into Google (for example, “SEO Services,” or, “Sony 4K TV”) is more likely to be further along in the sales funnel as opposed to someone searching “Benefits of SEO,” or, “4K TV Picture Quality Vs 1080p.”

Contrast that with the content you may find in a blog or article – they tend to be more educational/resourceful in nature. These types of content pieces tend to be tailored toward keywords with “research intent.” Someone searching a keyword with research intent (“Benefits of SEO” for example) is likely to be closer to the top of the sales funnel compared to someone searching a keyword with conversion intent.

Does Blogging Help with SEO

Does Blogging Help with SEO?

A common question we receive from our clients as it pertains to content and SEO is:

I don’t care about ranking for anything other than conversion intent keywords, how does ranking for research intent keywords help me?

This is a great question! If I want the SoMe Connect website to rank for “Digital Marketing Agency,” why would I spend time publishing articles on “How to Research Keywords for SEO,” “CPG Industry Trends,” and, “Voice Recognition and Advertising?”

These articles may help my website rank for “How to do Keyword Research,” “CPG Trends,” and “Voice Technology in Advertising,” but how do these help me improve my ranking for “Digital Marketing Agency?”

The truth is: Publishing these types of content helps your website rank for conversion intent keywords. In fact, publishing educational/resource content is sometimes the most effective tactic to help your website enhance its conversion intent keyword rankings.

Why? Because Google only gives high rankings to the most authoritative websites. That’s their whole business model – they pride themselves on their search engine’s ability to provide the best results from the most authoritative websites.

How do you build website authority? By proving that you are a thought-leader in your industry. The more insightful content you publish showing that you are an industry thought-leader, the stronger ALL of your keyword rankings will be, even if your thought-leadership content mainly leverages research intent keywords.

Website SEO Authority

Let’s run a thought exercise – you have two home improvement companies whose websites are competing for the same keywords – “Basement Remodeling,” “Kitchen Renovations,” “Bathroom Renovations,” and “Home Additions.”

Let’s say both of these websites have published a service page tailored to each of these individual keywords. The quality of the service pages from each of these competing websites are equal. Both websites are also equal in user friendliness, aesthetics, functionality, etc…

The only difference between these websites is that one has a blog that is frequently updated with insights on news and trends in the home improvement industry, while the other does not.

In this case, Google would find that the website with an active blog has proven that they are more of an industry thought leader than the website with no blog content – it has more authority.

So even though these websites offer the same quality of service pages, the more authoritative website will always beat their competitor for conversion intent keywords, and they do it with thought leadership content leveraging research intent keywords.

SEO Benefits of Blogging

Resource Content and Backlinks

The primary SEO benefits of an active blog/thought leadership content strategy we’ve discussed thus far include:

– Increasing the total number of keywords your website ranks for overall.
– Improving the positions of your website’s keyword rankings for both conversion and non-conversion intent keywords.

Another SEO benefit that should not be overlooked is enhanced linkability. The number and quality of backlinks your website has is right up there with content in terms of important ranking factors.

When your website offers resourceful/educational content, you have a greater opportunity to earn more backlinks.

Why? If you reach out to an industry-related website and ask for a backlink, you can pitch your own content as follows:

I have a collection of articles on my website highly related to your space, and I think your readers would get a lot of value if my blog were to be listed as an additional resource on your website.

Of course, the framing of this pitch varies with the type of website you are pitching to and the type of content you are pitching, but a website with no resourceful/educational content has no value proposition to offer.

Website owners will not give you a backlink unless they are convinced that a backlink to your website is in their best interest. If your website doesn’t have content that can supplement and/or enhance other websites, you are much less likely to earn backlinks.

Blogging is Great for SEO!

Not only do “How To,” “Insights,” “Benefits Of,” etc… articles and guides help with resource intent keyword rankings highly relevant to these content topics, they help enhance your keyword rankings for all other pages on your website. This includes the conversion intent keywords your product and/or service pages are likely tailored toward.

It may not seem intuitive, but an article on “Bathroom Remodeling Trends,” helps your website’s bathroom remodeling service page rank better for “Bathroom Remodeling Services,” and “Bathroom Remodeling Contractors.”

Of course, this isn’t as simple as publishing one article. A robust ongoing content marketing strategy is necessary to see meaningful results on your website. Get in touch with SoMe Connect to learn more.

How to Research Keywords for SEO

Many people understand the importance of SEO – it’s how you get more eyes on your website without spending money on paid search. However, simply writing content won’t get the job done. You’ll need to learn how to research keywords for SEO.

Keyword research is the foundation of every successful SEO campaign. Keyword research is how you keep a pulse on how your customers are searching for your products and/or services.

And since customer behavior is constantly changing, keyword research is not simply an upfront one-time activity. The best SEO marketers approach keyword research as an ongoing activity and update their campaigns appropriately according to new findings.

While keyword research can be tedious and complex, it is absolutely necessary if you want to drive SEO results.

How to do Keyword Research

What is a Keyword?

Before diving into the process of keyword research, let’s clarify what we mean by “keyword.”

If a user types “SEO” into Google, “SEO” would be a keyword. Similarly, if a user types “SEO Agencies Near Me,” into Google, “SEO Agencies Near Me” would be a keyword.

A keyword is simply the contents of a user’s search query. Don’t get thrown off by the non-plural verbiage of the phase, “keyword.” A keyword can include one or multiple words.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

As mentioned previously, keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign. This is because it gives you insight into which keywords your customers are searching for, and ultimately, which keywords you should optimize your website for.

This doesn’t only apply to SEO, paid search marketing also performs best when informed by the latest keyword trends.

Let’s say you own a cell phone company, and you’re wanting to sell more phones through your website. You may be tempted to describe your products as “Cell Phones.” However, after conducting keyword research, you may find that “Smartphone,” and “Mobile Devices” are more fruitful keywords to target. As a result of this insight, using better keywords in your website’s copy will yield stronger SEO results and enhance your company’s visibility when people search for “Smartphone” and “Mobile Device.”

But how exactly would we go about determining that “Smartphone,” and “Mobile Devices” are better keywords to optimize your website for over “Cell Phones?”

Keyword Research Process: Best Practices

When conducting keyword research, there are quantitative and qualitative factors to take into consideration. The factors based in more objective/quantitative analysis are typically easier for the purposes of keyword evaluation.

When you start evaluating qualitative metrics however, you can go down a bottomless rabbit hole. Let’s begin with more objective metrics.

Keyword Search Volume

Keyword search volume is the number of searches (on average) a specific keyword receives each month. You’re not doing your keyword research properly if you’re not optimizing for keywords that are actually being searched. The entire point of researching keywords is to find what your customers are looking for and the terminology they’re using so you can create content aligned to that terminology.

There are several tools available which gives insight into keyword search volume, such as SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner, Moz, Ahrefs, and more.

Using SEMRush to examine the search volume for the keyword, ”keyword research”, our findings are as follows:

 

As you can see, the term keyword research has 5,400 searches per month and there are 200 million results that show up when the term “keyword research” is searched. You can also check out “phrase match,” or closely related keywords to the term, “keyword research.” Here are some examples:

 

This feature is useful in finding alternative keywords or long tail keywords for blog posts, and is usually offered by other keyword research tools outside of SEMRush. You’ll also notice there’s a new statistic that’s shown here called “KD” – we’ll go over that a little more later.

There’s also a “relevant keywords” feature in SEMRush, allowing you to find more closely-related alternatives to the term “keyword research.”

 

As you can see, the relevant keyword section looks very similar to the phrase match section. In the very left column, you can see the related percentage. That’s how relevant that keyword is to what you’re researching. This will help you find other keyword options and phrasing/verbiage you can use in your page copy.

The results we have been analyzing thus far are applicable for nationwide searches, that being the number of average searches per month from the United States in general.

But what if we wanted to view search volume for a specific geographic location? Another keyword research tool, Google Keyword Planner, offers functionality to assess search volume by city.

 

Why does city based keyword research matter? It takes into account dialect and regional terms. For instance, people in Wisconsin called water fountains “bubblers.” That would mean you’d find a higher search volume for “water fountains” in Chicago but a higher search volume for “bubblers” in Milwaukee.

Geographically-focused keyword search volume trends are also very important if you have a local business. Iif a term isn’t often searched in your region, you may want to consider rewriting/rewording the copy. If no one near you is looking for the phrasing you use to describe your products/services, you’re only going to get irrelevant traffic.

Is Your Keyword the Best Option?

Sometimes, you may be using a term for your products that isn’t as highly searched as another term. Here’s an example: let’s say you work for a chairlift company that helps elderly homeowners go upstairs. You did your keyword research for “chairlifts” and found it has a great search volume:

 

However, you also know that your competitors are getting way more organic traffic and conversions than you. When you go to their website, you notice they’re using the term “stair lift” over “chairlift”. At first, you may not think much about it, but one small change could make a major difference; “stair lift” has a significantly higher search volume than “chairlift”:

 

Part of doing your keyword research is making sure that you’re using the right keywords. While in the case of stair lift vs chairlift, you’ll probably want to use both throughout your website – both are really strong keywords and ranking for them will drive traffic to your website. In other cases, you could be choosing between 1,000 searches per month vs 10 searches per month. If you choose the wrong keyword in that case, you could find yourself losing out on a lot of potential clients.

Keyword Difficulty

In a perfect world, you would target keywords with the highest search volume. In most cases though, more strategic thinking is required.

For instance, let’s say you own a small video game store. You may think that you ranking on Google’s first page for the term “video games” should be your goal:

 

Over 200,000 monthly searches – sounds great, right? However, it’s unrealistic to think that a small company’s website is going to rank for the term “video games” (not saying it isn’t possible, but you’re up against huge websites and brands like GameStop, IGN and GameSpot).

SEMRush offers an organic keyword difficulty (KD) feature. Essentially, this is a measurement of how difficult it would be to organically rank for a given keyword. If several highly authoritative websites rank on Google’s first page for a given keyword, you can expect the KD of that keyword to be high. Several lower-authority websites populating Google’s page – one results can indicate a low KD.

 

The chart above shows that the term “video games” has a KD of 93.95 out of 100. That’s pretty tough and will take a lot of content and links to rank for that keyword. Over a long period time and website growth it’s possible to rank for this very difficult keyword, but there are more attainable keywords to shoot for if you’re a small company.

The term “video game stores” might be an easier term to try and rank for. It has a KD of 73.96, making it significantly easier to rank on Google’s top page.

 

Which KD scores are best to target for your website? It really depends on the stage of your company and website.

If you have strong organic traffic, lots of high quality links and engaging content, you could shoot for keywords that are a bit more difficult (KD of 80+). However, you shouldn’t only focus on those keywords – mix it up with easier to rank for keywords as well.

Smaller or growing companies should look at keywords with a difficulty of 65-75. Even if a keyword has a low KD doesn’t mean the volume is low. For instance, “video game stores” has a volume of 40,500 searches per month.

As you create more content and earn more links, you’ll find yourself ranking for other keywords that are more difficult based on the authority of your website.

While SEMRush is not the only keyword research tool offering KD functionality, not every tool allows users to analyze KD metrics. Those that do may operate on different numerical scales. For example, a low KD score on Moz’s keyword research tool may be closer to the 20 – 30 range whereas a low KD score from SEMRush may be closer to the 60 – 70 range. As you analyze KD from different tools, keep in mind that every tool’s measurements are different.

Keyword Relevance and Intent

The most underrated tactic within keyword research seems to be relevance and intent. This is a qualitative factor when research keywords that can lead you down a rabbit hole.

One task you should always perform when researching the viability of a keyword is actually Googling the keyword you are interested in targeting. Going back to our video game store example, let’s say our store owner wanted to target “Video Games.” Let’s analyze the types of results that populate Google’s first page when this query is searched:

Google Keyword Search Results
 

While some big box retailers (Walmart, Amazon, Gamestop) appear in the organic results and local pack, we also see the following types of content ranking high:

  • Video game news articles
  • Video game reviews
  • Video game blogs
  • Wikipedia

 

Since Google’s first page for the keyword, “Video Games,” does not primarily consist of stores and retailers, we must question the search intent behind this keyword. Based on the results of this search, it looks like most users are intending to find blog and news article content when searching for this keyword. These types of content would not be appearing in Google’s first page otherwise.

Keep in mind that Google is a business at the end of the day, and their search engine algorithm is their product. If their algorithm delivers results that users are not interested in, people are less likely use Google’s search engine relative to competing search engines. Since Google’s ultimate goal is for their search engine results to mirror their customer’s search intent, Google inadvertently reveals this search intent behind a given keyword – it’s reflected in their results!

That’s why it is crucial to ensure your content’s keyword focus aligns to the proper search intent for that keyword!

Even if you are targeting a keyword with the lowest possible KD, you will not appear in the organic search results if your content’s keyword focus does not align to the search intent behind that keyword.

When writing copy for a product or service page, make sure you are targeting a keyword whose page-one search results are dominated by other product/service pages. When writing copy for an educational article, make sure you are targeting a keyword whose page-one search results are dominated by other educational articles.

Don’t Use the Same Keyword for Multiple Pages

When learning how to research keywords for SEO, many people forget the importance of making sure you don’t continuously use the same keywords for each page.

By using a different keyword focus for each page of your website, each individual page stands to offer unique value to users. When you use the same keyword focus for multiple pages, your website’s pages may compete with each other for keyword rankings, thus diluting the SEO value of your website and its content. No matter the quality of links or content on your website, you won’t be able to rank for competitive keywords on the first page.

When doing your keyword research, it’s important to document and track of all your individual web pages and their keyword focus. When creating new pages or blog posts, be sure to check which keywords you’ve already used so you don’t recycle keywords.

These Tips Will Take Your Keyword Research to the Next Level

Keyword research is an important part of getting your site to rank organically. If you don’t know how to research keywords for SEO, you’re going to have a hard time getting traffic without paying for it.

While these tips seem simple, they can be the difference between success and failure. Always make sure that your keyword focus for each individual web page is unique, has decent search volume, isn’t too difficult for your site to rank for and aligns to the proper search intent.

If you do need help, you should consider hiring an SEO specialist – someone who knows exactly what they’re looking for and works with keywords on a day-to-day basis. SoMe Connect can help your website bring in more traffic by improving your organic keyword rankings. You can learn more here.

Finding SEO Content Opportunities Through Competitor Analysis

Even though Google relies on AI to determine organic rankings for a search query, Google has made (and continues to make) updates to their AI such that they increasingly think more like humans. Websites that deliver value to people tend to outrank websites that prioritize optimization for Google’s AI, and this trend will only increase in the future.

We have reached a point where optimizing a website for human experiences is the same as optimizing for Google’s AI. The more people that engage and interact with your website and its content, the stronger your SEO performance will be.

Prioritizing the human experience should always be your goal if you want your website to rank well in organic search!

Competitor Analysis in SEO

The Importance of Content in SEO

While elements such as website loading speed, HTTPS, and mobile-friendliness all influence how well your website is optimized for user experience (and Google’s AI factors these elements into organic search rankings), your website’s content is what makes users want to visit and engage with your website.

We’ve said it before, but it can’t be overstated: Google themselves have confirmed that your website’s content is among the top three most important ranking factors. If your website does not offer content that people want to interact with, you will never perform well in organic search.

That said, it can be challenging to find content relevant to your website’s niche that people want to interact with. This is where competitor analysis comes into play.

How use Competitor Analysis to Inform Your Website Content

Since Google’s AI already ranks valuable content & websites high in organic search, simply performing a Google search for a relevant query will generate several examples of content that people like. Google essentially tells you what your audience wants!

For example, let’s say you run a marketing agency and want to bring more organic traffic to your website. Knowing that publishing content which people want to engage with is crucial to achieving this, so we may search for queries such as,

  • “Marketing Trends”
  • “Challenges in the Marketing Industry”
  • “Future of Marketing”

 

Analyzing the topics and types of content ranking on Google’s first page for these queries will show you the types of content you should create. If you want to outperform any of those other websites in organic search, the content you create must be better than what is currently ranking on page 1. By including all of the information your competitors high-ranking pages offer in one place on your website, and then adding more to it that none of competitors’ high-ranking pages offer (think of Brian Dean’s “Skyscraper Content” strategy), you will have an excellent chance of outperforming the competition.

These keyword examples are more related to insight/thought leadership content – what if we want to rank high for something with stronger commercial intent? We can use this same approach to assess the content organically ranking on Google’s first page for queries such as:

  • “Marketing Strategy Services”
  • “Marketing Consulting Services”
  • “Influencer Marketing Services”

 

The content you find on web pages that organically rank well for these queries can inform what you should include in your web page tailored to queries like these.

Side note: You may find that pages organically ranking well for these service-based queries include very little content. This can indicate that the website offers value in other places/pages. For example, a marketing company with an active blog and several high-value resources (research articles, whitepapers, etc…) can actually boost the organic ranks of other pages on the site more tailored to services. Ranking on page 1 for “Marketing Trends,” “Challenges in the Marketing Industry,” and “Future of Marketing,” can enhance your service pages’ ranks for queries like “Marketing Strategy Services.”

How to find Content Topic Opportunities Through Competitor Analysis

If you run into a hurdle where you’re having trouble brainstorming queries and content topics to search for, you can use tools to analyze what industry competitors and blogs are ranking for.

For example, one tool that offers such functionality is SEM Rush. Using this tool, we can see that the popular marketing blog, Marketing Profs, ranks organically for a total of over 60,000 keywords.

Among these 60,000 keywords, we can see that some of these queries include:

  • “What is Media Reach”
  • “How to Retain Customers Online”
  • “Direct Mail vs Email Marketing”

 

There are thousands of keywords we can find with this tactic to inform content topics we can create to gain more visibility in organic search.

We also don’t need to limit ourselves to these insight/thought leadership type of keywords – if several of your marketing company’s competitors rank for a query such as “Inbound Lead Gen Services,” and your website doesn’t have a page speaking to this service line (assuming it’s something your company offers), you can use this keyword to inform your research on what content to include in a service page on “Inbound Lead Gen.”

SEM Rush isn’t the only tool offering this type of functionality: Moz, Keyword Spy, SpyFu, and others can generate similar insights. Leveraging the keyword findings with tools like these can uncover content topic opportunities that may have never crossed your mind.

The Importance of Competitor Analysis in SEO

When it comes to SEO, competitor analysis isn’t only useful for informing your website’s content. Everything from color schemes and imagery to interactive functionalities and navigational structure can (and should be) taken into consideration when performing a competitor analysis.

Your website can perform reasonably well in organic search by simply taking all the good components your competition offers and adding value to it. This is what makes competitor analysis so important in SEO.