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Ranking on search engines can be difficult. Especially if the competition in your niche is high. As you probably know, you should start by doing your keyword research: getting into your audience's heads, knowing exactly what words they are using and what they are looking for. But then what? How do you choose which keywords to optimize? Should you focus on derivative keywords or go straight to more competitive main terms? In this post, I'll help you determine your strategy to determine which keywords you need to optimize your content for.
Competition is key
Whether you opt for derivative keywords (secondary), which are specific and have multiple words, or for main terms, largely depends on your competition. If the competition in your niche is high, you will have a tough ranking in competitive terms. If you have little competition, you may even rank first. It sounds very simple!
When it comes to determining a keyword, people aren't very good at judging their chances of ranking. Most people greatly overestimate their chances and focus on the main terms that will not drive a lot of traffic to their site.
So how do you determine your competition? What are you looking for ? There are two strategies:
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- Googlez and analyze your competition
- Try, evaluate and try again.
I will discuss in more detail these two strategies below.
Googlez and analyze the competition
Googlez (do a google search) the keywords from your keyword research. Start with your term "fare". Visit the search engine results page (SERP). These are the websites that you will be competing with once you optimize your content for such a keyword. To check whether or not you will be able to compete with websites on this results page, analyze the following:
- Are professional websites websites? Are they corporate websites? Consider whether or not you are an “equal” for these companies. Does your website belong to these sites? Is your business similar in size and does it have as much influence in your niche?
- Does the SERP show well-known brands? It's harder to rank when you rely on sites with strong brand names. If the brands are known from TV or radio commercials, your chances of ranking will become even smaller.
- What about the content of these sites? Is the content well written and well optimized? What is the duration of the articles on the sites? If your competition has insufficient content, you are more likely to overtake them!
- Are there any ads on Google? And how much does the pay-per-click on Google Adwords cost? Search terms that have a high pay-per-click are generally also difficult to rank in organic results.
A simple question
It all comes down to one question: How does my website hold up, compared to websites shown in the SERP? Do you have the same size and marketing budget: go ahead and focus on these main terms. Otherwise, try a longer keyword.
The next step is to do the same analysis with a keyword that is slightly longer. Longer, more specific search terms will generate less traffic, but ranking by those terms will be much easier. Focusing on a long, combined set of keywords could very well attract a lot of traffic. Once you have successfully ranked for those long keywords.
Try, evaluate and try again
Once you've done a thorough analysis of your chances of ranking on a specific term, the next step is to write an amazing article and optimize it accordingly. And click publish. Make sure you attract some nice backlinks. And wait a bit. Discover your rankings. Is your article showing? Did it hit the first page of Google's SERPs? Or is it hidden on page 2 or 3? Make sure you rate your articles in the SERPs. Research the terms for which you have optimized your articles. Check if your SEO is paid or not!
If you can't rank on the first page, try writing another post, focused on a longer (even) keyword. Make it a little more specific. And see how it goes. Evaluate again. Continue this process until you reach that first page of the SERPs!
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Figuring out which keywords you need to focus on to get the most traffic to your site can be pretty daunting. For many people, it is difficult to assess their chances of ranking on search engines. And even with the tips in this tutorial, it will still be difficult. But if you understand correctly, it will pay off for you! So after a thorough analysis of your competition, start testing. Write an article and see how it ranks. After assessing your ranking, adapt your strategy. You will get there eventually.