If you’re an online content marketer or a marketing manager, you might spend a lot of time thinking about your brand’s keywords. That is fine so long as keywords are not the only thing you’re thinking about for SEO. As we’ve said before, keywords are not the end-all be-all when it comes to SEO strategy.
In fact, due to perceived authority, the search engine’s interpretation of the user’s intent, and a variety of other factors beyond keyword-targeting, even the most on-point keyword strategy is only “step 1.” Following are some strategic considerations to be mindful of beyond keywords:
Instead of thinking about building “keyword density,” it’s also important to establish and build upon a theme for each page. That theme can still be guided by a central keyphrase, but you should think beyond the keyword and instead think about what the user is looking for when they search for that theme, and deliver it with your content.
Search engines are looking for the most authoritative source to respond to a user’s query. That means your brand should be an industry thought leader. Building authority takes significant time and effort. For more information, you may want to download our recent white paper on building authority through content creation and link building.
Search engines love organization. A well-organized page or website is easier for the search engines to crawl and for users to navigate. A well-organized site also makes it easier for the search engines to determine your domain-level authority, as your pages work together to build micro and macro groupings of themes. If you need help in this area, review our checklist of technical SEO issues for guidance.
User-friendliness encompasses a range of ranking signals, including site speed, site security, and mobile friendliness, among others (including the aforementioned structural issues). If your site is not user-friendly, rather than concerning yourself with keywords, or even link building, consider what you can do to create a more user-friendly website. For this, it’s always good to get a second pair of eyes (because you are likely very used to your website and its quirks). But, you can start with a DIY user-experience evaluation and then consult with an expert on how you can improve your website’s user-friendliness.
In closing, while it’s still necessary to perform keyword research and optimize your page content for selected keywords and related synonyms, keyword optimization alone is only a small piece of the SEO pie. If you really want to move the needle, it’s time to think about SEO more holistically. To begin, start to think like a search engine and try to interpret: “What is the user looking for?” and “How can I return the best result possible?”
Although SEO and the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) have evolved significantly over the past several years, many content creators still think that content optimization is about sprinkling keywords throughout their content and hoping for the best. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.