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SEO is an incredibly competitive form of online marketing, especially when attempting to rank for high-competition keywords with high monthly search volume. Many businesses target the wrong keywords and never experience the true benefit of organic website traffic.
Some keywords are simply too hard to rank for, regardless of your SEO budget. For example, ranking on the top of Google search for “flat screen TV” is a next to impossible task. You aren’t going to outrank Best Buy or Walmart. Their website authority is far too high.
Rather than throwing money, time and effort at terms you won’t rank for, it’s better to target low-hanging fruit that can rank with solid on-page optimization. Don’t let low monthly search volume deter you from targeting easy-to-rank keywords. At scale, this helps you rank for multiple keywords, and when they are highly targeted, the traffic volume you attract to your website converts at an incredibly high rate.
Related: 7 Reasons Why SEO Matters for Every Startup
Here is how to identify keywords you can rank for fairly quickly, helping you create a winning SEO campaign and experience high-quality organic traffic.
Use Google Search Console to identify keywords
If your website isn’t already synced to Google Search Console, you will want to do that. You can learn more here; this free tool provides you so much valuable information and data about your website.
Once your domain is verified and you have access to your data, look at the “Performance” tab and you will see every keyword that has triggered your website to show in the search results under the “Queries” column. You can also sort the data based on clicks received and impressions.
You will want to look for keywords that have a lot of impressions, as they are great to target. When you click on a particular keyword, you can click on “Pages” to see what website URL was shown.
Create a spreadsheet that has the keyword, the URL ranking and the total impressions and clicks. You will need this information for the next step below. This is a working list that you should always keep updated; check this data in Google Search Console on a monthly basis.
Related: How to Pick Your First SEO Keywords
Optimize your already-ranking pages to improve your rankings
Once you have a spreadsheet to work off, one-by-one, you will want to edit each URL that is ranking, optimizing the on-page elements for the particular keyword. Here are some suggestions for the best results:
- Page title. Rewrite your page or post title to include the target keyword, placing it as close to the beginning as possible without appearing to be too spammy.
- URL. Edit your permalink to be your keyword. For example, if your keyword is “Dallas office cleaning” you would want the permalink to be: yourwebsite.com/dallas-office-cleaning.
- Content. If your page content is thin, add to it, focusing on creating value-packed long-form content. Be sure to include your keyword in the first sentence and throughout, naturally. You will also want to sprinkle in some variations of your keyword, as this helps Google understand what the page is about.
- H2 and H3 tag. Headings help break up your content and make it easier to read. Google also takes heading text into consideration when determining what a page is about. Include your keyword in heading tag(s) when you can do it naturally.
- Alt-image tag. Google’s algorithm cannot “read” images, so it uses the information in their alt-tags. Include your keyword as an alt-image tag, and if you have multiple images on the page, use longer descriptive keyword variants for the others.
- Interlink. Link out to other relevant pages, posts and resources on your website. This is a healthy SEO practice and has many benefits, including improving your average visit length per user and reducing your bounce rate. It also helps distribute authority throughout your website.
After you make the optimization edits, go back to Search Console and enter the URL in the top search bar. This will pull up its information, and you should see a message telling you that the URL is already found on Google. Click the “Request Indexing” button.
This triggers Google to recrawl the page, and it will then take the optimization edits into consideration. This will help move the page up in the search results, as the keyword it was already ranking for is now optimized.
Related: 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Firm
Build links offsite for added boost
When you fully optimize the on-page factors as explained above, you will see solid movement, especially for low-competition keywords. If the improvement isn’t enough, or you want to push your pages even higher in the search results, you will want to build links off-site.
Focus on quality over quantity, as one or two high-authority links will drive a nice boost, especially if they are lower competition like we are targeting with this strategy.
This is why optimizing your page content to focus on value is so important. Other blogs and websites are more open to linking to resources pitched to them that provide value to their readers.
Build relationships with bloggers, influencers and website editors in your niche. When you have a resource to reach out to any time you are looking for a link to a page, a pre-existing relationship will greatly increase the success of your outreach.