We love search engine optimization. Sometimes it can get a bad reputation because so many people see it as cheating the system. However, honest, content-based search engine optimization guarantees your website will get noticed by the audience best matched with your business. So, that’s what we focus on and what we advise, honest SEO.
Where do I start?
When building your site, SEO should be part of your focus through the whole process. Build your content around your audience. But, before you begin developing content do some keyword research so you know which words to focus your content on. Once you’ve created your list and selected the words that have a high number of searches and are directly relevant to your website, you need to determine the competition level on that keyword.
There are so many factors in search engine optimization; it can make it difficult for a smaller or newer website to compete with certain keywords. So, when selecting keywords for your website, be sure to consider the competitiveness level, meaning the number of other sites with similar keywords.
How do I determine the competition for my chosen keywords?
For the purpose of this article, we are focusing on Google and using its free webmaster tools to determine which keywords to focus your content on. While Google’s webmaster tools will have a description that displays the competition level, an “allintitle” search will give you a more specific explanation of the number of pages that are also optimized for that keyword.
What is an “allintitle” search?
When searching for a keyword via the “allintitle” command, you will be given the number of pages that have that exact keyword in their Title Tag. Because the title tag is an important factor in SEO, this is a great way to determine how many other sites are also using those keywords. The more sites that use those keywords, the more difficult it will be to have page one ranking. Not impossible, but difficult.
How do I perform an “allintitle” search?
Performing an “allintitle” search is very simple:
- Go to http://google.com
- In the search field type “allintitle: your key words” and run the search. (For this example, our keywords are “chocolate cake” because who doesn’t like chocolate cake?)
- Google will provide the number of websites with that phrase in the title tags. Chocolate cake has more than 1 million pages with it in the title tags!
*Note: In order to prevent bots from running automatic “allintitle” searches, Google may block you from running too many in quick succession. One way to avoid this temporary block is to take your time between each search. Take a moment to document the results before running the next phrase. If you find that you are blocked, move on to something else for a while and come back to the “allintitle” searches.
Ideally, you would work only with keywords that have less than one thousand results. That is what we would consider “non-competitive”. However, that is not always possible, especially as more and more people are taking to the internet. A general rule to determine the competition level can be seen below:
- Under 1,000 – Non-competitive
- 1,000 – 4,000 – Mildly competitive
- 4,000 – 6,000 – Competitive
- 6,000+ – Highly Competitive
It is not always possible to stay within those ranges, especially if your most relevant keywords are something as popular as chocolate cake. In those cases, use more than one keyword phrase as your focus and balance the competitive with something less competitive. Also, you can use more competitive keywords on your homepage because homepages are usually given more weight by bots.
Another point to keep in mind when doing this research is that each page on your site will have a different focus, so you will want to do this research for each page and come up with 3-5 keywords per page to focus your content around; the more content you have on your pages the more keywords you can use.
Take the results of your “allintitle” searches to create groups of words based on competitiveness and then pick words from each group that will give you a nice balance of non-competitive and highly competitive words.
SEO is an intricate process that takes time. You may find as you write your content that the keywords do not fit the purpose of your site and you will have to perform some more research. You may also find other tricks that help to make your site more successful. Remember, there is no one formula for SEO success. Keep your content strong and relevant and only use the advice that works for you and your site will become successful.