When it comes to SEO, identifying the right words to include in your content and the right pages to put that content into are very important, but is keyword targeting as good as it once was?
Since the release of Hummingbird, there has been a debate over the idea of focusing on broad topics and concepts as opposed to specific keywords in order to satisfy searcher intent, though there may still be a need for old-school keyword targeting to complement new-school concept targeting.
The problem with keyword targeting
A typical keyword-focused SEO process starts with researching a number of words and identifying the best ones to include in your content. You then concentrate your keywords into each page for them to answer a specific search query and to rank for it. Although this is not necessarily bad, it means that you will be focusing on one keyword in each of your pages, which translates to a lot of work.
So, you don’t invest much effort into researching the keywords and market and developing meaningful content, because you now have to create content around your multiple keywords. And when you’re done, you find some other new keywords and repeat the process.
Although there are no shortcuts in SEO, shouldn’t there be an easier and more convenient way to build traffic?
New-school Concept-based targeting
With concept-based targeting, you aim a little higher than keyword targeting. Instead of identifying the keywords that your potential consumers mostly use when searching for something in your industry, you simply create content that addresses the searchers’ concepts and intent. Google will then recognise your unique and meaningful content and figure out – on its own – the keywords that it can map it to.
So, rather than worrying about what people are searching for, you think about helping people accomplish whatever they need to, and Google will direct them to you. To identify the intentions of potential consumers, you may need to use topic association tools to come up with topics for things like tips, guides, top, best, etc.
Although Google might not rank you for your choice of phrases, your meaningful and informative content may get picked up by news sites and blogs, and people will link to it. So, now you may need to adjust that content so people associate it with a target keyword; hence, a hybrid of the two processed might be better.
Combining keyword targeting with concept-based targeting
Combining the two techniques in your content creation will allow you to enjoy the merits of both. Generating content that can serve multiple searcher needs and targeting multiple keywords that cater to a certain market can yield better results.
Consider creating an informative piece with target keywords strategically placed in the titles, headlines, sub-headlines, and other areas on your page to draw the searcher volume and get ranked for those keywords that direct traffic to your site on an ongoing basis.
Concept-based targeting is the smarter way to draw traffic, especially when you incorporate topic and concept phrases in the place of keywords. If these phrases are monitored just like keywords for the click-through rate, it can be easier to identify the ones that draw more traffic and capitalise on them (like in keyword targeting).
So, it is not that keyword targeting is entirely useless, but when incorporated in the concept-based targeting methodology, you can achieve greater SEO success.