Semantic core and keyword research - Our 44 Step SEO Process
There’s quite a bit of science behind Search Engine Optimisation that's why we have a 44 point process to any SEO Campaign. It’s an area that has constantly developed over the years, mostly in a bid to ensure that the user (ie the person browsing the internet) gets a good experience. And by good experience, we mean easily being able to find the relevant information they are searching for – and not some random article or site that has loads of keywords stuffed into it under false pretences.
Equally it’s not enough to just put good content out there and hope people find it, you have to make sure you’ve left a trail of breadcrumbs for them to follow. There’s no denying this is tricky and there’s a lot to get your head around, but done correctly, this will make every hour of your time, or every penny of your investment with us, worth it.
Determining your ‘semantic core’ and researching keywords is at the very heart of the whole SEO process. Let’s drill down into that a bit further.
Analysing your competitors’ keywords
Researching your competitors is one of the initial stages of any SEO campaign. By this, we mean finding out what specific words people are putting into search engines that take them to the website of a business offering similar services to yours.
If the competitor appears at the top of the list of search results, it means their website contains keywords that have a history of performing well on search engines – that is they are the words people commonly use to search for that service.
Using our specialist tools and knowledge, we can find the search words that your competitors target to drive organic and paid traffic to their websites – and give you an estimate of the costs involved.
These keywords will be equally as good for your website or can be explored to find better ones.
Researching core keywords
Once we know what keywords your competitors are targeting, we need to think about your business-specific keywords – also known in tech terms as the ‘semantic core’ of your website.
This collection of keywords is what helps promote your website and ultimately to achieve better Search Engine Rank Positions (SERPs).
There are a number of things we do to determine your semantic core:
- This involves looking at your business, its specifics and its structure – and identifying the words that best describe it.
- With our specialist tools and expertise in research, we can then begin to collect the search queries that include a head term, or head keyword, of your business niche. If your business is a travel agency, your head term might be ‘travel’ or travelling’. Now what we really want is to develop these head terms into ‘long tail keywords’ – this is a collection of words that people might put into a search engine to narrow the search. If you put ‘travel’ into Google, for example, you can imagine how many results come up and how difficult, nigh on impossible, it would be to rank for that. The aim is to target a number of keywords, including your head term, grouped together, such as ‘cheap travel company Birmingham’.
- We then bring back the list of keywords from your competitors, cross-refer it to your core keywords, and choose the most applicable to your business for you to target.
- Those competitor keywords that don’t relate to your business, or the search queries your business might generate, can be eliminated.
By now, you’ll have a really useful list of keywords that you know are going to drive traffic to your website – as long as they are deployed correctly. These words should be at the centre of your content strategy – they are what all your content should be shaped around.
The keyword grouping stage is about making sure that’s the case. You can’t just stuff all the keywords into every page of your website – this is going to be counter-productive as it would result in keyword cannibalisation, where several pages of a single website compete for the same keyword or phrase.
Instead, we take your final list and split it down into groups/clusters of similar keywords that you can spread evenly around your website and build the wording for each page around.
Like anything on your website, it can’t just be left to stagnate, as the online world changes quickly. We will therefore monitor these keywords and regularly keep an eye on how they are performing. We’ll look at their positions every week, as well as forecasted traffic. This means we’ll pick up on any changes in positions and can review or amend our keyword strategy as needed, to ensure maximum results and performance at all times.
This is a really good start for a successful SEO strategy that actually drives visitors to your website and delivers a return on investment.
In this article, we’ve looked at semantic core and keyword research, the next stage of the journey to perfect SEO is on-site optimisation.