If you’ve already read the unfunnel free eBook with HubSpot, Moz, Distilled and SEO.com – then you have a good head start on this post.
You might be familiar with some of the next steps I’m going to cover. But not all of them – not even close.
By spanking the Private Blog Networks recently, many of which you likely benchmarked, Google has made it tough on SEO’s and it will get tougher.
It’s not getting any easier.
As a matter of fact, if you’re new to SEO, you’re in luck. The rules have changed so much, being a newb is semi-advantageous.
No need to unlearn tactics that no longer work.
But let’s face it – if you’re reading this, you already know how important keyword strategy is to SEO – and to online revenue.
All three of those links basically tell you to…
- Create a seed list of starter keywords
- Expand this list using keyword research and SEO tools
- Refine your list with competitive analysis
So why am I adding one more article to the stack? Here’s the good news. There are still a few SEO tactics that work as well as they always have.
Siloing your Blog Keyword Strategy
A website or blog keyword silo is basically an SEO spreadsheet that allows you to record information about your site at the page level.
Your website SEO keyword silo document might contain only the four columns, including…
- Location – A numbering system helps you ensure web navigation is deep – and pages are tiered and categorized in the site architecture. For example, pages 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc. are nested under page 1.0, which is a category page.
- Page type – Every site will have different page types. Blogs – at minimum – have pages, posts, categories and tags.
- Page name – This could be page name in your CMS or to denote the topic of each webpage. Either way, you’ll need to use this column to express what a page is about.
- Keyword – Most pages should have one target SEO keyword. This is the hrase used in the title tag, meta description, image file name and alt tag. It’s keyword variations can also be used in the body copy.
The first benefit of this SEO keyword strategy template is evident. It gives you a simple way to plan and communicate the SEO keywords that are being targeted at a page level.
How to Use the Silo Template for Blog Post SEO
At least one column in your silo is used to denote the SEO keyword that is being targeted on a page. But the best silo documents don’t stop there.
Here are some other SEO-specific possibilities for columns that can be added to your keyword silo file:
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Primary Keyword
The silo can also be used as reference when you are executing an important SEO tactic, cross-linking.
Cross-linking is the act of linking to a page on your website from a page on your website. If a web page on unfunnel.com mentions ‘types of Facebook metrics‘ — I might cross-link to a page on that topic. See what I just did? :)
Cross-linking your website is a great way to send signals to Google about what a page should rank for in their search results. It works, try it.
In the most extreme case, every page links to the page it’s nested within. For example, using the example silo the cross-linking would look like this,
- 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 link to the 0 page (Home) using the targeted keyword for a page as the anchor text.
- 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc would cross-link to the 1.0 page using the targeted keyword for that page as the anchor text.
- 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, etc would cross-link to the 2.0 page using the targeted keyword for that page as the anchor text.
I think you get the picture. So when you do combine keyword silo structure with cross-linking anchor text, you send a signal telling SERPs what a page is relevant for.
Good content management systems (CMS) and eCommerce platforms make it easy to organize your site to your silo by using categories, tags, product pages, etc.
WordPress is praised by so many people online mainly because it naturally silos your website, categorizes your content and enables full integration with so many apps / widgets.
Advanced Keyword Research Strategies
Effective keyword research is an increasingly important skill for agile marketing. And a necessity for the modern startup.
Not only do you need to know how to develop a solid keyword lineup for targeted SEO traffic – smart online marketers use keyword hacking to find topics they should write about, what phrases they should use while writing and if you’re a startup… what products to develop.
The Long Tail Factor
Google Keyword Planner does not reveal every phrase related to your primary. In fact, it reveals only phrases that have been searched for 120 times during the trailing 12 months.
Google does not reveal what author Chris Anderson calls the long tail. To keep it in check, you should always consider a tool like HubSpot’s keyword tool if you have inbound marketing efforts moving – or even
The keyword phrases Google’s Keyword Planner reveals show about 20 percent of total search volume for a given cluster of keyword phrases.
This means 80 percent of search traffic arrives at your website using long tail keyword phrases used less than 10 times per month.
To discover your entire search universe size, multiply your known keyword universe by five, a number we call the long tail factor.
Search Engine Visibility Rate
This involves applying a visibility percentage for each position from 1 to 30. Nobody searches past page three in 2014 except someone looking for ego.
If we assume…
- 100 percent of searchers see a listing on page one
- 32 percent see a listing on page two
- Less than 7 percent see a listing on page three
Combine this data to estimate the number of SERP impressions your website is receiving during any given period.
This is the easy part. Simply go to your Google Analytics report – or the Hubspot Keyword Tool – and set the date range to include the last 12 months. Then go to the report for organic search engine arrivals.
Predict your Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI)
You can now calculate the Google Visibility Index for any website including your own. Most of my clients have a visibility index of between five percent and 10 percent.
Having a high visibility index is controlled by a number of factors including competition, website architecture, and website content.
Other factors like inbound links and social media participation also impact your website’s position in SERPs on each keyword or phrase in your keyword universe, which is your composite Google Visibility Index.
This data is used to…
- Size the revenue potential for any online business
- Guide website architecture of our website
- Inform day-to-day content development of content producers on our team
When trying to rank well for the one or two topics that your entire site is built around, creating flagship content is your best bet. Whether it’s a tutorial about search engine optimization basics, blogging for beginners, or copywriting, a frequently asked questions page, or an inspirational mission statement, this content serves a vital function in creating a relevant, compelling, and useful cornerstone to build a site around.
A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.
And when approached in a strategic fashion, this content can rank very well in the search engines. The key is creating compelling content that’s worth linking to, and then finding a way to get the word out.
Once you have that cornerstone page, it’s time for the next step: creating internal links for your article. You’re going to do this by figuring out which pages Google already thinks are relevant for your targeted keyword / key phrase. The easiest way to figure out which pages Google thinks are relevant for that keyword is doing a “site:” search in Google. So if I were to try and find the most important page for “website review” within yoast.com, I’d search for:
Pick keyword fights you can win
If you do the math, you’ll realize that there’s a keyword risk ranking inside each keyword cluster in your keyword universe, and this information can help prioritize your choices.
You may discover it’s unwise to target the most popular keyword phrases, especially if there’s a lot of competition for those phrases.
The best SEO keyword strategy is to target keyword phrases that are more modest in popularity, and little competition.
How Silos and Context improve UX
If Google taught us anything over the last few years, it’s that they don’t like people that try to game search rankings. When considering SEO tactics for your website, test any concept or tactic by asking yourself…
“Will this SEO tactic be good for my human site visitors?”
Siloing your website passes the test, organizing site information in an intuitive way. This is good for search engine robots and people. Nothing frustrates users quicker than poor site navigation and information architecture.
Using a keyword silo as your editorial calendar
Add two columns to your silo and you’ve got a very useful editorial calendar. By adding a ‘Published’ and ‘Writer’ column to the silo, you’re now able to track who is writing content and when it is published or due…
More uses for the SEO keyword silo
The beauty of a keyword silo is that it gives you the ability to make notes at the page level. It’s a living document that changes as you create, edit or delete website pages.
- Notes for internal or outside web designers
- Track conversion rates at the page level
- Determine gaps in content strategy or site architecture
- Identify, redirect and/or delete outdated web pages
- Plan for migration or website redesign
The keyword silo truly is a powerful, multi-functional document. Download the SEO keyword silo template below and get started using it. I would love to know how you plan to use it in the comments section below.
The Ultimate Blogging SEO Keyword Strategy Template - FREE DOWNLOAD!
There’s still one tactic that works as well as it did back in the old days.
It's called a keyword strategy, and with it, you'll need a targeted Google keyword silo to be successful.