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You find a great keyword. It looks nice and easy, so your blog should have no problems getting to the top page in Google.
So you write about it. You do a great job and you’re excited about the possibilities. You share it on social media, you even built a few links.
But it’s been a year and still nothing. Your post comes in at #30 and that’s on a good day.
What went wrong?
There are many different answers to this question, but I’d start by asking..
How relevant is your site compared to the other sites ranking on the top page for your main keyword?
Relevancy is HUGE and if you’re not sure what I mean OR if you don’t look at relevancy when you are looking for your main keyword, you could be wasting a lot of time writing posts that have no chance of getting to those sweet top spots in Google.
Conversely, you could be missing out on great opportunities where you could rank. This could be for keywords that you may have dismissed as too difficult but the relevancy of your blog could help you hit those top spots with little effort.
In this tutorial, I’m going to walk through what relevancy is, what you need to look for to identify if your site is relevant for a keyword, how to use relevancy to your advantage and how to make your site more relevant.
Sound good? Keep reading below!
Note: This is an advanced SEO tutorial. Make sure you already understand how to find keywords in this tutorial before you read this one.
You will learn...
- What relevancy means in SEO
- What topics your site is relevant for
- How to do main keyword research for relevance
- How to make your site more relevant for a topic
What Relevancy Means in SEO
When Google is working out what to display first in search results, one of the key attributes it looks for is relevancy. Search engines are looking to find which websites in their index match what the user is looking for.
Relevancy is REALLY important to search engines.
That’s because they’re aiming to give people searching the best possible experience. They want to return the best information on the topic that is available on the Internet. Because if they give people searching a bad experience, people will stop using Google. And then they will stop making money from the advertising they put in search results.
The closer the results are to what the searchers are looking for, the better the experience and the more trust people have in Google
Relevance on both a topic and keywords relates not just to the post that you’ve written the keywords to, but also the content that surrounds it.
PLUS! If you want to REALLY amp your SEO to the max then you should ensure that links to the content should be relevant too.
What does this mean in reality?
It means if you have a recipe blog and you write a post about a workout routine, you are going to struggle to get search traffic for it.
Google just isn’t going to see your site as relevant for that topic.
It will view that workout routine as an orphan or island post. You’ll find it much easier to rank for more recipe posts in the short term.
What topics are your site relevant for
Generally, these are going to be within your niche, but your degree of relevance will vary. You may have, for instance, a fitness blog, but if most of your content is about running, then you’ll have a higher degree of relevance about that.
If you then write about cycling you may be slightly relevant, but not as relevant as if you’d written another post about running.
What does this mean in reality?
If you write on a topic that you already rank for you can successfully compete for more difficult keywords.
So, in my fitness example, if you write to a keyword about running you are likely to be able to compete for much more difficult competition keywords than if you wrote about cycling. And if you suddenly decided to write about Thailand, then you shouldn’t expect to rank. At all.
How to Find Out What Topics You Are Relevant For
Often the best way to work out what your site is relevant for is to look at what brings you organic search traffic from Google.
Here’s how you can do an SEO Relevance Audit to find out if you’re likely to rank for a topic area.
- Go to Google Analytics
- Click on Acquisition > Channels
- Click on Organic Search
- Set the secondary dimension to Behavior > Page
- See which posts people are going to.
- Look at your Top 25 posts
- Is there a pattern?
- Do your top search posts fall into certain categories?
- Are they about a particular topic?
If there is a certain topic that seems to go very well on your site, then if you write to more keywords on this topic then those articles are likely to go well too.
Want to learn more about SEO?
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How to Do Main Keyword Research for Relevance
There are several things to look for beyond just making sure the topic is one that Google is likely to consider your site an authority for. This is on-site relevance and here’s what to look for in your keyword research.
1. The Top Level Domain Lean of The Top 10 Ranking Posts
In either Google search results or your keyword research tool make sure that the majority of the top 10 sites are the same as yours in terms of top level domain. The easiest way to do this is to check the LEAN of the top level domains.
Are there are a lot of .edu or .gov sites in the top 10? Lots of e-commerce sites? Videos?
If your site is a .com site and the top 10 are primarily made up of .edu ’s for instance, then move on. It will be much harder for you to rank. Equally, if they are all e-commerce sites – then your article on for instance Best Washing Machines will have a hard time ranking.
2. Look at the location of the sites
I can’t stress how important it is when you’re doing keyword research to set the geographic location. You need to look at the geographic location of those sites ranking in the top 10. If they’re all .com.au for instance or a large percentage of them are, then this isn’t a good keyword for you – unless you have a .com.au domain.
3. The relevancy of the sites that are ranking
If the sites that are in the top 10 are very specialist on the topic and you’re not, then you’re going to struggle to rank.
If your article is about things to do in Bali and seven of the top 10 are sites that focus just on Bali, you are going to struggle unless your site is also a specialist Bali site.
This works in your favour if you are the specialist and those sites ranking are not. You’ll be able to rank for much more competitive keywords.
How to make your site more relevant for a topic
There are three primary elements that you can work on to make your site more relevant for a topic:
Make Your Site More Relevant With...
- On-page relevance, which includes specific content and metadata relevance
- On-site relevance, where you’re ensuring that the remainder of your site (or part of it at least) is relevant to the topic in question
- Third party or link relevance.
On-Page Relevance – Content
I’m going to say it again. Your content needs to be relevant. And useful. And in-depth. If you’re including images and videos make sure they’re relevant. If you truly want to rank for a keyword and a topic, then including random gifs or videos in a completely unrelated post is going to work against you.
On-Page Relevance – Meta Data
It’s not just text that search engines look at when calculating relevancy. They also look at elements like images and videos. You can also create additional relevance by ensuring that you have optimised meta elements such as the title, the URL, meta description and alt tags of images.
There’s no doubt about it, though, the best way to make your site more relevant for a topic is to add more content on that topic. In the example, I used earlier about fitness – if you want to become more relevant for cycling, write a whole series on cycling.
Third Party or Link Relevance
There’s a tendency sometimes to build links for the sake of links. When someone clicks on those links to your website they’re expecting to find out more about that topic. If they don’t find what they need, or what they’re expecting then they leave. If this continues to happen, then Google notices and your irrelevant link building strategy can cause more harm than good.
You should work to get highly relevant links – in this example specialist cycling sites would seriously increase your relevance in that area.
The best way that you can build those high-quality relevant links to create in-depth relevant content that is naturally going to attract links..
We may all aim for links from higher domain authority sites, but if the link is irrelevant it’s potentially harmful, much better to build links from highly relevant sources, which in turn delivers better-targeted traffic to your site.
It is really easy to spot the green KeySearch “easy competition” keyword and dive in.
It’s just as important, if not more so, to look carefully at the existing top 10 posts when you’re looking for the main keyword. You need to make sure that your site is relevant for the keyword and ideally more relevant than the current top 10. If that’s not the case, then you need to have a plan to make it so or move on.
I also talk about how relevancy plays a big part in the success of new blogs in my mini-lesson here.
Feeling overwhelmed or confused? Sign up for my 7-Day SEO Boost Challenge where I walk you through how to get crazy amounts of traffic from search engines by focusing on the 80/20 of SEO.