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Boosting The Performance Of Your Low-end Keywords

Jeff Howard
Expert Author
Published: 2010-09-20

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This post is part two of a two part series that discusses how to identify under performing keywords, and lift traffic by streamlining a SEO work flow. In part one I went over how to identify over or under performing referring keywords. The outcome was a list of phrases that already delivered traffic, but does not rank within the top 3 results.

For this post I'll continue with the example used in the past post (http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com) and demonstrate how to identify actionable SEO tasks that can lift the under performing phrases to a top position.

To help with the next step I recommend using Google Webmaster Tools. Similar to Google Analytics this is a third party software application which will collect a lot of data about your website. Webmasters Tools focuses on collecting data about how Google has indexed and views your website. It is most helpful in this instance when trying to understand how other websites link to your website.

Understanding SEO Task Options

In the first post I concluded that the website http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com would benefit by trying to improve rankings for the phrase "southside restaurants pittsburgh," and also improving the how well optimized the website is for specific restaurant names, and related search terms. Each of these goals could be achieved using one of four SEO tasks. Below is the data used from post one.

Keyword Relevance On Site

This pertains to the frequency of times a specific phrases is mention at your website. To help mine this information we will use a Google command that will retrieve the number of times a phrase is mentioned on a website. In the my example I want to know how many pages list the phrase "pittsburgh southside restaurant." To locate that info I will type into Google this exact phrase "pittsburgh southside restaurant" site:http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com/. Notice no pages are returned. This means the phrase never appears on the website. Not good if the goal is to build a number one ranking. Considering, it might help to adapt the phrase "pittsburgh southside restaurant" into content or meta data throughout the website. Possibly doing so will improve the relevance and lift the position.

Keyword Mentions & Content on Landing Pages

Notice that the phrase "pittsburgh southside restaurant." directs traffic to the site homepage. Go to http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com, use the edit find tool on your web browser and search. Notice the phrase "pittsburgh southside restaurant" isn't present. Creating content (3-4 paragraphs) that mentions the keyword directly would help reinforce its landing page relevance. An additional action item could be creating a page specifically optimized for the keyword and writing content for the pages. But, since this keyword is so closely related to the topic of the homepage that is not necessary.

Getting More External Links

A major factor for driving top rankings are the quantity and quality of other websites linking to your site. Creating highly targeted links can boost positions with more speed than adding content. In the case of http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com I know one way to improve traffic is by building top rankings for restaurant keyword searches. For example traffic is arriving for the phrase "birmingham bridge tavern menu" and the phrase ranks #3. Building links to the page for Birmingham Bridge Tavern (http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com/birmingham-bridge-tavern) would be an excellent way to improve that position (in this case adding content as well). Possibly trying to receive links from the Taverns own website would be one method to build links.

Building links from other websites is the most difficult path to improving ranking, yet most rewarding. Google's webmaster tools makes it easy to find out which websites are linking to yours. To do this open the webmaster tools and go to the tab "Your Site on the Web" then select "Link to Your Site." The list of sites may help find out who has been linking to your website. From there its helpful to get an idea of what type of website is most likely to link to yours. You can also find similar information about your competitors by using Open Site Explorer.

Leveraging Strong Pages

Every website has a number of pages, and all of them usually link to one another. In addition other websites link to specific pages on your website. Most of the time, links are pointing to your homepage, and therefore it is the strongest page in terms of links on your website. By leveraging the power of certain pages you can help improve a specific ranking. Google webmaster tools will help determine which pages collect the most links. A list of internal links can be found under "Your Site on the Web" and then "Internal Links."

In the example of http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com creating links from the homepage to other pages might help boost rankings. For example, if I wanted to boost the rankings for the term "pizza solo pittsburgh" I could add some content about the restruant to the homepage and include a link to http://southsidepittsburghrestaurants.com/pizza-solo. Or if the Pizza Solo page had a number of links and was a strong page I could add content with a link that pointed back to the homepage and included the keyword "pittsburgh southside restaurants " While less powerful than links from other websites using your site's strongest pages is still a option to improve specific keyword rankings.


I hope this post series delivers the nuts and bolts of using data about your website to create a SEO work flow. Ideally this strategy is good for any site owner that is looking for a fresh perspective on SEO, or needs an increased level of organization so that SEO work can be paired with direct results. Since every keyword competes with different websites in its own niche there is no bullet proof formula to improve rankings for any one website. Trying each different tactic on a small scale will help ensure your time is used most effectively on SEO. Once a strategy relieves itself successful it can be scaled across the website.


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About the Author:
Jeff Howard is a guest author on expand2web. Jeff has delivered SEO results for major consumer oriented websites all the way down to local businesses, and writes a column for Search Engine Guide.

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