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How Keyword (Ir)Relevancy Can Undermine your Optimization Efforts

keyword relevancy

Optimization of content pages often starts with keyword research. However, compiling a list of keywords to optimize has little value if you ignore keyword relevancy.

Optimizing the wrong keywords the wrong way on the wrong page with the wrong focus may get you rankings, but those rankings will have very little value. The purpose of getting ranked is to drive traffic to your site. And not just any traffic, mind you, but traffic that has a higher probability of turning into customers.

That means that you have to align the keywords with content that matches the intent of the searcher. When a searcher sees your link in the search results and clicks to your site, the page they land on must meet their expectations. Content that is misaligned with the searcher’s need is wasted content.

Topical Match is Not Enough

When performing keyword research, it’s easy to assume keywords are a good match for the content because they match topically. But almost every search phrase has a very specific intent behind it. For example, you may have a page that outlines nutritional value of butter cream pies. Are searchers typing in “butter cream pie” a good match for the content? Probably not. It’s a good bet that those searchers are looking for recipes instead.

Having content that matches the keyword is not the same as having content that matches the intent of the search. Just because you think it’s a fit doesn’t mean the visitor will. This makes finding relevant keywords for optimization a much bigger project than just finding keywords that match the topic. You must optimize for keywords that are relevant to the topic.

Don’t Panic

Now, before you get all worried about getting it right the first time, its not uncommon to optimize a page for a specific angle only to find later that the keywords you’re using are all wrong. This information is uncovered by looking at your analtyics and user behavior on your site. If visitors are bouncing, then you may have a misalignment with keyword relevancy. If visitors are converting, then you have a winner.

Checklist to determine keyword relevancy

  • Find topically relevant keywords for your content.
  • Search each phrase and look at the search results.
    • If results are similar in content to your pages, keyword may be relevant.
    • If results differ a great deal from your content, keywords may not be relevant.

  • Review analytics and user performance of those landing on any given page.
    • High bounce rates may indicate misalignment of keywords
    • High pass through to conversion may indicate keyword alignment.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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