Search Engine Optimization by Subject, Not by Keyphrase

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Much of the time internet marketers are desperately trying to compete in an oversaturated field.  The reason that site owners look to spam or black hat SEO because it is just so hard to rank high otherwise.  Let’s say you have a about car accessories.  There are a thousand other sites hocking the same products: whether you’re an affiliate marketer or you’re producing original products.  Until you start adding a boatload of quality content and effectively marketing that content online, it can be difficult to pull in a high rank.

Has every topic been covered about car accessories?  When researching site ranking for content online, you should look into how title tags are ranking.  So, for instance, you shouldn’t just be looking to rank for the term, “tire cleaner,” but link for the term “How to clean your tires,” or “Ways to clean tires.”  Just a couple of examples – you could conceivably write 20 articles all on tire cleaning: all with unique content that basically covers the same topic in different ways.  For example, writing about cleaning tires in a hot climate, cold climate, etc.

I’m just pontificating about a possible website (and I haven’t exactly researched these search terms, just using them as an example).  Too often site owners get obsessed with two word keyphrases: clean tires, tire cleaner, cleaning tires, etc.  Those keyphrases are going to be most likely covered anyway.  What is most important is the topic of that content: is the topic oversaturated online or is there a wide opening.  What are the top ranking articles for cleaning tires during the winter months?  What are the titles of those articles?  This should be your prime concern – it’s the way to enter the back door via search engines.  If you’re concentrating too much on how specific keyphrases rank, you are going to find a hard time going up in the ranks.

Web Surfing Habits

So what you should be looking for is what sort of topics are ranking well for your particular type of business.  There are only a handful of phrases surrounding the term “tire cleaning” (tire cleaning, clean tires, etc.) but there many possible titles.  Frequently people put in entire questions into Google because they’re looking for specific type of information.  Most web surfers are savvy enough to know that just typing in “tire cleaning” in Google is going to come up with a bunch of product pages that aren’t exactly helpful.  Reading a product description written by a company’s marketing department isn’t quite as useful as a page of content comparing and contrasting different products or other article-based content.

Surfers are just as likely to type into a search engine, “How to clean tires,” or “Best ways to clean tires,” than they are to type in a two-word keyphrase.  Your job, then, is not just to research those keyphrases – which are obviously important – but the types of content that already exists online.  How can the existing content be improved: both in the information given and the title tag.  Keyphrases will follow.

People inaccurately think that the web has reached saturation point: there’s no way to rank well for a popular product.  This just isn’t true, as there’s a multitude of ways to write about the same subject. Think about it: someone’s personal Blogspot blog with few incoming links can rank for important search phrases.  Who’s to say that someone who is aggressively marketing that content couldn’t get a top ten listing.  The increased visibility will increase site branding and, hopefully, revenue.  How that content is monetized once a surfer reaches your site is another issue, but there are wide open possibilities for creating effective new content.

SEO as Niche Marketing

SEO by subject is sort of like being a marketer in a niche field.  Everybody’s desperate to find a niche market because it’s so much easier to rank.  You have to keep in mind that even highly-popular products have niche marketing possibilities.  The niche isn’t in the product, but in how that product is marketed.  There are still wide open possibilities for new content with a high-ranking title and subject.  You’re much better off taking this approach than trying to rely only on the most popular keyphrases.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, you should approach SEO in the same manner.  Look how content about a particular topic saturates the web, not just keywords.  Is there an opening for new content about a particular topic?  Chances are the answer is yes because there are so many ways a product can be described.  Find appropriate affiliate products and roll with it.  To sum this all up: once you have keyphrases in place, create a long list of titles that will comprise possible searches.  Match these against existing content online and see how that content can be significantly improved.

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