What is Keyword Difficulty?

There are many ways to reach the point where you have a list of keywords to target. And then arrange them by search volume, as many SEOs (including me) do. Let's say you already have this for a second, right?

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Market Your Services with Keywords

Building Visibility with Expert SEO Keyword Integration

If an SEO expert did a good job, he would ensure keyword visibility, traffic, and ultimately allow the site to be monetized.

Unfortunately, this does not happen in most cases or takes longer than expected. There is usually a reason for this.

There is a step that is usually not considered: evaluating keyword difficulty does not just depend on a single metric served by various SEO tools out there.

I know that it is easy to see numbers like 26, 90, or 66 and you get a feeling like you’ve done the work and you know. There is no doubt that those numbers are helpful and they are a pretty good first filter to estimate our chances for the top ten.

If you invest some extra time on analyzing your target phrase you would feel much relaxed. And you might save yourself from spending money on the content which may not provide you the expected results.

Here you will learn how to set realistic goals and deal with keywords that are out of your reach.

Things to Keep In Mind

Evaluating Keyword Difficulty

Domains are called “strong” thanks to two main factors: their backlinks profile and overall visibility in search results. Those strong domains and their high authority pages are your worst enemies when you compete for a keyword.

When you have backlinks and rank high in thousands of SERPs, Google likes you more. It will even give some slack for difficult keywords and rank not-so-well-optimized content. Small website owners very often pour their hearts and souls into content that overall delivers better value. But they may never get to the top ten anyway.

Secondly, high authority pages’ brands can steal clicks in a SERP. Because we’re constantly exposed to some big names, human brains may steer our click to Amazon rather than some unknown small e-commerce store. Or Business Insider article rather than a blog post from some unfamiliar domain—even if it ranks higher!

It is better for us if we don’t have to compete with those high-authority websites.

An easy way to recognize them in SERP, is to check their traffic among the other ranking pages. You can use Surfer’s SERP Analyzer for this or Keyword Surfer free extension (it provides data for the top 10). If you see a spike like this, you have identified a high authority page.

The more pages with high authority in the top ten, the fewer competitors you can probably outrank. It makes the SERP harder to take over.

There will always be one or two strong domain ranking for your phrase. The problem is when there are mostly or exclusively those domains.

How to Compare Yourself

There is no need to be very diligent. You just need to check the order of magnitude and see if you are on the same level as it is obvious that a page with ten thousands of organic visitors can’t easily outrank one with millions.

SERPs often have results split into two buckets—smaller niche relevant pages and high authority sites.

The 5:5 ratio in the top ten (pages you can outrank vs high authority pages) is a dead center. You should not bother too much with keywords that have 6 and more high authority pages in SERP.

Pages I Can Outrank- The New Metric for Research

Use the ratio as given above to prioritize keywords on your to-do list. There is no point in starting with a term that has 9 results in the top 10 that are too strong for your domain.

Add a new column to your keyword research sheet that will have this information.

For example if you have 7 low authority pages vs 3 outstanding domains, you can go for it!

Tactics When I Am Strong Enough

For search terms that you can tackle right away, the recipe is very simple. Write optimized content in the SEO Content Editor and link the new article internally from related and already ranking posts. Here is a complete guide on how to write with Surfer.

With some little work you can nail those keywords.

Let’s get to the topic of this article, that is…

    “What should I do when my page is too weak even if compared to the niche sites bucket?”

Building Credibility for The Domain

Usually we have two ways of building credibility for the domain. You can agree for a long-term strategy—that is growing your content consistently on less popular keywords that will create topical relevance for the whole domain. Easy peasy, right? 🙂

There is a shortcut to high credibility and, of course, it is called link building. Put some content on the website and start building links to get noticed.

Both tactics work well but the real magic happens when there is the resemblance between link building and creating high quality page content.

Let’s start with the backlinks building tactics for credibility growth.

Quality Backlinks Building

Which backlink is stronger for the “best protein powder” keyword—the one from Forbes? Or a much smaller, but relevant page that ranks well in the niche?

Well, this question originally comes from Matt Diggity and his answer is:

“The strongest backlink you can get for “best protein powder” page is from the page that ranks #1 for “best protein powder”. Google’s already decided it the most relevant and authoritative URL in the world for that keyword.”

I believe it’s easier to write a guest post or get a link in any other way from a niche website than Forbes. So that’s great news!

Writing a guest post for this top ranking domain is basically “renting” the first spot. Now THAT’S a nice perspective!

Break it Down

What Are The Different Types Of SEO?

At Syndiket, we believe four types of SEO exist – and we have an acronym to represent those 4 types of SEO. The acronym is T.R.A.P. 

“T” stands for Technical, “R” stands for Relevancy, “A” stands for Authority, and “P” stands for popularity. Search engine optimization has many smaller divisions within the 4 types, but all of them can be placed into one of these 4 buckets.

Generally, technical SEO for local businesses carry the least importance for ranking. Technical SEO has a bare minimum that is required and this usually includes things like site speed, indexation issues, crawlability, and schema. Once the core technical parts are done, minimal upkeep is required.

Relevancy is one of trivium elements of SEO. It has equal importance with popularity signals and authority signals. Relevancy signals are based on algorithmic learning principles. Bots crawl the internet every time a searcher has a search. Each search is given a relevancy score and the URLs that pop up for a query. The higher the relevancy score you attain, the greater your aggregated rating becomes in Google’s eyes. Digital marketing is a strange thing in 2020, and ranking a website requires the website to be relevant on many fronts.

Google’s Co-creator, Larry Page, had a unique idea in 1998 which has led to the modern-day Google Empire. “Page Rank”, named after Larry Page himself, was the algorithm that established Google as a search engine giant. The algorithm ranked websites by authority. 

Every page of a website has authority and the sum of all pages has another authority metric. The authority metric is largely determined by how many people link to them (backlinks). The aggregate score of all pages pointing to a domain creates the domain score, which is what Syndiket calls “Domain Rating”, per Ahrefs metrics. The more a site is referenced, the more authority it has. But, the real improvement to the algorithm came when Google began to classify authority weight. 

If Tony Hawk endorsed Syndiket for skateboarding, it would carry a lot more authority than 5 random high school kids endorsing Syndiket. This differentiation in authority happened in 2012 with the Penguin update. Authority SEO is complicated but VERY important.

Popularity signals are especially strong for GMB or local SEO, but popularity and engagement are used for all rankings. The goal of this signal is for Google to verify its own algorithm. You can check off all the boxes, but if your content is something real people hate, Google has ways to measure that. Syndiket has proprietary methods of controlling CTR (click-through rate) but we also infuse CRO methods into our work to make sure people actually like the content. Social shares and likes are also included in this bucket.

My Go-To Strategy for Keywords I Can’t Tackle at The Moment

  • Find a website that is related to your content where you can publish.
  • Make sure it is allowed to rank for the keyword (the high authority: low authority pages ratio works at your advantage).
  • Create a top-optimized content that not only links to you but smuggles a CTA for whatever your page offers as well.

By this you can have your content in the top ten without strong domain and eventually have two results in the top—your grown-up domain and the guest post itself. Bonus—no one else will be able to get that link.

Optimize Pages That Link to You

The beauty is that you have full control on page SEO. In guest posting, you will not be able to influence the architecture and make technical improvements;  But you can and you must enhance the article.

Don’t waste energy on posting for the link. You want your guest post to be read. Otherwise, it is a lost opportunity for much stronger backlink and potential (yeah chances are low but still) traffic.

Imagine this:

A plumber writes for a local news site on how to self-repair leaking taps. Some might think that he will lose his potential clients because people will restore him. Well, when someone is interested in making repairs, he will still receive information. Imagine someone just checking to see if this is an easy task, and a comprehensive article shows that he needs a wrench that he does not have. What else does he get? Contact your nearest professional who can do the job. The plumber has already proven his skill in sharing knowledge. So now he is a reliable contractor and is likely to get a new client.

If that was a link built by the cheap agency, he would probably end up with a 300 words article about dripping tap that barely got indexed.

Action Plan

  • Make sure that the content is interesting with a backlink and it provides a value to a reader.
  • Optimization of the article with data from other well-ranking pages.
  • Review the site that you will post on and find related articles that could possibly link to you internally. It will strengthen the article and speed up indexing.
  • Throw some links at the article—even a bunch of no-follows can help.

Outreach Link Building

In 99% of cases when people try to do this, manual outreach does not work (yes, I over did this number, but you get the point). Why is this? Well, they make the same mistake with a boring pitch, which is basically immediately crushed.

There is one easy trick that can raise your chances with the outreach link building that Matt Diggity told recently [LINK BUILDERS HATE HIM].

Is a unique, 1k words long content a real value proposition?

No, it is worthless. You can find people who charge $20 for that.

That’s the kind of pitch that will rarely get a positive response.

As an article provider, you should offer something else to your publisher. Something that shows you as a guy or girl who knows his/her job. You can add a SEO-optimized set of adjectives in your feed, but … can you win this blog post with empty buzzwords?

Here's another idea: make your pitch data-driven!

Do a content gap analysis in Ahrefs with the weakest competitors. That way, you will get a set of keywords that they rank for and you’re not. It shows off your professional approach and gives your pitch a nice hook.

This page is much smaller than you and ranks for it, I can help you take them over with my article!

According to Matt, he offers a topic based on the research of the contest participants, as well as on increasing the number of responses and conversions using case studies from previous publications.

Show that you can add additional traffic and support yourself with data to convince the site owner. Matt raised the outreach conversion rate by 64% after introducing this method. Be like Matt.

Read the full case study here.

Give it a try, especially these days when we are all tight on the budget.

Paid Links

There is another shortcut as well if you have limited time and want the links right away

Want More Info?

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Syndiket Marketing 
1033 Demonbreun St, Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 551-5257

Syndiket is a Nashville based digital marketing agency with a strong emphasis on SEO, PPC, & Web Design. Your clients are searching for you. Be there with Syndiket.

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