Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed drastically in the last couple of years. Algorithms used by popular search engines Bing, Yahoo!, and Google have been in a constant state of evolution. Earlier this year, Google came out with “Fred.”
In the beginning, these three major search engine giants were distinct in terms of the results they returned for searches.
Bing excelled at finding the “little guys” while Yahoo! Did well turning up news on the first page. Meanwhile, Google was the master at returning exact match searches.
Now, they’re all focusing on Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI. The results are similar, although Google has more ads.
Forget about exact match – dive into your niche with LSI
Exact match searches are not entirely defunct, but exact match is standing on its last leg waiting for the final kick.
That’s not bad news if you’ve got a niche business. In fact, the more specific your specialty is, the more LSI will work to your advantage. The more context you can provide for users, the better.
For instance, if you’re running a dog grooming business, it would be to your advantage to publish content specific to each type of breed you groom. That way, when people search for “poodle groomers in San Francisco,” you’re more likely to come up in the results. Only publishing content related to being a groomer will push you to the bottom, while other websites with content relevant to grooming poodles will be at the top.
The biggest advantage of a niche business is that you can let go of scrambling to rank for competitive keywords.
The days of “competitive keywords” are over
Broader keywords are great for setting the framework of a relevant context, but more specific words and phrases are needed to capture visitors from organic search. A good example of this advantage can be seen in the field of law.
For instance, a personal injury attorney will take on many cases throughout their career. These injury cases can include everything from car accidents to unsafe products. Those are competitive keywords. Personalized search throws a wrench in the very idea of even ranking for competitive keywords like those. Even the richest attorney couldn’t buy their way to the top of everyone’s personalized search results.
To get their website found in the search engines, they’ll need to do more than just call themselves a personal injury attorney. They can list all the types of cases they take, but higher authority domains publishing the same basic subject matter will keep them buried.
Effective SEO isn’t so much about ranking for competitive keywords as it is about leveraging the power of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and ranking for keywords related to a niche. The key is to discover what those keywords are – and their related phrases – that people will actually search for.
Think like your potential client or customer
From an injured patient’s point of view, they will search for lawyers who specialize in their specific type of injury. If they search for a lawyer online, the keywords they use will be related to their injury as well as how they received the injury.
Few lawyers specialize in a niche that might pop up in organic search results, but this firm does. Traumatic brain injury is a specific term patients will hear while they’re going through treatment and recovery. This makes them more likely to search for a lawyer using that phrase in conjunction with other keywords.
What words and phrases are familiar to your clients/customers?
When someone wants to find your services, what are some of the words and phrases they might hear and/or already be familiar with? You’ll need to use your brain for this; there’s no magic tool.
Search engines stopped providing access to their search databases years ago, so it’s impossible to find out what specific phrases are being typed into the search bar. To find out what subjects and phrases you should be publishing on your website, you’ll need to do some thinking.
Contrary to popular belief, the Adwords keyword planning tool has never been an accurate reflection of the keywords people search for, though that’s what it’s been used for since its inception.
Think about your niche and what unique words and phrases people might use to find you. Think like your customers to reach more people through LSI. Expand the context of your niche to take advantage of SEO before it’s gone for good.