It’s common for the leadership team in a business to think of SEO in terms of keywords.
You ask any board member, at a company, what they know about SEO, and one of the first things they’ll get into are keywords.
SEO and keywords are synonymous to business leaders.
Would you be surprised if I said to you that you’re giving too much focus, too much spotlight, to keywords?
What if I were to say that this focus on keywords is bad for your website growth?
Let’s get into this…
An awareness of keywords and how their targeting is used to drive organic traffic, is great.
I’m not suggesting you stop thinking about keywords – no, no.
What I am suggesting is that keywords are not the most important thing to focus on, when it comes to SEO.
What is the most important thing to focus on, when it comes to SEO, as far as assets are concerned?
It’s pages over keywords.
You see, Google doesn’t rank keywords. They rank pages.
We, SEOs, don’t optimise keywords, we optimise pages.
Pages are key. Pages are essential. Pages are THE most important asset you have, when it comes to owning and running a website.
Think about this, what is the current way you view SEO – from a top-down point of view?
You consider the keywords you’re targeting, right?
What does this focus on keywords lead to…?
It leads to you thinking of rankings.
Rankings of what…?
It leads to you thinking of the rankings of your keywords – and not the rankings of your pages.
Well, if Google ranks pages, why so much focus on the rankings of keywords…?
Think of your top 5 volume-driving keywords that you target.
If you spend so much time and attention on the ranking of these keywords, what would happen if the volume of all of them suddenly dropped?
A similar thing happened relatively recently, didn’t it?
When the pandemic happened in 2020, a large set of keywords, almost immediately, became worthless.
The travel industry massively experienced this issue.
Keywords, almost overnight, didn’t have the same set of meaning any more.
If keywords no longer mean anything, does this mean the pages that targeted the keywords also no longer mean anything?
No – of course not.
Keywords can come and go but pages will always have a value as long as they are geared towards users and not search engines.
See the importance of pages over keywords…?
If your focus is on keywords, your focus will be on rankings, your focus will be on search engines.
If, instead, your focus is on pages, you’ll have and keep users at the centre of your marketing.
Users, and not search engines.
You can, and should, still consider keywords, but as part of the assets within pages, just like you would consider pages as part of the assets of the website as a whole.
The hierarchy is website, pages and then keywords.
This is true for any channel that drives traffic to your website, including the SEO channel.
When you have this hierarchy in mind, you’ll free yourself, and the SEO team, from the danger of focusing on marketing to appease search engines, namely, Google.
Let me tell you something all SEOs know.
Rankings, they fluctuate often. Sometimes, they fluctuate several times a day.
Let me take this a step further –
Rankings, these days, are more personalised than not – yes, even when someone isn’t logged in when they browse.
Focusing, too much, on keywords, is keeping your attention on assets that you really don’t own.
Your high-volume keywords aren’t assets you own and control – you’re simply tapping into them to acquire that traffic.
Giving them so much of your attention is a risk to your traffic acquisition strategy.
What would you do if you remained in the number one position for your high volume keywords but the volume vanished, as they did for some businesses at the start of the pandemic?
What worth is the number one position if the keyword doesn’t bring in any traffic?
Your website on the other hand, with a focus on pages, geared towards users, will always have a worth as long as the pages are servicing the users you aim to acquire.
Your users, or potential users, you see, will always search.
They won’t always search with the keywords you’re targeting. But they’ll always search.
By focusing on serving them with your pages, you can always attract them.
By focusing on the keywords they’re searching with, you’re very likely to reach a point where the keywords no longer have life to them.
This is something that’s not often spoken about by SEOs – keywords have a lifespan to them, a lifespan you do not control.
Your website on the other hand, your web-pages, are within your control, you control the evolution of them.
You’re a lot better off focusing on pages, ensuring all marketing channels acknowledge and market those pages as assets than you are focusing on keywords and where you rank on Google for those keywords.
The latter leaves you very much reliant on Google, which, ultimately, means you’re marketing to Google rather than to your users – or potential users.
So do your business a favour – have less focus on keywords and put more focus on your pages.
Keep your eye on the prize when you market with your website.
What is the prize? Users. Users, and not search engines.