Strategic Phase

Keyword metrics attained in the Discovery Phase are used to develop a winning Organic Optimization strategy.

Considerations include:

  • Finalizing a keyword list
  • Single or Multiple websites
  • Mapping keywords to specific website page types

Final Keyword List

When keyword Market and Competitive Attributes are evaluated keywords may be classified by their “SEO strength” or Tier.

During the Discovery Phase, the list of keywords for consideration may be quite large. That list may be reduced when keyword popularity, relevancy and PPC alternative costs are considered. In the Strategic Phase, keywords are matched to current or future website assets (pages).

Tier 1 keywords requiring the combination of strong page and backlink optimization must be matched to website pages with similar strength. If a target website attracts backlinks to its home page only, then the home page alone must support all Tier 1 keywords. If Tier 1 keywords also require strong title keyword density, the number of keywords must be limited.

In some cases, websites may have more than one page attracting backlinks. Typically, these are large portal websites with distinctively different sections. In practice, these different sections act as separate websites, each with their own pseudo home page.

In rare cases, a website may offer content referred to as “link bate”. This special content attracts backlinks due to its perceived value to the internet visitors. Link bate pages may include:

  • Specialized on-line tools
  • On-line games
  • Particularly newsworthy or insightful articles
  • Unique and valued on-line resources

Most often, however, websites lack the ability to attract backlinks to interior pages leaving only the home page to receive backlink reputation. In these cases, Tier 1 keywords must be limited to between 1 and 3 (depending on the title density requirements for each keyword).

Single or Multiple websites

When the number of Tier 1 keywords exceed that which can be supported in a single website, multiple websites must be considered.

In the past, webmasters created several different domains with the same content. However, this strategy is now considered SPAM and can result in website penalties. Now, each website must have unique and valued content specifically crafted to attract a desired backlink reputation.

The most common architecture for consumer websites is to create totally separate and distinct websites. One website may focus on “mortgages” while another on “re-financing”.

Although this strategy can apply to b2b websites (one site dedicated to “ball bearings” and another to “roller bearings”), brand identity may be more important. To preserve branding, several websites with sub-domains can be created (e.g. wireless.att.com, consumer.att.com, business.att.com …).

These sub-domains can be maintained as stand-alone websites or under a corporate shell.

The corporate shell serves the needs of the corporation with appropriate links. Each sub-domain has a pseudo home page and main-menu structure dedicated to its products or/and services.

Keyword Map

Once the website strategy is defined, assignment of keyword to each page can begin. Keywords are assigned to pages that can be optimized to meet or exceed competitive ranking attributes. Pages should have a minimum of 250 words in paragraph format and be contextually relevant to support strong keyword density.

Keyword to page assignment begins with the most competitive and/or important keywords. They are assigned to the pages that have the strongest optimization potential (typically the home page). Less competitive keywords are assigned to 1st level interior pages where Google PageRank is still strong. The least competitive keywords are assigned to 2nd and 3rd level interior pages such as product or store pages where optimization opportunities are weakest.

Conclusion

Matching keywords to specific website assets (pages) starts with an understanding of the SEO “strength” of each keyword. Tier 1 keywords are the most competitive and often must be limited in number to maintain strong title densities.

Lower strength keywords may be matched to interior pages where PageRank is still strong enough to favorably compete.