VisitScotland, one of our longest-standing and most loved search clients, came to us with a challenge.
They have a plethora of keywords which they track, and as such they wanted us to quantify how well each keyword is optimised on their site – how often a given keyword is mentioned and where it is mentioned – as well as its current trajectory, how often the keyword is being searched for historically, currently, and even in the future.
This is what the keyword content analysis tool aims to achieve: identify current and upcoming trending keywords, then subsequently report on how and where they are mentioned across the site, or the lack thereof.
How do we define a trending keyword?
By looking at the historical search volumes of individual keywords, we can track their historical trends over time. For example, let us consider the keyword “Santa Claus”, we would expect this keyword to have relatively low search volumes during the middle of the year, increasingly large search volumes over the winter period and then fall soon after the Christmas holidays. This is what we mean when we talk about “how is this keyword trending?”.
Defining a metric which can quantify the month-on-month trend of a given keyword and applying it to historical data gives us a very powerful lens on where we should be prioritising our SEO efforts in the coming months. After a few iterations, the eventual definition we landed on is search velocity, it is given this name as it mirrors what a traditional velocity aims to reflect – the magnitude and direction at which something is travelling, the something in our case being keyword search volume
To summarise, we look at a given keywords’ month-on-month search volumes, then using this data we apply the search velocity metric which gives us a quantitative description of how that keyword trended over that month. If we assume that keywords have seasonality - many of which do - then we can then use historical data to predict what the coming months may hold for keywords. Not only this, but we can also aggregate this keyword data into keyword categories to see how different categories are performing.
How do we perform content analysis?
By tracking a keyword’s reference in different HTML elements (title, body, h1 etc.) across all pages on a client’s site, we can then aggregate this collected data to see how and where the keyword is being mentioned.
What kind of insights can we hope to achieve?
Cubed stores many different metrics surrounding a keyword, the ones heavily utilised in the keyword content tool being search volume, keyword position, search velocity and keyword mentions across HTML elements on a particular page (and across the site by proxy).
Using the previously mentioned metrics, we can offer actionable insights. Consider a particular keyword that is sitting on the cusp of page one in the search engine results page (say position 11). If we can see that this keyword is expected to trend upwards in the coming months, and it isn’t mentioned nearly enough across the site, this is a perfect candidate for optimisation.
We know that the exemplary keyword is close to being on the first results page, which suggests that investing resources into improving its keyword position is worthwhile, provided it’s likely to trend upwards in the coming weeks/months. Remember, thanks to our search velocity metric we can deduce whether it is likely to do so.
If it is indeed true that the keyword is likely to trend upwards, the client can create new content on topics surrounding the keyword, or simply optimise current pages using the keyword content report. Since more people are likely to search for that word in the coming weeks/months – thanks to our search velocity metric – the client can expect to see additional traffic to their site. Notice that we can target keywords which offer the least amount of work with a lot to gain, this is the power of the keyword content analysis tool we offer at Cubed.
Also consider, that very rarely do single keywords work in isolation. While it may be a given keyword that stands out in terms of the highest opportunity for optimisation, it is highly likely that there will be several related keywords which also receive potential benefit as part of any optimisation.
On the other hand, we can also flip-the-script and see where we are investing too much time currently. Say we are producing campaigns surrounding a particular category X. However, after reviewing category X’s search velocity score, we see that it is likely to trend down in the coming weeks/months based on historical data. Consequently, we can act accordingly and begin to reinvest resources into other areas where opportunities are likely to arise.
As a concrete example, one of our clients tracks the category Outdoor Activity which was expected to trend upwards more than any other category they track during Q4 of 2022.
We were able to dive into specific keywords within this space to see which trending topics arose, the keyword content tool identified skiing as being the most likely topic to trend in Q4. We were able to identify three primary keywords related to skiing, with solid search velocities (suggesting increased month-on-month search volumes in the near future) and which sat on the cusp of page 1 of the SERPs (positions 11-20). After identifying these keywords, we were able to deep dive into the client’s content surrounding skiing and make recommendations which could lead to increased traffic.
Would your brand benefit from understanding the trends within your sector? We bet you would. Get in touch with Ross Foley to find out how we can help.