What is keyword (medium and tail) and keyword research?

Hey, what’s up? Welcome to the third lesson of Module 1.

By now you should have a list of Linkreators and a handful of topics that they tend to talk about and share.

And that already puts you ahead of 23rds of most other people doing SEO
right now.

OK so now that you’ve found a topic that your Linkreators tend to share, it’s
time to find a keyword that matches that topic.

But not just any keyword: a medium tail keyword.

And you’ll do that by following my simple 3-step system for finding awesome keywords.

But first, let me quickly explain why we put keyword research last in this
Module.

After all, you may have heard that keyword research is the first step in any
SEO process.

And while you CAN kick things off with keywords, there’s a huge problem
with that approach:

Most keywords aren’t on topics that appeal to the linkreators!

Instead, it’s best to start with a linkreators-driven topic first…then drill down to specific keywords.

Let me emphasize something: this is a major strategic shift compared to how
most people practice SEO.

But it works.

Instead of hoping and praying people will link to your content…you can be
confident because you know that you’re creating content that appeals to your
Linkreators.

Let me give you an example of how this applies to keyword research:

Let’s say you had a site about weight loss

Most people would head to the Google Keyword Planner and choose
keywords that get a decent search volume.

For example, you might see a keyword like “low fat recipes”. It gets 8,100
searchesmonth. Looks good, right?

Well here’s the problem:

That keyword MIGHT be on a topic that the linkreators tend to link to…but
then again…maybe not.

And unless you do the research from lessons 1 and 2 of this module, you
won’t know until it’s you already create your content. By then, it’s too late.

Instead, it makes much more sense to find topics that your linkreators love
FIRST…and tailor your keyword research around those topics.

And that’s what I’m going to show you how to do, step-by-step, in this lesson.

But first, we need to have an honest discussion about long tail keywords.

As you may know, the majority of keywords that people search for online are
long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords tend to have low search volumes…but also low
competition.

And that’s why long tail keywords appeal to so many people:

They think: “Why would I go after one highly-competitive keyword when I can optimize 5 pages around 5 easy long tails?”.

In other words, instead of trying to rank for a tough keyword like “best digital camera”, people try to rank for keywords like “best Nikon camera under $500”  or “best digital camera for business”.

How to find keywords?

The idea behind this approach is that the 5 long tails are easier to rank for.


And if you add the search volume of those 5 long tail keywords together, they equal the search volume of a single high-volume term.

On the surface, that sounds like a GREAT strategy.

In fact, it’s an approach that several companies have tried…most of which still struggle with today’s new world of SEO.

I already touched on why long tail keywords can hurt your SEO efforts in the
introductory module.

But let me tell you a quick story about why chasing the long tail is usually a
VERY bad idea:

Before I got serious about SEO I used to write for Livestrong.com.

It wasn’t the most exciting or fulfilling work, but at $25 per article, the pay
was a notch above what I was getting as a freelance writer on Elance.

And because I could do it from anywhere, Demand Media, the parent
company of Livestrong, basically funded a year of travel in Southeast Asia.

Just so you know, this isn’t a rinky dink operation: Demand Media is a
publicly traded company. And they decided to live and die the long tail.

This happens to be the exact same flawed keyword approach many people
take to this day.

Anyway, when I wanted to write for them, I would log into my writer’s area
and go to something called the “titles queue”.

Generally they had about 25,000 titles at any given time that you could write
an article around.

And all of these titles revolved around long tail keywords.

The thing was, many of the titles were about the same exact topic.

For example, I’d usually write 10 articles per day. I could usually find 5-8 that were on the same subject.

The titles would be things like: “7 foods that fight fat”, “which foods burn fat”, and “5 snacks for burning fat”.

As you can probably guess, the content for each of those articles would
pretty much be the same.

After many years of seeing sites like Livestrong push out long tail-focused
content, Google went after them with their Panda update.

And they lost more than 50% of their traffic overnight.

But Panda was just part of their problem: because Livestrong didn’t have any Power Pages on their site, they couldn’t build any quality links!

So basically they had thousands upon thousands of pages with nothing to
show for it.

Now I’m not totally hating on long tail keywords. In some cases, they can
work well.

But it’s important to know why the long tail keyword-focused approach
doesn’t work today…and why it will be even less effective in the future.

What is Long Tail Keywords?

The first issue is Google Panda, which I already touched on. This is an update
that specifically targets sites that tend to publish long tail keyword-focused
content.

Second, there’s Semantic search…also known as Google Hummingbird. This
update is slowly making most long tails obsolete.

With Semantic search, instead of viewing two long tail keywords like “retro
video game consoles” and “old video game systems” as separate…Google
considers them one and the same.

Which means they show very similar results for both keywords.

As I’ll show you later in this lesson, Medium tails allow you to rank for your
target keyword…and hundreds of long tails.

Also, when you have a Power Page, you don’t need to worry about semantic
search. Google will WANT to show your site to more people.

Speaking of Power Pages, long tails make it impossible for you to create the
Power Page-level content that gets results today.

The fact is, a high-quality Power Page requires quite a bit of time and effort.

And it’s simply not possible to create a Power Page around dozens of long
tail keywords.

Because when you chase the long tail, you need to bang out dozens of
articles to make it worth your while. And that means an inevitable sacrifice in
quality and promotion.

Finally, the long tail approach dilutes your site’s link authority…also known as
PageRank.

Not many people talk about this, but a big site isn’t necessarily SEO friendly.

All those pages on big sites dilute authority that should be concentrated on
pages that you want to rank for most.

In fact, whenever I take on a new client I look to delete around 15-25% of the
dead weight pages on their site.

Dead weight pages are pages low-quality blog posts, archive pages, and
duplicate or thin content pages.

Even if they’re not hit by Panda, I pretend they are. And I mercilessly delete
anything that doesn’t provide value.

Sometimes I end up deleting 50% of their pages.

Despite what you may have heard about big authoritative sites, a small, tight
site built around Power Pages performs better in Google.

For example, at Organic Seo Fuel right now, I have 31 total posts published on the
site. Not very many.

And as you’ve already seen, I’m ranking for some very competitive
keywords….above sites with thousands of pages.

And it’s because I made sure all 30 of my posts were Power Pages.

Also, the authority that I get from link building concentrates in those 30
pages, making each of them more likely to rank not just for medium tail
keywords, but for hundreds of long tails to boot.

If I had 200 pages instead of 30, that authority would be diluted across all 200
pages. And I wouldn’t rank for the competitive keywords that I rank for today.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the Organic Seo Fuel keyword research
process. Specifically, how to find Medium Tail Keywords.

When you create your first “Power Page”, you want to optimize it around a
medium tail keyword.

But you may be wondering:

What if you have a site or a client’s site that’s targeting a keyword like,
“muffler repair Atlanta”.

Or what if you’re an ecommerce site targeting a keyword like “cheap yoga
mats”?

No worries, I’ve got you covered.

If that’s the case you don’t want to optimize your Power Page around one of
those buyer keywords.

It’s going to be impossible to create a real, value-adding piece of content
around a keyword like “muffler repair atlanta”.

So if your target keyword is a buyer keyword like “muffler repair atlanta”, you
still want to create a Power Page and optimize it around a medium tail
keyword.

And you can use your Power Page to rank higher for your buyer-focused
keywords like “cheap yoga mats” .

How? A process called Authority Sculpting.

Here’s how it works:

First, optimize your product or category page around the buyer keyword
“cheap yoga mats”. Just like you normally would.

Then , you create your “Power Page” around a related topic, like yoga for
weight loss or yoga poses for a bad back…whatever the linkreators would be
likely to share.

And when you funnel authority from your Power Page to your product and
category pages, your product pages will rank higher.

How does this work?

When your Power Page starts attracting links, it will boost your commercial
landing pages and ecommerce category pages in two ways:

First, it will boost the domain authority of the site, which gives all pages on
your site a boost.

Second, you can internally link from your Power Page to landing pages. This
is called Authority Sculpting. This sends authority directly to your landing
page.

And when you have a handful of Power Pages on your site, it’s almost like
having a blog network on your own site.

Whenever you add a new landing page or product, just go to one of your
Power Pages, add an internal link, and it’ll receive authority right away.

For example, Organic Seo Fuel graduate Freddie Chatt is a marketer at the ecommere site
Amara.com.

After finishing Organic Seo Fuel he optimized his Power Page around the keyword
“bedroom ideas”

After promoting this page using the techniques from Module 3, the page
acquired a number of high-quality backlinks.

Once the page gained some authoritative backlinks, Freddie linked from this
Power Page to a few of Amara’s high-priority category pages.

And the rankings and search engines traffic to those pages skyrocketed:

I have more detail about how Authority Sculpting works in a bonus lesson
below this chapter.

Bottom line: whether you’re trying to rank your Power Page or using your
Power Page to rank highly-commercialized landing pages and product pages,
you want to optimize your Power Page around a medium tail keyword.

OK so what is a medium tail keyword?

As I mentioned earlier, most searches online are via long tail keywords.

And we already learned why directly targeting these keywords is a huge
mistake.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are high-volume “head terms”.

These are super competitive 1-2 word keywords like “life insurance” and
“internet marketing”.

The obvious problem with head terms is that they’re flat out too competitive.

So with long tail keywords and head terms out, what’s left?

Medium tail keywords.

Medium tails aren’t impossible keywords like “life insurance” or “internet
marketing”.

And they’re not long tail keywords like “best life insurance policy for a 55 year
old” or “internet marketing tips for Pinterest”.

They’re keywords like “affordable life insurance” and “internet marketing
strategies”.

Kind of a happy medium between chasing 100 long tails and competing head
to head with Fortune 500 companies.

So the question is:

How can you find medium tail keywords?

Here’s the 3-step process:

  • Enter a seed keyword (or URL) into the GKP
  • Sort by search volume
  • Choose a medium tail from the middle

The first step is to enter a keyword that describes your linkreator-focused
topic into the Google Keyword Planner tool.

For example, let’s say that you run a site that sells gluten free meal plans.

And you notice that your linkreators loved to share content about gluten free
desserts.

You’d enter keywords like “gluten free desserts” and “gluten free cookies” into
the tool.

Don’t worry about getting this exactly right. You may have to try a few
different keywords before you find one that’s a good fit.

When you get a list of keywords, sort them average monthly searches so the
highest-volume keywords are on top.

At the top of the list are head terms that are usually almost impossible to
rank for.

Things like “gluten free diet” and “gluten free”.

At the bottom you have the super, super long tails, like “easy gluten free
pastry recipe”.

The middle of the list are made up of medium tail keywords. Choose the one
that fits best with the Linkreator-focused topic you found in the last lesson.

I obviously can’t give you any specific search volume recommendations
because it’s different for every industry.

But if you stick with this process, you’ll be able to find a medium tail keyword
that’s a good fit for your Power Page topic.

A great example of a medium tail keyword is one that I’m targeting at
Organic Seo Fuel: how to get backlinks.

The post I optimized this keyword around — How to Get Backlinks with
Guestographics — started off at the #6 spot for that keyword without doing
any external link building to that page.

How did it rank so quickly? Authority Sculpting.

After I published the post, I headed to a Power Page I already published — in
my case my Google’s 200 ranking factors post — and added an internal link to
my new “how to get backlinks” post.

Now if I had gone after a long tail keyword like : “how to get backlinks from
blogs”, I probably would have started at #2 instead of #6.

But over the long-term, that medium tail has worked much better for me.

Thanks to the link building strategies that I used from Module 3 of Organic Seo Fuel, that
page now ranks in the top 3 for the medium tail “How to get backlinks”…along
with hundreds of other long tail keywords.

That means I get MUCH more traffic to that page than if I optimized around a
single long tail keyword.

Long tail search terms

And after filling out the worksheet from this lesson, you’ll be able to find a
medium tail keyword to use for your first Power Page.

Speaking of your first Power Page, that’s what the next Module is all about.

In Module 2 you’re going to learn exactly, step-by-step how to create,
architect, and publish your first Power Page.

It’s where you start to build on the foundation of Module 1.

Specifically, I’ll show you my 7 proven Power Page Content Frameworks.

You’ll learn about the ELP, the Trademark Technique, The Hero Formula and
more.

I hope you’re excited to publish your first backlink and traffic-generating
Power Page.

I’ll see you in the next Training of Content Strategy Share Trigger.

WAG technique

Here’s the deal:

At this point you already know that LINKS make or break a site’s rankings.

Sure, social, brand and user experience signals may play a larger role in
Google’s algorithm in the years to come…

…but for today and in the near future, Google uses links uses to determine the
quality of a webpage.

Besides, even if Google DOES start to use those “other” signals (in addition to
links), you’ll be set.

That’s because Power Pages are strategically designed to be popular and
share-worthy. So no matter what signals Google uses to measure popularity,
your content will show Google that: “This content is popular and
authoritative”.

That being said, when it comes to first page Google rankings, links aren’t
everything.

You may have noticed that there’s one critical facet of SEO that I haven’t
covered so far: On-Page SEO.

The SEO system doesn’t include a lot of on-page SEO for one simple reason:

On-page SEO is really straightforward. Just include your target keyword in
your title, URL and a few times on the page and you’re good to go.

(I’ll have a checklist of on-page SEO best practices in the worksheet)

But Like Anything in SEO…

On-Page SEO is getting more complex.

Thanks to updates like Panda and Hummingbird, Google is able to better
understand the content of a page.
They can also better figure out the intent behind a keyword.

How about an example?

The question is:

How does Google know what results to show for that keyword?

A page with the keyword “cars” in the title tag and on the page could be
talking about the movie Cars, the automobile cars, Canadian Aviation
Regulations (CARS), or the 1970s rock band.

The answer: LSI Keywords

Google relies on Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords to gain more
context on a page’s topic.

So when they see a page with LSI keywords like these…

…it tells them that this page is about the movie cars.

But when they see a page with LSI keywords like these…

Google knows that this is about the cars that you drive.

So you’re probably wondering…

“That’s an interesting SEO nerd lesson, but how can I use this information to
get higher rankings?”

The answer:

The W.A.G. Technique

What Is The W.A.G Technique?

W.A.G stands for: Write. Ask Google.

The process is super simple:

First, you publish an article or Power Page just like you normally would…and
optimize it around a medium tail keyword.

Then, you “ask” Google to make sure they see your page’s context as highly
relevant to that keyword.

Here’s the exact 3-step process:

Step #1: Publish and Optimize Your Power Page Around a Medium Tail
Keyword

We already talked about medium tail keywords at-length in Module 1.

And I’ll have my personal on-page SEO checklsit for you in the worksheet.

Once you’ve optimized your page, it’s time for step #2.

Step #2: Incorporate “Searches Related to…” Keywords Into Your Article

Search for your target keyword in Google and scroll down to the bottom to
where it says “searches related to…”

Many of these “searches related to…” terms are are LSI Keywords.

And because they come straight from Google, they’re terms that Google
associates with your target keyword. In other words, the words you see in
“searches related to…” tell you EXACTLY how to add the right context to your
content.

As you may have noticed, you usually just need to add a word or two the end
of your target keyword to incorporate the LSI keywords that Google wants to
see.

Example: On-Page SEO Blog Post

After adding “Searches related to…” keywords to my post (like “on-page seo
checklist” and “on-page SEO techniques”), I noticed a rankings bump. Today,
that page ranks #2 for “on page SEO.

Step #2: Add Bolded Words From the SERPs

Next, search for your keyword and look for bold words that in the results that
aren’t your target keyword.

Example: PC Repair

As you can see, there are several bold LSI keywords that are variations of “PC
Repair” (like “laptop repairs” and “computer repair”.

Add any that make sense to your content.

Step #3: Use the GKP To Find LSI Keywords

Grab a high-ranking page from Google’s first page and pop it into the GKP:

Next, Click on “Keyword Ideas”

Finally, incorporate words and terms from the GKP that make sense into your
page.

Repeat this process for all of the quality results in the top 10.

Finally, incorporate words and terms from the GKP that make sense into your
page.

Repeat this process for all of the quality results in the top 10.

Example: SEO Strategy Blog Post

Despite the fact that this post was optimized around a medium tail keyword,
this page didn’t seem to want to crack the 2nd page for “SEO strategy”

When I looked at the top 10 results using the GKP, I noticed a number of
words that didn’t appear on my page, like “content marketing” and “social
media”.

So I added those terms where they made sense on my page and voila (#25 to
#12)

(I also built a link around that time)

Why Is This Technique So Effective?

Google’s Hummingbird and Panda algorithms have nGoogle the ability to
look into the core meaning behind a page (beyond simply keyword
placement).

The more LSI keywords you include, the more confident Google will be are
about your content’s true meaning…and the better they’ll rank you for that
keyword (and related keywords).

Start leveraging the W.A.G. technique by downloading the worksheet below
this training.