How Your Keyword Rankings Happen

Keyword RankingsAs a site owner, do you know how your keyword rankings occur? Do you know how your clients find you? Let’s find out as you take on the role of Bob, owner of

After a lot of hard work you’ve done it! Your site finally ranks for ‘blue widgets’. Traffic has increased. You’re getting a lot of qualified leads.

When the smoke clears, you decide to check your data. What you see surprises you. You find that few inbound queries are an exact match for blue widgets.

Instead, you find that queries like ‘widgets blue valley’, ‘where can I find widgets’, ‘cheapest widgets’ and to a lesser extent ‘widgets that won’t break all the dang time’ are the actual traffic drivers. The only thing these queries have in common with your keyword targeting is ‘widgets’. How can this be?

bob's widget world keyword rankings - suggested search

Search Engines Determine Contextual Relevance

Search engines, Google in particular, will attempt to determine the intent of the query. A query for ‘widgets blue valley’ will likely prompt the search engine to return widget suppliers in the context of Blue Valley. Since you’re headquartered in Blue Valley, your site may be considered relevant to the query and one of your pages may appear higher in the SERPs. But that’s not the end of the story…

How Context is Established

Well, Bob, unfortunately there are many unknown factors in play. For example, Google changes their search algorithm hundreds of times per year and rarely mentions what has changed. But the good news is we can help you gain a basic understanding of why your site ranks for the query ‘widgets blue valley’.

On-Site Factors

First, your website has been online for over 10 years and has never been delisted or engaged in search engine manipulation. You’ve made sure that your NAP (name, address and phone number) is somewhere on your site and is crawlable by search engine spiders. After that you have ‘widget’ in your domain name, which can be a big help.  Finally, you have a technically healthy site with content and Meta data that is both valuable and informative to users searching for ‘widgets’.

Off-Site Factors

You control all of your directory listings, especially the most trusted ones, and your address is an exact match across all listings. Your site also has some great local links pointing to it, such as the Blue Valley Chamber of Commerce, Blue Valley News and the Blue Valley City Hall. All of these strong, independent, editorial sources send almost unmistakable signals that you sell widgets in this city and your site should rank higher for ‘widgets blue valley’ queries.

You also have a great Google+ Local profile with a lot of positive reviews. It’s also pulling in review data from Insider Pages, Kudzu and more. The trust and authority of your site also plays a part in how well your profile ranks for queries with local intent. So you have that angle covered as well.

More to Come Soon

While there are many other factors involved, a lot of them unknown, you should now have a basic understanding of contextual search and why ranks for ‘widgets blue valley’. Join us next time when we discuss using informational and transactional  keywords to increase sales.

If you would like to learn more about improving your visibility in the mean time, read this article about guest posting to build your brand.

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