Today is Halloween, and to honor my favorite kind of monster along with my favorite component of digital marketing (psst it’s SEO), I have decided to share a search engine optimization strategy while using lycanthropy as motivation and metaphor.
Werewolves are the scariest monsters. Though they resemble the way a man walks, they lack the ability to reason with…in say…the way vampires can be spoken to. If you run into one, you are dead. Werewolves also mutilate their victims and partially eat them, while vampires seduce and drain leaving not a single drop of blood spilled. In order to run a killer SEO strategy, you need to unleash a beast that will maul your organic competition so that you can rank high and mighty. But in order for your SEO to be a TRUE BEAST, it needs to convert traffic into revenue. This is where one needs to channel the “man by day” to create a smart strategy that uses beast mode SEO to capture, convert, and delight people into paid customers.
In order to run werewolf SEO you need to use the right keywords, place them in the right content, and know exactly who your buyers are so your custom-made optimized content reaches the right people, at the right stage in their buyer’s journey.
Beware of the Moon and Stick to the Road
Remember the 1981 film ‘American Werewolf in London’ when friends David and Jack wander into a northern English village plagued by a werewolf? The villagers send them out into the night instructing them to “beware of the moon” and to “stick to the road”. The friends wind up not paying attention to the warnings, they stray from the road into the moors, and are stalked by the werewolf before it tears apart one of them, and is shot mid-way through attacking the other.
First, in order for your werewolf SEO to feed on the organic competition and rank your landing pages above the fold, you need to look for those competitors who stray from the road of common sense under the light of the full moon. These are the businesses who lose their way by focusing their efforts on the wrong keywords, or who get lazy, slow down their efforts, and stumble into the dark where they become easy prey. We will be touching more on this to come.
Avoid Silver Bullets
Second, you don’t want your werewolf SEO efforts to be shot with a silver bullet; the idea is to achieve top organic ranking for the right keywords that convert. That said, let’s define your silver bullet. This would be the highest search volume keywords. But wait, these keywords draw the most traffic, so how can they kill you? Consider this:
- The highest ranking exact match keywords are ranking companies like Nike, Coca Cola and CNN. You will never outrank them.
- Some highest ranking keywords are within your organic reach if massive corporations aren’t applicable, but consider the time VS. spend to rank for these. A solid SEO agency can run a competitor analysis and predict an average time and the needed efforts to rank you organically for these terms, but most likely this would kill your growth because you would be starving in the meantime while pumping time and money with no revenue from organic.
- High ranking exact match keywords are vague and carry low conversion rates.
Avoid death by silver bullet; stalk and hunt mid-range search volume keywords along with longtail versions that are conversational and reveal human intent. As you begin ranking for these you can set your sites on the high-volume categories by showing Google how your already high-ranking content is relevant to these mega keywords. You may get lucky, but if you don’t at least you are ranking for the right keyword phrases that convert to revenue, and in a timely manner that fuels your efforts.
How to Find the Best Keyword Victims for Your Werewolf SEO
Before you define your keyword strategy, you must first understand your consumer audience members and learn how and why they approach your brand for solutions to their problems. Although the film was pretty terrible, the 1997 sequel ‘American Werewolf in Paris’ provides a perfect example of how to understand your audience before you devour them and eat your fill. While still in human form, members of a werewolf gang lure stereotypical stupid college-age American tourists to a secret rave where the doors are locked, members transform, and dine on a buffet of the helpless.
Your werewolf SEO needs to first identify buyer personas while still in human form; talk to your sales team to learn about the questions they first ask when contacting your company, send questionnaires out to current clients to better understand their pains, and go through your archived emails to see more about what people seeking your products and services talk about. Once you set your keyword strategy to target the pains and needs of your buyers, you can transform into something menacing by using the right keywords in beast mode content that devours your competition as you outrank them while simultaneously feasting on converted revenue from targeted buyers.
Example of Content that Ranks Using Smart Keywords
I did a Google search on “how to kill a werewolf”, and the search results reveal a wealth of information on choosing smart keywords for the right content that not only ranks but gets active engagement with readers.
First, take a look at the screenshot capturing Google’s Knowledge Graph.
The Knowledge Graph result comes from a 2017 article from instructables.com and covers the werewolves origin, various types of weapons to use, tactical tips, and advice on protecting yourself. It also has LOTS of comments from readers. Because this article is educational, entertaining, and has lots of engagement from readers asking questions and leaving comments, it takes top position.
Notice what Google reveals below this result under “people also ask”: all of these questions are answered in the content ranking in Knowledge Graph, and the results above the fold contain answers to these same questions.
Now let’s examine the top five organic results that follow shown in the screenshot below:
- Gods-and-monsters.com – Published in 2010. Contains conversational keywords and variations revealing human intent. Is educational, entertaining, and shines on related Google results and topics in “people also ask”.
- Instructables.com – Same result featured in Knowledge Graph (ranks twice, very nice).
- Werewolves.com – Published in 2014. Contains conversational keywords and variations revealing human intent. Is educational, entertaining, and shines on related Google results and topics in “people also ask”. Lots of messages and engagement from readers.
- Larumland.wordpress.com – Published in 2014. Contains conversational keywords and variations revealing human intent. Is educational, entertaining, and shines on related Google results and topics in “people also ask”. No engagement from readers though.
- Ilovewerewolves.com – Published in 2007, updated in 2010. Content is informative but not nearly as keyword rich as the other results. However, this result has more social engagement and messages left by readers than any ot the other results.
Here is what we can gather from this search result when it comes to creating content that ranks:
- Social signals and reader engagement carries significant rank juice
- Google awards higher quality content over newer content
- Content with longtail and conversational keywords rank well
- Content that touches on “people also ask” and related search results rank well
- Educational content does well, but when well-written with unique personality it does even better
It’s Time to Transform Your SEO into the Howling!
Understand your buyers. The best digital marketing agencies offering custom SEO strategies start with customer data to discover the various relationships people have with your products, brand, and the industry as a whole. Do the same; then go to Google and perform the same searches your customers make and pay attention to what ranks. The next step is to dissect it by identifying keyword variations, the tone, the information being shared, and see what other people are saying in the comments. This area is a goldmine of information; extract these topics, blog about them, use the pillar content cluster model, and in no time your “puppy dog SEO” will transform into a deadly werewolf that feeds on your competitor’s organic positioning while taking in revenue from converted traffic ready to make a purchasing decision.
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