Competitive keywords are hard to get up in the top of the list of search engine results. Therefore, you need to have a great strategy in place in order to move the needle. In this article, we’ll cover how to do it.

The truth is that search engine optimization (SEO) can be a big challenge if you’re new to the game. And as the Google algorithm continues to evolve, many factors can affect your website ranking.

Google’s goal is to give users the most relevant results based on the keyword they searched for because for them it’s all about satisfying the user so they continue to make Google their number one search engine to use.

Because if they use Google all the time, then the more money Google makes. And that’s a smart business move on their end.

In order to be the best result in a search and appear at the top of the rankings, you have to optimize your website by filling its pages with target keywords and useful content.

Knowing how to rank competitive keywords in Google’s top 10 organic results can make or break the success of your campaign.

But it’s doable. Let’s consider some of the effective ways to push a competitive keyword into the first page of Google organic results:

Step 1: Lay the groundwork by identifying competitive keywords

This step serves to identify competitive keywords related to your business that you want to rank at the top of Google’s first page results. [source]

Keyword research tool

Conducting a keyword search to identify the most important keywords is an integral part of a successful SEO strategy.

You also need to evaluate the right keywords to target and ensure they’re relevant, intent-driven and have potential to drive web traffic or sales.

Since you’re going to be targeting ‘competitive’ keywords, you also must ensure that in the end you maximize your ROI for the time, money, links, and other resources you invested into it.

No matter what your industry, competitive keywords abound. For instance, in the fitness niche, a few of the hard-to-rank key terms are:

Weight loss programs
How to lose weight
Burn fat pills
Lose weight quickly

Note: These competitive keywords can be seed keywords or long-tail key phrases. You can tell by the number of authoritative websites targeting them and noticing their search volumes.

Competitive keywords research

Researching and evaluating the right keywords requires not only time but also know-how and experience.

By taking the time to do some keyword research, you will end up with a comprehensive keyword selection which can be used to optimize your website.

Experience has shown that between 100 to 1,000 (or more) relevant keywords are ideal for launching your campaign.

Step 2: Find Related Searches

It’s always good to target several closely-related keywords in your web pages so that Google can easily understand what the page is about.

Integrating valuable keywords and variations of these keywords into your content is a smart way to get ahead of the curve. One of the quickest channels to find related searches is through the Google search engine.

To do this, simply enter and search for a keyword, scroll down, and you’ll find related searches. For example, here are the related search terms of the keyword “weight loss myths”:

Find related searches

Along with Google, you can also use third-party tools. SEMRush is a powerful tool for generating matching keywords for your website and it provides detailed information about the value of these keywords in both organic and paid search results.

For each keyword you find, the tool also shows other valuable information such as search volume, the number of search results, CPC, trend, and advertising text for the term you are looking for.

SEM Rush keyword tool

You’ll also learn what top websites use certain keywords and what their favorite landing pages are.

And with SEMRush, you can find keywords variations that match your primary keywords.

A list of alternative searches, including specific keywords or keyword groups, can also give you ideas to significantly increase your visibility on the web.

To generate similar keywords, SEMrush analyzes domains in Google’s Top 100 and Bing for specific search terms and creates a list of the keywords they share.

Their extensive list of synonyms and variables relevant to the search term gives you an endless source for you to expand your pool of keywords.

To get more accurate results, you can also specify the geographical location and the type of device that was used to perform the search, and even integrate Google Analytics and Google Search Console into your SEO strategy to maximize results.

Specifying geographical location in SEM Rush

If you want to monitor some very specific keywords that are not in the SEMRush database, you can also add them to the campaign to be crawled.

One of the best features of this tool is the ability to choose up to 5 competitors whose positions can also be tracked and compared to yours.

You can view information about websites that show the greatest increase or dropin the timeframeyou choose, quickly revealing whoyour top competitors are.

Step 3: Conceptualize the Content

Every content strategy has to start with the topic of which to base the content around. To conceptualize this, you have to have a clear goal that you keep in mind as you create and publish the content.

Conceptualizing content

There are those who think that to get thousands of visits per month to a blog you have to consistently publish new content. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to post once a week to keep your content relevant and timely.

More importantly, you must always look for the consistency and coherence of the content — and it is preferable to cover one or two areas well rather than try to dabble in everything all at once.

That’s why creating a holistic content marketing strategy that depends on identifying and understanding the end user’s motivation has become the new norm. Anyone who wants to rank well in today’s digital marketing world must share rich and helpful content, like highlighting a topic using different perspectives, answering most-asked questions, and providing solutions.

If the content meets these requirements, it deserves to be shared and Google will notice. This kind of conversational and helpfulcontent is inherently optimized for the right keywords and synonyms without having to manipulate the search engine/keyword crawling algorithm.

Since you’re primarily going after competitive keywords that have at least a monthly search volume of at least a thousand, make sure they’re long tail and made to reach a specific audience.

Step 4: Execute

Ideally, your main keyword should appear first or at the beginning of your title or headline. This is important because Googlebot will access your content title first before moving on to the main body of your text.

Not only does Google attach great importance to the title of the text, it is many times also the first starting point for the user. “8 out of 10 people will read the title of your content and 73% of buying decisions are made at that point,” says Ted Nicholas.

Most people will read headlines but not the rest of the text

Especially in the case of an article or blog posts, users first check the headline (and ow relevant the keyword is) and determine in a matter of seconds whether they think the rest of the article is worth reading or not.

According to many studies, search engines classify the beginning and the end of an article as particularly important since many internet usersonly read the introduction and/or the conclusion.

Therefore, the most important keywords should always be in the introduction and conclusion. Here’s an example of a title with the target keyword appearing first in the title:

A keyword should always appear in the beginning of a title

Remember that a lot of online users no longer read web texts word for word, but scan them for specific patterns and pick out the information they want.

Content creators and web designers have to capture the reader’s eye and one of the ways they do that is by placing crucial words as far to the left or towards the beginning of paragraphs as much as possible.

Even if you are a content creator who has a limited influence on the presentation or content topic for the website, try to integrate the main keywords in there.

Subheadings of articles are also considered visual anchor points and should contain keywords as they provide a quick overview of what the users (and Google) will find in the next section of the text. Subheadings also greatly tie into the entire content of the page.

Step 5: Optimize For Your Keyword

If you have found relevant keywords that are directly related to your product or service, then you want to create landing pages to properly target these keywords

Use the keyword exact match in the title of the page, in the H1 and H2 headings, in the meta description, and in the content body itself.

Make sure keywords appear natural and not too close to each other. Better yet, use the main keywords a few times and then focus on the LSI keywords or synonyms.

Since Google is increasingly looking at the context of a page, it is important to use semantically-related terms as well.

But in most cases, you do not have to pay attention to this- just write naturally and the rest will come.

Basically, every section of a web page should address the reason of how a user found you and decided to click on your page while also integrating specific keywords. And also- avoid over-optimization at all costs.

Step 6: Publish and Promote

Promoting keywords is nothing more than focusing on targeted, accurate distribution of keywords on your website and thus making it an essential part of off-page optimization. Basically, getting the word out and live on your website is the easiest way to maximize the potential of your content.

Publish and promote keywords

The Internet is a give-and-take platform, especially in social media marketing. So, to make your own promotions a lot easier you should also boostother people’s content within your niche.

To do this, connect with influential bloggers and interesting companies in your industry on social networks. How? By rating, sharing, and liking their content, you increase the chance that they will push you and your content as well.

Again, this is basically a win-win situation for you.

There are a variety of ways you can do this. Test yourself- take a small step each day to connect more with your readers.

Set realistic achievable goals for yourself and don’t get discouraged if some of the strategies presented here take longer to complete. Take promoting your content seriously and keep plugging away at it.

Keyword promotion

That’s the best way your content marketing strategy will work and soon you may find it into other blogs, social sites, discussion boards, and so on.

No one can deny that the success of a website is much broader than just keyword positions and that there’s definitely a science to it.

And the constant monitoring and analysis of your keyword positions is an important tactic that should always be in your digital marketing strategy.

These positions/rankings over time clearly indicate success or failure, allow you to understand your position in relation to your competitors, and help you to plan your budget and amount of time dedicated to SEO.

But do not forget that the position of a keyword is only one piece of the great SEO puzzle.

The positions provide you with great information if you know how to access it correctly.

If you take this into consideration, you can make the most of your efforts and investments in SEO.

Conclusion

It is important to have a mixture of both short phrase keywords (head terms) and long phrases (long-tail keywords) while creating content for your online advertising strategy.

Head terms tend to be the most used in searches and are more competitive. Likewise, long-tail keywords tend to attract more qualified leads that hopefully turn into customers.This will give your keyword strategy the right balance.

Alex Membrillo Cardinal CEO

Alex Membrillo

Founder and CEO

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal has recently earned him the honor of being selected as a member of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University as well as 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year,and the Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).