Everyone online is looking to boost their traffic and rankings. If you have a website, you’re always competing for your slice of the attention pie against competitors with deeper pockets. Unless you’re at a Fortune 500 company, you’re probably devoting a lot of time to increasing web traffic.
What makes the organic traffic to your website grow? The answer is relatively simple: To grow your numbers, you need to create quality content on your website, and you need to do so regularly. That’s what we mean by the term SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is not a procedure where you press a button and get immediate results. Instead, it involves a combination of creating and promoting content based on sustainable search engine optimization work that takes months to get proper results.
In this article, however, I’m going to address another benefit of understanding SEO. In addition to optimizing your own site, SEO tools can also give you an edge by helping you understand your niche better. With SEO tools, you can figure out how customers are searching the web for services like yours, how your competitors find their audience and develop a much stronger understanding of the ecosystem you’re operating in.
3 Hidden Benefits From SEO
- Keyword finder.
- Most popular articles.
- Competition analysis.
People search for anything and everything online, and you need to understand how they search so that you can take advantage of their inquiries. To do this, you need a tool that can help you figure out what people are looking for.
This is where keyword finders come in handy. Their goal is to filter search results from Google and other search engines and show you what people are searching for based on geography or language. The most common tools used here are Ahrefs and Buzzsumo. Mangools KWFinder is another option for beginners in the SEO space. Although it’s the least sophisticated of these tools, it’s the simplest to start with.
All three allow you to start with a general keyword relevant to your business, say “data science.” After you enter the keyword in the tool, you’ll get results in the form of similar, longer-tail keywords like “data science course,” “r for data science,” “data science analysis,” and so on. You can filter the results by geography to focus on results in the United States. You can also see the monthly volume, which will tell you how much a given keyword is being searched for.
Armed with this knowledge, you can spot underserved content, meaning keywords often searched for but seldom covered. This metric is measured by KD (keyword difficulty) and is important to look for. If you can find relevant keywords with a KD lower than 30, then you’re most definitely looking at an interesting niche. For example, with a search for “data science,” you might find that the string “data analysis for social scientists” has a KD of 21. You can then use that information to write a targeted blog post or create a special offer for that underserved market.
As you use them, keyword finders teach you how different terms are connected, what niches to investigate and what new target audiences you might want to engage, e.g., the social scientists in the example above.
Most Popular Articles
Another important SEO principle for business owners is to know how to check where the internet’s attention is. In other words, which articles and websites are the most read in given niches. You can accomplish this with the same tools I’ve mentioned above, going into particular keywords that pertain to your areas of interest.
The important term to know here is SERP, short for search engine results page. SERP checkers will display what search engines show on average when looking for a particular keyword. This way, you can discover what’s on top of the list.
Why is this important? Because it tells you which businesses and organizations are getting the most attention from search engines. You can then contact top pages to establish partnerships in order to be mentioned more often.
In our example, the query “data analysis for social scientists” shows that the top results are related to the edX course of the same name. It seems like social scientists are looking to build their skills and knowledge related to data analysis. Thus, an educational offer, consulting services or a course might be a good offering for this particular niche.
Finally, SEO tools enable you to look precisely at what your competition is doing. You can figure out which of their offers are the most popular, how people discover their website (by looking at backlinks leading to their main site) and what keywords they rank for.
SEO tools allow you to analyze an individual website, in this case your competitors’ and your own. You can analyze how people view them on the internet, where they rank and why they rank that way. If you’re wondering why your competitors are seemingly more successful even though you have the best offer, maybe you’ll discover their secret through SEO analysis. It might be hidden in which specific audience they approach along with where and how they approach them. You could then compare the keywords your website ranks for and improve upon your score by contacting media outlets ranking higher than you to get coverage of your business.
For example, when it comes to the “data analysis for social scientists” keyword we’ve discussed above, this particular edX website ranks at the top. If we look for what else it ranks, we might discover “analysis data,” “analysis data us” and “statistics for social scientists.” The general edX.org website ranks on top for keywords like “robotics,” “free online courses” and “online classes for free.”
Get Comfortable With SEO Tools
SEO is a vital way to understand the market you’re operating in, your competition and what you can do better to beat them. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to use SEO tools to your benefit. What’s important is just being open to learning new tools.
SEO should be the first place to go to do market research. You don’t have to conduct expensive surveys to understand what your ideal customers want. Just see what they’re searching for on the internet.