Search engines have gotten smart enough to understand when one term is interchangeable with another; however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t increase your efforts to ensure you rank for the interchangeable terms as well. Let’s take a look at my site, for example.
Mallery Online Marketing ranks for many terms. Of course, we rank in different locations for different terms based on many factors (both on-page and off-page). For instance, we rank differently for “SEO San Antonio” and “search engine optimization San Antonio“. Though the two terms mean the same and are completely interchangeable, if my site focuses on “SEO” and another site focuses on “search engine optimization“, we likely will rank differently for both terms. Everything else being equal, Mallery Online Marketing would rank higher for “SEO” while the other site would rank higher for “search engine optimization“. This is why it is stressed to know and understand what keywords you are targeting and what you may be leaving on the table because of interchangeable terms.
At the same time, you have to also consider the location any modifier, especially for local terms. For instance, “SEO San Antonio” is a different term than “San Antonio SEO“.
There are times where this may not even really matter, though. If the search volume for one term is almost non-existent, you may find little to no reason to try and rank for it. Going back to the above examples, take into account the following data:
|Keyword||Average Monthly Searches|
|seo san antonio||590|
|san antonio seo||590|
|search engine optimization san antonio||110|
|san antonio search engine optimization||90|
*This data is all obtained from Google Keyword Planner on January 22, 2016.
The clear goal would be to rank for either “seo san antonio” or “san antonio seo“. With higher search volume, you have a better chance of drawing traffic to your website; however, this also means there is more competition for those terms. It may be in my better interest to rank for “san antonio search engine optimization” because there will be less competition. There will also be less traffic, but at the end of the day, if you are targeting a larger number of lower competition/lower volume terms, you can quickly outweigh the larger volume terms.
That brings me full circle to the title of this post. By focusing on “San Antonio Search Engine Optimization“, this opens this site to obtain better rankings than the main page.