When you use a keyword search tool for SEO, it normally gives you
- monthly searches,
- traffic, and
There are some other parameters that it gives you as well, but they are less essential, and not so important for the purpose of the present text.
In fact, here I shall speak mainly about the competition because in my view this is the most critical parameter. I am going to show that you should not blindly rely on the keyword tools only. They cannot possibly guarantee you a good ranking.
[ATAHUALPA YUPANQUI – La estancia vieja]
My experience so far
In Jaaxy tool the competition is known as QSR (quoted search result). In the Keyword Tool at Wealthy Affiliate this is ‘competition‘. The numbers which these SEO keyword research tools give you are practically identical in both tools. I have used them both in the past.
In fact I use these keyword tools daily. They have served the purpose, at least that is what I am ready to believe, but see more below. Indeed, I have many pages from my sites ranked on the top Google page.
So here below I give statistics from one of my sites:
As you see, I have 76 pages/posts (out of 240) that are on the Google first page, and 216 of the total number are within the top three pages in Google. So I believe that I know reasonably well how the system works, or at least that is what I have believed so far.
But I have also failed miserably in a number of my pages in another site. I relied only on the competition parameter. Here is one example (out of 14!!!):
I have a page about images with the keyword (key-phrase) ‘how to add image to WordPress’. The competition was only 16, so this keyword was a very good choice. Should I say that I have some other examples of such pages which have led me to Google top page very quickly, you may read my text ‘In 2 days to Google page 1‘.
So I published that text but it has never appeared anywhere on Google. It is a good text, with 2200 words, written by following all the usual SEO rules. In the moment of writing the present text, there are 44 comments there as well. Thus all is fine, all properly done, and yet it is not ranked.
What really happened with my “great” text? Well, let us see some other parameters which also play a role.
This is one parameter you might want to check. For this you can go to Google and put the following in the search bar:
intitle: How to Add Image to WordPress
You will get 138000 results! See these two examples which I found:
- ‘How to Add a Link to Image in WordPress‘
- ‘How to Add a Header Image to WordPress’.
You realize what the problem is. Nobody searches using quotes any longer. There are many phrases which contain all words which are in my key-phrase. So google pulls this all out as my true competition. Instead of dealing with the mentioned 16 competing pages, I have to deal with 138000.
This is yet another parameter. So in Google I can check also this:
inurl: How to Add Image to WordPress
This yields 186.000 results. This is how many sites in the world have all these words in their URLs.
♦ Note, if you decide to check what I am writing here, you should know that search results change in time and even from place to place in the same time. So your results may be different but not drastically.
♦ Unfortunately, I have many more examples of this kind. I could show you but I believe there is no need for this. You got the idea.
I blogged about this issue at Wealthy Affiliate, and here you can see my blog and some good replies.
The point is, you cannot relay solely on a keyword search tool for SEO. The tool gives you a correct number of exact matches of keywords or keyword phrases. But how useful is it in reality?
Clearly, the sites with this exact key-phrase are not your only true competition. Instead of 16 competing pages, in reality I have far more. My page will obviously never surface, it is lost forever, together with quite a number of some other pages.
Google has many more posts with the same words which contain my key-phrase. As I see from my own examples, they do not need to be the exact match to the key-phrase. They are still considered relevant by the search engine, and this is a bad news for me. My own page is nowhere to be seen.
So how to deal with the search engine optimization and keywords? Perhaps it makes sense to stress the following:
- Competition parameter which you get from keyword tools is only an accurate indicator of the exact match. However, you know nothing about the real number of pages/posts which the search engine finds relevant for the given keyword (key-phrase).
- The situation may depend on how generic your key-phrase is. In my site about mountains I deal either with specific geographic names or with very specific long tail keywords. So in this case, so far QSR has worked well for me. But this may not be so for some more common/popular things.
I thought that I might had finally understood the issue. But then I checked my page ‘How to stay on Google first page’ from this site, for which I am on the Google top page right now, see the result:
The page is on position 7 on Google. I checked again the ‘intitle’ parameter and it yielded 105.000 results. ‘Inurl’ gave 59.000 results.
As you see, these results for ‘intitle’ and ‘inurl’ are similar to my page mentioned above! It is about tens of thousands of results, all competing with my post.
Yet, with this text I am on the top of Google, while I totally failed with the another page.
Should I add that I can show you many more examples of that kind?
So what is the conclusion? What is the rule that determines your page ranking? What is the relation between keyword search tool and SEO?
Well, I wrote all those pages myself, I was not drunk (I do not drink in general), used the same rules all the time. I cannot possibly say what happened and why I failed in so many cases, while I was so successful in many others.
Did I make some mistakes? Surely I did, but mistakes should be similar in all my texts, so this cannot explain anything.
Having a good keyword search tool for SEO is useful. I definitely would not start any new text before doing a proper keyword search. But as you see from these examples, it appears there are many things that are not under our control. So I would say a bit of luck is needed.
Thank you for reading. Please leave some comment in the box below, I shall be happy to read it.