When it comes to SEO, we like to take a two-pronged approach to optimize a website for more visibility and, of course, more business.
Prong #1: ROI. Bottom-of-Funnel Keywords
The purpose of ROI keywords is to get you new business. For example, if you are a roofer, you would want to rank for things like “roofing company near me” or “roofing contractor in Gettysburg, PA.” These are low-volume/high click-through rate keywords that, when found, usually get you at least a visit to your website and possibly a hot lead. That is what everyone wants. More business is the goal of SEO, right? This makes sense and is easy to explain. These keywords are easy to leverage if you have a robust Domain Authority. While it is true that Google has no direct awareness of Domain Authority, it does use a similar calculation of your website’s worth through the quality and quantity of backlinks into your website. Generally, the higher your Domain Authority, the easier you will rank for ROI keywords. This is important information, please do not skip reading these last few sentences.
Prong #2: Authority Keywords
Authority keywords are much more competitive, with higher volume/lower click-through rates and a goal of national or global attention. To go back to our Roofer example, we may have a “knowledge base” of evergreen articles about roofing, such as “Preparing Your Roof for Winter”, “What Are Composite Shingles Made Of?” or “What Are The Purpose of Gutters?”. Authority Keywords are less likely to result in a new customer, yet they are extremely vital to everything else. Whenever I explain this, 100% of the time, clients interrupt me and say, “Well, if they aren’t getting me customers, why do I want to rank for them, then??“.
The answer is a multitude of reasons, all of which are long-game.
- Your goal is not to be “an” expert but to be “the” authority in your field. There are many experts, but only one authority.
- A Content-Heavy website is an attractive website, and when you show you’re the expert/authority and are trustworthy, this goes a long way. (Check out the EAT SEO principle).
- Most importantly, Authority Keywords attract backlinks. Once you start ranking for your well-written and thorough articles answering general questions about your products or service, other blogs, and news sources will start to link to you as a source for their articles. Once this happens, your domain authority increases. When high Domain Authority websites link to you, the effect is exponential. We have clients who attracted backlinks from Mashable, Engadget, Forbes, Inc., Wall Street Journal, etc. Their SEO made significant jumps after that. Effortlessly.
When your Domain Authority increases, all of your website’s rankings increase. This means it is not only easier to rank your website for those ROI keywords that turn a profit, but your website will start ranking for all the variants of those keywords (e.g.; roofers near me, roofing company near me, roofing companies near me, etc).
While the effects of Authority Keywords are powerful, they are not quick. They can take months to years but are well worth it. Once you’re gaining authority, you keep it (unless you stop SEOing). Not to mention your organic method of traffic acquisition will be an absolute ocean compared to social, direct, and referral traffic.
Think of ROI Keywords as the immediate goal to rake in more customers and Authority Keywords as the undercurrent that gradually gets those keywords more and more visibility. These two prongs of strategy work well together to get your website to a point of critical mass that will make you an unstoppable force.