Overview of SEO Training – Unit 2

David Yarian and Brian Lich put together a series of video lessons that represent Volume Nine’s overall approach to and philosophy about SEO. In Unit 2, they’ll be walking you through their steps for performing an SEO review with full keyword exploration.

For any site that we’ll be performing SEO against, there are 5 steps we want to walk you through, which are the 5 lessons you’ll see below. Some of the key themes throughout this unit are also really addressing the old school vs. new school SEO approach. They conclude the unit addressing the old school approach of winning rankings. No longer is SEO all about just winning rankings. Instead, the new school — and V9 — approach is really establishing expertise and trust for your content and for your domain.

Lesson 2.1 Keywords & Content

In Lesson 2.1, we’re going to be talking about keywords and content. This process almost always starts by taking a core website page inventory so we can identify all the top pages on a website and understand which, among those pages, matter most for SEO purposes. Then, from a practical standpoint, we’re going to organize those pages into a nice, neat inventory.

You can use a couple of tools to help you do this: Google Search Console index pages report, which literally just gives you a list of URLs that you can download in Excel. You can also use third party crawlers like Sitebulb or Screaming Frog, which also give you a nice stack of URLs.

Lesson 2.2 Keyword Identification

Once we’ve taken a core website page inventory, the next step is primary keyword identification, where we’re going to map keywords to each one of those pages. So in terms of what we’re going through, we’re going to understand what a primary keyword is, what variants are as they relate to primary keywords. Then we’re going to identify and map primary keywords for all those inventoried pages.

Let’s start by just asking ourselves, “What is a primary keyword? What are the primary keywords we care about for each one of those top pages?” To understand that, let’s first define primary keyword: it’s the main topic of any given page. All else being equal, what’s the number one thing we would want the page to rank for in SEO if we could make it do so?

From there, keyword variations are basically all the other closely related keywords or topics that are related to that page. We also need to make sure the keywords match the user intent and that they are relatively short-tailed. We want to have some good search volume and we want it to be something valuable to rank for. All of that helps you figure out which keywords to choose for your top pages (and other pages as well).

Lesson 2.3 Keyword Baseline Tracking

The next step is to do some keyword baseline tracking. What we’re trying to accomplish here is pretty simple. We’re just trying to understand and find all the keywords that the site ranks for today so that we can take a baseline measurement. To do this, we’re going to be looking at two very useful tools and explore each in detail: Google Search Console and SEMrush.

We cover how to use both to find keywords, volume, and overall impressions, and then show you how to download them. After download, you can add these tools’ findings to your running sheet so you can see all your keyword data again. The whole point of doing this is just so we can start to wrap our arms around where you stand today: What’s the current baseline of the site before we do any future SEO work against it?

Lesson 2.4 Keyword Universe

There are five different categories that we’ll look at to try to define your keyword universe. There are current ranking keywords, core keywords, long-tail keywords, competitor keywords, and then things that we find in the search results. So far, we’ve been talking about the keyword universe at a domain-specific level, but a lot of these same principles apply when we look at it from a specific page perspective. We cover each of these categories and how to create them in this lesson.

There are just a few tools that we cover, too. Google search console is a great way to see all the rankings today. SEMrush is maybe one of the best tools to really build out keyword lists. Keyword Planner is a paid search tool from Google, but it can also be exceptionally useful for SEO in terms of seeing Google’s data straight from them. And finally, as we mentioned, just simply Googling things and looking at the search results is another great way to build out this kind of research and get a sense of that broader keyword universe.

Lesson 2.5 Keyword Targeting

When it comes to keyword targeting, we need to understand how to narrow down your broader keyword universe down. We want to understand what the chunky middle is as it relates to keywords. Then we’re going to explore this relationship between volume, intent, and content as it pertains to keyword targeting.

What are the keyword baselines? Where does the site stand today? In this lesson, what we’re trying to do is explore the next step, which are all the valuable keywords that we want to target. To help us do that, there are three big things that we want to explore and understand. Those are volume, intent, and content. We’ll cover each of those in this lesson to round out exactly how you can target keywords that align with how users are searching.

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