You're So Vain. You probably think this Post is About You. – SEO Monday

By Joe

Are you fixated on a vanity keyword? You might be losing sight of the Big Picture!

Vanity Keywords

When it comes to SEO every site owner has a keyword or 2 in mind that they want, need, or simply have to be number one for. Typically this type of goal is ingrained in the very nature of a website.

From URL structure/domain name to the navigation, content, and links. This keyword often times becomes a goal that in some ways holds the entire site back from true greatness.

In my experience when you start to become fixated on a vanity keyword, you start to lose sight of the BIG PICTURE.

Often times when presenting the argument that these vanity keywords just don’t convert and our efforts would be better spent on other more specific (long tail) terms, I hear that a poor conversion rate is acceptable, because of the sheer amount of traffic that the exposure can produce. But this raises the question; if the site cannot convert for a term, should it really be ranking for it?

In the old days of SEO, it didn’t matter, you could just stuff some keywords here and there and build some links for that term and bam, you were right there with the big boys.

The Panda & The Penguin

In the current Panda/Penguin algorithm, Google is making it clear that they want to reward sites not because they are good at SEO but because they are good websites. The writing is on the wall that they want us to stop obsessing over keywords. Quite frankly, I welcome this challenge.

I find the websites that are having the most success in the current algorithm are sites that although are SEO minded, they do not put their eggs in one basket. Not just from an SEO/keyword perspective but from a holistic one as well.

Sites that are flourishing in these tough times are focusing on user experience issues like:

  1. Site Speed
  2. Ease of Navigation
  3. Expert Content
  4. Conversion Rates

All these things help make the most of the traffic you currently have. Sadly, most stores on the web don’t pay enough attention to these issues. Also, sites that are also marketing through non SEO channels like PPC, email, marketplaces (Amazon, ebay), and CSE’s are hedging liability on organic traffic which is always a smart move in preparation for a dreaded algorithm tweak.

Take the Natural Approach

So in conclusion, SEO isn’t going away any time soon, but the old way of thinking about SEO must. Its time to throw those vanity keywords to the curb and start thinking about the BIG PICTURE. Once that is in line, your vanity keyword will be a viable target.


Joe M.