People talk a lot about picking primary keywords, but less about choosing your secondary keywords. In fact, many brands don't even get to secondary keywords at all, which is a pity – because they can help, and it really doesn't take that much work to incorporate them. So let's do a quick FAQ on why you need to pick up secondary SEO tactics.
What is Secondary SEO?
Essentially, these are lesser, longer, more specific keywords that pick up less traffic than generic phrases, but are still important for your target audience. As an example, a primary keyword may be "hot salsa" and a secondary keyword may be "how to make hot salsa" or "hot salsa mix and recipes." Secondary keywords don't need to be used as often as primary keywords – indeed, a common strategy is to pick several secondary phrases and only use them one or two times.
Does This Actually Help My Page Rankings?
It does! In fact, if you look at particularly successful websites on Google's first SERP, you will quickly see that articles and websites can rank high for multiple keywords, especially if they play their SEO cards the right way. Secondary keywords work because people do search for them, especially those who think about products in a different way or search for more specific phrases. It's great for picking up the long tail keyword, and tapping into alternative traffic that would instead go elsewhere. So yes, secondary keywords are specifically designed to improve page rankings.
Are Secondary Keywords Always More Specific?
That's the easiest way to think about them. However, to be specific, secondary SEO tends to fall into two categories: Either they are more specific versions of the primary keyword, or they are alternative versions that find a different way to describe the primary keyword. This could include pluralization, alternative spellings, different word orders, and more.
Synergy with Primary Keywords
Secondary keywords work best when they elaborate on the primary keyword, expanding its definition and application. The most important ways to build this synergy include:
- Localization: Add local details to your primary keyword for a great secondary spin. Google loves this, and so do searchers who are trying to find a nearby solution. Always consider localization when it's a practical concern. For purely digital businesses, it's not as big of a consideration.
- Specialization: In other words, describe your specializations. Turn "installation" into "fast residential installation." Describe your value offering in greater detail.
- Specific Needs: Try turning "landscaping" into "landscaping for winterization" or "landscaping for dry areas" and so on. Address specific problems that people have and may search for online.
How Do I Find Secondary Keywords?
In addition to the general advice we gave above, we have two suggestions for finding secondary keywords when you aren't exactly sure where to begin.
First, use a keyword analysis tool, like those available on Moz or SEMRush. Use these tools to take a look at traffic numbers for a variety of alternate phrases, and see which you can use for the most impact (which also meet your keyword goals). Of course, the downside here is that you need to pay for these services, or at least have access to a paid account, which isn't possible for every brand.
Second, Google your primarily keyword. Take a look at the first page and see what you notice. What do the headlines look like? What sort of URL tags are the top pages using for this keyword? What sort of phrases does Google suggest that you try next? All this and more can give you valuable insight on what alternative keywords are working, and which you should think about trying yourself.
How Often Should I Use Them?
Try to use secondary keywords in most articles and blog posts you create. Either pick one or two, and use them a few times – or pick out several, and use them once. This can be customized according to your other SEO strategies and preferences.