Ready for something painfully obvious; ranking for hard keywords is hard.
But there’s a strategy you can deploy to do a better job.
I’ve written at length about how your content doesn’t matter and link building still works. And I’ve gone on and on about keyword research – but there’s more to it.
Today I want to show you how to systematically expand your website’s keyword footprint, one page at a time – and exponentially increase your website’s traffic from SEO.
The Bigfoot Strategy
This SEO strategy focuses on building out individual URL’s to rank for lots and lots of keywords (or Bigfoot pages as I like to call them).
This is often referred to as keyword spread and it’s a simple measurement of an individual page’s organic reach and visibility. The measurement is the volume of traffic-generating keywords.
The definition of a bigfoot page (or page with a large spread of rankings across many keywords) is going to vary for each niche, but for the purposes of this post I’m going to be looking at pages ranking for at least 1,000 different keywords.
To get started I want to share a few examples of bigfoot pages, across a few different niches.
Bigfoot Page Examples
Niche: Student Loans
Keyword Spread: 2,137
Estimated Organic Traffic: ~75,000 visits/month
Niche: Bad Credit
Keyword Spread: 3,252
Estimated Organic Traffic: ~59,000 vists/month
Niche: Halloween Costumes
Keyword Spread: 1,093
Estimated Organic Traffic: ~88,000 visits/month
Bigfoot Keyword Analysis
For each of the above examples I want to look at both the root keyword, content type, word count, and then pick apart the topic use via LSI keywords they might be using by running the head keyword for each page through lsigraph.com.
Root Keyword: Student Loan Forgiveness
Monthly Volume: 111,000
Content Type: Blog post
Word Count: 1,661
Macro Topic: Loan (appears 68 times on page)
Micro Topic: Student (appears 61 times on page)
Topic Modifier: Forgiveness (appears 39 times on page)
- board of education student loans
- department of education loan forgiveness
- department of education loan consolidation
- united states department of education
- refinancing student loans
Root Keyword: Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Monthly Volume: 76,000
Content Type: Hub page
Word Count: 4,768
Macro Topic: credit (appears 310 times on page)
Micro Topic: card (appears 130 times on page, plural [cards] appears 99 times)
Topic Modifier: bad (appears 40 times on page)
- instant approval credit cards for bad credit
- unsecured credit cards for bad credit with no deposit
- bad credit credit cards guaranteed approval
- second chance credit card with no security deposit
- credit cards for bad credit with no deposit instant approval
- credit cards for rebuilding credit
Root Keyword: Easy Halloween Costumes
Monthly Volume: 51,000
Content Type: Image gallery + category hub
Word Count: 1,192
Macro Topic: Halloween (appears 40 times on page)
Micro Topic: Costumes (appears 20 times on page)
Topic Modifier: Ideas (appears 19 times on page)
- last minute halloween costume ideas
- diy halloween costumes
- halloween costumes for adults
- diy halloween costumes for adults
- easy diy costumes for adults
- easy homemade costumes for women
- funny homemade halloween costume ideas
Seems you can still stuff a crap load of target keywords, many times into the more competitive SEO verticals. Having a word appear on a page 68 times within 1,600 words (like in the case of our student loan example) is a bit much – but then you look at the credit cards page with the word credit appearing over THREE HUNDRED times within 4,700 words.. wow.
It’s so valuable to run an LSI keyword analysis for your page’s head term – it brings so many additional topics to the surface that you should expand on within the page.
The Halloween page is my favorite example of this, with LSI terms bubbling up like; last minute, diy, ideas, and homemade. All of which make perfect sense when you consider them in the context of being related to “easy.”
How To Build Bigfoot Pages
- To get started you need to have completed at least your initial keyword research.
- Build out your seed list of terms – and it’s important you have a strong grasp on keyword modifiers.
TIP: If you’re unsure what a modifier is check out my keyword research post.
- Next run your head term through an LSI keyword tool (like LSI Graph) to blow out your list of contextually related topics that surround the root topic of your page.
- You will want to back into your word count for the page – for this I would recommend using the Top Pages report from Ahrefs.
- Run the above report for all the pages currently ranking on page 1 of Google for your root term.
You will need to run this report for each domain, then once in the top pages report sort descending by keywords:
Then you can expand these individual results to get the full list of keywords their pages are ranking for:
You can also use this data to build your SEO content map and look for opportunities to extend existing page topics to cover more even more terms.
A big piece of building Bigfoot pages is folding in weaker pages on your site that are not performing on their own.
A simple rule of thumb for identifying these pages is to look at all of your pages individual organic traffic performance over the past 6 months and make a judgement call.
If you are going to combine your thinner/weaker pages make sure you not only move all of the source content to the destination page, but be sure to add a proper 301 redirect and then regenerate / submit your XML sitemap.
There are some specific details in terms of time periods and thresholds that I use to identify opportunities to refine/extend/combine pages – which I cover in much greater detail in Traffic Think Tank.
Bigfoot pages are money.
The more you can extend the relevancy of every individual URL, the more SERP real estate you can eat up and the more organic traffic you can acquire.
One critical mistake you need to beware of is keyword cannibalization, and ensuring you’re not creating too many pages targeting terms that are too similar.
This is another reason LSI research is so important, because even though you may think you need to create separate pages for keywords that look completely different (i.e. contain no duplicate terms) – Google may see these terms as synonyms (or very closely related).
In this case you’re actually hurting yourself by building multiple pages to target each version versus building just one bigfoot page.
I have a simple process for checking keyword overlap that I’ll be emailing to my list – sign up if you would like to see it.