Keywords and Conversions: An SEO Study
The Internet is made of content. From cat videos to running shoes to more cat videos to emergency HVAC services, one of the most critical components of SEO is organizing valuable keywords onto the correct pages. It’s so important that we often refer to pages as keyword groups to stress that the keywords and the content they support come first, not the page.
That’s a start. Organizing those pages based on content category is equally important!
Most SEO agencies operate on the same hypothesis:
Having more keyword-rich, optimized pages on a website will increase the number of keywords for which the website holds organic rank, which will increase the volume of organic sessions on the website, which will increase organic goal conversions.
But is more always better? And are some keywords, and therefore some pages, more valuable than others?
Defining Content Categories
There are many ways to categorize the types of pages on a website. Internally, we often separate pages into three buckets:
- Blog pages. Blog content is focused on mid-to-upper funnel topics that increase brand awareness, improve page/domain authority, capture SERP features, and support the brand’s reputation as a source of sound information. However, blog content rarely generates substantial goal conversions.
- Information pages. These pages offer information about the brand and may include contact information, company history, job opportunities, and other mid-funnel copy.
- Conversion pages. These bottom-of-the-funnel pages typically drive sales or generate leads, depending on the brand or market. They might include products, services, or even landing pages designed to gather contact information. To keep it simple, we’ll refer to all these page types as “conversion pages” in this piece.
What’s Wrong with Blogs?
Absolutely nothing! Publishing blogs is a great way to beef up a website’s keyword profile. However, they often don’t push the needle for goal conversions. While averages vary by industry, even well-written, perfectly optimized blogs tend to have:
- Higher bounce rates than other content categories.
- Shorter average session duration than other content categories.
- Lower conversion rates than other content categories.
But we were curious: how do the number of conversion pages (rather than blog pages) and keywords they rank for impact conversions? These are the questions we set out to explore.
We specifically set out to answer three questions:
- How does the number of conversion pages influence keyword counts?
- How does the number of keywords influence the number of conversions?
- Is there an ideal number of keywords per page?
Our test bed comprises a network of home services brands with which Oneupweb has working relationships. We chose two of these home services brands, plus one large Ecommerce client and one large B2B client in the preconstruction space. We also tossed ourselves into the mix, just for fun.
For each brand included in the experiment, we pulled lists of top service pages and their keyword targets from Semrush for January 1 to December 31, 2021. Then we went to Google Analytics to pull organic sessions and the number of conversions for those pages. We measured all conversions across all brands for the sake of simplicity. (It’s important to note that conversion points and configurations vary from brand to brand.)
- Number of conversion pages: 115
- Total keyword count on conversion pages: 28,264
- Keywords per page (average): 245.7
- Annual organic landing page sessions from conversion pages: 467,908
- Total organic conversion count from conversion pages: 91,484
- Average conversion rate from conversions pages: 19.55%
- Number of conversion pages: 60
- Total keyword count on conversion pages: 4,177
- Keywords per page (average): 69.61
- Annual organic landing page sessions from conversion pages: 99,434
- Total organic conversion count from conversion pages: 6,765
- Average conversion rate from conversions pages: 6.8%
- Number of conversion pages: 330
- Total keyword count on conversion pages: 613
- Keywords per page (average): 1.8
- Annual organic landing page sessions from conversion pages: 9,752
- Total organic conversion count from conversion pages: 2
- Average conversion rate from conversions pages: 0.02%*
*This reflects only landing page conversions, not conversions from users who entered the site from a collection page. The majority of users enter the site from collections pages, blogs, or paid ads.
- Number of conversion pages: 26
- Total keyword count on conversion pages: 201
- Keywords per page (average): 7.7
- Annual organic landing page sessions from conversion pages: 1,258
- Total organic conversion count from conversion pages: 12
- Average conversion rate from conversions pages: 0.95%
- Number of conversion pages: 31
- Total keyword count on conversion pages: 110
- Keywords per page (average): 3.5
- Annual organic landing page sessions from conversion pages: 3,076
- Total organic conversion count from conversion pages: 70
- Average conversion rate from conversions pages: 2.3%
Answering Our Questions
How does the number of conversion pages influence keyword count?
Our two home service brands show that having more conversion pages increases both the total keyword count and the average keywords per page.
- The handyman company’s 115 conversion pages are nearly double the landscaper’s and holds organic rank for 6.7x the total keywords.
Our two B2B companies show that having more conversion pages does not necessarily increase the total keyword count or the keywords per page.
- Despite having five more pages than our preconstruction client, Oneupweb holds rank for 47% fewer total keywords.
Our eCommerce retailer is the outlier. This eCommerce brand holds the second-most conversion pages (all of which are product pages) at 330 but ranks for just 613 keywords on those pages. That’s an average of 1.8 keywords per product page. In most cases, one keyword per page is likely the exact match of a product name.
How does the number of keywords influence the number of conversions?
The handyman company holds the most average keywords per page and the most conversions. Not surprisingly, it also has the best conversion rate, by far.
The landscaper has the second-most average keywords per page and conversions and a 6.8% conversion rate. This is one-third the conversion rate of the handyman while holding only 1/6 the total number of keywords.
Our Ecommerce client saw just two conversions from organic landing page sessions. This could be an attribution error, with conversion credit being given to non-landing page sessions or a previous paid or social session. Oneupweb has largely ruled out inconsistent attribution for this pattern, but we can’t rule it out completely. After careful analysis, we attribute low conversion rate on product pages to three key factors:
1. Users are much more likely to search short-tail, high-volume queries on many products. This increases the likelihood of landing on collection pages. For example:
- Collection Page keyword: men’s running shoes – 22,000 US-based Google searches per month
- Product Page keyword: asics gel cumulus 23 – 2,900 US-based Google searches per month
*These examples do not reflect actual products from our client – but those are very nice shoes.
2. Users searching for exact product names see many purchasing options when the product is available through multiple distributors. This increases the likelihood of “shopping around”, potentially converting on an ecommerce site with lower pricing, an existing membership account (Amazon, Costco, etc.) or faster shipping times.
In either case, ranking for just 1.8 keywords per page appears to impact the quality of users; this client’s product pages average a 0.02% conversion rate.
The preconstruction company’s 53% lead in average keyword count didn’t translate to conversions, holding an average conversion rate of 0.95%.
Out of the entire group, Oneupweb held the lowest keyword count but the third-best conversion rate.
Is there an ideal number of keywords per page?
And how many conversion pages is ideal? Should you just keep creating more pages?
This is the one general truth and the real takeaway. The most crucial factor for quality and quantity (sessions and conversions) is the concentration of keywords on a particular page.
There is a direct correlation between the number of keywords per page and the conversion rate. This means that the ideal number of pages is likely the most efficient combination of optimized keywords on each page.
How Do We Increase Keyword Count on Conversion Pages?
Oneupweb has utilized several strategies to focus valuable keywords on pages that are designed to drive conversions. These efforts are based on rigorous keyword research and ongoing optimizations to meet changing standards and best practices recommended by search engines like Google and Bing. Our team also dives further, comparing data and sharing trends across all clients to discover other variables that may lead to improved impressions, sessions and conversions.
Two of our most effective tools in the past 12 months have revolved around the pillar page concept and targeting SERP features.
- Pillar pages are typically viewed as high-level, long-form pieces of content that cover a specific topic in detail. These pages include many links to push users to relevant subtopics. Pillar pages are efficient vehicles for outlining sub-services, often include a mix of short and long-tail keywords, and are the perfect place to link to related blogs and other resources.
- SERP features like featured snippets and People Also Ask offer users immediate information from the search engine results page. SERP features usually focus on query-based searches, which tend to be long-tail keyword phrases, such as “How long does it take to build a bookshelf?”. Winning SERP features can increase SERP impressions. While some people consider impressions to be far less valuable than conversions, they have become an increasingly important metric in the era of zero-click SERPs.
SEO, Keywords and Conversions: Let’s Put It to Work
This analysis highlights the importance of focusing relevant keywords on conversion pages instead of creating additional pages for similar or tangentially related terms. This concept, backed by expert research and an ongoing optimization process, offers B2B and B2C brands an opportunity to improve page rank without constantly adding additional products or pages that may reduce user experience and complicate the search process.
Oneupweb is committed to expertise, analysis and our clients. Put more than 20 years of SEO experience and a fully integrated range of digital marketing services to work for your organization. Get in touch or call 231-922-9977 today to get started.