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Google’s John Mueller answers a question about ranking keyword phrases with keywords

Google's John Mueller answers a question about ranking keyword phrases with keywords

Google’s John Mueller offered advice on how a new site should approach the placement of keyword keywords.

The question was from a publisher who was dissatisfied with what was perceived as a poor quality web page. Mueller explained why that particular search result appears that way.

Overall keyword phrases

Key terms are search phrases with a lot of search volume.

Long tail phrases are search queries that have a small amount of search volume.

It’s not about how many words are in the search query. It’s about search volume.

One thing Mueller notes about main designations is that their meaning tends to be vague.

Ranking for one-word search queries

The person asking the question was concerned about the search results for a single word search phrase where the top ranked site was perceived as low quality.

That person asked why their higher quality page did not rank above what they thought was a low quality web page.


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This is the question:

“I put a query on Google and the results are not good.

The first result has only one video and thousands of comments. Why does one site rank?

… Not just me, other results that are also greater than this result.

I looked up the site and I found out that there are many authoritative in their niche … and the query was programming. ”

Google’s Mueller discusses ranking for key terms

Google’s John Mueller discusses ranking key terms

Ambiguous search queries

Mueller first noted that the search query, the person who asked the question, was ambiguous. And it’s problematic because the intent of a single word search can be so many things for some search phrases.


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John Mueller’s answer:

So first of all, I think a query like “programming” is so ambiguous that there is nothing absolutely right or wrong when it comes to ranking something there.

So this is something where I would assume that the results you see there will be a bit mixed and it will be hard to say I have to make a piece of content on the topic of “programming” and Google will rank it as number one. ”

Mueller recommends targeting less ambiguous keywords

Mueller suggests that the publisher should focus on keywords that have less competition rather than focusing on all high-volume phrases.

John continued his answer:

“My recommendation here is especially
if you are starting out, do not focus on queries like “programming”.

Instead, focus on something that is really strong, something you can do really well, and something that does not have as much competition or does not have that much other content out there already.

… So you can somehow build some experience over time and understand how things work, understand how users actually respond to your content, understand what kind of content works well for search, what kind of content works well for users .

And over time, you have to keep building it up, and that can result in you focusing on things that are more key terms,… things that are shorter queries that users are looking for a lot.

But it also gives you a little bit of foundation to build on where you know it, yes I get a lot of questions about this specific aspect of programming and therefore I have very good content on and that is where I rank really well.

And then over time, it might make sense to expand from there to a broader topic.

Or maybe you find other topic areas where it’s just the case that there is actually not much content out there, but there are enough people searching for this information that it makes it worth spending on creating that content and maintaining it , keep it running on your site. ”

Ranking for targeted search terms

Mueller is right, and focusing on targeted keywords where the intent is clear is a good strategy.

In general, fewer people search for one-word search queries, which means that queries with a word are no longer key terms. They are just vague and ambiguous.

For example, the Google Trends tool shows that the search trend for the keyword ‘programming’ is declining. There are 50% fewer people searching for the word “programming” today than there were five years ago.

One-word and two-word search queries previously had a lot of search inventory. But the way people search has changed, which means that just because it’s a query on a word does not mean it’s a major concept associated with a lot of traffic.

Google uses query refinement features to also guide searchers to more accurate search queries.

Mueller’s approach may be more satisfying for users and publishers because a searcher is more likely to find what they want on a web page that is about something very specific.


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In my experience, a more specific search query has consistently resulted in more sales, more clicks on affiliate links, and generally better ad performance.


Google’s Mueller discusses ranking of key terms

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 38:55 minute mark:

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