SEO prospecting is the technique of building out a small percentage of low word count pages within a silo on a specific topic, product, service, or location to test for keyword viability. This technique tests what content you should invest in based on the organic traffic you later receive from search engines.
Just like the good old days of gold prospecting, where you would pan for gold in several areas and see if one location strikes you rich, but in this digital world, you pan for keyword prospects on your website. Keyword prospecting allows you to test ideas before entirely allocating your budget, and this technique will enable you to find where the best investments are.
Another analogy will be batting several hooks and seeing if something bites. The key is to make sure the hook is strategically placed and appetizing.
How to SEO Prospect
- Find a topic that fits your website niche.
- Map out the topic that you want to rank for. You can use sites like alsoasked.com or answerthepublic.com to generate ideas. (e.g., if you own a Digital Marketing website, you can add topics like SEO, PPC, Web Design, etc.)
- Make the subject concise and easy for Google and Users to understand (e.g., If your topic is SEO, you might want to create pages on PageRank, Internal Linking, Google Patents, etc.)
- Build out appropriate Silo’d pages. Stay under 25 pages per test.(e.g., Location pages would be set up like this:
/SEO/Montreal/.) Learn more on how to create an SEO silo accurately.
- Make sure these pages are easy to find on your website.
- Create minimal content for the page to make sense and be helpful to users. This word count can range anywhere from 150-500 words.
- Add an image, internal and external links, schema where applicable. Create a positive user experience.
- Setup Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to track new keywords; I find Ahrefs and SEMrush too inaccurate for this process; they are better at monitoring establishment keywords.
- Once the Search Engine tests to see if that Keyword is a valuable fit for that page, move quickly to fill out the content on specific pages that recieve organic traffic and keyword queries.
An Example of SEO Prospecting
I own a small SEO business in Ottawa, and I want to broaden my market. So I created landing pages for Toronto, Bellville, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, and larger 2 Suburbs within Ottawa (Kanata and Orleans). Each page lists what makes my business unique, how it can help small businesses within that town, a list of my services, and how to contact me. Each page has unique content and links together naturally.
Things to avoid when SEO Prospecting
- Do not create pages without any value.
- Do not create duplicate or plagiarized content.
- Do not try to optimize for PageRank unnaturally.
- Do not create too many pages. I stay under 25 pages per test.
This experiment is mostly for situations where you don’t have a lot of time or resources to invest & need a quick turnaround for results, so you spread out 2k words across 10-20 articles within a specific niche and see if any bite. Not only for SEO purposes but also for user interest.