Fresh Keyword Performance

Let me help you improve your fresh keyword performance. We’ll understand what fresh keywords are, challenges of working with fresh keywords and how you can improve the performance of pages you want to rank for fresh keywords.

Fresh keywords are keywords that are new to search engines. Fresh keywords have either never been searched previously, or are now being searched in a totally new context. For the latter definition, a fresh keyword may have been scarcely searched in the past, then suddenly experiences a spike in searches.

A few months ago, a client had a question regarding the performance of a new location specific keyword that suddenly became popular for searchers on Google. That got me thinking about how Google treats such keywords, so I’ll share my thoughts here.

My Fresh Keyword Theory

The theory I have is in the early days of a search query, Goolge will return more information results because it can’t be sure exactly what people are searching for. The search query (which I’ll keep anonymous) had only become popular recently, but it had been searched a few times several years ago.

Although there was a small spike in interest surrounding it a several years ago, the context of that search was unrelated. The keyword didn’t get regular searches and the only interest registered for it was in India according to Google trends. Also the search volume was too low for my SEO tool* to measure, indicating it hadn’t been a hot topic for very long.

*Of course, different tools have different sources of data and process it in unique ways. No one tool will ever give totally reliable figures.

The Problem

The issue at hand was the site I consulted on wasn’t appearing even on the first page of Google, though we all believed it probably should. The sites appearing for this keyword were exclusively informative rather than helping visitors to achieve any specific task.

What I think may have been happening was Google trying to understand the intent of that specific keyword. Until Google’s results algorithm could be sure what people wanted, it offered up information oriented results.

Another factor could have been the multitude of questions surrounding the particular keyword people were searching for. That would help explain why the sites ranking highly for the keywords were explaining the situation to visitors. This fresh keyword opened the door to more experimentation by Google’s algorithm as it tried to understand the meaning of the keyword and best results to display based on that understanding of search intent.

Established Vs Fresh Keywords

I surmised that with established keywords, Google would even go as far as to present its own content in place of websites. Kind of like the rich snippets at the top of the SERP, I’ve even seen data input boxes appear. Google will ask if you have anything you’d like to know about the search, a direct indication it’s trying to understand what people want so it can provide those results.

I’ve seen in the past with a search like ‘package delivery status’ in the UK or US that I actually got the tracking number search page of major delivery players at the top. This was about a year or two ago and it often came without a great deal of content on the pages if you clicked through. With the United States Postal Service (USPS) website especially, I found they used a Q&A layout which matches somewhat the style sites in the top ten ranking for [keyword] also used.

Content on the pages ranking well for the [keyword] could be considered thin, but definitely exactly the information someone unsure about the keyword would be looking for. To help rank with search engine rankings pages where Google is unsure what to rank, adding a nice Q&A section addressing the questions searchers may have could be a good way to go.

The Best Theory?

My thoughts are that even if it’s a very transactional search, i.e one that you’re going to get a sale or provide a user with specific information like tracking results for their package, including some FAQs could help that page with rankings. As with everything, ‘it depends’.

With fresh keywords, part of (y)our job is to educate the search engine about the subject matter. Search engines are made to learn from the internet and deliver what searchers want.

As a marketing consultant experienced in the field of SEO, I often get seemingly random or niche questions like this.  If you have any questions about SEO or marketing in general, drop me a line here or on LinkedIn.