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December 1, 2021

A B2B SEO Journey with Vijay Srinivas and Anubhav Narula

Anubhav Narula and Vijay Srinivas
SEO strategist

Excerpts from an insightful AMA session on all things Search Engine Optimization

Anubhav Narula, SEO manager at Ixigo and Vijay Srinivas, SEO strategist at Chargebee cover a range of topics including best practices, long-tail keywords, doorway pages, optimising backlinks, and more. Refine your knowledge of SEO with these comprehensive recommendations

How do early-stage start-ups earn high traffic through long-tail opportunities?

Most SEO tools own keyword data and search volume data on head keywords (which consist of one-word keywords) and broad keywords (which consist of two-to-three-word phrases)

Long-tail keywords, which are keywords that consist of three-to-five-word phrases, inherently have a lower search volume due to the higher number of permutations as a result of greater number of words pulling up sites with an exact match.

Why use long-tail keywords? Because, while 90% of search queries have a search volume of fewer than 10 words (Ahrefs), head and broad keywords can be expensive, vague, and ineffective. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, can be employed for precision targeting. 

What are the merits of Long-tail Keywords?

  • Using long-tail keywords means far less competition from bigger, more established competitors.
  • LTKs also build your authority by forming low competition topic clusters around your content. This, in turn, improves search rankings for your niche.
  • Thirdly, long-tail keywords will reduce your dependence on links, which is helpful for start-ups that are in the initial stages of their SEO organisation.
  • Finally, an indirect advantage of using long-tail keywords is that due to long-tail keywords search queries being specific, your content is more likely to create value for the reader in the form of conversion. Which will naturally contribute to increased brand awareness.

How can one go about finding long-tail keyword opportunities?

1. The first step is to start by finding a seed keyword — that is, a keyword that is highly relevant and competitive.

2. The next step is to understand the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) behind your keyword. It could either have a fractured or a focused intent:

Fractured SERP intent simply means that when your search query is too broad, the intent of your search query is unknown. Hence, your search engine will provide different results, rendering the intent “fractured”. For instance, if the word “freemium” is being searched, the initial few search results will have different intentions. The first result will be a ‘How to’, the second a ‘Definition’ of freemiums, the third might be a ‘guide’, etc.

If your search query’s search intent is clear, it becomes a focused SERP. This means that your search results are all homogeneous and are ranked with results having the same search intent. Using the same example as before, but only this time if the phrase “freemium pros and cons” was searched instead, the first few results will all relate to the pros and cons of freemiums.

Often a lot of SEO tools miss long-tail search queries that have a focused intent. Despite this, if you were to work on moving from fractured SERP intent to a focused SERP intent, you will be able to explore newer topics and long-tail opportunities which will help build your topical authority through improved clusters.

3. Publish good quality content. That always helps.

4. Use SEO Content Analysis tools such as Surfer SEO, Marketmuse, Clearscope, etc. These are tools that facilitate keywords suggestions across your content. They work by crawling through the top 30 results on Google and derive patterns on how they are ranked. 


How Can I Use Doorway Pages?

Doorway pages, also known as portal or gateway pages, are pages made with the intention of increasing the rank of a particular search query. These pages are not made for a user, but for the search engine. Doorway pages are created with little or no content. They use variations of a keyword phrase and link to the page with the main content (known as the pillar page). 

What is important to note here is that there are certain stipulations involved in order to use doorway pages the right way. Use them deceitfully and you risk getting removed from the SERP. For starters, avoid duplicating web pages. Make sure that you only use a few doorway pages over a long period of time — creating hundreds of doorway pages will cause problems. It is important that each doorway page is unique with certain mini topics that link to the main topic organically.


What are some best practices for organisations that are starting out on their SEO journey?

1) When you’re starting out, do not get obsessed with tracking your traffic from organic visits. Instead, focus on building some authority and trust. Create topic clusters around your core content, and start building your pillar pages. These pages should contain your high-volume keywords. As you gain traffic on your primary pages, move towards creating subtopics.

2) Make sure to always prioritise your most important topic cluster, which will usually be those clusters most relevant to your core business. Another good practice is to create a list of topic clusters and prioritise one topic cluster every quarter. Create a pillar page for the topic cluster you are prioritising and produce answers for the sub-topics derived from that.

3) An interesting hack by Steve Toth can be used to gain some high convertible traffic. He identifies sub-topics and long-tail keywords on forums — like Reddit — related to his topic cluster and uses them. This way, it is easy to outrank those forums and earn some extra traffic, which is especially useful as they are often high intent.

4) From a content marketing perspective, in order to build your topical authority. Focus on other niche topics that are present in your core industry and build your topical authority there. Try and prioritise executing a smaller set of topics or keywords rather than encompassing large amounts of topics or keywords.


Do posts on forums like Quora and Reddit qualify as a backlink? and is there a way to optimise what questions or topics to target on these forums?

Posts on forums do qualify as a backlink as they are eligible for identification on search console reports. In order to optimise what topics or questions to target on these forums, start by narrowing down search. Look for ideas on forums and listings based on metrics such views and upvotes. You can also use the help of various templates like Screaming Frog to obtain these figures. 


How should one go about building backlinks with low domain authority? And how frequent should one disavow links?

The best way to earn a lot of backlinks is to strive to generate attractive web pages. Pages that get the most number of backlinks tend to be pillar pages that produce high-quality content and/or industry statistics. They have a good probability of being linked on other pages, along with getting a lot of shares on social media. Producing thought leadership content on topics that are trending also helps with backlinks. Additionally, creating tools and widgets can provide backlinks as well. For example, creating a tool that compares different payment gateways in different countries.

When it comes to disavowing backlinks — which basically means “get rid of toxic or harmful backlinks that negatively affect a web page’s rankings” — it is best to disavow links infrequently unless it is necessary. Google is capable of disavowing on your part. If necessary, do a meticulous disavowal once a year with the help of a tool like SEMrush. 

Want to know more about SEO? Check out the following blog post on the theory, practice, and relevance of SEO in an increasingly digital marketplace.

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