Keyword Surface Area

Last Updated: Thu May 12 2022

In SEO For Bootstrapped Founders, I touched on an idea called keyword surface area. Let's expand on this a little more.

But first, I want to paint a picture on what this particular flow looks like, then I'll explain why this is key to your overall growth strategy.

Let's say you've created a website, have written a few articles or created a few pages and are noticing some traffic come in. You've picked your target keyword and you're ranking for those keywords and all is well.

But now, you are thinking about expansion. The best way to go about this is to start with the first-party keyword data coming from Google Search Console.

I'm going to use this website's search console as an example.

First, go to your property in GSC and click on "Search results"

Next, click on the "Pages" tab and click on the page you want to focus on

Then, click on "Queries" and it should show you a list of the keywords that particular page is ranking for:

From top to bottom, it will show you the keywords with the most clicks & impressions, but what you want to do is comb through this list to find relevant keywords that are not directly addressed by the page you selected.

The page you wrote probably mentioned that keyword, or shared some similarities with the keyword. Regardless of why it appeared, it's now an opportunity for you to decide on if you want to expand on that keyword or not.

Another way to filter down your search for a new keyword to target is to organize the list by 0 clicks:

The key thing to notice here is that these keywords are causing Google to serve up your page to searchers because it might be relevant to them. The reason why they have 0 clicks is probably because your page title and description didn't match the query or their intent.

And rightly so – this is just Google trying to match what they thing might be relevant for these searchers.

Now, what you can do with this data is make it actually relevant to them in two ways:

Updating Your Content

If the keyword can naturally fit into the context of the page, I suggest you create a subheading on the page and address that keyword directly.

Create a New, Related Page

The other option is to create a new, related page if you can write a good amount about that new keyword. It's a fine balance, but if you decide that there's sufficient amount of content you can write on that new keyword and it calls for a new page, I'd say go for it!

What does this have to do with Keyword Surface Area?

If you do a definition look up of surface area, they say it's "the amount of space covering the outside of a three-dimensional object".

Said another way, it's also the amount of space that the three-dimensional object is exposed to it's surrounding

You can apply this to your website and it's pages: the more content pages you have, the more it will be exposed to new keywords. Your entire growth strategy should focus on creating more relevant content pages and using Google Search Console to uncover more keywords that you can create more content against as well.