The fact that a single website can rank for hundreds—if not thousands—of relevant keywords is hardly news to anyone who monitors their traffic from Google.
Nevertheless, what is the typical number of keywords that a page will rank for?
We selected three million arbitrary search queries, examined the top-ranking pages, and counted the number of keywords they rank for to answer that and a few more questions like it.
How about we jump right in?
How many keywords do the top 20 ranking pages “also rank for”?
After analyzing 3 million search queries, we found the following average and median counts of keywords that the top 20 pages “also rank for”:
An aside. I intend to convey the idea that you should “also rank” in the top ten. Because very little traffic will come from a term that does not place you in the top ten results.
It appears that the typical page that ranks #1 will also be in the top 10 for over 1,000 more related keywords (although the median value is approximately 400 keywords, which is more than double the average).
Pages with lower rankings also tend to rank for fewer keywords.
Separately, we have also investigated the following three sets of keywords:
- every single term in our data set;
- terms that receive more than a thousand monthly searches;
- keywords that receive more than 10,000 monthly searches.
We were curious as to whether or not higher rankings for popular keywords would lead to higher rankings for more relevant phrases overall. It appears to be the exact case.
Looking at extreme cases is always entertaining, isn’t it?
An aside. We look at average and median figures independently because of outliers. Quite a few pages have high keyword rankings, which makes the “average” statistics seem higher. We eliminated the most extreme cases in the prior study to ensure more typical results, yet the disparity between the mean and median was still somewhat large.
Exploring extreme examples can be fascinating, analogous to peeking into the farthest bounds of human experience or the boundaries of possibility. Whether it’s the thrill of extreme sports, the breathtaking sights of nature’s most extreme events, or the strange oddities of human behavior, these outliers captivate us with their sheer audacity. They serve as reminders of life’s immense diversity and unpredictability, encouraging us to question our preconceptions and broaden our viewpoints. In their extremes, we see a reflection of our limits—what we can withstand, achieve, or even imagine. However, amid the interest, there is frequently a sobering reminder of the human spirit’s vulnerability and perseverance. Extreme situations might inspire, shock, or merely entertain, but they also encourage introspection, prompting us to consider the complexities of the world and our place within it. So, certainly, there is an inherent draw to investigating the extremes, because they contain both the remarkable and mundane aspects of the human experience.
Now we can examine which pages have high Google rankings for a large number of keywords.
To what extent are you able to “also rank for” a large number of keywords?
Having a one-page rank for thousands of long-tail keywords is not shocking.
But how about terms with a lot of traffic? Within what ranges can a single page achieve a ranking?
For this study, we counted the number of 10k+ keywords that all the pages in our sample that ranked #1 for a particular keyword also ranked, at position #1.
We proceeded to conduct a comparable experiment for pages that achieved a keyword ranking of 1,000 or above.
Most URLs have naturally achieved #1 ranking for at least one high-volume keyword.
Because they aren’t all on the same scale, the raw data shown in the graph above may be somewhat deceiving.
Thus, we have determined the percentage of sample pages that achieved first-page status for a single keyword, two keywords, three keywords, etc.
Finding yourself ranked for two or three keywords with more than a thousand monthly searches is rather typical. Having a single page rank for more than one keyword worth 10,000 or more is quite unusual.
How can you rank for more keywords on your page?
The greatest approach to rank for more keywords is to select the correct subject, as you can likely deduce from examining the outliers described before.
You can get a lot of relevant search queries for some topics because of their high search demand, but you won’t find many for others because they aren’t popular enough.
Although we have already addressed this in our long-tail keyword guide, I suppose it is worth repeating.
Research traffic potential
Consider more than simply the keyword’s search volume when you plan your content. You should retrieve the pages that rank highest for that term and analyze their search traffic and the number of additional keywords for which they rank.
To make my point, I frequently use “I’m sorry flowers” as an example.
However, amid the interest, there is frequently a sobering reminder of the human spirit’s vulnerability and perseverance. Extreme situations might inspire, shock, or merely entertain, but they also encourage introspection, prompting us to consider the complexities of the world and our place within it. So, certainly, there is an inherent draw to investigating the extremes, because they contain both the remarkable and mundane aspects of the human experience. Competitor analysis enables comparison against similar websites to find possibilities and dangers. Furthermore, examining user demographics provides information about the target audience’s behavior and interests. By combining these elements, businesses and website owners may create plans to improve their online presence, attract more visitors, and eventually enhance conversions and income.
Does content length help?
We averaged the number of keywords that each page in our sample “also ranked for in the top10” and then divided the total number of pages into five categories according to content length to provide you with the answer to this question:
As expected, longer pieces of material seem to score higher for a wider variety of keywords.
Next, we drilled down a bit more and counted how many keywords topped each category:
Content that was lengthier in duration also did well.
Do backlinks help?
Lots of research, including ours, found that a page’s Google ranking was somewhat correlated with the backlink variables.
However, I am not aware of any research that has examined the relationship between backlink variables and the quantity of terms for which a page ranks.
Accordingly, we divided the web address space into five categories according to URL Rating (which indicates the strength of a URL’s backlink profile) and averaged the amount of “also rank for in top10” keywords for each category:
There is a rather strong relationship between a page’s URL Rating and the number of keywords it ranks for in the top ten, as seen in the above graph.
Additionally, we examined the top-ranked terms at a somewhat finer level:
Still, results were better for pages that had a more robust profile of backlinks.
An aside. Keep in mind that correlation does not prove a causal relationship. Therefore, we cannot conclude from the aforementioned data that backlinks increase keyword rankings. We can only state that more backlinks mean more keyword rankings for pages.
How unique are the “also rank for” keywords?
The number of search queries for which a page ranks was the focus of our last experiment:
- 1 common word;
- 2 common words;
- 3 common words;
- 4 common words, etc.
We set out to determine the percentage of a page’s ranking that is so distinctive that it shares no keywords with any of the other pages in the set.
Studying and visualizing this experiment proved to be somewhat challenging; however, after some time spent tinkering with the data, we arrived at the following:
You can see from the graph up there that there are very few “unique” keywords, meaning they don’t share any terms with other keywords.
This adds credence to the idea that rather than targeting numerous topics with a single page, the key to ranking for a large number of keywords is selecting a popular topic that people would look for using the same phrases but various search queries.
The number of keywords that an article can effectively rank for depends on various factors, including the quality of content, relevance to the target audience, and strategic use of keywords. While it’s tempting to focus on maximizing keyword density, search engines increasingly prioritize user experience and valuable content. Therefore, the emphasis should be on creating well-researched, informative, and engaging articles that naturally incorporate relevant keywords. Quality over quantity remains the guiding principle, ensuring that the content resonates with both search algorithms and human readers, ultimately leading to better rankings and sustained organic traffic.
What factors determine the number of keywords an article can rank for?
The number of keywords an article can rank for depends on various factors, including the article’s quality, relevance to the target audience, keyword selection, and the overall SEO strategy. Factors such as keyword density, content length, and the use of semantic keywords also play a role.
Is it better to focus on a specific keyword or target multiple keywords in one article?
The approach depends on the content’s purpose and your SEO strategy. Focusing on a specific keyword can lead to higher rankings for that particular term while targeting multiple related keywords can broaden your reach. Striking a balance between specificity and inclusivity is often beneficial for overall SEO performance.
How does keyword research impact the potential number of rankings for an article?
Keyword research is crucial for identifying relevant terms that your target audience is likely to search for. Thorough keyword research allows you to optimize your article for multiple related keywords, increasing the likelihood of ranking for a variety of search queries within your niche.
What role does content quality play in the ability to rank for multiple keywords?
High-quality content is essential for ranking well in search engines. Search algorithms prioritize valuable and relevant content. By creating comprehensive, well-researched articles that provide genuine value to readers, you enhance your chances of ranking for a broader range of keywords.
How often should I update or refresh my article to maintain or improve keyword rankings?
Search engines appreciate fresh and up-to-date content. Regularly updating your article with new information, statistics, or insights can help maintain and even improve your keyword rankings over time. Monitoring industry trends and making timely adjustments to your content can contribute to sustained visibility in search results.