Many Keywords in One Article or Separate Posts for Each?

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Hey all,

I've got an ecommerce brand that I've hired an SEO agency to do a lot of work for. I want to ask you guys at how you value the quality of their proposal. I started my career in SEO 10 years ago, but am not actively in it these days so am not sure what's working well these days.

My niche within personal hygiene is very FAQ-oriented...thousands of little questions/queries. WebMD styled. Put my topics into answerthepublic.com and you'll have work for years.

This company proposes to capture that traffic they wanna make dedicated posts to all these questions, even if the questions are VERY similar they are dedicating whole posts to just slightly different intent. They even say their other clients like their initial results and decide to "scale" the process harder with more content. This place just seems to know this whole content-scaling stuff which I'm just skeptical of. It feels so 2005. But maybe it is still effective? What google says works vs what actually works we all know varies widely.

My pushback thus far on the plan has been that I'd RATHER see 10 big, beautiful all-encompassing articles rank than see 100 mini-possibly-thin-and-overlapping articles dedicated towards targeted individual queries. I think the art of it is deciding when to have a dedicated article towards a topic vs just building it in as a subsection into a larger authoritative topical piece.

Is there a superior strategy here? Thoughts?
 
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Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
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My pushback thus far on the plan has been that I'd RATHER see 10 big, beautiful all-encompassing articles rank than see 100 mini-possibly-thin-and-overlapping articles dedicated towards targeted individual queries.

The hidden middle path is usually the right one.

The problem is one of intent. If you post a big 8,000 word article that answers 10 questions within it with H2 headers, and get a bunch of links to it, you can take down all of those question queries and probably get the featured snippets if you format it right.... until....

Until I see what you're doing in my niche, pull up a list of all the keywords your big article is ranking for, and then I produce 1,000 - 1,500 words for each of those "tighter intent" keywords.

You did 8,000 words, I did 10,000 to 15,000. You did a bunch of link building, I'm doing very little if none at all. I'm extremely confident I'm going to outrank you for all the small questions in your big article. I won't beat you for your main big keyword, but those little ones are all mine.

The reason is is that my articles directly deal with the intent of the searcher's query. As directly as possible. Yours does too, but as a sub-topic in a tangential fashion. Google will undoubtedly prefer mine over yours unless you brute-force it with links, but that won't last forever. Intent is everything right now, followed by on-page, followed by off-page.

Also, you don't need to do every single question if they're just variations of each other. If you actually search two similar questions and they're returning the same set of results, then they're the same and you can optimize for both in one article. A manual search is how you expose if the intents match between a group of keywords or not. You might get surprised at how well Google can understand the tiny differences as different intents these days.
 
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@Zach, Let me begin by saying that I don’t have enough experience to doubt any of the above @Ryuzaki mentions. But it does sound rather logical when you think about it.

For fun and kicks try to search for REI, see what they are doing and how they perform. From both points of view (your G filter-bubble and Ahrefs or something else.)

Regarding on-page. There is a second factor that you can look at. How are the product categorie and single product pages made? I.a.w. how’s the UI/UX?

Companies like Baymard and Nielsen have a lot of data that you can either buy or you could hire them to perform an audit and receive a report. And even then it is A/B testing all te way.

But the biggest part in e-commerce is Marketing, Marketing, and Marketing...

You’ll continually need to turn knobs and adjust things. Create a post, put it in your newsletter, share it on FB and/or Instagram, measure how long it takes before people read/see it. And when they read/see it, measure for how long and what percentage shared it, Rinse, repeat and adjust. Keep and eye out on what people search for on your site and where they might hit a roadblock (404?) Use this to adjust.

Product lauches, seasonal items, Q&A’ (tips and tricks fall into this category), talking about Your Company (not how great you are, the customers already know this, but things you as a business encounter, think about or even may haven an opinion about.) These are the most important factors in the content creation process.

Share it, measure it, adjust or expand.

But I’m starting to repeat a lot of things that others already mentioned.

Wishing you the best of luck, and maybe in the near future you have a bit of spare time left over to tell us what you did and how it worked out for you and your company.
 
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@Ryuzaki Great, thoughtful answer as always! Based on your feedback I'm not so opposed to the agency's strategy -- so long as they correctly recognize similar intent in different queries.

And ya as Dan mentioned we'll see what is gaining steam in the data and adjust accordingly (sticking with this agency for 6 months minimum).
 
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Until I see what you're doing in my niche, pull up a list of all the keywords your big article is ranking for, and then I produce 1,000 - 1,500 words for each of those "tighter intent" keywords.

You did 8,000 words, I did 10,000 to 15,000. You did a bunch of link building, I'm doing very little if none at all. I'm extremely confident I'm going to outrank you for all the small questions in your big article. I won't beat you for your main big keyword, but those little ones are all mine.

This is precisely what I do with all the big articles that my competitors write. Make a list of all the respectable keywords that their article is ranking for and write 1500 word pieces targeting a single keyword in the h1 and its variations across the H2s. Make sure you remain hyper-relevant throughout the article by relating every single thing to the main keyword and you are sure to hit #1.

Do you know what the icing on the cake is? The final step of this process is writing an even bigger article targeting the main big keyword and heavily interlinking them with the articles targeting the smaller keywords. With all that page rank wreaking havoc on the cluster, you will eventually obliterate your competitor's main article to a mere vestige of what it used to be. 90% of the time they are not paying enough attention to their data and will brush it off as a Google update or something.