Things have changed a lot since I first started doing SEO over 10 years ago.
Back in the good old (easy days) you simply added in your keyword into the important places of your site, then built a bunch of links with your keyword as anchor text and boom, you could rank pretty much anything if you had the right know how and tools.
These days things are a little different and I think this image I found the other day illustrates it perfectly.
People never used to use more than a few words when they searched for something online, 2 or three at the most.
But as using search to find what you need has become more and more a part of every day life people have evolved their way of searching and the search engines have evolved with it.
Using natural language is now much more important than just having your keyword plonked into your title.
Google especially look at the entire context of the page and all the related keywords that are on there to get an idea of what the subject matter of the page is about.
If we look at the actual real results for the “boys search query” above we can see that none of the actual results have the keyword in the order it was typed.
Most of them contain the keywords in some sort of order in the descriptions, which are pulled from the pages content, but if you look at the title they have variations of natural language that mak much more sense than our 3 word search query.
When we look at SEO competitor analysis we do all this and more to create a proper page structure for the keyword we want to go after. Your best course of action is to really start with looking at who is ranking and how they are doing it.
Once you have data to work on its go time from there so dont get sucked in by any one who tells you to write 500 words of copy with your keyword at the start and at the end, that’s just not going to cut it these days.
You need to know what the starting point is and then you can tweak and test from there.
Make sure that you test and measure and always look at your analytics and rank trackers so you can continue to measure and improve.