N-Dimensional SEO

A different way to think about SEO

Traditional SEO works by compiling a list of keywords that you'd like to rank on, and then building content that can rank on those terms.

Let's say that you're running SEO for a food & nutrition brand. You might want to rank on keywords like the following:

best diet to lose weight

how many calories in rice

There are two things to note about these keywords:

  • They have topical similarity; they are both relevant to the topic of nutrition.

  • They don't share a syntax; even if they're both relevant to the same user, the syntactical structure of them is quite different.

In this way, we can say that these keywords, and traditional SEO, is 0-dimensional. There is no common syntax we can provide which can generate both of these keywords.

Confused? Bear with me...

1-Dimensional SEO

It's perhaps easier to understand what we mean by 0-dimensional SEO by contrasting it with 1-dimensional SEO. A 1-dimensional syntax looks something like:

how many calories in {food}

This isn't a keyword in itself, rather it's a syntax from which we can generate keywords. It's 1-dimensional, because there's one variable ({food}) in the syntax, which we can iterate through in order to generate keyword.

To generate our keywords, we need to provide a list of items. For {food} this could be rice, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and so on. As we pass each of them into our syntax, we get keywords like how many calories in rice, how many calories in lettuce, and so on.

We can do this in Excel, or Google Sheets, by having how many calories in in one column, and a list of foods in another column. With a quick formula, and a populated list of foods, we can generate one keyword for each food item.

Why Are We Doing This?

There are a few reasons why we might want to use 1-dimensional strategies when it comes to keyword research:

  1. It helps us build up lists of keywords quickly (it's easier to build up a list of foods than it is to mine the keywords).

  2. Producing content on these terms helps us build up topical authority on our site.

  3. We can easily partition the content off onto a subsection of our site, without polluting our blog. In the examples above, we might want to create a path structure that looks like: https://example.com/how-many-calories/{food}.

There are even more benefits when we move to higher dimensions though!

2-Dimensional SEO

We've looked at a 1-dimensional example above, where our syntax had one variable, but we can easily extend this to 2 (or more) dimensions. A 2 dimensional example could be:

how many {nutrients} in {food}

Here, {nutrients} represents a list of terms like calories, grams of fat, carbs, et cetera.

The crucial thing to note here is that the number of keywords generated by our syntax is equal to the number of values for {nutrients}, multiplied by the number of values for {food}. If we have 10 different values for {nutrients}, and 100 values for {food}, we end up with 1,000 different keywords.

What's So Great About 2 Dimensions?

When we move to 2-dimensional SEO, we typically end up targeting a lot of keywords that are underserved by traditional SEO, and which are therefore less competitive and easier to rank on.

2-dimensional SEO is a great way to exploit the scale that AI content systems like Byword provide. Because no brand that relies on human writers is ever likely to commission 1,000 articles (simply due to the cost), there's an opportunity to use Byword to rank on these terms.

In fact, in most of the work I've done as a consultant, I've seen 2-dimensional projects work far better than 1-dimensional projects. The 2-dimensional projects do go after lower volume search terms, but the lack of competition typically means it's very easy to get traction and rank high up on results pages.

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