Are you trying to improve the SEO ranking on your website? Are you hoping to increase traffic and conversions? If so, then you need to know about keywords.
Unfortunately, finding the correct keywords is only half of the battle. You need to know how to utilize them effectively. Below, we present our must-know guide on SEO keywords.
What Are SEO Keywords?
In their simplest form, search engine optimization keywords (SEO) are words that people type into search engines when looking for information. Some keywords are searched for many times over, while some keywords are searched less frequently. Keywords can peak and trough in popularity, or remain stable all year round.
Keyword research is the process of finding those keywords and using them on your website. This is with the goal to increase traffic flow or use them for other general marketing purposes.
You may ask why you would not just choose the most searched for, frequent words. That is because a lot more goes on with keyword research. It includes competition for the word and a host of other factors you need to take into account to make your content rank.
Why Do Keyword Research?
Keyword research is useful for a number of reasons, other than just getting your website to rank on search engines. Firstly, it gives you a better idea of what the public is looking for. These people are your potential customers, and the terms they type into search engines are a direct path to their needs and wants.
It can also inform all types of content creation. Terms and keywords can be used in traditional forms of marketing, email marketing, and even in your company mission. If you decide to branch out into pay per click advertising, it can also be used to make your social media campaign more successful.
Researching Relevant Keywords
Start by writing down around 10 topics relevant to your business or website, that you would like to rank for. For bloggers, this may be about your most frequently blogged topics. For businesses, it may be the most important product or service you have on offer.
Once you have these, use them as topics. For each topic, write down a number of phrases you believe people may type into search engines, related to the topic itself. You should then have a whole host of topics and words that may potentially become your keywords.
If you find yourself struggling with this section, then the related search terms in Google can help. Simply type in your keyword, then scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see a number of related search terms that you can include.
Types of Keywords
Keywords are not just singular words. In fact, they can be classified in a number of different ways. They generally fall under the terms head, body, and long-tail keywords.
Head keywords are one or two-word phrases. They have high search volumes. This usually means they also have a high level of competition.
Body keywords are usually one or three-word phrases. They have a medium search volume. Competition for them can vary.
Long-tail keywords are a string of four or more words. Most internet traffic is made up of these terms. They have low search volumes but very often have less competition.
You need to aim for a mix of keywords. However, the longer and more specific keywords are more likely to yield richer, quality traffic. This means it is more likely to convert to a lead or sale.
Place yourself in the mind of a consumer. A search for ‘sneakers’ will yield millions of search results, from a variety of stores and articles. Yet a search for ‘Red Nike Air Jordans 1′ is more likely to find what they need and they are more likely to purchase the item.
Trends and Evergreen Content
When looking at keywords, you should also understand trends and evergreen content. They are both used to describe keywords and content but can help understand the relevance of both.
Trends are terms that come and go in popularity. For instance, due to a new product release or a news event, certain terms may spike in search volume then drop in popularity.
The opposite of this is evergreen content. This is content, often containing keywords, that people search for regularly. Evergreen content often maintains a constant search volume.
For instance, imagine a search term for ‘New AC/DC album‘ and one for ‘How do I change a tire?’ The first term would be popular at times when a new product is about to hit the market, or just after. In contrast, the latter is something people need to know all year round, making it evergreen.
Previously, to be a contender for the search engine results page (SERP) your content needed to contain the relevant keywords. However, as algorithms for search engines have become more sophisticated, the intent has become more important.
The reason for this is because keywords can have many different meanings and interpretations. For example, you may choose ‘how to buy a house’ as a keyword. A term like this can bring up many different results.
It may bring up links to people who provide mortgages. It could give you advice on saving for deposits. It could bring up real estate listings.
If your business is financial advice, you do not want to choose a term that will see you dumped in with real estate websites. The intent behind the keyword is incorrect.
One simple way to test this is to type your SEO keyword ideas into a search engine. You will get a general idea of the intent that the search engine is looking for.
Choosing SEO Keywords
Once you have a host of head, body, and longtail keywords you need to decide which are the best SEO keywords for your website. To do this you need to make three considerations. These are the relevance, volume, and authority of a keyword.
Relevance overlaps with the aforementioned intent. Search engines will only rank you for a keyword if you meet the needs of the person searching. In addition, they will push you further up the SERPs if you have content that is more relevant than the rest of the similar content out there.
Volume dictates how many people are searching for a term per month. This is measured in monthly search volume (MSV). Essentially, if you choose keywords that no one searches for, while you may end up on the first page of Google if only one person is searching per month, it does not translate as traffic.
Authority is where keyword ranking starts to become more complex. Search engines will prioritize keyword content from sites they believe have authority. How this is built goes way beyond simply including keywords in your content.
One way your site builds authority is to have backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your content or website. Imagine them as a road sign for search engines, telling them which way to go to find certain information.
The more backlinks you have, the more authority is given to your site. You can build backlinks by having relevant articles on other sites or building traffic on social media.
In addition to backlinks, there are a number of other SEO factors that may be considered. These can include the speed of your website, its bounce rate, and usability. They are too extensive to list here, but you can read about them in this article on improving your SEO score.
Cutting Down Your Keyword List
Now you have a host of keywords, you need to know how to pick SEO keywords that are relevant, and cut down your list. There are a number of tools you can use to do this. However, whatever choice you make there are some common threads to follow.
Once you know the search volume and are happy with it, you need to check on the competition for that word. If you are competing with major companies and brands, then your keyword will prove fruitless. Try to find words that have less competition.
Once you have these, you need to make sure your content is better and more valuable than the content currently ranking. This will allow you to push ahead of the page rankings, beating content in a similar niche.
Popular Keyword Tools
There are a number of free and paid keyword finding tools available. Many of the paid tools will help you dig a little deeper, and assist in ways to build your authority as well as choosing SEO keywords.
Google keyword planner is one of the most comprehensive free tools. All you need to do is set up an ad account and you can begin using it. It will give you comprehensive traffic and search estimates for the keywords you have on your list.
If you are looking for an all in one SEO solution, then you may consider a paid keyword search tool. Some of the more popular ones are SEM Rush, Moz, and Ahrefs. You will find that they can also give you a much better look into the competition you will face for your keywords.
What Do I Do Next?
Once you have the list of keywords, you need to begin doing two things to build traffic to your site. The first is to create content that includes your keywords, and the second is to build backlinks that include your terms.
Placing keywords in content is quite comprehensive, but there are some ways to start. Make sure your keyword or term is included in the title, both its SEO title and physical written title. After this, place it in a subheading, and in the first and last 100 words.
You must also include the keyword in your meta description. The meta description is the wording that appears when your content flags in a search engine. If you do not have a tool to write this manually, then it will generally be the first 160 characters of the text on your page.
Finally, use the keywords in building backlinks. Backlinks are the pointers from other websites that build your authority. If you use the keywords in text that link (anchor text) you are indicating to the search engines what your content and site are about.
One crucial mistake people make when doing keyword research is to do it only once. The process needs to be ongoing, as keywords can come and go in popularity. You do not want to have a keyword that is waning in popularity and find fewer visitors coming to your site.
In contrast, you may find that your keywords have become too popular. With more competition, you have to compete harder for the chance to rank on SERPs. In this instance, you should consider changing to less popular keywords that have lower competition.
Check on keywords and rankings regularly and update appropriately. You must start to instigate SEO into all of your practices, and not just do it as a one-off event.
How Has Keyword Research Changed?
Another mistake is to take the old approach to keyword research. This involved filling a piece of content with the keyword as many times as possible, in the hope this would make it more relevant. Search engines have advanced much more since that practice was fruitful, and you can even be penalized for it.
As people move to voice-activated searches, terms are also swinging towards phrases that align closer to natural speech. This means that colloquial terms and questions are becoming more relevant.
In fact, some people argue that keyword research is becoming outdated. This is because they believe as search engines become more sophisticated, simple terms and queries will no longer hold relevance. However, this is a very simplistic look at the situation.
Search engines are still using keywords to rank websites and will do for a long time. They are crucial to understanding what questions people have, which is important not just to SEO but your business as a whole.
In summary, ranking on search engines is more than just finding the SEO keywords. It involves a much larger campaign, that takes time and effort.
If you need assistance to begin ranking, then Riserr should be your first stop. We are a search marketing agency driven to increase higher search visibility on our client’s websites. Click here to contact us and discuss your needs, so we can start your SEO journey today!