If you own a website for your brand or business, you’ll want it to get top exposure. More exposure, more traffic, more conversions, more sales, and having an effective SEO strategy in place is critical for a successful website.
Crafting a winning strategy starts with the best keywords for SEO. Keywords are search terms that speak for the audience and search engine’s language. Keywords connect you to your audience and search engines like Google acting as the bridge. Using good keywords in your content places your site in a much better position to be found, viewed, clicked, and read.
While keywords are relevant and necessary in your SEO strategy, you shouldn’t just use any random keywords in your content. You have to use the right keywords, and learning to find the best keywords for SEO needs analysis and strategy, and every business owner and marketer should know and implement.
Why Are Keywords Important for SEO?
SEO is a set of strategies that allow your website to rank in search engines. Keywords are essential elements in SEO because even before people could find your site, they need to type in a keyword or keywords when searching. Therefore, if your content uses the same keywords that customers also use when searching, then it tells Google that your website is a relevant source of information for that specific query.
What Happens then if and when you don’t use a good keyword?
If your site doesn’t use the right keywords, it won’t appear on SERPs or search engine results pages. Ranking your website in the SERPs is a fantastic way to attract traffic. Did you know that most people never go beyond the first page of search results when they’re looking for specific information on the internet? Half of these people are more likely to click on the first three results. So, if you use the wrong keywords, your website will never get the visibility it needs to be in front of potential customers.
Additionally, knowing how to choose the best keywords for SEO are essential not for just attracting an audience, but the right kind of audience – your target market. For instance, if you own a flower shop in your area, you want to know people that you sell flowers. However, not all people would be interested in buying flowers, but brides and wedding suppliers would most certainly be. The keyword “flowers” won’t help in your ranking as it’s too generic, but using targeted keywords like “bridal bouquet in (location)” would be more relevant.
What Makes a Good Keyword?
If you want to optimize your site for higher search rankings, you have to know what makes a good keyword. Your content shouldn’t be all about just keywords, nor should it target any random keywords. Your keywords must be intentional and properly-researched.
Here are factors to help you determine a good keyword:
1. Search Volume
Search volume refers to the number of searches that keyword has been used over a period of time. Evaluating volume allows you to see how much traffic a keyword generated over time. If a keyword has low search volume, then it tells you that not a lot of people are using such keywords in their search query. Using low-volume keywords in your content won’t drive traffic to your site.
On the other hand, using a keyword with too high a volume means you have a lot of sites to compete with, and these could be sites that are already established, and competing with them could prove to be difficult. You want to achieve a delicate balance in terms of search volume to make sure your keywords are being searched while not having a lot of tough competition.
Keyword relevance refers to the significance or value that a keyword brings to your content. Often, a relevant keyword describes your brand or business, telling Google that you’re an expert or authority in your industry. It’s essential to study keyword relevance carefully because you want to cover all the keywords that relate to your industry. You don’t want just to scrape the surface; instead, go more in-depth and be more comprehensive so that your website can establish itself as a reputable and credible go-to source of information.
When you type something into the search bar, the search engine generates a list of sites that it deems relevant to your query. Are you looking for information? Then the sites should give you blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, or videos to meet that need. If you’re looking to buy something, then you should be directed to sites where you can choose, shop, and process payments.
Your content needs to serve what the users are looking for by way of using the appropriate keywords. A good keyword matches the user intent, allowing Google to think that your site offers relevant information. If there’s a disconnect between intent and your keywords, users would soon realize that your site does not have what they need, and they’ll leave or turn to your competitors.
Keyword competition refers to a keyword’s difficulty to rank in search engines. A highly competitive keyword means a lot of people are using the same keyword to rank for their content, while low competition keyword means only a few people are targeting that same search terms in their content. It is in your best interest to use low-competition keywords, particularly if you’re a new website or aren’t that well-established yet because you won’t be competing for ranking against the big sites (think of Forbes, USAToday, and Entrepreneur). Low competition keywords give your website that fighting chance to increase your ranking in SERPs by scraping the number of competitors using that same target keyword.
How to Find the Best Keywords for SEO
Before you even dream about seeing your site or page getting the first top places on SERPs, you need to come up with effective SEO keywords best practices. Keyword research is important before you craft content so that you know what to talk about, what keywords to use, and how to optimize the content to increase your ranking.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of uncovering the right keywords to use in your SEO strategy. You cannot compromise on keyword research because it tells you a lot of essential things, such as:
- Determining your audience’s needs and problems – if you find that a specific keyword or phrase has high search volume in your niche, then you know that’s the particular information many people need. Creating content around those topics gives your site a better opportunity of attracting massive traffic because your content addresses their needs or problems.
- Making your content available – at its very core, keyword research allows you to determine the best keywords to use for SEO so that you can optimize your content with them. And a highly-optimized content translates to more traffic and exposure. You’ll win Google’s favor, and it will rank your content higher. Getting your content to the top of the SERPs makes your content available to a broader audience.
- Identifying the right keywords at the right time – keywords may be seasonal or evergreen. They win and lose popularity over time. If you’re churning out content with keywords that people aren’t looking for at that specific time, then you’ll lose traffic. Who writes about “Christmas menu ideas” in February when everyone’s busy looking for “romantic dinner ideas?” But aside from the obvious, you have to do proper keyword research to uncover what sparks your audience’s interest at a given time, and then create a compelling material about it.
How to Perform a Comprehensive Keyword Research
Now that you understand what keywords are, what keyword research is, and why they’re both important, you’re ready to learn how to do keyword research. Here’s a step-by-step guide that you can follow so you can research keywords intensively.
Understand your audience
Many people cut corners at this very first important step, and that’s the reason why their keyword strategy fails right away. When it comes to creating optimized content, you have to understand that you need to serve your audience’s needs first, before you serve Google. Google is what connects you and the audience, so you must understand your audience from the very beginning.
To understand your audience, you need to ask specific questions. For instance, if you run a flower shop, you might want to ponder on these questions:
- Who is buying or most likely to buy from me?
- What kinds of flowers are they looking for?
- On what occasions are they most likely to buy flowers?
- Why are they buying flowers? To say “sorry” or “thank you?”; to celebrate an important milestone? To show love?
- How can I add more value to my customers?
These insights are critical in creating content that addresses your audience’s needs. From these topics, you can start digging into the best keywords to use for them.
Start with seed keywords
Seed keywords are your foundation keywords. These are the keywords you probably already have in mind. Most likely, these terms reflect your brand name, your products, and services, terms used by your audience in their searches and words you use in your industry. These are great in getting your keyword research started.
When you already have a list of seed keywords, you now want to look at different variations of those keywords. What you need to do is fire up your best SEO keyword research tool, enter the seed keywords one by one, and it’ll generate a list of other related keywords. The seed keyword “flowers” is also related to “florals” “blooms” and “bouquet.”
Also, you want to look into the search volume of each keyword. You’ll notice that different keywords are highly searched for, while others are not. While it’s nice to target keywords with high search volumes, you also want to incorporate keywords with decent search volume as you have far lesser competition ranking with them.
Look for related keywords
Now, you have to expand your keyword inventory with related keywords. When you search at Google and enter a keyword, you’ll find that Google gives you suggestions. For instance, if you type in “wedding bouquet,” Google might suggest “wedding bouquet ideas,” “wedding bouquet styles,” “wedding bouquet flowers,” and “wedding bouquet DIY.” The good thing is, if you’ve missed these keywords or overlooked them in your search, Google fills up a couple of them for you. People are using these keywords, so it’s worth having them in your inventory, as well.
Another way you can easily find related keywords is by going down to the bottom of the search results page. You’ll find a box there that says “searches related to (keywords),” and these are search terms you can include in your inventory as well.
Uncover long-tail keywords
Seed keywords are great places to start your keyword research, but these terms are often too broad and generic. Using seed keywords, sometimes referred to as head terms, are all well and good, but they won’t be as effective in attracting targeted traffic. For instance, “flowers” is a head term, but a lot of things are related to flowers: it could be planting flowers, growing flowers, flower arts and crafts, floral garden, flower party theme, and so on. So, if you run a flower shop, these terms don’t relate to your business.
Using long-tail keywords is an effective way to attract targeted traffic. Long-tail keywords are search terms composed of three or more words. It is essential to use both long-tail keywords, and head terms in your content allow you to achieve a more balanced keywording strategy.
Head terms tend to have higher search volumes and competition, and a lot of people use them in their searches. Long-tail keywords typically have lower search volumes and competition, but the people who search for them have a more specific intent. Think of it this way: you cannot say for sure what a person is looking for if he types in “flowers” into the search engine. But you’d know that a person is looking to buy flowers if he searched for “floral bouquet for Mother’s Day” or “floral bouquet arrangement” or “top floral bouquet designs for weddings.”
Apart from Google suggest and Google related searches, you could uncover promising long-tail keywords by using a variety of keyword tools and Google Trends.
Spy on competition
Beyond the keyword research tools you use, there’s another critical step you can’t possibly afford to miss: knowing how the competition is doing. Spying on competition doesn’t imply copying what works for them, but you certainly want to know what isn’t working for you so you can identify opportunities to improve.
Competitor analysis is an essential step because it helps you determine what keywords your competition is trying to rank for, ultimately giving you a new opportunity to evaluate your keywords. If you’ve learned how to pick good keywords for SEO for your site, you should study your competitor as well so you discover which good keywords are bringing their site more traffic.
If you find out that your competitor is ranking for the same keywords that you, too, are trying to rank for, then you should work harder and smarter on your strategy. But that also tells you another thing: there must be some keywords that your competitor has missed and isn’t ranking for, and you could leverage those search terms for your content.
While you can manually analyze every page on your competitor’s site, the process could be too time-consuming. Instead, you can use a couple of tools to hasten the process, such as SEMRush, SpyFu, and Google Keyword Tool Planner.
Once you have the competitor’s data in your hands, you want to look over their keywords and cross-check with yours. The data should now give you a more solid idea of which keywords they rank for, and which keywords you can leverage so your site also ease up on rankings. And remember to look for opportunity gaps. You should focus on finding not-so competitive keywords that have decent search volumes and use them effectively in your content.
Are You Ready to Create the Best Keywords for SEO?
If you’re looking to increase organic traffic to your site, build a following, get found by your target market, and broaden your reach, you need to learn how to choose the best keywords for SEO.
Some people think keyword research is daunting, meticulous, and time-consuming, but it’s the only way to figure out what are the best keywords. You want to evaluate your keywords from time to time because keywords also evolve. Some of them become popular and competitive, while others do not. As you gain more mastery over researching keywords, you should be able to build the best SEO keyword list to rank for in Google.