Creating good content is what makes people want to use your site and buy your products, but you don’t want to waste time and money on content no one is searching for. Your site will always get buried deep in the search engine’s rankings unless you optimize for the right keywords. This is another step in the SEO process, outlined in our quick guide. Keywords are the words and phrases people enter in search engines when looking for something. With comprehensive keyword research, you can find out;
- What people searching for
- How many people are searching for a specific piece of information
- What format people want that information in
Start with Seeds
To find the right keywords you must have a good working knowledge of your industry and you must understand how keyword research tools work. Begin your research brainstorm a general list of keywords you use with your business. These ‘seed keywords’ may not necessarily be the keywords you decide to target. These seeds are simply used to see what is out there. You can use free tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner, a free and limited keyword tool, which acts as a thesaurus for alternative keyword suggestions. There are many free and paid research tools on the web, some examples include:
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- Bing Ads Keyword Planner
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Use your seed keywords with a keyword research tool. The tool will create a list of keywords from their database and tell you how many searches there are for that term. This can help give you an idea of the keywords that are out there and what is being searched.
There are two basic categories of keywords: short-tail and long-tail. Short-tail keywords are generally shorter, more generic terms like “shoes.” Short-tail keywords get loads of search volume. If you sell shoes, this might seem like a great keyword to try to rank for. However, a broad search term often means an ambiguous intent. The searcher could be looking for shoes for any number of reasons. A more narrow search term like “women’s shoes size 9” shows a much more clear intent to buy. Because there is less competition for these niche keywords it is easier to rank for them but it also means less overall search volume coming to your site. You want to get the right mix of short and long-tail keywords to bring in website visitors who are ready to buy as well as visitors who are willing to browse.
Other things to consider when researching keywords are seasonal trends (holiday keywords spike in October and November), location-specific keywords (ranking in auto repair plus your home city is easier and more valuable to you than ranking for just auto-repair.) Another useful strategy is to research what keywords your competitors are ranking for. You could always look for the missed opportunities that your competitors aren’t exploiting or go for a more aggressive strategy competing with them for the same keywords.
These merely the basics, as there are many detailed strategies for choosing what keywords to pursue. There are many powerful and detailed tools on the web that can break down the numbers further for those looking for further keyword optimization.
Not sure how to optimize your site for keywords? Request a consultation with our team and we can walk you through the process.