Search engine optimization, known as SEO, can do wonders for your business, but it cannot function alone. It fundamentally requires keywords and phrases that can help your audience find your website on search engines.
Therefore, creating a list of SEO keywords is the most important step in any content optimization or search engine optimization initiative.
ProTip: Since keywords are so crucial to all your SEO efforts, it’s clever to invest time and money on tools for keyword research and content optimization to ensure that your SEO game is well ahead of the curve.
5 WAYS OF FINDING AND USING KEYWORDS
1) Identify your niche
Before you identify the best keywords to optimize your page, you need to understand more about your niche or topic. You’ll then be in a better position to come up with excellent ideas that can give a boost to your content marketing and SEO strategy. Get started with these ideas on how to study your niche:
- Communicate with your existing customers and find out the various terms they use when looking for your product, service, brand, or company on the search engines.
- Think like a potential customer would think. If you were a potential customer, how will you describe your brand’s offering to your friend?
- Be active in forums, social media networks, and other online communities that belong to your niche or topic. Read the discussions on these communities to figure out your potential customers’ pain points.
2) Lookout for competitors
Do a Google search on your seed keywords to check who ranks on the front page for that particular keyword.
Make a list of all these websites. Then use a competitive intelligence tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to check their top pages. The tool will generate a report on each of the competitors’ websites which will show their top pages, their estimated monthly traffic, and the top keyword for each page that is sending the traffic to the website.
ProTip: If huge brands like Amazon or eBay are ranking for your seed keyword, don’t treat them as competitors. Your competitors should be websites that resemble your own.
3) Use a good keyword research tool
Now it’s time to use keyword research tools to further refine your search terms based on these parameters:
Keyword Popularity and Search Volume
Use these two tools:
1. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
This tool gives you estimated numbers of monthly searches and suggestions for a keyword.
Using Google’s Keyword Planner you can narrow down your list and focus on keywords that have a high volume of monthly searches but low competition.
Note: Since Google AdWords Keyword Planner is designed for AdWords, it will show competition within AdWords and not the organic search. This means the real competition data may be different.
After you compiled the list of keywords, compare your findings on Google Trends.
2. Google Trends
This tool shows trending search phrases and allows you to compare them.
Variations and Related Words
You can use the ‘suggest’ feature in both Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to expand your keyword search. You can also try Ubersuggest. This tool includes Google’s suggestions from various sources. Search for variations, synonyms, and derivatives of the same keyword and then group them into keyword groups.
1. Target Long Tails
Seed keywords are usually shorter search terms that are mostly your brand’s main topic or category. However, long-tail keywords are more descriptive, and generally form subtopics for your main topic.
Long-tail keywords have low or medium competition levels and therefore are easy to match with your target audience’s search intent as compared to seed keywords. They get fewer clicks but they have a higher conversion rate as they are focused on a specific product or topic.
For example, if your published website content is about a “content optimization tool”, using a long-tail keyword like “top 10 content optimization tools” can attract a more relevant audience than the seed keyword “content optimization tool.”
2. Get Geo-Specific
If your content is geo-specific, it can help you reach a more relevant target audience. By narrowing down your keyword research by a specific city, town, county, or state, or even people’s interest or terminology used in specific regions or sub-regions, you can come up with content that is purely meant for your target audience.
You can use Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends for doing your geo-specific keyword research.
There’s no such thing as the “best” keywords; your best keywords would be the ones that are highly searched by your audience. The best keywords in your SEO strategy should take into account relevance, authority, and volume. Your highly searched keywords should be able to compete with:
- The level of competition you’re up against.
- The quality of content that is currently ranking
Now that you have been able to get a list of keywords that can help you focus on the right topics for your business with short-term and long-term gains, be sure to revisit them every few months – once every quarter is ideal, but you can also do it more often if you have the time and resources.