Keyword Selection: The Key to Earning High Search Ranking
Keyword selection and optimization offer a number of benefits only if done right. No content and search engine optimization strategy is complete without the effective use of keywords.
They have been around since the advent of the internet and they still have a large part to play in ranking websites moving forward.
Keywords help with many other things such as email marketing, PPC, new product and services research, and assessing your competition, etc.
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to choose the right keywords due to stiffening competition and regular changes introduced by Google to its algorithms.
The search guidelines and behaviors have changed a lot over the years and they are still evolving.
Gone are the days when you would stuff the content with your keywords and artificially push the website to the top of the search engines.
It is imperative for you to understand the current search environment and how keywords work nowadays if you want your content marketing, websites and other marketing campaigns to have any chance of success.
Unless you are Huffington Post or the New York Times, it will not be easy for you to rank on the elusive first page of Google. However, it is not impossible.
Companies have been repeatedly doing this for years and to great effect as well.
All you need to do is to choose the right keywords for your website, but it is easier said than done.
First of all, you need to take search engine optimization and content marketing seriously, especially if you are a new website.
Secondly, conduct a thorough keyword research, carry on competitive analysis, devise a feasible content marketing strategy and finally, spend some time and energy on seeing them through.
Your rankings, traffic, sales, and profits will eventually skyrocket.
This is what this article or guide is all about. You will have a full understanding of keyword research and how to use the search changes to your own advantage.
How you can improve your content marketing and SEO strategies in addition to pushing your website on the first page of Google?
The following lines contain everything you should know if you want your website to perform brilliantly.
WHAT ARE KEYWORDS?
Almost everyone has a basic idea of what keywords are. In simple terms, they are words and phrases people use to search what they are interested in.
They are also the terms and phrases which describe the topics you write about.
These keywords are your biggest chance to present your content directly to your audience or at least help them find it. In an ideal world, you will use the same keywords again and again.
However, as the world of e-commerce is getting more and more competitive, you are forced to search for new and less competitive but relevant keywords for your business.
Keyword research is the process of finding new keywords which your audience can type into Google to search your website.
Subsequently, you can use these keywords in your content marketing, social media, and SEO campaigns.
WHY KEYWORD SEARCH IS IMPORTANT?
Keywords are one of the biggest ranking factors in the world.
They have been an integral and vital part of Google’s algorithms.
Google will instantly understand what your website is about if you manage to use the right keywords.
As a result, it will display your website at the top of the first page whenever someone types your keywords in the search bar.
Keyword research also reveals some really great topics you can include in your content marketing campaigns.
These topics enable you to get into your audience’s head and figure out what they think about your company and what they want.
Obviously, you will be better prepared to optimize your content and deliver the services your customers’ need if you already know what they are looking for.
Overall, your business can greatly benefit from keyword research.
You can not only include them in the content creation process, but in all types of promotional activities such as competitive research, pay per click advertisement and of course, email marketing.
Another way to improve your own content and SEO strategy is to check the keywords your competitors are ranking against.
You can use those keywords to improve your own marketing efforts as well.
HOW KEYWORD SEARCH HAS CHANGED AND IS IT STILL RELEVANT?
Keyword research is still relevant, but not if you are employing decades old SEO technique.
As mentioned above, people used to stuff their content with keywords to deceive Google.
Such lousy techniques no longer work.
Search engines, especially Google have gone smarter than ever. It only values quality above anything else.
In fact, Google now penalizes such pages rather than rewarding them with higher rankings.
Furthermore, it constantly changes its algorithms to deliver the content of the highest quality which people actually want to see.
Some of the characteristic features of modern keyword search are as under.
- The voice search is growing in popularity thanks to the increasing use of smartphones, which come with different types of digital assistants. That means people no longer only type in the search bars, but ask questions using natural language.
- Google has introduced answer boxes which strive to provide immediate answers to the people’s queries. The boxes usually contain highly relevant and well-optimized content.
- Latent Semantic Indexing has well and truly become a big thing nowadays. It means you do not only optimize your content for a single word or phrase. You also include one or more related keywords with similar meanings in your content.
- It can be rightly said that keyword research enables you to optimize for the people rather than Google bots. If the quality of your content is high, Google will reward you by putting your page on the top.
HOW TO SEARCH FOR THE RIGHT KEYWORDS?
It is both easy and difficult to select the right keywords for your marketing campaigns.
A simple search on Google will give you hundreds, if not thousands of keywords.
However, not all of them are relevant to the particular products or services you offer.
In this regard, the following are some proven tips to find keywords which can actually propel your business to unprecedented levels of success.
Understand Different Types of Keywords
It is important to classify keywords even before you start searching for them.
There are actually three main types of keywords that are head keywords, body keywords and long tail keywords.
Head keywords contain only one to two words, but they are the most competitive keywords with high search volume.
They would also cost you a lot of money if you tend to include them in your pay per click advertisements.
For example, “insurance” is one of the most searched and expensive keywords in the world with a price tag of $54.1 for a single click.
The body keywords, on the other hand, consist of two to three words.
They have a good search volume, which is not very high and not very low either.
Understandably, they are less competitive than their head counterparts.
Going back to our example, “best health insurance” is a popular body keyword.
Long tail keywords comprise of more than four words. They are the least competitive keywords because they have a low search volume.
However, the bulk of the web traffic comes from long tail keywords, making them an important component of any Search Engine Optimization strategy.
Some experts also use the terms like short, medium and long tail keywords or head, modifier and tail keywords.
No matter what their titles are, they basically are the same thing.
What is more important here is their specificity.
Longer phrases or long tail keywords are more specific as compared to the head and body keywords.
The more specific a keyword is, fewer people will be searching for it.
Here is a summary of what we mean to say.
- If you search for “shoes” only, you will get millions of search results.
- If you search for “men’s shoes”, the number of search results will drop to thousands.
- If you search for “red Nike men running shoes”, you will only get results relevant to this particular model of shoes.
The best course of action is to use a combination of these keywords.
It is a well-balanced strategy which will give you short term gains, but will enable you to obtain your long term goals.
By incorporating long tail and body keywords in your content, you will direct a part of web traffic to your website.
It is an open secret that it is harder to rank for “insurance” but much easier to rank for “the best health insurance companies in Berlin.”
Keep Business Goals in Mind
The first thing you need to keep in mind while searching ad prioritizing keywords is your business goals.
You are wasting your precious times, energy and resources if you do not have definite and defined SEO objectives.
Outside agencies and vendors should particularly define such goals because they have to constantly reconsider their approach and how their services help their clients to achieve their own goals.
You may set different goals for your SEO, but one of the most important of them is directing more traffic to your conversion pages.
Let us assume you provide cheap health insurance to federal government employees. “Health Insurance” will definitely be a competitive and expensive keyword for such a page.
On the other hand, “cheap health insurance for federal employees in Berlin” is not only a cheaper but less competitive keyword, increasing your chances to rank higher in the search results.
In this case, the latter is a high priority and more specific keyword as well.
Conduct Your Preliminary Research
This is perhaps the most important part of your keyword research strategy.
The entire goal of creating a list of keywords is to connect with your audience directly using content and whatever you have to offer.
Asking real people what they want to read and see and how they like to search a particular topic is the way to go.
Taking their opinions for keywords will leave you surprised as you will be able to pick up some really nice keywords just by talking to them.
Asking your colleagues, friends, relatives, mom, and dad, siblings and even your girlfriend is an extremely educating and beneficial experience.
Another way to find some cool keywords is to sit with these people and literally watch how they explore the internet.
You can also ask them to search a certain page or product on Google.
Different people will use different keywords and methods to search the same thing online, depending upon their understanding of that product.
Some people use the exact head terms while others use longer, broader phrases and progressively narrow down their searches.
All in all, you will end up collecting a number of high priority and relevant keywords to incorporate in your marketing efforts.
Narrow Down Your Keywords
Creating a long list of potential keywords is the key to getting the best results from Google and even other search engines.
You need to spend a lot of time and do plenty of brainstorming to create this list as it should only include the keywords from which you can actually benefit.
However, the next step is to narrow down this list to only the best of the best keywords.
These are the keywords which are most effective and relevant to your business.
It is necessary for you to remove the least relevant keywords from your list at the earliest.
If your business deals with insurance – but only with health insurance, you must do away with phrases about other types of insurances such as auto insurance or flood insurance.
To make your list even more specific, you will remove keywords about health insurance in the USA or Europe as well because you provide services only in Germany.
However, try to retain all the keywords which have very high-profit margins, bring more sales as compared to other keywords, or at least support you in creating a strong brand experience and name.
Using keyword evaluation tools is one of the easiest and most effective methods to remove low traffic, irrelevant keywords from your list.
Also, remember that narrowing the keywords doesn’t mean restricting yourself to only 5-10 keywords.
It means focusing on hundreds of relevant, high traffic keywords if you want to stand a chance.
Use Keyword Evaluation Tools
There a number of keyword evaluation tools you can use to figure out how often people search a specific keyword or phrase.
These tools further enable you to determine whether or not a certain keyword is good to keep by providing you with information like its click-through rate and how it is searched on the internet.
You have to pay for some of these tools, but most of them are free such as Google Adwords.
Google Adwords is one of the most popular keyword planners in the world. It is free and available to anyone who has a valid Google account.
Similarly, Yahoo and Microsoft have free keyword tools of their own. Moreover, MOZ Keyword Explorer is one of the best free SEO tools in the world.
Some of the most popular paid tools are SEMrush, SEOToolSet, WordTracker, and Keyword Discovery.
Both free and paid tools work on the same principle, where paid ones tend to have more and better features than the free tools.
For instance, Google Keyword planner not only suggests incredibly good keywords, but it also divides them into categories and groups.
The Keyword Explorer by Ashref offers plenty of features, data, and filters to select perfect keywords for your website.
Googles Trends is also free and a well-known keyword planning tool which visualizes and forecasts how online search habits change over time.
You can also check the relative popularity of a certain keyword over the period of one year. Another tool that deserves a mention is Keywords Everywhere.
The tool extracts data from websites like Google, Amazon, eBay and Keyword Sitter, etc.
Check the Competition
A comprehensive competitive analysis is the backbone of any keyword strategy.
It is pertinent to mention that just because your competitors are doing something does not mean you have to follow suit.
Therefore, a keyword which has worked wonders for your competitor may fail miserably to produce anything for you.
But, figuring out what keywords your competitors are ranking against is yet another great method to evaluate and consolidate your own list of keywords.
There are definitely some keywords on your list which your competitors have been using so successfully.
You obviously should focus on such keywords and try to improve your ranking against them.
Similarly, it is a cardinal mistake to ignore certain keywords just because your rivals do not incorporate them in their content.
They may be unworthy keywords for them, but the use of the same terms can pay rich dividends for you.
In fact, their negligence provides you with a great opportunity to enhance your market share on these keywords.
It is a cumbersome task to improve ranking against single word head keywords.
As a matter of fact, only the big brands with tons of money can afford to pay for these keywords.
You live in a fool’s paradise to think you can outsmart them when it comes to organic SEO.
Therefore, you have to be more realistic and try to maintain a balance which a mixture of head terms and long tail keywords allows.
Take one step at a time by attaining short term goals which will also help you make progress towards achieving your long term objectives.
There are some fantastic methods to find out what keywords your rivals are trying to rank for.
One such method is to check the position of your competitors in the Google search results by manually typing the keywords in the incognito window.
You can also use paid tools, if you can afford, such as SEMrush to discover the top keywords for your relevant domain or industry.
These tools give you a general vibe of what your competitors are doing and what they are up to.
Optimize Your Chosen Keywords
You have chosen the keywords which you think are the most relevant to your business and have the ability to produce the results for you.
The next step is to conceptualize the content and optimize it for those keywords.
The best way forward is to manipulate a mixture of your primary and secondary keywords.
You can produce different forms of content for SEO purposes such as:
- Blog posts
- Product Pages
- A directory or index of links (to pages on the internet or other pages on your own website)
- An authoritative guide
You need not care about things like budget or resources.
Everyone can write a blog or an article.
Similarly, it has become ever so easy to create a video or Infographic thanks to numerous free online tools.
Just ensure your content is of the highest quality because that is what almost all the search engines crave for.
Do not spam your content with keywords, but give something that benefits the readers.
In fact, you should optimize your content while you are creating it.
Applying optimization after you have written a blog post or created a video will not have the same effect.
Go back to the list of your keywords and try to leverage all of them in your content if you can.
There are a lot of places where you can seamlessly and naturally integrate the keywords such as image filenames without feeling and looking like a robot.
It is also a good idea to recheck everything, especially your keyword research before publishing your content.
Some of the top digital marketers in the world take 2-3 months to write an article.
The content can evolve and change during this time.
Therefore, it is a wise idea to double check whether or not your keywords are still relevant to your content.
Analyze the Performance of Your Keywords
Analyzing the keywords you have already used is a crucial part of your keyword selection strategy.
Keep on checking the rankings of your keywords manually or with the help of a rank checking tool.
Similarly, find out keywords which are actually ranking in the search engines. You need to do some more work if you are not ranking for your intended keywords.
Sometimes, your content rank for the keywords other than your primary keywords. You can include these keywords in your list for future use.
Try not to be too ambitious and refrain from using too competitive keywords.
Until you have built an authority website, it is sensible to target less competitive keywords in your list.
Now, you have a better idea of how to search keywords and discover better terms for your business.
These are the keywords which will make your site prominent, helping your customers to find you rather easily.
Last but not least; carry on SEO audits regularly to identify any errors in your strategy which may be affecting your rankings and traffic.