Keyword research is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time in order to drive people to your website. Why? Because ranking with the right keywords could mean the difference between success or failure for your business website.
Not only can you learn which phrases and words to target with SEO through researching your market’s keyword demand, you can also learn more about your customers as a whole. With keyword research, you can:
- Predict changes in market conditions and demand
- Produce content, products, and services that people are actively searching for online
What are Keywords Anyway?
Keywords are the first thing to learn about when optimizing your blog for SEO. When you search online, keywords are the words, terms or phrases you type (or speak) into the search bar. You can type in a single word or a long phrase. They attract relevant new search traffic.
Keyword text helps search engines find the topics your content speaks about. And algorithms analyze the keywords people search for as well as terms that appear throughout a piece of content, such as a blog post. When well-researched and optimized, keywords funnel your target audience to the most appropriate content on your website. This is how search engines match a user with content that best answers their question or what they typed in the search bar.
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Types of Keywords
The brand is contained in the questions or searches, like official brand names, misspellings, brand acronyms, brand campaign names or taglines, parent companies, or anything else with branded search intent.
Some businesses have non-distinct names that can make keyword creation a little tough. For example, is a search for “Cincinnati Zoo” branded or unbranded when the name of the zoo is “Cincinnati Zoo”?
All other keywords are unbranded, or non-branded, terms. These are keywords used to describe your customer’s problem or your business offering.
Seed words are the obvious, initial list of words you start within the research process. These keywords are like the seeds you “plant” to grow your list. And seed words are relevant to most or all of your website.
It’s very likely the person searching in a certain area is searching for something nearby. They would probably use phrases like: “hotels in Fort Collins,” “pet groomers near me,” or even “local restaurants.” The phrase: “When does Runza close?” could be considered a local term because it’s a good chance the searcher is from Nebraska. Runza restaurants are only in Nebraska.
Topical keywords are either seasonal (DIY Christmas Gifts), things that happen once (Movies Showing this Weekend), or consistently relevant (Chris Hemsworth).
Evergreen keywords have a steady search volume for the long haul. Some can switch to being topical when an event makes them culturally relevant, like searches for a city where the Super Bowl is being held or for a celebrity after their death.
But evergreen content is wonderful in that it’s an investment with long-term value. However, the competition to rank with evergreen content is often steep. In comparison, topical content has less competition and provides immediate value but its value is short-term.
Head keywords are a few broad and far-reaching terms. Single keywords may appear to be the ultimate goal because of their high search volume. However, they have extremely high competition. Say you have a small shoe company, and you want to use “Shoes” as a keyword. It’s a very broad word that your customers are searching for, but it will be very tough to outrank Nike or Adidas in the search engine. This type of keyword has a low rate for converting searches into traffic for your site. But it’s good for multiple search intents.
In addition to strong competition, single keywords can be super vague. If someone searches for “horse,” let’s say, search engines don’t know if you want to look at pictures of horses, buy a horse, look for horse events, buy a saddle, or gather information about an individual horse breed.
The words you choose will determine what kind of traffic your site gets. So it pays to be choosy. Don’t include words that could mean something you never mention in your content. If you own or build ships, you may want to rank for “Solid bows.” If you’re not careful though, you’ll attract traffic that’s interested in archery or bows for hair or gift wrapping. See?
These are a more specific combination of several words known as “longtail keywords.” They have a clearly defined intent, a rather low search demand. But they also have low-ranking competition, which makes it easier for you to rank above another website in searches. Even with low search volume, they have a high rate of converting traffic to your page. These are best found if your customer is searching for a singular thing. Each individual longtail keyword gets searched very few times even though most searches are longtail.
Google’s Semantic Algorithm
What on earth is that? I know. Let’s put this in layman’s terms where we live. In an effort to understand inquiries in search engines, Google released updates over the years to help them better understand what people were looking for. Before these updates were released over the years, the more often you used a keyword, the more relevant your content appeared to be. This led to what we now know as “keyword stuffing.” And it’s a no-no! Don’t do it!
Keywords are not dead. They are very much alive. And they are used by search engines to better understand topics and viewed as part of a bigger picture. Search engines look at how certain topics are related to better understand how your content relates to a search. This provides the user with more relevant answers and results.
“Semantically similar” keywords are helpful to the algorithm such as: “phone repair” or “fix a broken phone.” It helps Google see your content as more related to what they’re searching for.
How to Use Keywords
- Get the right kind of traffic. It isn’t about getting traffic to your site. It’s about getting the right kind of traffic to your site. Before diving into SEO, take the time to learn about your customers from your customers. Try to gain empathy and understanding of the customers you’re serving and what their needs are. Keywords are more about your audience than they are about your content. Again, why? Because you may describe what you offer slightly differently than the way people are asking about it.
- Build a seed word list. Know where your customer’s needs and your business’ solutions intersect. Think about words that describe your core offerings.
- If your site already exists, gather current keyword data. Make a spreadsheet of what is currently driving people to your site. Make a list of primary keywords for each article. You can also add keyword search volume, traffic, page authority, and anything else important to your business.
- Expand your list by looking for new keyword groups, modifiers, alternate words, and long-tail keywords. Use keyword research tools to make this list. They are super helpful!
- Group terms by search intent in a way that is simple and useful to you and others. You can group the terms by audience or any other way you like.
- Choose one to four primary keywords to target on each page based on a balance of keyword relevance and search volume. Once you determine these one to four words, find semantically similar and long-tailed modifying words to support your primary keywords.
- Your keywords should be used in your title, Headings, meta description, alt attributes on images, and throughout your content to show your relevance to search engines. Only use keywords if they sound natural. Don’t force anything.
But Always Keep Your Audience in Mind
Remember to target your specific audience. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will likely come away empty-handed. It sounds contradictory, the targeting your audience specifically is directly connected to the size of your audience, and vice versa.
Keywords are important to your business growth and vitality! Contact Rockin’ Robin Virtual Assistance today. Call (307) 631-1867 or schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation. And let us help people find you online and boost your operation to new heights!
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