Are you looking to improve your website’s search engine ranking? If so, you need to start by understanding how keywords work.
When it comes to SEO, keywords are still king. But simply stuffing your content with as many keywords as possible isn’t going to help – in fact, it could do more harm than good.
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases that people enter into search engines to find information. When it comes to SEO, choosing the right keywords is essential for getting your website ranked higher in SERPs.
There are two types of keywords: general and long-tail. General keywords are short, one or two-word phrases that are used to describe a general topic. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are made up of several words and are more specific.
Choosing the right keywords is important for two reasons: first, because they help you target your audience more accurately; and second, because they have less competition than general keywords. Focusing on long-tail keywords will help you rank higher in SERPs for relevant queries.
Keywords can be used in titles, headings and body copy to improve your website’s SEO. However, don’t use too many keywords or your content will start to sound unnatural. Use only as many keywords as necessary to convey your message.
So, what’s the secret to using keywords effectively? Here are a few tips:
Choose the right keywords
The first step is to choose the right keywords for your website. This means finding keywords that are relevant to your business and that have low competition. You can use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to help you find the right keywords.
Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are more specific than general keywords and tend to have less competition. Focusing on long-tail keywords will help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant queries.
Use keywords in your content
Once you’ve chosen the right keywords, you need to start using them in your content. This means including them in titles, headings and body copy. But remember, don’t go overboard – use only as many as you need.
Whether you’re an expert on extreme sports, mindfulness and meditation or how to bake the perfect cakes, your website needs to reach the right audience to succeed.
The right tools
Knowledge is power, and without the right tools, conducting keyword research for the knowledge you need can be practically impossible. Thankfully, there are a number of great tools that can help you in your research.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a free tool offered by Google that helps you find the right keywords for your business. It provides information on average monthly searches for each keyword, as well as competition levels and suggested bids.
Another great tool for keyword research is the Google Search Console. This tool allows you to see how your website is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs). It also provides data on impressions, clicks and average position for each keyword.
Google Search Console
To use the Google Search Console tool, you’ll need to be able to verify ownership for the URL you intend to gather data from.
The tool is built to provide information about how your web page is performing in terms of search results through data on indexing, usage reports, and sitemap reports.
When it comes to identifying and researching keywords, you’ll want to focus on the search performance report. The data provided through this function shows what searches are driving visitors to your website, and how many users click on your website’s URL from various Google searches.
If you’ve never used Google Search Console but want to learn how in greater detail, there are a host of tutorial videos and articles available free online. Google’s related searches function can also reveal information about what your audience is looking for about the topics on your website.
Other tools for keyword research
Outside of Google. While many people focus on Google AdWords, the tool is not the only one that can help you with your keyword research. The following are a few other tools that you may find helpful:
SEMrush – This tool offers information on how well your website is ranking for certain keywords, as well as the number of monthly searches for each keyword. It also provides data on competition levels and suggested bids.
Ubersuggest – This tool is helpful for finding long-tail keywords. It provides data on keyword search volume, competition levels and CPC (cost per click).
Soovle – This tool provides data on the most popular keywords used on various websites, including Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Other free tools available online include:
When conducting keyword research, it’s important to use a variety of tools in order to get the most comprehensive data. Taking the time to learn and gain a full understanding of the tools at your disposal can help you achieve results that are well worth the investment of time and effort.
Choose the most effective keywords
Once you have the necessary data in hand, utilising it properly involves analysis and comparisons to popular keywords, and keywords being used by your competitors.
The next steps in building a web page that appears high in the right web searches involve the use of additional information you’ll need to obtain through research.
What do people want to know? You’ll need to find an answer to that question to optimise your content to appear in web searches for relevant queries.
Use the tools outlined in step one to search the internet for other websites featuring similar content and identify the keywords used.
You’ll need to choose keywords that are still relevant, but less popular to be successful, because Google generally shows only a few search results for the same keywords.
Using longer keyphrases, or more specific keywords can help your web page stand out from the competition and more effectively attract the right audience.
Other tools that can help you learn more about what your target demographic is searching for include:
If you’re new to using analytics tools, the interface can seem a bit overwhelming at first.
Consider taking an online course or watching tutorial videos that can help you quickly find the specific data you need to identify the most effective keywords to use.
Most analytics software allows for filtering so that you can view relevant information that’s focused on your target audience and can get important insights into your chances of ranking with Google.
Access to other helpful information like click-through rate, platform use, and a real-time number of users on a specific page can also be helpful to monitor as you complete your research.
If you’re still unsure about how to get started, take a look at this simplified breakdown of keyword research.
Why is keyword research important?
As creators, it’s easy to focus on the way we describe our content. Tunnel vision when it comes to phrasing can be detrimental to building an audience.
Conducting research guarantees that you and your target audience are speaking the same language about the content featured on your website.
Knowing the words your audience uses while searching for the information you offer can help you make a connection and build credibility. Ultimately, that leads to more traffic and greater success for your site.
Follow the Keyword Best Practices Checklist
There are plenty of “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to keyword research and site optimisation.
Understanding the nuances and complicated algorithms used by search engines can take years of practice and trial and error to master.
For now, you can always refer to our checklist of best practices when you’re not sure if your approach is delivering the best possible results:
- Prioritise your keyword list
Use the data and metrics gathered during research to determine which keywords are most important. Information that’s most relevant to your target audience should be at the top of the list.
- Stay up to date
Keyword optimisation is a continual and active endeavour that requires frequent reevaluation. It’s important to repeat the research process at regular intervals to ensure your keywords continue to reach your target audience.
- Place keywords and phrases effectively
Including keywords in prominent positions like headlines can increase the chances your page will be ranked. Use data analytics tools to understand how different placements affect results. This information can help you make determinations about placements that work best and what placements don’t deliver the results you’re looking for.
- Frequently post new content
Search engines generally reward sites that have a consistent flow of new content. Post new items featuring keywords at regular intervals to establish your site and get Google’s attention.
- Edit current content
A quick review of current content that already exists on your site can help bring your platform up to speed. Add the most relevant keywords to existing content to give your site a boost.
- Fall prey to keyword cannibalisation
One of the most common keyword mistakes can be detrimental to site performance. This happens when the same keyword is used too many times across multiple pieces of content on the same website. The result is that search engines may have difficulty determining which piece of content to prioritise.
- Conduct research only once
You’ll need new data and new research to ensure your site stays relevant. Remember that your audience is made up of people with changing interests. Update your list of keywords at regular intervals to avoid falling through the cracks.
- Keyword overstuff
Search engines have become wise to the old ways of cramming in the maximum number of keywords at the cost of content quality. Websites that feature high-quality content and keyword mentions that flow naturally are most likely to be rewarded.
Whew, that’s a lot of information to keep in mind.
SEO optimisation and keyword research can take a bit of practice to implement successfully.
Plus, it can be a lot to handle on your own. However, the data doesn’t lie. Numbers show that investing time and effort in keyword research and SEO optimisation can have major payoffs.
If you need a hand with keeping your website up to date with the latest keyword research, Pounce is here to help. Our team of experts has the info you need to get your website ranking to its highest potential.
When you’re ready to get started, give us a shout. Contact our team via email at [email protected] or give us a call at +61 2 9131 4900.