Want to generate more organic traffic to your website, rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs), or become a leading source of information in your industry? Then you’re in the right place! Welcome to the third part of our SEO series. To recap, so far we’ve covered the fundamentals of SEO and shown you how you can develop a kickass link-building strategy, all optimized for beginners. Whether a novice or an expert already, everyone knows that keywords stand at the very base of a successful SEO strategy, and today we’ll show a simple guide to achieve that. Keep reading to find out what are keywords and why they’re an essential part of your website’s success.
To keep it simple, in the first SEO-dedicated blog we defined keywords as what your possible customers search for online, and what queries they use to find what you are offering. Naturally, you might guess by now that keywords are the words and phrases that people use in their search to find your business. Think about it like this, if you clearly know what your audience is looking for, then the work is half done. You already know how people are looking for the services or information that you offer and can make it easy for them to find it.
Having a strong and relevant keyword strategy in place is important for your SEO efforts because this will increase the chances of your customers finding your business online, instead of getting lost in the million results Google offers.
We all know how easy that can happen and the competition is fierce out there. Say you are in the business of offering student freelancing services. You’ll probably want to have “freelancer” as a keyword in your strategy, or something like “part-time student jobs”. Yes, that also counts as a keyword, even if it’s a group of words. Be careful, however, you are the one who knows best your business but the words you want to rank for are not always how your audience searches for that exact same thing. So how do you reach the magical keyword mix that assures you the recipe for success and high ranking? Keyword research.
"Having a strong keyword strategy helps you get found online, instead of getting lost in millions of search results."
Avoid starting by gathering a list of 10 or so keywords and inserting them randomly throughout the website. This is usually not the best approach for a quality keywords strategy. Remember that real value always comes from the quality of the content you promote. Add to that the right keywords and congratulations, you just took one step closer to optimizing your website! Most people have a good idea of the general keywords most related to their business, but a little bit of research never killed anybody. A great starting point in your quest is a Keyword Map. In a spreadsheet, or on a piece of paper map out all the words that come to your mind linked to your business, both core and general words. Finally, some basic rules to follow when implementing your keyword strategy: keywords don’t just go into the written website content but can also be used in the URLs, meta-descriptions, and the alt-attributes of your featured pictures. If needed, you can always go back to our intro SEO Beginner’s Guide article for a quick refresher.
" Remember that real value always comes from the quality of the content you promote. "
That keyword map will help you make an initial list of the most important, powerful, and relevant keywords associated with your business - this will make for what we call “seed keywords” or the primary keywords for your business. The next thing you’ll want to do is put yourself in the audience’s shoes - what would they search for to have your product as an answer? What type of word or groups of words would they use? Be creative and insightful.
Now that you have a good base and group of keywords to work with it’s time to take each of these topics and build upon them. How? Adding keyword phrases you believe are important to help your business rank high in the search pages and what your audience could utilize to search for your business offering. Here’s an example. Say I’m in the ice cream business, the primary seed keyword would be ice cream. Let’s brainstorm some keyword phrases people might use in their search:
Another option to come up with more keyword ideas and winning combos is to see what searches your website is already coming up for. To figure that out, you can take a quick look at your website analytics - use Google Analytics or Google Search Console for this. Related search terms on Google are also a quick inspiration source if you are out of ideas. Lastly, you also do a competition-based search, research what keywords do you see them using, and what search queries do their business pops up for that you might not be using.
Not everything from your initial search will probably make it in your final keywords strategy. Search Volume, Search Intent, Value & Keywords Difficulty are words you’ll often find associated with how to properly choose your keywords. We won’t go through them all in-depth for now, but it’s good to know what they stand for. Search volume indicates the keyword’s popularity and importance level to your audience. Search intent refers to the purpose of each search entry, and why was it done. Value refers to the individual value or worth of each keyword. Keyword Difficulty refers to the level of difficulty to rank for that specific keyword.
Keywords research tools can be of great help to help you expand on your initial keyword research and help you choose the right ones. However, most of these tools are not for free, the good ones at least. But hey, there’s always the magic of a free trial to help you make up your mind.
Here are some great tools to help with your keyword optimization strategy: Ahrefs&SEMrush offer a professional perspective. Google Trends can also help you find the most searchable terms on the internet right now - it’s not as precise as other options out there, but it’s a free tool.
Now that we have covered what keywords are, why you need them and how you can develop your own keywords strategy, it is time for action. SEO is an exciting opportunity for all businesses to grow their online presence and we will update our blog with new guides and actionable steps regularly.
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