Capturing Keywords & Amping-Up Your SEO
There’s been so much buzz around the internet about keywords and keyword phrases. When it comes to SEO optimization for websites and content, keywords are a major factor that separates the mediocre from the stellar.
This whole SEO optimizing thing has so many businesses Googling best practices and trying to simplify the process, but the truth is the process isn’t straightforward and there are a lot of moving parts, such as keywords and phrases.
How Do Keywords Work?
You know how when you are looking to eat some Thai food you Google things like, “best Thai food,” or “Thai restaurants in Pittsburgh?” Well, the words that you used in your Google search (or Bing – I’m not a hater) are called query words or phrases. Now, there are certain words that you may have typed in, like “Thai,” or “restaurant,” that are keywords. A keyword is an idea or topic that, when typed into search engines, will help pull up relevant web pages.
The thing to know is that search engines, like our pal, Google, will show organic and paid search results based on the keywords that you use. Websites with the highest SEO scores will rank higher on the pages in search results. The SEO score that these websites are given is based on a range of things that Google looks at, and one of these major things is keywords and keyword phrase usage on that website’s pages.
By incorporating the right keywords on your website’s pages, search engines can connect your content with people who are looking for it. Makes sense, right?
Not all keywords are created equal, which is to say that Google and other search engines give certain keywords and phrases more weight than others, and this is based on consumers and how often they are typing in certain words. There’s an algorithm behind how these search engines weigh keywords, and there are tools that you can use to see what keywords are the best for your business’s content and marketing strategies.
Researching Keywords and Phrases
When it comes to gathering keywords, the first step that you want to take is to jot down the main topic or idea that represents your business or services. This serves as what’s called a “seed” for your keyword research. Start typing on the words and phrases that you associate with your business. By navigating websites and social networks, you can find variations of the keywords that you have jotted down for your industry.
One way to start thinking about keywords that are relevant to your industry is to consider your customers and different buyer personas. Maybe you have one buyer who is interested in your products because they are environmentally friendly, whereas another buyer is interested in the type of specific, high-quality material that you use. For each of these guys, they would go to Google (or whatever their preferred search engine is) and type in different keywords to find your business and its products/services. When you are building our your keyword list you will want to consider the different types of buyer personas that you have. In case you missed our last article in this series, check out, “Understanding Your Audience: SEO Marketing.”
Like I said, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you research and understand what keywords are most relevant to your industry. Now, once you have started to build out an excel sheet of keywords and phrases, you will want to start ranking what words and phrases are the most popular; this is where keyword tools become your best friend.
I use research tools, like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, to build out my lists and rank the different keywords and phrases.
Finding Keywords & Their Value: A Walk Through
Now, go to Google and type in keywords and queries that you think are relevant to your business. You will notice that as you are typing in your words, Google will actually populate a pop-down list below what you are typing. Those phrases are important to you, because they show you relevant searches and popular phrases that people have been typing in that are associated with your query. Write down those auto populated phrases for later.
Click on the search button after you’ve typed in your query and scroll down to the bottom of the results page. You will see “Searches related to (insert your typed in query.” Those listed words and phrases are other keywords and phrases that you should add to your list.
This is a process that involves some serious time and patience. I like to gather those “Searches related to…” phrases and type them, one-by-one, into Google’s search bar. I do the same thing with these as I did with my very first query, write down the auto populated queries and the suggested keywords and phrases. Eventually, you will get to a point with your list where you no longer see any new suggestions, and this is a great place to be. Exhaust all the potential keywords that you can think of that are relevant to your organization’s products and/or services.
If you have numerous products, you can see how finding keywords and phrases can become a pretty intense endeavour. Make sure you have coffee at the ready.
The second part to this process comes after you’ve truly built out your list of keywords and phrases, based on research. All those cups of coffee are about to show their worth. Take your list of keywords and phrases and go to SEMrush and you can begin to type in all the keywords and phrases that you have on your list. I love SEMrush, because this tool is pretty intuitive and offers plenty of information about the keywords that you type in. Now, go to the SEMrush and type in keywords one at a time into its keyword search tool.
You’ll see that SEMrush will list the volume (how many times this keyword is found on the web), CPC (cost-per-click), and plenty of other useful information, like related keywords and phrases. You will see a “search demand curve” that will show where the keyword or phrase is in the scheme of things. I use this tool to get a rating for the keywords and phrases that I have. Organize your list based on how popular the keywords and phrases are (volume) and CPC. I like to use an excel sheet and list my volume and CPC first, followed by the keyword and phrases (moving right). Regardless of how you want to setup your super nifty organizational methods, staying organized in key.
Once you have your list all pretty and organized, you want to make sure that you are utilizing that information. So, when you go to write website copy, social media posts, ad copy, etc., try to incorporate the keywords and phrases that have the most weight. If “cat food” has more weight than “cat supplies,” and you happen to be a pet supply store, make sure you use more “cat food” than “cat supplies.” Get it?
There’s one other step that I take before I start writing content with the keywords and phrases that I’ve found to be high ranking, I consider the difficulty that I may face in trying to get ranked at the top by using the “go-to” keywords, that your competitors may be using. It’s a good idea to use the highest ranking and other, middle of the road keywords, which can help you rank even faster!
Keeping Up with Keywords
You may feel tempted to call it a day, after you’ve finished your keyword research and have optimized your content with relevant words and phrases, but DO NOT step away from the laptop. Truly optimizing your business’s content is a process that requires some upkeep over time. There are times that I’ve written content that, at the time, incorporated relevant term, but after about six months some of the keywords that I used weren’t as relevant. When this happens, you should always try to rewrite and tweak your content to fit the current keyword trends.
That’s the thing with SEO, you have to keep up with consumers and their interests, which is part of how Google and other search engines look at your business’s website and content to determine relevance and organic search results. If you want to stay competitive, you have to keep up with keywords!
If you add new products or services to your business model, make sure your content reflects the changes. Using the right keywords and phrases in your content is about getting the right people to your website. How can the right customers get your site if your website doesn’t have the right information? Keep at it!
SEO optimization is crucial for any business that wants to compete in today’s marketplace. At HammockWeb we take it seriously, and our team of SEO experts work closely with each client to roll out strategies that are crafted to bring the best results. Interested in working with our team, contact us TODAY.