Most people don't realize that there are a lot of factors to consider when picking out keywords for their SEO campaign.
From the order, they're used in to how many times you use them, and even their length-- it can be an overwhelming process.
But fear not because we've compiled all the information you need into one post so that you can choose the best keywords for your needs quickly and easily.
We'll start with some basic tips on choosing keywords before jumping into specifics about keyword length, placement within content, and more.
What are keywords, and why should you care about them?
Keywords are the words on search engine result pages that match your keyword phrase. They usually appear in order of popularity, with the most popular term at the top.
When you do a quick keyword search for something like 'cheap hotels,' Google will return results related to those terms and phrases in order from highest to lowest number of monthly searches.
The higher the number of searches, the better.
As you can imagine, there is a tremendous amount of competition among various websites when it comes to keywords and keyword phrases because they are so closely tied to SEO practices and how well-ranked your site appears on SERPs (search engine result pages). Competing against sites that have been around longer than yours or have bigger budgets means that rankings won't be easy to come by.
What we're trying to say is keyword research is vital if you want your site to show up more often than your competitors on any given keyword.
Factors to consider in Choosing Keywords
You could end up spending hours or days on keyword research, wasting money on ads that get little exposure, and having a hard time producing good keyword content for your SEO campaigns.
To avoid this scenario, there are some things to consider when choosing keywords that will make researching easier:
1) Try using broad keyword terms vs. long keyword phrases
These terms usually have lower competition but higher search volume as well. Just be sure to save the longer keyword phrases for content meant for rank tracking purposes only (more on this later).
2) Have a keyword selection process
It's easy to get lost in keyword research and forget what you're doing or find yourself researching the wrong keywords, so having an effective keyword selection process can be very helpful.
3) Use keyword research tools
Keyword research tools will make the keyword selection and analysis process much easier by providing keyword ideas, related keyword phrases, and more.
Utilizing effective keyword research tools can help you find keyword ideas for your next SEO campaign or make changes to improve your keyword content on existing pages if it isn't converting as well as desired.
Here are a few different keyword tools:
Google Keyword Planner - this keyword tool gives you an estimate of how popular each keyword phrase is and how much competition there is for it.
AdWords Keyword Planner - this keyword tool gives you information on keyword search volume, estimated clicks per month, and cost-per-click data.
SEMrush - this keyword tool also shows keyword search volume and the number of backlinks pointing to a particular website or page.
4) Include keyword ideas in content so that it ranks well on SERPs
At this point, you should have an idea of the keyword phrases you want to work with based on your keyword selection process. Now it's time to include them into your blog posts or website pages and make sure they appear naturally within your text.
5) Don't forget keyword placement!
Keywords are important for SEO marketing because they help websites properly organize web pages for search engines to better understand what a page's content is about.
Here is where keyword placement comes into play: how keywords are placed across pages can affect a site's ability to rank well for specific keyword phrases. The closer you place related keywords together (known as 'keyword clustering'), the more weight it will have when it comes to keyword relevancy.
6) Check keyword density
The number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words is known as keyword density.
So, for example, if an article has 500 words and your keyword phrase appears five times, that would mean keyword density for this keyword phrase is 10% (5/500).
The closer you get keyword phrases to have a keyword density around 3-4%, the better they will perform in rankings. When keywords are placed too close together, search engines can consider it spammy and could lead to penalties that effectively kill off organic traffic.
Keyword overuse can also happen when people don't have enough unique content to fill out their site, so they use their keyword research to stuff as many keywords into posts and pages as possible.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing keywords for your next SEO campaign.
To get the most out of keyword research, it's good to have an effective keyword selection process that allows you to brainstorm ideas and narrow them down according to specific criteria before getting started on your actual SEO content.
How to brainstorm keyword ideas for your campaign?
Using keyword research tools to find related keyword phrases that your competitors rank well for can be an effective way of bringing in new ideas.
Brainstorming using Google's Keyword Planner is a good place to start. It provides suggested keywords related to the ones you already have and will give you a good idea of how much competition there is around certain terms and average monthly search volume!
Use these keywords as a starting point to get creative! Generate ideas based on your personal knowledge, data, and insights that you have collected through your research.
A few other ways you could brainstorm for keywords:
- Identify which pages are currently ranking in search results for specific keyword phrases or terms used in your industry. From there, consider what additional keyword phrases those pages might be ranking well for and incorporate them into posts and pages accordingly.
- Take the top 3-5 keywords from your Google Analytics or other third-party tools you may use to track site performance and see if any of them can be incorporated into blog posts or website content.
- Map out some article titles with the most keywords that would work best for the content you plan on publishing.
- Brainstorm your own as well! This step is usually where I start, but it's not enough to get results because there may be too much competition around the keywords or very little search volume, so they don't bring in a good return for the time and effort involved.
With that said, when you start this process by thinking of and starting with an idea, chances are there will be something valuable here worth pursuing.
What makes a good keyword?
There are many factors to consider when choosing keywords: relevancy, popularity (search volume), competitiveness (keyword difficulty), how well it converts into ad revenue, etc.
A great way to do this is through competitive research, in which you research your competitors and see how they are performing with their SEO efforts.
To find out what keywords a competitor ranks for, start by searching on Google for your competitor's name, site, followed by the search term you are interested in.
For example, let's say I was looking at a competitor of mine who performs well in organic rankings and sales, but lately, they've been doing more paid search and content marketing than SEO.
I would input this into Google: "site:www.my-competitors-site.com" black tea." This will find all pages with the word "black" as well as "tea."
From there, click on "organic search" under traffic sources. This is where you will be able to see all ranking pages along with the keywords they're ranking for at each position.
Once you have discovered some potential keyphrases, check if these best-ranking pages are already targeting those terms with internal links or other on-page SEO elements (title tags, meta descriptions, etc.) Ranking within the top 10 results for high search volume and highly competitive phrases means there's less competition, and it will likely be easier to rank for them.
Keyword difficulty (KD) is a number Google assigns to each keyword that indicates how easy or difficult it will be to rank on page one of search results for that term.
Identifying good keywords helps prevent wasting time building content around things that just aren't going to work out.
Some Keyword Ideas You May Consider
- Identify your customer personas
Put yourself in the shoes of your target market to come up with keywords they might use.
For example, if you sell sweaters, ask yourself: What words would people use to search for a sweater? When users type these queries into Google, will your site appear at or near the top of the results page? If so, that's a potential keyword!
Also, think about situations where people use particular terms and phrases when talking about what you offer. This is an easy way to get keyword ideas too!
- Find long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are those that include three or more words and typically have significantly lower search traffic than short one or two-word queries.
For example, let's say you own an online store selling sports equipment. Instead of using the generic sporty term "volleyball," a long-tail keyword might be "how to choose the best volleyball for beach volleyball." It takes longer and is less efficient to rank with shorter phrases because there just isn't as much search volume.
When your SEO efforts focus on targeting these long-tail keywords where the competition isn't as high, your chances of getting to page one increase significantly!
- Think of synonyms or substitutes for your product or service
If you run an organic food delivery service, you would want to find out what other words and phrases people use to refer to "food delivery."
Maybe the phrase "get dinner delivered" is more popular. Maybe it is "healthy home-delivery." Or maybe users just search for "organic groceries."
All these variations are great potential keywords. Using this tactic can help boost the number of searches for your company rather than someone else's!
- Find pain points
A pain point is a problem that your potential customers are trying to solve. It can be a frustrating thing that stops them from making progress or achieving their goals.
Identifying the exact problems your target market faces helps you understand what they're looking for in your industry so you can meet their needs with helpful content marketing strategies and products.
For example, let's say someone has an older laptop computer running on Windows 7. This person will probably use keywords like "windows eight upgrade," "Windows 10 upgrade", and "upgrade my PC." These all show different ways people might try to solve this particular problem!
- Find out where competition isn't as intense
It takes time and effort to run an SEO campaign. You don't have hours and hours every day to be working on it!
One easy way to find keywords is by looking at where your competitors are ranking.
For example, let's say you're selling the same thing as another company, but they're ranked higher for a lot of high-volume terms that you want.
Think about what their strategy is: What kind of content are they producing? What type of backlinks do they have pointing at their website? While doing this research, if you come across a term or phrase that your competitor hasn't targeted yet, even better.
That's an opportunity to get in front of potential customers before anyone else does!
Now that you know the ins and outs of picking out good keywords for your SEO campaign, it's time to get started.
What are some words or phrases you want to rank for? What other questions do you have about choosing a keyword strategy? Share them below! We're happy to help.