Keywords are a notorious buzz phrase for SEO, but it can feel nearly impossible to find specific instruction on what they are, how to use them properly, and why they are important.
When google crawls your website pages, it picks up on which words you use frequently in a specific piece of content in order to place it correctly in front of an audience who would most likely be interested. These are keywords—the words that you are consciously (or unconsciously) working into your content in order to communicate to Google what your content is about.
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Keywords should represent your content accurately, specifically, and consistently. So how exactly do you ensure that your website is utilizing keywords correctly?
Keywords Speak for Your Content—Be Precise
The purpose of keywords is to communicate to Google what type of audience to put your content in front of. This is crucial—you don’t just want your content placed in front of a lot of people, you want it placed in front of the right people who are going to engage with it and potentially become clients or customers of your business.
Your keywords should be directly and specifically related to the type of content you’re producing. For example, if you’ve written a page or a blog about umbrellas, you will want to do more than just use the word “umbrella” repeatedly in your content as a keyword. First of all, “umbrella” is what you would call a “short-tail” keyword, meaning that it is just one word and is very broad.
This is problematic for a few reasons. Short-tail keywords, while searched at a high volume, are incredibly competitive in SEO. It’s very unlikely that your business will be able to rank for short-tail keywords in the sea of other similar companies trying to do the same. This is not to say that you should avoid short-tail keywords, but that you should be aware of the benefit of seeking out less competitive keywords.
While “umbrella” is a highly searched keyword, more often than not people actually search a longer phrase or question that happens to have the word in it, rather than just the word itself. This is considered a “long-tail” keyword. Most searches are for long-tail keywords—but they don’t have the same search volume as short-tail keywords, because they are so unique. According to Ahrefs, 92% of all keywords get 10 or fewer searches per month.
Consider why people might search the term “umbrella”. A person might be looking to purchase an umbrella, learn about their history, figure out what material they are made out of or even find puns in relation to the word. There are infinite possibilities for long-tail keywords, and the more specific they are, the less competitive they are to rank for.
One of the worst things you can do for your search engine rankings is “keyword stuffing”. While you may have heard that you should pack as many highly searched words into your content as possible, this can really hurt your rankings if your content is not actually quality and relevant to the search terms. Google’s algorithms pick up on random keywords placed without context, and they might bump your site’s ranking down.
You don’t just want your content to be seen or even clicked on—you want it to be interacted or engaged with.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your keywords will vary depending on the specific page of your website—pages are what rank for keywords. Many websites actually receive the most traffic to pages that aren’t their home page—organic traffic from authentic interest in the topic.
The best thing you can do for your SEO right now is to create quality content—at least once a week according to experts—that is 1000+ words. But if you can get a quality message across in less words, don’t add more words just for the sake of meeting the word count.
Put your content first, and then work on incorporating keywords that accurately and specifically describe that content and answer potential search inquiries. However, it can also be a useful strategy to look into what people are searching and consider creating quality content that would address those questions.
Consistent keyword research can not only keep you informed about what keywords you should include in your content, but also what content might be missing that you can provide.
For example, if in your keyword research you stumble upon a highly searched long-tail keyword that doesn’t have many quality search results—this might be a niche that you can fill. Just ensure that you’re truly writing quality content to answer search inquiries, not writing content that simply is framed around repeating the keywords.
Persistence Is Key
The most important part of working with keywords is that it should be an ongoing process. It’s going to require some trial and error, and because what people are searching for is always in flux, your targeted keywords should also be reevaluated.
It has also become more difficult to conduct keyword research over the years, so it requires more focus and strategy. While organic keywords were once accessible in any Google Analytics platform, since 2019 Google has increasingly been encrypting keywords, making it harder for businesses to research what keywords are relevant to their content..
But there are plenty of free and cheap tools out there that are worth the investment for this process, such as:
- Google Analytics
- HubSpot’s Sources report
- Google Keyword Planner
You can also start simple with a Google search. Take a stab at searching for something that might relate to your business and look at the autocomplete options on Google. You can also look at related search terms at the bottom of the Google results. You may find good keywords here—or at least get some idea of what people might be searching for that you can cater to.
Setting aside a certain amount of time on a schedule to do keyword research and discussion is crucial to a strong SEO strategy. Not only is search data constantly changing, but so is Google. With every algorithm tweak Google becomes better at guessing what someone wants when they make a search based on their search history, location, and previous click-through-rates for similar searches.
Google’s RankBrain algorithm, released in 2015, is still having an effect on search engine optimization because it is an AI algorithm that is continuously learning and changing search results. In fact, according to Google, 15 percent of searches have never been heard of before by Google every day.
Consider setting up a brainstorming session with your staff to make a list of inquiries your potential clients might have, carve out 10 minutes a day to do some keyword research, or invest in a paid service to optimize your keyword SEO strategy.
SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. we’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. Contact us today to learn about how we can boost your Google rankings.