What is a keyword?
A Keyword is any phrase you would like your site to rank for in Google’s Search Results. It is not a singular word as those would be too competitive and incomplete to target the right audience. Keywords are combinations of words that describe your industry, your location, your niche within your market, and versatile enough to reach different segments of your target audience.
There are four types of keywords:
- Long Tail Keywords: Not “Bakery” but “Gluten free bakery Lexington KY”
- Navigation Keywords: Locating a particular brand or website: “Commerce Lexington” or “Fayette County Chamber of Commerce”
- Information Keywords: beginning with “How to …” or “What are the best …”
- Transactional Keywords: “Buying UK apparel online”
So how do you choose the right keywords for your website?
If you don’t spend time researching which keywords work for you, you’ll be spending a lot of time and money to realize your keywords don’t get traffic or they aren’t attracting your specific target audience. Don’t invest time and money on the wrong keywords.
How do you start your Keyword Research?
I. Make a long list of relevant keywords for your business. Develop a list of relevant keywords for your business. Remember relevance is vital, as Google will penalize a site that is using keywords to attract hits but have nothing to do with the purpose or content of the website. So choose keywords that are relevant to your products, service, industry and brand. Don’t cast too wide a net and try to capture erroneous traffic.
Brainstorm with your staff or company partners to get additional input on effective keywords. Add words to your list that include all categories of your products and services, various terminologies used to describe what you do, all service areas, associated terms that relate to your industry, and frequently asked questions by customers and prospects. Try to think like a customer, ask yourself, “What would they type in to Google to find a business like mine?”
II. Compare to the keywords your competitors are using. If a competitor’s website is ranking well on search engines, you can research which keywords they are using with various tools, such as SEOBook Keyword Analyzer (free) or SEMrush’s Domain Analytics Organic Research Tool (not free). Although if your competitors are not using a good keyword strategy, this research may not be helpful.
III. Research Search Volume of those keywords. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to determine the search volume of your list of keywords. That way you can see the popularity of the search terms to see if they’re worth your time in promoting. (Some free recommended tools are Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and Google Trends.)
IV. Research Competition of keywords. If certain keywords are extremely competitive, they may not be worth your time in promoting, as the chances of ranking well may be slim to none. Example: If you choose “home builder Tampa FL” your competition will much higher, but if you show your niche, like “green home builder Tampa FL” now you have have a lot less competition and more success in being found by that specific audience. How can you find keywords easier to rank higher? What is your niche in the market? What sets you apart from your competitors?
One way to check competition is to do a search in Google and see how many results are coming up but a more accurate approach may be to use Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (not free but offer a free trial).
V. Last Step: Weed our your original list. Based on research above, choose the keywords that will attract your target audience, not too competitive and have relevance for your product. Choose 8-10 best keywords that you will promote throughout your site, blog & social media. But keep your original list handy because each new blog post or social media post is an opportunity to use a new set of keywords. Hence why it’s so important to have a consistent blogging strategy on a variety of topics that will be of interest to your particular target audience. Each blog will offer diversity in your keyword strategy so you attract a new sector of your audience.
Once selected, Where do you use your keywords?
The answer is simply wherever and whenever you can.
Content humans see. Keywords can be used throughout your website, blogs, social media with quality and engaging content. With proper usage, you can attract new hits, returning visitors and expand on your target audience. There is a fine line of incorporating keywords throughout your article effectively and keyword stuffing where you have comprised the quality and readability of your content. The latter will get you penalized by search engines, resulting in a fall in page ranking.
Elements of your page. Using your keywords in your webpage addresses or URL links offer a great opportunity to promote your primary keywords (for example: https://startupproduction.com/web-design-lexington-ky/). Search engines will give prominence to easy-to-read URL links rather than gibberish (https://startupproduction.com/category/post.php?post=2432×17). There are other opportunities throughout your page such as titles or subtitles of pages (h1, h2, h3 and so one), bold text, bulleted lists, anchor text on links, titles and descriptions of pictures, graphics, videos and pdf files.
Content only Search Engines see. There are definite strategies to import your keywords on the source code (meta tags) of your website. If you do not control the meta title, description and keywords of your page, the search engines will choose it for you. For example without setting the meta description tag the search engine will choose the first 160 words of your page, which may not necessary be the content you want to represent your page or your brand or show up on search engine results pages. Other essential elements are sitemaps.xml and robots.txt but both of these will need to be handled by your web developer. Hence why it’s imperative you choose a web designer who understands SEO.