While Google’s search algorithm changes all the time, one ranking factor that has stayed the same is the use of keywords. Selecting the right keywords for a website is the foundation of a good SEO strategy. Keywords lie at the very heart of marketing products and services and have the power to make or break your strategy.
If you choose trendy keywords, you have no chance of ranking because there’s too much competition. If you select keywords few people search for, it has little impact on traffic or sales. Selecting keywords is, therefore, arguably one of the most important SEO tasks you will ever do and using the following secrets will help.
1. Focus on relevant key phrases
Keyword generation starts with focusing on what products or services you offer. If you sell women’s shoes, the words ‘women and ‘shoes’ are poor keywords when you’re competing against so many other suppliers of women’s shoes.
You need to use specific key phrases your potential customers are typing into search engines. “Women’s shoes for wide feet” is a long-tail keyword that will be easier to rank for than the broader terms.
When you start entering a search term into Google, it offers to autocomplete suggestions, and this can give you many ideas for long-tail keywords. Keep in mind that using geographic identifiers in long-tail keywords will attract those looking for a product or service in a specific location.
2. Find low competition keywords
Finding keywords that are relevant to your business and subject matter isn’t difficult if you know your business and your audience. The next step is more difficult because there is so much competition to rank on the first page of the search results. The competitive power of your website is the benchmark for the amount of competition around the keywords your site has the potential to rank for.
Google’s Keyword Planner tool is a free tool that gives you the monthly search volume for any given keyword. There are many other keyword tools you can use to find high-volume, low-competition keywords.
KW Finder is a tool that not only offers keyword suggestions but gives useful information on the competition for a given keyword, as well as search volume data.
3. Check out your competitors
It’s always worthwhile to see what keywords your competitors are using to rank.
It doesn’t just factor in organic keywords and search traffic but the number of keywords the site of a competitor has in common with yours and even the paid keywords on the site and the estimated cost of the keywords in Google AdWords.
Make a list of keywords competitors are ranking for and decide whether you should try and compete for the same keywords or whether you should try to find less competitive alternatives.
4. To repeat or not to repeat
A question many people have is whether repeating keywords is beneficial or harmful. Cramming a website with as many keywords as possible is not a good idea. You need to integrate your keywords throughout your website naturally.
You should include your keyword in your title, within the first 300 or so words and in a first sub-heading but you can use some variations through your content as long as it flows organically.
Repetition of keywords can work as long as the meaning of phrases is sufficiently varied. In other words, ‘women’s shoes’ and ‘women’s shoes online’ are virtually the same, whereas ‘reviews of women’s shoes’ would indicate content that’s a little different.
Reviews and side by side comparisons that help consumers to make selections are always good for your content strategy.
5. Let keywords guide your content strategy
Since keyword research reflects what users are looking for as well as the way search engines ‘think’ about keywords, it makes sense to let keywords guide your content strategy. Leveraging the existing needs of users to give them the best user experience will reward you with higher rankings, more traffic, and a higher ROI.
6. Use key phrase questions and provide answers
If you can provide answers to questions in your content, you have a better chance of ranking. Answer The Public is a keyword tool where you type in your keyword, and it will come up with many keyword ideas based on questions such as ‘what’ ‘where’ and ‘how’.
How says Patricia Hamel, from academized reviews, “It presents them in a cool wheel, but you can download them as a list too. When you type in ‘women’s shoes’, it comes up with suggestions such as ‘how to size women’s shoes’, ‘what women’s shoes to wear with jeans’, ‘what are the best women’s shoes for walking?’, and many more. Answer these questions in your content, and you have a better chance of ranking.
7. Analyze the results
Choosing keywords is only the first part of the process. It’s important to monitor them and check how they’re constantly doing. There are many ways to check the rankings of different keywords, but Google Search Console is helpful and effective.
In Google Search Console, go to acquisition >>search console >>queries and you will see a list of keywords and phrases from your website. You can see what is already attracting traffic in search and get an idea of which keywords are performing best.
Unless you perform this kind of keyword analysis, you have no idea how to make improvements or where to focus your attention to stay ahead of the competition.
Following the above advice will help you to choose highly successful keywords that people are actively searching for and yet don’t have too much competition. Use key phrases that are more specific to guide your content strategy and allow people to find the answers they’re looking for on your website.
A keyword strategy can’t be a hit or miss affair. It requires constant monitoring and improvement if you want your target audience to find your website online quickly.