Keywords are one of the most fundamental part of marketing your business online. It is through keywords that people searching for your service can find you. It is also through keywords that you can get your business on the first page of Google ranking. Keywords are basically the building blocks of your business. It is the very foundation of SEO.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, takes careful thoughts and is a long-term process. The impact of this investment on your business growth makes it well worth your time. Maybe you’ve even wondered too; “Is first-page ranking even possible today?”
It’s not impossible. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.
Everytime when someone does a search, search engines must decide which results to display among the hundreds of thousands possible pages. It’s up to the search engine algorithms to determine the best and most relevant matches for every single search.
Not only is it important to rank on the first page of search engine results page (SERP) for relevant search terms, but it’s equally important to rank in the top positions of the first page. Here’s a breakdown of average traffic percentages by Google result ranking for results 1-15 as explained by Chitika.
As you can see, the closer you are to the top of Google ranking for relevant search terms, the higher the traffic (and potential sales) you’ll obtain. The difference in just a few positions can represent a significant drop in your traffic in the long term.
With that in mind, let’s look at 5 steps SEO keyword research helps Google ranking.
To know which keywords to focus on, you must first know who your audience is when they’re searching online for your products or services.
One of the best ways to start is by developing specific “buyer personas” that represent the main demographics you intend to target with your content. Rather than making assumptions or wild guesses about your audience’s needs, this method will force you to sketch out a portrait of your “average” customer, including their basic information, disposition, interests, family life, professional life, wants and needs. Treat it as if you’re developing a fictional character.
If you haven’t created buyer personas for your audiences, now is the time to do so. Create at least two buyer personas for your main targeted audiences; primary audience and secondary audiences.
By knowing who you want to talk to, you can craft a better approach. Who are they? What do they need? What keeps them up at night? What do they want most? Understanding the important drivers behind their actions allows you to form a stronger relationship through creating content that is important and valuable to them.
Once you have a clear idea of exactly who your customers are, it’s time to do SEO keyword research and find keyword phrases that will be of interest to searches. There are many SEO tools that can help with your keyword research.
Google even shows you the most frequently searched terms when you start typing in search keywords in the query box.
No matter which keyword research tool you use, chances are the tool has a way for you to not only find keyword ideas and variations to target but also allow you to analyze the competitiveness of the keywords you’re trying to rank for. Your goal is to identify keywords that have a relatively high search volume but are less competitive.
Google Keyword Planner makes it easy to see whether a keyword you’re evaluating has a lot of competition (High) or if it’s going to be a little easier for you to rank for because the competition is less (Medium and Low).
Sure. You could rank on page one of Google for a keyword, but if only 25 people search for that keyword each month, you probably won’t go very far. Instead, look for search volumes that are at least high enough to make the SEO keyword effort worth it.
After you’ve done your initial keyword research, you’ll want to refine it to include long-tail keywords and semantic terms. When selecting keywords, think “semantically”. Google’s RankBrain is smart enough to recognize synonyms and other ways of saying certain words or phrases. You typically only want to use your targeted keywords two or three times on a page. These will help ensure that you’re writing topically comprehensive content, identify user intent and create resources that answer common queries.
SEO is a winner takes it all game. The whole point of SEO is to beat your competitors on search engine results. But before you can create a plan to outrank your competition, you need to find out who your competitors are and how they rank for the keywords you are targeting.
One such keyword research tool that lets you know what keywords you already rank for is RankReveal. RankReveal is a tracking software that uses a technique known as “Reverse Rank Tracking”.
You start by entering the URL of the website you’d like to track, and follow up by tossing in a few keywords that are relevant to your site. Once RankReveal understands the intent of your keywords, it will start tracking which keyword your website is ranking for in Google.
Another good news is they have recently launched another FREE tool named WhoRanksWhat that enables you to find out your current ranking keywords and optimize your content based on the data. Their ever expanding keywords database is spanning over 17 million keywords from 101 million webpages. There goes your chance to analyze your competitors winning SEO keywords!
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Google has added some helpful features to the top of their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Those are known as instant answers or answer box, featured snippets, reviews and videos that often show up at the top of search pages on Google.
The Answer Box is a unique SERP result that is powered by Google’s knowledge graph or taken from a site that provides an answer to a question. Knowledge Graph made search results more relevant by understanding entities and the nuances in their meaning. This was a huge shift in search, requiring a new way to execute SEO keyword research.
Typically, these instant answers are a box with a text answer and a source URL. To increase our chances of being selected for a featured snippet, we want to take multi-pronged approach that includes:
Getting a page listed in Google’s Knowledge graph should be a main goal of your SEO and keyword efforts.
Now that you’ve got your basic keyword research started, you need to know where to put these keywords on your website.
Just throwing a keyword on a page a dozen times won’t do much signal that your page is useful and relevant to a user’s search. You need to use your keywords in the right way, in the right places to show search engines that your website can help a searcher achieve their goal. Let’s go over the 4 main parts.
The title tag is a great place to use your keyword phrases. It’s the first place that Google looks for for keywords. Page titles are displayed at the top of web browsers and on search engine result pages.
The structure and words you use in your URLs are very important. Optimized URLs are vital for search engines and human usability, and play a big part in your SEO. Use keywords in your URL to tell readers how relevant the page is to a keyword and what sort of content they should expect to find on the page.
Your page content is the backbone of your site, and theoretically the whole reason your page exists in the first page. Your content also needs to be unique and high quality. Duplicating causes penalty and keep you from ranking in search results. You also need to proofread your content as spelling, grammar and vocabulary mistakes make your site look bad and cause a high bounce rate.
Meta descriptions aren’t used as a ranking factor by search engines, but you can still use your keyword here to improve your SEO. Search engines combine meta descriptions with title tags and URLs to create a page’s search snippet.
The 4 elements mentioned above won’t individually make or break your SEO efforts – search engines look at more than 200 factors when ranking websites in search results. However, including your keywords in the right places will give them a strong hint that your page is relevant to a particular topic and will provide value to a searcher.
The good news is that after completing your keyword research and slowly implementing your chosen keywords throughout your site, Google should have a better understanding of what your content is all about so it can better match you to the correct searches.
Keep in mind though that SEO keyword research is an ongoing process. It takes time and patience to research and implement your keywords and more time for Google to pick up these changes. SEO changes, search engine algorithms changes, so does the terms your customers use, so make sure you routinely go over your keyword research to make sure it is up-to-date and accurate.
Do you have any SEO keyword research tips that you’ll like to share? What are your favourite keyword research tools? Comment below and get the conversation going!
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