Keywords are one of the fundamental building blocks of a good SEO strategy, but finding them may not always be as easy as you think. While the obvious keywords for your business may come to mind instantly, there are also countless secondary keywords that you may wish to include in your content.
Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of the right keywords as well as how you can conduct proper keyword research.
Before getting into how you can find all of the best keywords for your needs, let’s take a quick look at why you need to do diligent keyword research in the first place. Keywords are what make up search queries, which is the direct link between you and the customer, since it’s the reason you show up on the results page in the first place.
Ever since the nascent days of SEO, site owners have understood the importance of including the right keywords so that their customers could find them in the first place. However, the art of choosing the right keywords has long gone beyond the simple act of being able to find a site.
Choosing the right keywords can lead customers directly to you, even if they didn’t know they needed your services. The truth is that very few people searching on Google will look for a specific company when they require a particular service. Rather, most people will search for a particular niche.
For example, if someone requires pool cleaning services, they may search for something like “residential pool cleaners”. However, if your site’s keywords are only set up to reflect your business’s name, you’ll be missing out on a huge influx of potential customers.
One of the most cryptic things you’ll hear about doing proper keyword research is that you’ll have to “think like your customers”. This is where you’ll get into different keyword categories, each of which has its own search intent, and this will determine what kind of searcher is led to your site.
For example, navigational keywords are the simplest ones, and these are typically the name of your business. How many times have you typed “Amazon” into Google instead of typing the url into your search bar? That’s a textbook use of a navigational keyword, and these are the easiest ones to nail down.
However, there are also informational keywords, which are usually the backbone of written content on your site. For example, if we’re going to stick with the aforementioned pool cleaning industry, an example of an informational keyword string would be “how do I maintain the pH balance of my pool?”
Finally, there are transactional keywords, which are often some of the most important for businesses trying to improve their SEO. As the name suggests, the intent behind a transactional keyword is that the searcher wants to potentially purchase your services or products. An example would be “hire pool cleaning services”.
Before you decide to commit to a particular keyword, it’s often a good idea to take a look at what the competition is doing. To do this, you can use a SERP tool or you can simply enter your chosen string of keywords into your search engine of choice and see what pops up. Pay close attention to the content that you find.
The first thing that you’ll want to do is gauge whether or not the content that you’re seeing is of high quality. Pay close attention to the writing and the formatting to determine if you can realistically beat the content that you’re looking at. If you can, then you can get to work on getting a higher ranking for that particular keyword.
However, there are times when a certain keyword will be crowded out by a bunch of businesses with quality content, and that’s when you need to opt for another keyword. Consider keywords that may be related to that previous search and see if you can beat the content that pops up when you search them.
Choosing the right keywords for your business is often a matter of maintaining a balancing act in which you pick often-searched keywords that aren’t filled with businesses that have unbeatable content. Most businesses likely don’t have an unlimited content marketing budget that they can use to beat the juggernauts in their industry.
Depending on the kind of content you’re having created for your website, you can’t expect to take the same catch-all approach to each piece. You may find that the same image-heavy strategy that applies to one kind of content may not work for another, so don’t feel like you’re trapped into a certain type of content template.
For example, certain niches like fashion may require that your content contains more images because people want to see the clothes that they might be purchasing in advance. The reverse may be true for topics like the inner workings of pressure washers, where you can’t show your readers more than a schematic and a few cutaways.
This goes beyond a simple written article, however, as you might also have to decide what type of content you’re creating in the first place. Videos, blog posts, and audio content all have their own advantages and their own fields in which they excel, and this will affect your choice of keywords dramatically.
You may also have to include additional content like tables and graphs in your written content, so always be sure to change things up.