Search engine visibility determines how easy you are to find for those looking for you and those who don’t know they’re looking for you just yet. To do this, they use certain phrases, technically keywords. You'll become far more discoverable by finding the right keywords and optimizing your pages and content for them.
Here’s how to use these keywords to rise above the noise your competitors generate.
- Why do keyword rankings matter?
Before we even start, we must explain why keyword rankings matter. While the explanation can get long and technical, here’s a brief rundown of the top five reasons:
- Organic traffic: While paid marketing boosts you immediately, organic traffic gives you better long-term results. In other words, if you’re running a sponsored advertising campaign, the perks are there as long as you pay. The results of an organic traffic increase are self-sustaining and longer-lasting.
- Credibility and trust: Pages displayed at the top of SERPs are seen as more credible by the users. A person who knows nothing about search engines will trust the first result more than they would the eighth. Someone who knows how they work will trust the first result even more.
- Targeted traffic: Some people will never become paying customers. So, you need to find those who just need a slight push and put all your efforts into converting them. A good keyword targets a very specific audience. This audience can consist of low-hanging fruit (qualified leads), which will quickly translate into increased revenue.
- Competitive advantage: Having keywords that rank better will help you easily outrank your competitors. This is true even if you’re not spending nearly as much on your marketing as they are.
- Cost-efficiency: SEO is not the only marketing field where keywords are relevant. If you start a PPC campaign, it will be far more cost-effective with good keywords. The cost-efficiency of organic marketing will be higher, as well.
According to specialists, understanding keywords and having the right keywords prepared from the very beginning is crucial. Their expertise in white label website development has shown that having a strong foundation can significantly simplify the optimization process later on.
This approach enhances user experience and ensures a robust digital presence from the get-go.
- What makes a good keyword?
Before we can talk about keyword rankings and transformation, we briefly need to address what makes a good keyword. Let’s start with some basic markers.
- Relevance: Imagine a person looking up Minecraft without being able to remember the name of the game. How likely they are to describe it as a “farming simulator?” Not very likely! Why not? After all, you can farm in the game. Yes, but it’s not what the game is about. So, when picking a keyword, you first aim for the topic's relevance.
- Search volume: You also want to consider the number of people looking up this topic. This is what the keyword research tools are for. They give you an exact number (or an approximate estimate) of searches that used that particular keyword that month, week, or year. A keyword that no one uses is useless.
- Low competition: If everyone tries to rank for the same keywords, you’ll have difficulty getting to the top. So, you’re looking for a keyword with a high search volume and low competition. If you had to pick two factors, these are the ones you’re looking for.
- User-friendliness: Is this keyword known to complete laymen? Is it easy to type? Is it hyphenated or has weird spelling that could confuse the user? These are just some factors that could make your life more difficult.
- Local relevance: You should also remember that, as a local business, your priority is to rank locally. So, look for keywords with high local relevance.
These KPIs are relevant for your keyword tracking. Increased competition, lowered research volume, etc., indicate that you should make some alterations.
- How to find the right keyword-tracking software?
Naturally, you won’t track these KWs manually. Instead, you’ll rely on software, but with so many options, you’re facing a paradox of choice. Here are some things you should look for to help you make a reference point for choosing the right platform.
- Keyword research tools: First, you want to look into the basic toolset of these platforms. You’ll use these tools when looking for new keywords and reevaluating the old ones. While most platforms offer comparable features, it’s worth seeing which useful features are missing before committing.
- User-friendly interface: While this may sound like a matter of cosmetic preference, the truth is that you’ll spend hours upon hours staring at this interface. You want it to be as aesthetic and user-friendly as possible. Ideally, you want customizability options to set up the dashboard any way you like.
- User experiences: Many reviews and discussions on forums and subreddits exist. All you need to do is go ahead and listen around a bit. The key thing to do is to take everything you hear online with a grain of salt. Other people’s experiences won’t necessarily translate to your particular case.
- Reporting and analytics: When we talk about the progress of keywords across a certain time, you need historical data to compare it to. Therefore, you’re looking for a platform with decent reporting and analytics software.
- Integration capabilities: This will be just one of the tools you’ll use in your SEO campaign (even if it is the most important one). Therefore, you’re looking for a tool to integrate with other platforms.
The tools you use are integral to your overall SEO experience, so choose wisely.
- Which keywords are worth tracking?
In theory, any phrase is a keyword. From a technical standpoint, you need to focus on specific keywords for a successful SEO strategy. For instance:
- Primary target keywords: These are the very basics. A person looking to buy a garden hose will most likely use the keyword: “garden hoses for sale.” While this type of keyword may be incredibly hard to qualify for, they’re the basis for your further research and SEO campaign.
- Long-tail keywords: A long-tail keyword is an extended version of a primary target keyword. Let’s say that your potential customer needs a 12m long garden hose. Instead of just looking up garden hoses and scrolling until they find one 12m long, they may start their Google search with the phrase: “12m long garden hoses.” Ranking for this type of keyword is easier, and the results are often much better.
- Branded keywords: Simply put, branded keywords specifically mention the name of your business or the brand of one of the products you’re peddling. They’re important to monitor for more than just your marketing. They can also be used in a pricing strategy or when tracking the performance of your business.
- Local keywords: These keywords increase your current location. They usually mention the name of the city, part of the city, a specific street, or a region. Since they’re highly relevant to customers, they should also matter to you.
- Transactional keywords: Transactional keywords include a call to action (CTA) or USP (unique selling proposition) in the keyword. Words like buy or discount are often in these KWs.
By understanding these few simple principles, you’ll already have a better time sorting and improving your KWs.
- How do you track and analyze your keyword ranking?
To see how well your keyword performs, you must check it occasionally. Here are some things you should look out for while doing so.
- Set clear goals: Before you start, you need to set the goals of your KW. Do you want it to improve rankings, increase organic traffic, boost conversions, etc.? If so, by how much? You can’t know how well a KW is doing if you don’t set a reference point.
- Schedule these monitoring sessions: You must regularly set your keyword tracking sessions. You can squeeze in a spontaneous checkup occasionally, but you mustn’t miss these sessions.
- Track the performance of your site: What is your monthly organic traffic? Sure, this question may not answer exactly where this extra traffic and revenue are coming from, but it does indicate that you’re doing your marketing right as a whole.
- Analyze conversion rates: Some keywords are misleading. People follow them, enter their site, and realize they’ve misunderstood them. This results in bad CTR and a high bounce rate. It’s something you should avoid at all costs.
- Compare historical data: Keyword trends change over time. Just because a keyword performs amazingly at the moment, this doesn’t mean that it will carry on in the future. For instance, during the launch of Pokemon GO, keywords containing the word AR ranked incredibly well. They still rank pretty decently but nowhere near those numbers.
By setting some ground rules, it will be much easier to maintain continuity regarding keyword tracking, ranking, and even analysis.
In the end, finding the right keywords is not the whole process, but the first step you can’t skip on this journey. Like with any other marketing method, nothing you do will last forever. So, you need to return and reexamine your work continuously. Now, you at least know what you’re looking for and, more importantly, why this is worth doing.