Why are key phrases so essential to your web site?
You may have heard that keywords are an integral part of any SEO strategy: they are. Without the right keywords on your website, you will not be found while searching the web.
However, there is much more to the keyword strategy than just finding out what users are looking for. It means choosing the right keywords for your business, determining which ones to rank for, and a lot more.
If you're new to SEO, understanding keyword strategy can be overwhelming. However, in this ultimate guide to keywords, I'll give you all the information you need to get started.
What are keywords?
Keywords people type into a search engine when they search for something online. The term "keyword" is misleading because a keyword doesn't have to be just a word. For example, if I'm looking for a new Chinese restaurant to try, I can type in:
- Chinese restaurants near me
- best chinese restaurants in Chicago
- Chinese restaurant recommendations
Each of these sentences is a key word. If you own a Chinese restaurant, you might want to find out how to get your website to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when someone enters it. This is where a keyword strategy comes in.
Why your website needs a keyword strategy
Why is the keyword strategy important? Think about the last time you wanted to make a purchase. If you had any questions, chances are you went online to research them. If you have done this, you are not alone. Over half of consumers look for reviews and recommendations online before making purchases. If your website ranks high in search engine results, you can get traffic that may be ready to buy. With a really good keyword strategy, you can reach people who haven't even thought of your product or service.
With individuals around the world spending nearly seven hours online every day, organic search advertising is too good an opportunity not to be. However, if you want to advertise through SERPS, it is important to rank as high as possible. Why? Because people click the first results a lot more often.
Sistrix reports that the first organic result in Google search had an average click-through rate (CTR) of almost 30%. The second result has a click-through rate of only 15.7% and the third only 11%.
Only 2.5% of users click through to the tenth result on Google. An excellent SEO strategy can help you move up in these rankings, which can result in a higher CTR. A big part of this strategy should be choosing the right keywords for your website
How to select keywords for a website
There are a few steps you should take to choose the right keywords for a page. Here is a plan to follow when optimizing your website:
Step one: review the pages on your website
Before doing any keyword research, you need to look at all of the pages on your website. Place relevant keywords on the most critical pages of the website. Later, I'll talk about where to put the keywords on each page. Most websites have a similar structure: home page, about page, contact page, etc.
If you have a large website, consider making a table listing all the different pages so you can keep track of what you've improved. If your website has a blog, don't blog posts and optimize them for keywords later. Instead, do it the other way around: use keyword research tools to get ideas for new blog post topics. However, if you already have blog posts on your website that are not optimized for keywords, you can and should come back to optimize them.
Step 2: Choose a Keyword Research Tool
The next step is choosing a keyword research tool. Keyword research tools can give you useful data to help you choose the best keywords.
In the next section of this article, I'll talk more about some of the keyword research tools. For now, I'm going to give you some examples using my Ubersuggest tool.
Step three: research your keywords
Brainstorm some keywords that are relevant to your product or service. When optimizing blog posts, keep a few in mind that are relevant to the topic of the post you are viewing. Then enter the keywords into your keyword tool and select the language and region you are interested in.
Here's what you get after you hit the Search button:
Step four: look at the metrics
Next, you need to interpret the data that your keyword tool is giving you. "Search Volume" is the average number of searches per month for your keyword:
The values for "SEO Difficulty" and "Paid Difficulty" range from 0 to 100. Lower scores mean the keyword is easier to evaluate, while higher scores mean it is harder:
Average cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you have to pay for each click on Google if you want to run an ad in Google Search. Keywords with higher CPC are usually more valuable.
In the next section on Ubersuggest, you can find some information about the websites that are currently in the top 10. You can view the number of backlinks and domain scores.
The following section provides detailed information on the keyword. You can see search volume over time, the number of people clicking organic and paid search results, and the age groups of those searching.
Next up are some ideas for other similar keywords.
In the final section, you'll see some pieces of content ranked for this keyword that are shared on social media. You can use this to get inspiration for your content.
Step five: choose your keywords
After seeing the metrics, you can get an idea of whether or not a keyword is good to use. Ideally, you want to choose keywords with a combination of the following options:
- High search volume
- Low SEO difficulty / paid difficulty
- Low competition (i.e. your competition has few backlinks and low domain scores)
However, keep your target audience in mind when searching for keywords. If a particular keyword doesn't make sense (e.g. misspelled, awkward, or irrelevant), you may not want to use it – even if the metrics look good.
You don't want to direct people to your website if they are not interested in your product or service. This can result in a higher bounce rate, which means people will click on your website and leave it immediately. A high bounce rate is bad for business and can also be bad for search engine optimization.
What tools can you use to select keywords?
We've talked about using Ubersuggest before, but there are plenty of other keyword research tools out there. Here are some of the best:
Google AdWords: A Great Free Option
Google's Keyword Planner gives you search volume and competitive feedback for various keywords. It's free to use, but there are a few steps you need to take to access it without creating a google advertising campaign such as: B. Click on "Switch to expert". Here's what you get when you search for "SEO Advice":
As you can see, it gives you some information about search volume, the level of competition, and what people are paying for the keyword in Google AdWords. In addition to the Keyword Planner, you should also try Google's other free tools such as Google Trends, Search Console, and Google Analytics when creating your SEO strategy.
Moz and SEMrush: More detailed information and a “freemium” model
There are also paid keyword tools like Moz, SEMrush, and AHrefs. These tools are more expensive than Ubersuggest, but Moz offers a limited free version.
Both Moz and SEMRush have free trial periods. Here's what Moz's Keyword Tool, Keyword Explorer, looks like after you've entered the SEO Tools:
As with Ubersuggest, the Moz tool gives you a list of suggested keywords and current ranking content. They also have a range for monthly search volume, a difficulty level from 0 to 100, information on organic click-through rate (how many people click on the non-promotional results) and a priority value of 0-100.
The priority rating is a combination of all other metrics and the most important rating. A high priority means that you are likely to be able to rank on that keyword.
How to optimize your website for keywords
Remember when I said we were going to talk about where to place keywords on your web pages? Obviously, you'll want to add keywords to your website's copies and blog posts, but there are a few other places you should put them too.
Before I dive into this section, let me say that there is a difference between keyword optimization for organic traffic and paid ads.
"Organic traffic" is traffic that comes from regular Google search results – not from ads. By adding keywords to your website, you are helping it rank higher in organic search.
Optimization for Google AdWords and PPC
Choosing keywords for pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a whole different ball game. For more information on using keywords in PPC campaigns, please see my posts "How to Start a Successful PPC Campaign for the First Time" and "An Introduction to Pay Per Click Search Marketing".
Keyword Density Best Practices
Of course, keywords should be included in all of your content, including website copies and blog posts. But how often should you use keywords in your content? When planning your blog content, you should choose a focus keyword and some complementary keywords for each blog post.
Consider using a long-tail keyword – a longer, highly specific keyword like "What is SEO?" – as a focus keyword. Long-tail keywords are often easier to evaluate than individual words.
Use your focus keyword and complementary keywords in your content as often as possible – as long as the content makes sense and sounds good.
A long time ago, keyword stuffing was the norm. Content creators have repeatedly moved keywords into content making them sound spammy. This is an outdated SEO tactic and can turn readers off – and annoy Google for booting.
Best practices for image optimization
Aside from content, your image tags are an important place for using keywords. By optimizing your images, you can increase traffic by using both image searches and text searches. To optimize your images, you need to add keywords to the filename, image title, and ALT text (a tag that users use to optimize their images for search engines and screen readers).
If you're using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you can update the image title and ALT text directly in your website's media editor. Make sure that both your ALT text and your title (title isn't as important as the ALT) are descriptive, and explain what the image is about:
Title tags and meta descriptions
One final place to use keywords is in your website's title tags and meta descriptions.
The title tag and meta description will appear in search results when people search for your site. They can usually also be edited in your website's CMS.
This is what a title tag and a meta description look like. The blue link is the title tag, while the text is the meta description:
How to track your website's keyword success
After adding keywords to your website, how can you tell if your SEO efforts are paying off?
You want to track your performance for each of your target keywords to see how you are doing and if there is anything you need to change.
SEO tools can help you with this. Ubersuggest gives you a lot of information about your website's performance in search engine results:
Here are the top performing sites on NeilPatel.com:
And here are some of the keywords that I'm ranking on right now:
There's a lot to think about when it comes to keywords. It is not enough just to find the right keywords. You also need to know how to use them for ranking. To be successful with a keyword strategy, you need an organized plan.
Part of that is having the right keyword research tools and knowing how to use them. But you also need to know your audience well and think strategically.
The tips in this article can get you started with keyword research and hopefully improve your rank in search engine results. Good luck!
Did I miss any information on keywords? If you have some tips that you would like to share, let us know in the comments.