To say that keywords are an important element of search engine optimization would be an incredible understatement.
In many ways, keyword research lays the foundation of the strategy that when implemented, improves chances of your website ranking higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Still, a number of small business owners, especially the ones that are just starting with their online journey, struggle with understanding keyword research and how it can be done effectively.
If you relate to that, you have come to the right place.
In this article, we will simplify keywords for you, and how you can start using keywords to optimize your small business’ online presence.
Let’s jump right in:
The Basics: What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the terms that your audience uses to look for information about the products/services that you are selling.
Sometimes, they may use keywords to directly look for the products you are selling. Other times, they may just be looking for information. Often users may directly use the brand name that they are familiar with to conduct a search.
Optimizing your website for these keywords, quite simply, means adding said keywords on the pages of your website to help search engines understand how to categorize your website.
For instance, if you have a business selling customized iPhone covers, you will be optimizing your website with keywords like “custom iPhone covers”. The act of optimization involves adding the keywords to the content and other areas of your webpages. Typically, you must include keywords in the following:
- Meta titles: These are the titles that appear in blue in the search results. Including your target keyword in the meta title allows not only the search engines to present your website for the relevant keywords, but also the users to see that your website has what they are searching for.
- Meta descriptions: These descriptions appear right below the meta title and the keyword should be included in the meta descriptions once.
- Headers: Besides the meta descriptions and tags, search engines also crawl your website content to determine how it should be categorized. That’s why it is important to use your keyword in the headers of your webpages and to mark said headers with <H1> tags.
- Body Copy/Content: You must include keywords in the content of your website for the same reason you include them in your headers. With that said, the density of keywords in the content should be kept close to 1% of the entire content on a particular page.
Now that we have understood what keywords are and how you can optimize your website with keywords, let’s look at how you can find the right keywords for your website.
Finding And Evaluating Keywords
Finding keywords is incredibly easy with the right SEO tools. However, as a beginner, you may not be able to justify the premium cost of an SEO tool.
Don’t worry there are many free tools available that are perfect for beginner-level keyword research.
Let’s begin with finding keywords that you can use on your website. To start this process, you must first think of a keyword that you think your audience will use to search for your business/products/services.
This will be your seed keyword.
We can then go on to enter this seed keyword in Google Keyword Planner to get more keyword suggestions. You can also use other free keyword suggestion tools like Ubersuggest or the free version of SEMRush.
When you enter your seed keyword in any of these tools, you will be presented with a long list of keyword suggestions.
You cannot target all the keywords in the list because doing so would require you to add several keywords on each webpage and that will result in a Google penalty for ‘keyword stuffing’.
To decide which keywords you should target on your website, evaluate them on the additional information provided by the keyword research tools.
This information is available in the additional columns accompanied with the keyword suggestions. In these columns, you will find the following information:
- Keyword difficulty: Keyword difficulty tells you how difficult it will be to rank on the top for a particular keyword. The higher the number, the more difficult it would be to rank for that keyword.
- Competition: This metric is similar to keyword difficulty. It tells you how much competition there is to rank for a particular keyword.
- Search volume: The search volume denotes the number of times a keyword is searched by the users on Google in a particular month.
Ideally, you should try to find keywords with medium to high search volumes and medium to low competition and difficulty.
What Is Keyword Intent?
Keyword intent is the intention hidden behind a keyword. Remember how we discussed users may use different keywords to look for information or products or specific brands? In this case, all three are different keyword intents. Let’s define them:
Informational intent: As the name suggests, when a user searches the web with the intention of finding information, the intent is informational. To understand this with our earlier-used example of iPhone covers, an information intent keyword would be “the benefit of custom iPhone covers”.
Transactional intent: This is when a user is searching the web with an intention to make a purchase. “Buy custom iPhone covers” is a good example of a keyword with transactional intent.
Navigational intent: This is when a user is searching for a specific brand name with the intention of visiting their website.
Understanding the intent behind the keywords that you want to target will enable you to create content that is relevant to the people that are using those keywords.
The easiest way to understand the intent behind a keyword is to conduct a Google search using that keyword. Then, look at the nature of the results. Are they selling anything (transactional)? Are they providing insights (informational)?
What Are Long Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are longer search phrases with specific intent. While optimizing for such specific keywords may seem counterintuitive at first, it is actually very beneficial. This is true for the following reasons:
- Long-tail keywords have lower competition than broad keywords.
- Long-tail keywords bring more targeted traffic to your website.
To understand this with our example of iPhone covers, ranking for the keyword “iPhone covers” will be much more difficult than ranking for “bespoke iPhone covers” or “custom made iPhone covers”.
Not to forget, if you are into the business of making custom iPhone covers, the long-tail keywords in this example will ensure you are not attracting traffic from people that want to buy pre-made covers that aren’t customized.
What are question keywords?
Ever noticed the list of questions that appears amid the search results on Google? When I search for “custom iPhone covers”, this is what it looks like:
With a better understanding of keywords and how they can be used to optimize websites for search engines will enable you to make meaningful SEO efforts for your website.
Got questions? Drop them in the comment section below. We promise to be prompt in response.