What are SEO Keywords?
SEO keywords range from singular words to complex phrases and are used in website copy to attract relevant organic search traffic. A website that is well optimized for search engines will help connect searchers to your site. In other words, you need to know how people are looking for the products, services or information that you offer, to make it easy for them to find you—otherwise, they’ll land on one of the many other pages in the Google results. Implementing keyword SEO will help your site rank above your competitors.
Long-tail vs. Head Keywords
Keywords can be broad and far-reaching (usually called “head keywords”), or they can be a more specific combination of several terms (often called “long-tail keywords).
Singular keywords might appear to hold the most important because of the high search volume. However, they typically have extremely tough competition. For example, you may want your new clothing store to rank for “clothes,” but it’s going to be challenging to rank above Zappos and Nordstrom. Aside from the intense competition, single keywords can be vague. If someone is searching for “dog,” for instance, you don’t know if they want a list of dog breeds, information about dog food, a place to buy a dog collar, etc. Although longer searches such as sentence and descriptive phrases draw much less traffic, the conversion probability increases. These longer keywords have a clear and defined intent, which allows smaller sites to break through and establish their mark on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Here are a couple of suggestions to help you select the right keywords:
1. Understand Your Audience
First and foremost, conduct your marketing research to gain some real insight into your target customers. To create content that ranks organically and drives visitors to your site, you need to understand the needs of those visitors, the language they use, and the type of content they seek. You can do this by talking to your customer, creating forums, and doing your keyword research on sites such as Moz.
2. Brainstorm a List
Once you’ve gathered some insight about your target audience, and know where your customers’ needs and your business solutions intersect, brainstorm an initial list of words and phrases that adequately describe your core offerings.
3. Gather Current Keyword Data
Generate a list of what is currently driving traffic to your site using Google Search Console and decipher the strongest ones.
4. Expand the List
Choose 1-4 primary keywords (most essential keywords) to target on each page based on a careful balance between keyword difficulty, relevance, and search volume. Once those are determined, find long-tail modifying terms to help support your primary keywords.
5. Use Keywords in Strategic Places
Instead of repeating the keywords several times in the body, focus on placing them in strategic places on your site. Whether it’s a heading tag, early body copy, or a bolded phrase, the most visible content is generally the most influential for SEO. For instance, URLs rarely change, are highly visible, and describe the entire page.