Keywords are necessary because they give you an idea where your audience happens to be. These searches on sites like Google or Bing will let you know where to focus your next SEO campaign. Keywords can be a single word, a phrase, or even a complete sentence. This is what makes choosing keywords for SEO success challenging, but very rewarding when performed successfully.
It all begins with a realization that there is no such thing as a “money word” today. Having different key phrases in your content isn’t going to bring about high levels of success. Think about including information that supports the keywords you’ve selected instead to get the best results. When you take this strategy, you’ll receive results from keywords that you never even thought of targeting.
1. Avoid the Singles
Single word search terms are never going to rank very well for you on their own. Search engines today are created to answer specific questions that people have. If all you’re doing is targeting a specific keyword and you use that single word over and over again, your content is going to be pretty boring. Boring content is information that is not useful. That means your ranks will drop instead of increase.
2. Go For the Specific
Specificity is always going to be the better option for your keywords. General search terms might seem like a good idea because they cast a wider net, but that isn’t so. You want to capture visitors that are going to want what you have. By having specific keywords included with your content, you’ll be able to grab traffic in that specificity that will give you better prospects on a consistent basis.
3. Popularity Matters
It’s fine to be the #1 rank on a keyword, but that doesn’t really matter if there are only 14 searches per month of that term. Instead of focusing on the unpopular keywords, try to bridge the gap between them and the most popular terms. Keywords that fit into the middle are less competitive, but still see some reasonable levels of search traffic on a regular basis. Rank highly on these and you’ll improve the amount of success you see every day.
4. Length Isn’t a Factor
When looking at specificity, it is important to remember that the length of the keyword doesn’t matter. You can have broad search terms in keywords that have multiple words within them. When you’re researching keywords, you’ve got to ignore the total number of raw hits a search generates and look at the actual purpose of those hits. Something even like “car repair options in South Dakota” might just mean someone is trying to figure out if they should bother fixing their car instead of trying to find a mechanic.
5. Add the Local Tags
Having the location of your business in your keywords is essential for local SEO. Let’s say that you sell guitars for a living. You’ve gone a great job by selecting a specific keyword in “custom acoustic guitar makers in 30 days.” Now you can add the location of your business to this keyword to give your location a boost from local searches.
6. Your Site Must Make Sense
If someone is looking for a general keyword and they stumble onto your niche specific site, then they won’t find value in their find and decide to leave. The opposite is also true. The specificity of your keyword focus must also become the focus of your website in general. You must provide relevance. Common courtesy might be on its way out on chat boards, but it is fully in force when it comes to search engine results. You’ll damage your reputation if you put a niche specific site in front of someone who wants general information.
7. Use Keyword Research Software
Software tools exist today that can help you locate associative keywords to use that have low competition levels. If you are selling acoustic guitars, then plug in the search term “acoustic guitars” into a keyword research tool. You’ll receive a full list of alternative searches that people are using to find the specific data they need. You can then take these keywords that make sense for your site and include them within the content that is being crafted.
8. Word Order Matters
The problem with keyword inclusion in content is that the word order of searches can be problematic. How often can you include the keyword “mobile devices tablets $199” in content that flows naturally? It’s pretty much impossible to do. If you include stoppers and have the context of the words within your content, however, you’ll still be able to rank for results in keywords like this.
“Get mobile devices and tablets today for $199.”
Value is more important than anything else. You don’t need to include specific keywords that don’t flow naturally within your content to rank. You do need to create content that the average reader will find to be interesting. Do that and you’ll rank on those awkward keywords much more consistently.
9. Use Your Title
Your primary keyword should be included somewhere within your title tags. This is because keyword interest comes in descending order. If you see an article on your Facebook feed, you’ll see if the image catches your eye. Then you’ll check to see if the headline is interesting. A keyword infused title tag will dramatically improve that second evaluation to generate more clicks for you.
10. Business Structure Matters
Some businesses are going to naturally struggle because their work is ultra-specific as it is. A good example of this is a Wisconsin based company named National Electrostatics Corporation. They might be the world leader in megavolt accelerator technologies and they might have dozens of pelletrons installed around the world, but who really knows what pelletrons are without putting that into a Google search right now? When this happens, whether you sell customized chopsticks or pelletrons or you write personalized songs about clowns, your job is to look for related keywords in more popular categories that can help you to rank. For NEC, a good option could be “international power supply manufacturers.” If you’re writing personalized clown songs, then you might need a little more help than just a few alternative keywords.
Choosing keywords for SEO is something that shouldn’t be rushed. It takes time to select the best keywords that bring a combination of specificity and generality to your website. Use these tips to optimize your site and you may just be surprised at the level of quality and quantity in visitors that you may be able to receive.