Using Keywords To Improve SEO, Rank Higher, And Get Noticed First
Keywords are words and phrases that describe what your content, product, or service is about. Google’s algorithm uses this information to determine what content is most relevant to a particular search query. To put it simply, keywords are how potential customers find your product or services.
One of the most important areas to optimize keywords is in your site’s content, as it is one of the top SEO ranking factors. Content without optimized keywords is like a lighthouse with no light. And a website without content will make your SEO ship run aground real quick. All the other building blocks won’t mean a thing if your customers can’t find you.
In this article, we’ll share with you some best practices for using keywords to create SEO-friendly content that will help your business to get noticed first.
Types of Keywords
It’s important to understand the different types of keywords so you can best optimize them for your site. Doing a search may yield several kinds of keywords to research, but to keep things simple, we’re going to focus on the 3 main types.
“Short-tail” or “Broad Match” Keywords
As the name implies, these keywords are short, unspecific terms and usually consist of 1-3 words, like “men’s hats” or “blue tennis shoes.” While these keywords do cast a wide net, they are also highly competitive and alone are not specific enough to your site’s actual content to get a good ranking. However, as you establish yourself and keep producing quality content, these short-head keywords will start to work in your favor.
Long-tail keywords are search phrases of 4 or more words that are much more detailed and descriptive, such as “Nike Men’s Legacy 91 Perforated Golf Hat” or “Blue Women’s Cloudfoam Advantage Tennis Shoes.”
Often times this is even an entire sentence entered into the search bar. While these do have a lower search volume, they also have lower competition and can be very effective when done right. These keywords and phrases are very specific and help you reach the right people quickly. It’s the difference between having 10 people on your site ready to buy, rather than having 1,000 people on your site that are only vaguely interested.
“Product Defining” Keywords
When someone is searching for a specific product or service, they’re searching for a product defining keyword. They’re not searching for a “screwdriver”, they are searching for a “1/2 in. Drive Impact Screwdriver Set”. See the difference? These searchers are often in the early stages of buying, and you have the opportunity to be who they find first. To start optimizing your site for these keywords, create a product or services list then write detailed descriptions for each one.
Finding The Right Keywords
The first step towards collecting your keywords is to do a little brainstorming. If you know your industry, you should have a pretty good idea of what people are searching for to find your product or service. If not, take a moment to think about what you would search for. Compile these into a list as your starting point.
Next take advantage of one of the many free keyword research tools available, such as Google AdWords KeywordPlanner and Google Trends, to help you in your process. These tools can give you very useful information like search volume, ranking difficulty (useful for content strategy and SEO), keyword value (useful for pay-per-click advertising), competition, and more.
There are other places you can go to help find keywords such as social media hashtags and blog comments. These tools can be extremely useful, but because they are free they do have some limitations. At ClickMonster, we invest in advanced keyword software that allows us to find well-tried and trusted keywords for your website, as well as providing better tracking and extensive insights into your target audience.
Where To Put Your Keywords
Now that you have your list of keywords, it’s time to get them on your site. Here are some of the key places Google looks when evaluating your keywords.
- Page titles: This is the main subject of your page and is the first line to appear in search results. To make sure that it’s more relevant and gets seen, try to use your target SEO keywords or phrase at the start of the page title. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but Google will (partially) judge a site by its title.
- Meta Descriptions: This is the section that shows up under your page title and link. This is what helps searchers decide whether to actually click on your link and see the full content on your website or to keep on scrolling by. The more relevant the keywords are to the content, the more likely searchers will click through and visit your site.
- Content: Content is one of the top SEO ranking factors, and one of the most important places for keywords. Use your keywords in the first couple of sentences of your content. At the very least, within the first paragraph. Additionally, use variations of your keywords throughout the rest of your content.
- Images: Images are another way that people find your content, so long as you choose images that are relevant to the material. Use your keywords in the file names and image titles.
- URLs: Good URLs give search engines, and searchers, a hint to what will be on the page. Utilizing keywords in your URLs can put you at the top of the search list when done right. Keep them short and simple so that the URL makes sense to visitors.
Let ClickMonster Handle it
Bonus Tips & Best Practices
Now that you understand what keywords are, their types, and where to put them, let’s look at a few more tips and best practices for using keywords to improve your SEO.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
There was once a time where you could stuff your content full of keywords and let quality take a backseat. That is no longer the case. In fact, keyword stuffing can not only hurt your ranking, it can also get you penalized!
Create Unique And Engaging Content
Remember, duplicating content can get you penalized. Write with a fresh outlook or new spin on each chosen topic. Use quality style and images to bring your content to life. While you do want your site to rank well, you also want this to be an engaging experience for visitors. Keep it as entertaining as possible.
Consider ‘Voice Search’ In Your Keywords
As smartphones and virtual assistants continue to evolve, voice search is becoming more popular every day. For this reason, long-tail keywords have become much more important. Additionally, when someone speaks into a voice search app, they tend to use a more conversational tone and full sentences. Keep this in mind when doing your keyword research. If you can optimize your long-tail keywords to align with voice search, you’ll get way ahead of the curve!
Write Like A Human!!
Before publishing any content, read it out loud. Does it sound like a human wrote it, or does it sound like a robot? Remember, voice search is getting more prominent, so write like you’re talking to a friend or colleague.
Start A Blog
A blog is a great way to produce content and help your rankings. Share stories, tips, and strategies related to your industry. Try to write a 500-1000 word blog post at least once a month if possible. Choose a primary keyword for each type of content, and build your post around that.
Optimized Keywords=Great SEO
There are many things that can keep your business from showing up on Google, but keywords take the cake. Along with improving SEO, optimizing keywords is just plain great for business. After all, if you don’t choose the keywords your customers are searching for, then they won’t find you. And if they can’t find you, they certainly can’t buy from you!
Our team at ClickMonster has many years of experience optimizing keywords for SEO. If you’d like a hand, let’s have a conversation. We’d love to help!