15 Nov How to Get Found With SEO Keywords
Building a website for your business is not the same as the baseball field in Field of Dreams. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. In the real world, you can’t count on magic – but you can count on the power of SEO keywords to drive traffic. That is, providing you know how to do so. And that is the subject of today’s blog post!
Getting started with keyword research
Keywords are the phrases or questions that people enter into Google and other search engines (yes, there are others) to find the information they want. For this reason, keyword research strategy is the basis of any SEO effort. You can’t achieve the high rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) that drive traffic to your website without knowing which keywords to incorporate. As noted by Weebly, “For a successful keyword research strategy, you want to match user intent (what people are looking for) with business value (which keywords bring the right person to your website).”
Which makes sense. It does no good for your keywords to drive searchers to your site if they’re looking for electric toothbrushes, but you sell electric razors. So your first step should be to better understand your target market and how they’re searching for your products or services. Yet as written by Britney Muller – Senior SEO Scientist at Moz – “Too many people bypass this crucial planning step because keyword research takes time, and why spend the time when you already know what you want to rank for?”
Our oft-repeated advice to businesses is to put yourself in the shoes of your target customers and see your brand from their perspective. Listen to what they want, rather than telling them what you think they want. For example, they may have a greater interest in how your product or service can make some aspect of their daily life more convenient, rather than in the specific features that you believe would make them chose your brand.
Once you’ve gathered this pertinent information, you’re ready to begin keyword research! But if your memories of keywords are single words frequently repeated throughout your website, please take a few minutes to read our October 11, 2019 blog post – “Are You Losing Money Writing Your Own Website Copy?” The practice of “keyword stuffing” not only no longer works, it will bring down Google’s wrath and ruin your site’s ranking.
Picking the best keywords for your brand
Going back to determining user intent, getting started is as easy as entering a keyword into Google and see what types of results come up. Google’s current algorithm encourages users to ask questions, which favors long-tail keywords. As described by Sam Kusinitz – Editorial Assistant at HubSpot – a long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that aims to capture search traffic from a specific search query consisting of three or more words.
Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than mass audiences. The “long-tail” refers to the search demand curve. As keyword terms become more specific and detailed, search volume becomes less competitive, but searcher intent becomes higher.
Since they’re very specific, they allow you to rank highly in search results for specific topics relatively quickly. They also tend to attract highly qualified traffic that’s more likely to convert to leads and customers. For example, someone searching for “shoes” is most likely just browsing, while someone searching for black basketball shoes is ready to buy. Again, think like your target customers. How would you ask Google to find your product or service?
Another useful asset is Moz’s Keyword Explorer. This is a time-saving keyword research tool that helps you find profitable keywords and organize them into lists. You can create a free account which allows you to enter 10 keywords per month.
Other popular free tools – such as the Google AdWords KeywordPlanner, Google Trends and SEMrush – can help immensely in putting your finger on the pulse of trending and adequate keywords.
Plus, our June 21, 2019 blog post – “Is Your Company Making These SEO Mistakes?” – provides solid advice on what to do by warning you about what not to do.
For those who really want to become a keyword research sensi, HubSpot’s Director of Marketing, Rachel Leist, provides an extensive step-by-step tutorial. Be advised, however, if you’re a business owner wearing the SEO hat, this one is of the 10-gallon variety. You’re probably too busy running your business to devote sufficient time to this complex process. Of course, we at Virtual Stacks Systems have our own recommendation to resolve the situation. But because we don’t believe in spoilers, keep reading to the end!
Discovering new keywords
Search engine algorithms – especially Google’s – change frequently, and without explanation. In other words, finding keywords isn’t a one-and-done process. Not updating your keywords eventually causes your rankings to drop.
Some factors that can impact keywords include the following:
- Changes in the industry – such as technology. If you’re selling consumer electronics, you probably no longer want to rank for portable CD players.
- Changes in consumer demographics. The older range of the much-maligned millennials is pushing 40, while Generation Z is quickly moving into the consumer space that millennials are vacating. Interests and priorities shift, and if your keywords don’t follow suit, your target market will be looking elsewhere.
- Changes in lifestyles and personal priorities. Closely related to the above, some shifts may impact your business – and thereby, your keywords. An increasing number of people are switching to products that are more eco-friendly and sustainable, or are more focused on saving money.
Almost needless to say, you should be constantly tracking changes in your target market as a matter of course. Keep thinking like the customers you want, and making the necessary tweaks will be second nature.
Organic isn’t enough
Having the right keywords in your website isn’t enough to fully put the “O” in SEO. Be sure to have a presence through Google My Business (a lot of bang for no bucks – it’s free), and make good use of Google Ads (not free, but very budget-friendly).
So as we stated at the beginning of our humble blog post, if you build it, they will come, but you have to build it right! And as we alluded to earlier, you may not have enough time to devote to that process. That’s what we’re here for! Our SEO team can make your dreams for a website that drives traffic and converts leads to happy customers come true. We also provide experienced web content writing, along with our web design, website redesign and pay-per-click services.
Contact us to learn more and leave it to our pros! We’re ready to be your partner in success!