What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases your audience uses to search for your product, service or benefit.
For example, a women’s shoe shop might sell a range of sandals for
weddings. After talking to their customers and doing some research
online, the owner identifies that “white wedding sandals” is one of the
phrases her audience uses. It matches with their most popular shoes in
this category so the decision is made to target the phrase “white wedding sandals” by writing a blog post called “The Perfect White Wedding Sandals”.
This post could talk about recent trends in wedding footwear, the particular
white wedding sandals on sale, and important considerations when
choosing a pair. The words “white”, “wedding” and “sandals”, the phrase “white wedding sandals” and related phrases such as “white wedding shoes”
would appear throughout the blog post giving Google and the other
search engines a really clear idea that this post is about white wedding
sandals, and significantly increase the blog’s visibility for this
phrase on Google.
keywords you use for your Google SEO, how do you decide which to use? Do you look at what competitors are doing and use that? Do you guess what keywords potential clients would use to find your site and use those? Or do you spend time researching?
According to Dr. Peter J. Meyers, one of the experts at Moz.com. “Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.”
When it comes to crafting a great SEO plan, it can’t be only about driving traffic – that traffic has to then convert into customers. That means using keywords that result in conversions.
The basics of keywords
What is the value of a keyword? To determine if a keyword is right for your business, answer the following:
- Does this keyword relate to my business, product, or service?
- Will an internet search using this word result in a user finding relevant and useful content relating to it on my site?
- Will any traffic this keyword drives to my site result in conversions?
You need to know how keywords will impact your business. A keyword may rank well on Google, but that doesn’t mean it is the right keyword for you.
In today’s Google searches, it is rarely useful to use only a single word instead of a phrase. If you’re a plastic surgeon, you wouldn’t want to break that up into separate keywords because the term “plastic” will most likely bring up things very different from what you’d like users to find. Instead, use a longer phrase, such as “plastic surgeon Long Island.”
Phrases that are two to four words long and that accurately describe you are the best to use. It’s also good to think about the terminology the general public would use when searching for you. For instance, the term “attorney” has 38.6 million searches each month, but the term “lawyer” only has 20.8 million. So almost twice as many people are using the word attorney, rather than lawyer.
Common mistakes to avoid
At Millionairium, we often see these mistakes when we analyze clients’ previous SEO strategies:
- Using only single-word terms that are too broad, and having highly competitive results. Keep in mind that single word searches rarely result in what the user is actually looking for.
- Terms that are too broad, or don’t focus on your product or services. The goal of SEO isn’t just to rank at the top of Google, but to get traffic that will convert into customers. “San Francisco attorney” might be a broad search, but “San Francisco divorce attorney” might be a better search term for converting clients.
- Terms that are too specific and narrow your audience too much. You may find a keyword that isn’t highly competitive, so you can rank at the top for it. But remember that as the competition associated with a search word goes down, so does its popularity. You may be at the top, but if no one is searching for it, it doesn’t really matter.
Creating a list of effective keywords should be the first step in a great SEO program. But it doesn’t stop once your first list is created. Because the way people search constantly changes, you have to continuously research for new keywords to use.
So, where do you start?
Let’s start at the very beginning
Begin by brainstorming. Think about who you are, what you do, what you offer. Create a list of services and products you offer. But then, dig deeper.
Let’s say you are a plastic surgeon in San Diego. You provide a lot of different procedures, but let’s look at one, breast augmentations. You could simply use “breast augmentation San Diego,” but don’t stop there. What else can go under the term breast augmentation? You could also use breast lift, breast implants, breast reconstruction, breast reduction, and nipple correction.
Then, take it even further, and include keywords that include phrases such as “cost of,” “recovery time of,” “before and after.” Using these additional terms might just increase traffic and conversions even more.
In highly competitive markets, it’s also important to include suburbs of the city you are in. If you’re in San Diego, target cities such as Carlsbad, Del Mar, Escondido, etc., and widen the net of potential patients you reach.
Research, research, research
Now that you’ve got your list of keywords, which ones are the ones to put the most effort in? It doesn’t have to be hit or miss – use a research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to tell you exactly what users are searching for.
You can take your phrase and, looking in your area, check to see variations on that search term that searchers are using. From there, you might even find words you hadn’t thought of, and ideas for strategically optimized blogs.
Research can actually lead to ideas new opportunities for your SEO program to seize.
Put your keywords to work
Now it’s time to put those keywords to work to convert searchers to customers.
Organize your keywords into manageable groups that you can use for targeted optimization. Keywords should be used throughout your site, from page titles, to the body of text, to URLs and even meta tags on file names.
We know that many SEO programs begin after a site is already up and running. If you’re new to SEO and want to incorporate keywords into an existing site, that can work. Just avoid keyword stuffing – trying to cram too many keywords onto just a few pages.
In an ideal world, an SEO program is integrated into your overall internet marketing campaign. That means that you create your keyword list, then craft your website content with those in mind.