In recent posts we’ve talked a lot about the basics of SEO and how to use the mono tool to optimize your website and stressed the importance of using keywords. But perhaps we should take a step back and explain a little bit about keywords and how to choose the best keywords for your business. This is, after all, the very first step when you want to get started with SEO.
Keywords - the 'key' to SEO
SEO Series #3
What are Keywords Anyway?
‘Keywords’ is a term used for a single or, as in most cases, a set of words that people use to search the internet for content (websites) that are most relevant to their inquiry. For example if someone wants to find a florist that delivers in the London area they may search “London florist”. Here the keyword is ‘London florist’.
Why are Keywords Important?
Keywords are what will help drive relevant traffic to your website. And of course, more traffic equals more business. Relevant website traffic is even more important, though. People coming from relevant, organic keyword searches are more likely to convert. When it comes to SEO it really is quality over quantity.
Finding Quality Keywords
You likely already have an idea of what your keywords should be, but are they the best? Let’s take the florist example again. While “London florist” might describe your business pretty well, you could narrow it down further to “Soho florist” to make it even more local or “London florist with same-day delivery” to reach those ready to buy.
To identify your keywords you should conduct what’s called “Keyword Research”. It's a good idea to start big and then use the research to narrow down the keywords to those that will work best for your business.
Four Easy Steps
1. Write down what keywords you think best describe your business
2. Search for these terms to see who is already ranking for these keywords and whether you business would be relevant among these search results
3. Look at your competitors and see if you find additional keywords you might not have considered. HINT – look at their page titles and the main headers of their pages. If your competitor has optimized for SEO they will have their main keywords listed here.
4. Use an online tool to research the demand (volume) and competitiveness of your keywords. We recommend the Google Keyword Planner.
5. (Optional) Set up a small-scale AdWords campaign to test the performance of the keywords. This will allow you to “buy your way to the top” so to speak. More importantly it will give you an indication of how relevant the keyword is to your business (look at click-through-rate) as well as if it drives sales/leads (conversions).
Try and identify your top ten keywords to use for optimizing your website as a start. These are not necessarily the keywords with the most volume or the keywords with the least competition. Some of your best keywords are likely competitive. You want a mix of decent volume keywords (so long as they are relevant) as well as (perhaps) lower volume but highly relevant keywords because these will give you more business.
Additional Help and Resources
- We love Moz’s Guide to Keyword Research to help guide you through elements keyword research.
- As previously mentioned, the Google Keyword Planner helps you understand the demand and competitiveness of your keywords. http://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home
- Another great Google tool is Google Trends. This helps you understand if your terms are declining or increasing in popularity in general.
Your Feedback is always Welcome!
Do you have additional tips and tricks for identifying keywords? Please share!