Keyword optimization is easily one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization or SEO.
If you pick the wrong keywords, you will never be able to rank for the keywords that are most relevant to your business. Because of this, you may end up targeting the wrong kind of target audience, which only leads to increased cost without the profits to show for it.
So, as you can see, a major chunk of SEO depends on how to find the right keywords and optimize your blog posts around those keywords. Interestingly, for most SEO professionals, it is the most challenging aspect of search engine optimization.
In this blog post, we share some proven tips on how to find the right SEO keywords to optimize your website content.
1. Shortlist a Topic
Before you can dive into researching and picking keywords, you need to shortlist a topic. What are you going to write about?
Moreover, this cannot be very broad. You need to be as specific as you can. For instance, you should be able to answer:
What is the main topic?
What are some of the subtopics that you’d cover in it?
Who is it for?
Benefits that the readers will get from it
2. Brainstorming Keywords
Once you have shortlisted and finalized the topic of your blog post, the next step would be to brainstorm different keywords.
This is an important step, and many SEO professionals simply bypass it.
Before you start using any keyword research tool, it is a good idea to think from a user’s perspective. Come up with your own keywords that you think an average person would use to find such a topic.
Scribble down a few keyword phrases that you think are perfect for this. Ideally, these phrases should be of varying lengths — anywhere between 2 - 6 words.
3. Research Keywords With a Keyword Tool
By this time, you can start your keyword research process with the help of a keyword tool. If you do not have a premium tool, start with the free Google Keyword Planner tool. It’s more than adequate.
At this stage, paste all the keywords you brainstormed in the previous step. You just want to know if your target audience is using these keywords for search queries or not. Furthermore, different keyword phrases of varying lengths will help you find a nice balance between head and long-tail keywords.
4. Filter Keywords
Google Keyword Planner tool will give you search volume and level of competition for each keyword you inserted. Additionally, you will see many related keywords that Google suggests you.
First, jot down keywords that have a high search volume. Second, browse the related keywords list and see if you can find a few good keywords to be used in the article. More often than not, some related keywords can be used as sub-topics or sub-headings in a blog post.
5. Prioritize Long-Tail Keywords
When searching for keywords, always resist the temptation of choosing head keywords with a lot of high search volume. In today’s content marketing and SEO world, it is almost impossible to rank on Google’s 1st page for a competitive head keyword.
However, long-tail keywords give you an opportunity to rank on Google’s 1st pages with relative ease.
In case you don’t know, head keywords are keyword phrases with usually one word, e.g., “business”. It is too generic for a good conversion rate. Also, ranking high for a head keyword like “business” is almost impossible. On the other hand, long-tail keywords — as the name suggests — are keyword phrases with usually 3 or more keywords, e.g., “online marketing business in Chicago”.
Remember that it is always better to rank on Google’s 1st page for a long-tail keyword with, say, 2,000 searches per month than to rank on Google’s 20th page for a head keywords with, say, 100,000 searches per month.
Long-tail keywords also have a great conversion rate as they are an excellent reflection of a user’s buying intent.
With the constant rise of mobile usage and search queries with the help of mobile assistants, long-tail keywords have become all the more important.
Nowadays, more than 50% people use mobile devices for browsing the internet and searching stuff on the web. And most of them use voice search, which contains far more natural (longer) sentences than a desktop search,
So, in summary, long-tail keywords offers you plenty of benefits:
A higher chance of ranking on Google’s 1st page
A higher probability of conversion
More targeted traffic
More mobile traffic
6. Research LSI Keywords
When you select any keyword phrase, it is important also to search for related LSI keywords to add more context and meaning to a blog post.
LSI keywords or Latent Semantic Keywords help search engines understand what a blog post is truly about. For example, if you are optimizing a blog post for the keyword “Windows”, some of the LSI keywords could be doors, wood, aluminum, home, renovation, decoration, etc. These LSI keywords help search engines understand that your primary keyword “Windows” refers to the windows we use in our homes, not Microsoft’s operating system.
There are many LSI keywords tool that you can use. One of my favorite tools is LSI Graph. It’s simple, speedy, and effective.
7. Identify What You’re Missing
Sometimes, you cannot identify the right keywords to optimize for. In that scenario, it is always a great idea to analyze what your competitors have been doing all this time.
For instance, if three of your competitors are all targeting the same keywords, while you are not, what does it tell you? It means that you are probably missing out on some good opportunities.
SpyFu helps you easily identify all such keywords that your competitors are targeting, but you are not. And no, you do not need to be a paying subscriber to get that information.
Simply paste the URL of your website and click enter. SpyFu will then come up with some data. Scroll down until you find ‘Competitor Shared Keywords’.
Click on the ‘Weakness’ section, and you will find many keywords that you are not yet targeting for.
However, before picking a few of them, make sure to analyze them thoroughly to see if they are worth going after.
Finding the right keyword phrases is the first step to content marketing and search engine optimization.
Once you find a few good keywords, make sure that you populate web pages with these keywords and optimize them for search engines. Here are a few tips that will help:
Make sure that you have the primary keyword phrase in the title of the webpage.
The main keyword phrase — along with a few of its different variations — should be sprinkled throughout the webpage / blog post.
Including important keywords in subheadings is also a good practice.
Have the primary keyword in at least one image alt text tag
Make sure that your meta tags (title tag and meta description) have these primary keyword phrases.
You can use SEO Site Checkup’s free tools to perfectly optimize your site’s pages. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.