Everyone seems to be going to Google these days to find answers to their questions and search for products or services they’re looking for. The top few search results are going to get the clicks since people don’t tend to look much beyond that. If you want your business to succeed online, you need to have your business appear in the top few results. So how do you do that? Every business really needs to have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and keywords are the foundation of that strategy.
Researching the Initial List of Target SEO Keywords
A keyword is a word or phrase that people are using to search for things online. The more that you use keywords in your content, whether it’s website copy, marketing or technical content, the greater the chance that you’ll appear higher in search engine results. Now, there are a lot of caveats to that because Google frowns on keyword stuffing – putting too many keywords into the same piece of content – so you have to be careful and strategic about where you place keywords. Also, the content has to be of high quality; Google’s latest algorithm update appears to favor high-quality content web pages because they want people to find what they’re looking for. Google actually uses about 250 ranking signals to determine where content lands, so keyword stuffing and quality are only two of those. Plus, Google updates their algorithm 500-600 times a year so things are always changing.
It’s important to do your keyword research and get real data though – you can’t just guess. What I’ve found from teaching my SEO training classes over the years is that most attendees have an idea about how people are searching for things, but when I walk them through the keyword research exercise and we talk through it, attendees are quite surprised at what they find. Also, a common mistake that I often see during my workshops is that students will pick only short-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are search terms of one or two words strung together and people often use these keywords when starting to do research. For any small business, it’s nearly impossible to rank high in Google for these short-tail keywords:
Tools to Support the Keyword Research Process
Fortunately, there are all kinds of tools, free and paid, to help you get started with keyword research. I usually recommend starting with Google Keyword Planner. It does require you to create an active Google AdWords campaign. Google Keyword Planner provides all kinds of data about keywords, such as search volume data, keyword ideas and suggested cost if you used that word for a pay-per-click campaign. You can also search by a geographic region, language, specific date range and more. Finally, you can download the data to use it the way you need it.
One of the most helpful features that I’ve found using Google Keyword Planner is you can enter keywords and Google will provide keyword ideas based on what you entered. It can open up a new world of keywords to use in your SEO strategy.
Definitely one of my favorite paid keyword research tools is SEMRush. This tool provides a ton of useful keyword research and other data. One of the most useful reports this tool will prepare for you is a list keywords your website is ranking for on Google, the actual position and also the actual monthly search volume. This is invaluable data that will help you take your keyword research to the next level!
Categorize and Prioritize Your Keywords
The next steps are to categorize and prioritize your keywords and then use your chosen keywords in your content marketing and digital marketing strategies. This is a huge part of the SEO strategy and I’ll discuss it during the webinar. You can also read more about it in my step-to-step keyword research guide.
Want to learn more about keywords and how they can greatly impact your business? Join us on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 10:00 am PST for my webinar, “Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimization: What Any Small Business Needs to Know.” I’ll share my knowledge of how to identify and put to work the keywords that will drive high-quality search traffic to a website and ultimately increase your revenue. I’ll also discuss the keyword mapping process, how to identify the “low-hanging fruit” keywords, making keywords work for you and more in our webinar. Reserve your spot today and learn tips and strategies that have helped many of our customers dramatically increase their revenues directly related to Google organic search traffic. I hope you can join us![PS: I’m hosting this webinar in partnership with Data.com. Find this article and other valuable resources on their website.]
About the Author
Chris Raulf, International SEO Expert & Founder of Boulder SEO Marketing
Chris Raulf is the founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency located in beautiful Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Chris and his team assist local, national and international customers with all of their search engine optimization, Pay-per-Click (PPC), social media and content marketing needs. Chris is an international keynote speaker and his self-paced, non-technical online SEO training allows anyone to implement a powerful online marketing strategy. His international background makes him one of the few professionals in the industry who truly live and breath multilingual search engine optimization on a daily basis.