Are keywords important? Google is getting ever more sophisticated when handling searches but a 2017 article in Forbes concluded that “Keyword research still matters.” 82% of the top-ranked web pages have the searched keyword in the body of the page.
So, finding the right keywords for your blog is an extremely important part of SEO and getting traffic to your blog. But how do you do it? Read on for 7 essential tips for creating a rock solid keyword list for your blog.
1. Understanding Keywords
Keywords or terms are the actual words people are typing into their search engine when looking for a web page or site. They can be one word or a short phrase. Sometimes the phrases don’t make actual sense being a number of associated words.
The keywords are used by the search engine, such as Google, to produce a list of relevant websites. They are ranked in an order that reflects the relevance of the page to the searched keyword or term. Google does not share exactly how it does this with the outside world but some close approximation to the logic can be determined by using the search engine.
Understanding what words your potential customers may use to search the web helps your web pages appear higher in the Google ranking presented to your potential customer. By placing the keywords on your web pages Google identifies your page as relevant to the search. It then presents it in the search result for your potential customer.
2. List Topics
To start developing a list of keywords develop a list of topics. The topics are relevant subjects that describe your business as your potential customer might see it. Start with the products or services you provide.
If you provide content on your website that may be of interest to your customers then create some topics around that. If you are a sporting goods store and you blog about sporting events you might include the topic “sporting events”.
Once you have 5 to 10 topics that cover your business you are ready to identify keywords.
3. Brainstorm Keywords and Terms
For each topic, you can begin to brainstorm keywords and phrases. Think about how your customer might search for that topic. A search for information about sporting events might include:
- Super Bowl
- World Series
- Kentucky Derby
- The U.S. Open
- Masters Tournament
- NBA Finals
- Stanley Cup
Generating this list can be a great way to involve other people in your organization. Invite sales teams and customer service representatives to a brainstorming meeting. Make it fun and you might find some “off the wall” but very useful keywords.
Potential customers don’t always search using corporate business language. Talk to people who know how they think and speak. Who would have thought “wardrobe malfunction” might be a useful search term for the Super Bowl?
4. Use Google’s Related Terms
If you type a search term into Google you get a list of relevant sites. Scroll down to the bottom and you will find that Google provides you with a list of alternative terms. Use these to generate some more keywords for your lists.
You can even use these suggestions in a Google search and check out the related search terms for those. It’s all about generating ideas. When creative thinking, be open to possibilities and don’t close down your thinking.
5. Head Terms and Long-Tail Terms
Head terms are keywords that are short and generic. They may be up to three words long. Head terms are the most likely keywords someone might use to search for a topic.
Long-tail terms are longer phrases and are more specific. They tend to be less generic and are intended to narrow down the search. A more descriptive search term focuses on a specific target subject.
An example of a head term may be “Superbowl”. This would return a huge variety of Superbowl related pages including classic games, media coverage, merchandise and so on. This would be a hard keyword to rank highly on as it is so wide-ranging.
A long-tail term may be “Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction video”. This is a more specific term and providers of this video content are likely to rank more highly that generic Super Bowl bloggers. Try it and see for yourself.
Header terms will generally deliver more volume from searches but the visits you get from searches on long-tail keywords are likely to be more valuable. Aim to have a mix of head terms and long-tail terms to capture both types of search.
6. Check out the competition
Your competitors may be using good keywords. Don’t let them have sole use of them if it helps you capture some of their traffic. It’s simple to do some searching and check where your competitors rank in the search result.
You can also use free SEO analytical tools such as SEMrush to check out what keywords their domain is using. You don’t have to copy them but it may help to know what they are doing. Perhaps they are watching you too.
7. Use Google AdWords
Once you have a long list of keywords how do you make sure you have good keywords. You can now start to be critical. Weed out the most obvious weak ones.
Google AdWords provides some useful tools to help you refine your keyword lists. You have to register for it and many of the tools are free.
Use the Google Keyword Planner to test the likely volume and traffic they will generate. Leave out any keywords that will generate too little search volume or even too much. Google trends can help you determine which terms are moving up and which are declining.
Now Use Your Keywords List
You now have a refined keyword list. Use them in the body of your blogs and across your website. This will help bring customers to you through their Google searches. Keep your keywords under review and constantly refine and improve.
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