If you are a beginner to SEO, one of the most important lessons to learn is the importance of keywords and how to use them effectively. Keywords are part of what makes SEO work, giving search engines identifying phrases that they can use to find the best results. You might have heard about keywords and SEO, but you may still be unsure about what either of these things is and how they work.
What are SEO Keywords?
- SEO is the practise of optimising your website so that it ranks higher in Google & other search engines.
- Part of this optimisation is choosing the words or phrases that customers use to find their products or services. These words are named 'keywords'.
- Keywords are important because they help search engines identify what your website is about, and present your products/services to people who are trying to find those products/services.
- Keywords can be broken down into different types:
- short-tail = 1 or 2 words that describe your general niche or product range.
- long-tail = multiple words which are more specific to an item or service you are offering.
- transactional = keywords that are used when somebody is ready to buy your product or service.
- informational = keywords that are used when somebody is researching your product, service or industry.
- Choosing the right keywords is made easier through the use of keyword research tools. However, start with your own knowledge of your industry & website. From here, expand into some of the additional keywords a searcher may use.
- Using keywords in your content should be done in a natural way. Add text to product categories & pages which describes your offerings. Also, add a blog which is updated regularly.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the practice of optimising a website so that it shows up in search results for terms that are relevant for the site. All businesses, or anyone else with a website that they want to perform well, should be using SEO to boost the visibility of their site. SEO involves a broad range of different techniques, which are generally divided into on-page and off-page SEO methods. On-page methods are anything that you do on your own site, including writing content using your keywords. Off-page methods include the things that you do off your site, such as using social media and link building.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into the search engine to find the things they need. They are also just one of the factors that influence how well a website ranks in search results. A web page that includes the same or similar keywords to those used in a search has a better chance of appearing in the first results of the search than a page that doesn't include those words.
Why Are Keywords Important?
SEO keywords are important because they help search engines to determine what a website or page is about. If you are clear with what your site or page is about, then you have a greater chance of ranking well and attracting relevant visitors to your website.
Search engines want websites to accurately represent what they are about too, so there are good and bad practices when it comes to using keywords. For example, it's not good to practice to use random keywords or to "keyword stuff," which is trying to manipulate a search engine by using the same keyword or keywords many times. However, it is a good idea to use relevant keywords and to use them in a natural way in the content that you publish. Keywords can also be used in other places, such as in the metadata of your website.
Different Types of SEO Keywords
There are two main types of keywords that are important to understand. Keywords are separated into short-tail and long-tail keywords. As the names suggest, short-tail keywords are shorter, while long-tail keywords are generally longer. Both of these types of keywords serve different purposes for SEO and help you to promote your website in different ways.
Short Tail Keywords
Short-tail keywords are keywords that are only one or two words long. The short nature of these keywords means that they are often a lot less specific than longer keywords and phrases. A short-tail keyword might be something like "bikes" or "mountain bikes." Both of these keywords are likely to result in millions of search results, and they will also have very high search volumes each month. While a high search volume might sound great at first, it also tends to mean a lot of competition. The more competition there is for a certain keyword, the more difficult it will be for your website to show up on the first page of search results.
When you are just starting out with SEO, short-tail keywords are unlikely to be useful for you on their own. You can try to rank for them, but you would be competing against established sites that have been working on their SEO for years. Some will have been around since the early days of the internet, making you just a little tadpole in the ocean. New businesses or businesses launching their website should be focusing on long-tail keywords instead.
Long-tail keywords can vary in length, starting from three words and reaching full phrases and even sentences. Due to the length of long-tail keywords, they can be more specific and include more detail. One example of a long-tail keyword is "best mountain bikes for women under $500". A search for mountain bikes will bring up millions of generic results and is likely to not be that helpful to someone who is ready to buy a mountain bike now. However, a more specific long-tail keyword is more likely to help them find what they're looking for. It also makes it easier for you to provide your customers with exactly what they want.
Long-tail keywords are more useful because they are often the phrases that people use toward the end of their buying journey. If they're just curious about a product or service, they might use a more generic short-tail keyword. However, if they are getting ready to buy something, they will have a clearer idea of what they want, and will often use a long-tail keyword. People may also use a long-tail keyword when they have specific questions. With the rise of voice search, people use natural ways of asking questions. Instead of typing "mountain bikes under 500" they might ask, "what are the best mountain bike under 500 dollars?"
Long-tail keywords also have lower search volumes, but this is balanced out by the higher quality of the searches.
Informational vs Transactional Keywords
Another two types of keywords to consider are informational and transactional keywords. An informational keyword is one that provides information, or an answer to a question; whilst a transactional keyword is intended to complete a transaction from a buyer. For example, "what is the best women's mountain bikes" is an informational keyword, while someone ready to complete a purchase might search for "coyote callisto xr ladies mountain bike" or another specific product.
These different types of keywords are useful at different parts of the sales funnel, so should be approached in different ways. Someone using an informational keyword is only beginning to research what they are looking for, so might find a blog post on what to look for when buying a mountain bike useful. However, the person searching for a specific product will want to see product pages, reviews, and price comparisons.
How to Choose the Right Keywords
Choosing the right keywords can seem like a complicated task. How do you know which keywords receive the right searches? How do you know which ones have a lot of competition and are difficult to rank for? Fortunately, there are many ways you can find the right keywords for your content. There are tools that you can use to help you discover new keyword ideas in different ways.
Start By Considering Your SiteOf course, it's helpful to have tools that make it easier to find the right keywords. But you need to start off by doing a little bit of thinking about your brand, product or service, and website. To give yourself a starting point, you should define what you want your site to be known for, which words describe what you're offering, and what terms you think people will use (or are using) to look for your website. It's important to only use layman's terms, rather than specific industry terms (ask a friend to help with this). This will give you something to work with when you start to do more in-depth keyword research.
Popular Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research is the practice of finding the right keywords for your web content. There are several factors that you might look at to find the right keywords. Knowing which metrics to use will help you to choose the best keywords that you have a chance of ranking for. The first thing that you might look at is search volume, which is usually expressed as how many searches there are containing a particular keyword each month. Another metric to look at is keywords competition, which shows you whether there are many other websites competing to rank for the keyword. You can also find that some keyword tools will give you a keyword difficulty score, which tells you how difficult it is to rank for the keyword.
There are many different SEO keyword research tools for you to explore. Many people begin with the Google Ads Keyword Planner because it's free to use (within your AdWords account). It will give you information such as historical search data and how much competition there is for the keyword on their ad network. It can also provide keyword suggestions, which can help you to find new ideas for keywords. There are also many other tools to use, both free and paid, including Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and more. These tools are often included in a suite of other SEO tools, which can help with other ways to improve SEO for your site.
Look for Semantic Keywords
Semantic keywords are keywords that are related to your main keywords, and contribute to establishing the topic of your website of page. These are important because Google and other search engines don't just directly relate keyword to keyword when looking for the right web pages. They are more concerned with whether a page is about a certain topic. If a page mentions mountain bikes five times but is actually about mountain biking in the Rockies, Google will be less likely to think that it's relevant to someone who is searching for mountain bikes to buy.
Semantic keywords are also known as LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords. You can use keyword tools to help you find these words. However, one simple way to do this is through a Google search. When you search using a keyword, Google will give you some clues to what else people might be searching for related to that keyword. For example, there is a "people also ask" section in Google search results at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page, you will also discover a section with searches related to yours.
Find Long-Tail Keywords
Long-Tail Keywords (LTKW) are the most important for anyone who is just starting out with promoting their site. In fact, they will remain valuable for a long time, even as you grow your site. Focusing on looking for long-tail keywords will help you to find the keywords that will have lower competition, so you are more likely to rank for them. A Google search is again a good way to find long-tail keywords. Simply starting to type into the search box can bring up some suggestions for what people are searching for. There are other tools that can be useful too. For example, Answer the Public will tell you which questions people are asking based on the keyword that you put in. LTKW's are often informational terms. They are the ones that start with why, when, who how etc.
How to Use Keywords in Your Content
When you have found the right keywords, you need to know how to use them in your content. As previously mentioned, there are good and bad ways to use keywords. You need to know how to use them effectively to improve your chances of ranking for them.
Firstly, it can be a good idea to organise your keywords. Which is your primary keyword, and which others are more important? Your main keyword is the one that you should use to optimise your homepage. You should start by focusing on your homepage and making it clear to search engines, as well as people using them, what topic your website concerns.
Although you have one primary keyword, you should also create pages for your other important keywords. For example, this might mean making a page for each of the product categories that you have in your inventory, or each service you offer. Each of these pages should have text which represents your target keyword, plus any secondary keyword you have established above.But once you have created these pages, how do you keep improving your SEO by publishing further content? You might add extra pages to your site, such as help pages or location pages. However, one of the best ways to keep adding fresh content to your site is by publishing blog posts. Having a blog on your site means that you can publish new content regularly and keep your website up to date with fresh content.
When you create content with your keywords, there are several ways you should insert your keyword. It should be in the title of your content, the URL, and the H1 tag. Long-tail keywords are great to use in subheadings, while LSI (semantic) keywords can go in the main body of your content.
Keywords aren't a particularly complicated concept, but a lot goes into finding the right ones and using them appropriately. Taking an organised approach, including creating a spreadsheet of your keywords and metrics such as search volumes and competition, can help you to use SEO keywords successfully.
It's also helpful to get professional help to make SEO easier. A good SEO agency will provide you with the expertise that you need to optimise your website for search engines. As well as assistance with keywords, you can also get help with all other aspects of SEO. When you have help with SEO, you can concentrate on other things in your business.