If you have ever delved into the mind-boggling world of SEO you will have undoubtedly heard the term “keywords”. But what are keywords and why does every web developer and SEO specialist seem transfixed on them? In the below article I aim to explain plain and simple what keywords are and how you can find the best ones for your business SEO strategy.
What are SEO Keywords and Why are They Important?
- A keyword is basically an important word. In Search Engine Optimization, keywords are the items that we expect customers to type into their search bar on Google or other engines (It’s just Google essentially – no one cares about Bing!).
- Let’s look at an example – I want to find a business in Essex to help with my website SEO. Therefore I type into Google “SEO agencies Essex”. That is a key phrase and Google will use various complicated algorithms to find the most relevant websites that use that phrase or variations of it in their content.
- Hopefully you can see the importance of this as by finding the most appropriate keywords for your business you can tailor your web content in such a way that Google will rank you higher when people search for those terms.
Keyword Research - A Simple Introduction
With the definition in mind you may be wondering how the hell do you know which keywords to use? This is the most important question and it’s the starting point of your SEO strategy.
There are millions of potential keywords so you have to narrow down your choices and implement your SEO strategies based only on a select list. This is achieve by various steps including understanding your customers and utilizing keyword research tools.
Step 1 - Understand your customers
The first thing to do is to look at your customer base and put yourself in their shoes. What are they likely to search for on Google to find your business? Why might they need to visit your website?
Simple questions like these often give you a clear set of keywords to use. You should also consider customer demographics such as age and location as this can affect their search habits and the terms they use.
By understanding your customers you are more likely to find relevant keywords that they will actually search for.
Step 2 - Set Realistic Goals for Keyword Usage
It’s no good just creating a list of keywords and expecting them to work. You must understand what you want to achieve by using these keywords so it’s a brilliant idea to set goals for your SEO campaign.
Do you want to use keywords to increase general traffic to your website? Perhaps you want to use specific keywords to attract more business for a particular service you offer? By making things clear and focused your keyword research will be more effective.
Step 3 - Create a List of Relevant Keyword Topics
A simple way to find potential keywords is to make a list of topics relating to your business and its products/services.
Let’s say that you own a car garage and you offer a range of services. Topics could be car servicing, vehicle MOT, new tyres, or vehicle repairs for example. These all form the basis of potential keywords and you could simply add your location onto them like car servicing Essex or vehicle MOT Essex.
Step 4 - Draft a List of Primary Keywords
Now that you have a list of topics, goals, and customer knowledge you can create a simple list of keywords based on this information.
Try to use the info you have gathered and think about what your customers are most likely to search for. Using the personal approach is a great place to start and you can then refine your list using the tools we discuss below.
Step 5 - Refine Your Choices Using Keyword Research Tools
Hopefully you have a decent list of keywords but we can refine these further using the plethora of advanced research tools available. Companies have realized the importance of keyword research and thus we have some epic tools at our disposal that make our job easier, notable examples include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Some of these are free to use like Google Keyword Planner but can be limited in their features. Others require a subscription but can give you an unbelievable amount of insight into your customers and the best keywords to rank for.
Find the Right Keywords to Optimize Your Web Content
I hope you can see the importance of keywords and where to start developing your business SEO strategy. The keywords are the core component that makes everything else tick so it’s vital that you take time to research them properly. Once you have your keywords you can look to develop an SEO content strategy surrounding them including blog posts, product pages, and even social media content.