SEO 101 For Albany’s Small Businesses Pt 3: All About Keywords

choosing the right SEO keywords | SEO Without Borders

An SEO keyword strategy comprises of words (or phrases) you want searchers to find your landing page for.

Your keyphrase strategy should clearly identify what your pages are specifically about.

Your page content is (or should be) about one main thing.

Choose a keyword that:

  • Represents your content well
  • Is likely to be used by people searching for information about that one main thing

Keyword Strategy Considerations

Keep in mind that:

  • Your keyword can contain more than one word.
  • If your keyword contains several words, the order in which you use the words matters. As an example, “Symptoms of diabetes” is not the same as “diabetes symptoms,” and returns different rankings.
  • You need to conduct research in order to discover likely keywords. Ask people, drill down in social media, do a survey, and use Google’s Keyword Planner.
  • Understand who your ideal reader is, and use the same natural language and terms as they do.
  • Don’t use more than one primary keyword (or phrase).

Do the Research to Discover Likely Keywords

Talk to real live people.

If you have existing customers, listen to the language they use.

How do they describe your products?

How do they talk about the problems they are having?

When they get excited about new features, what words do they use to talk about them?

If you go to a conference or event, take an informal survey.

Ask people, “If you were looking for (my product, a solution to this problem, etc.), what would you search for?”

Drill down in social media, especially if you’re just launching a product.

Read blog posts and do lots of research on a wide range of sites. As an example, see which Twitter search terms turn up your potential customers.

Using Google Keyword Planner

Finally, use the Google Keyword Planner. You’ll need to have a Google AdWords account to access the tool, but the account is free and you don’t need to buy an ad to use it.

When you enter a keyword in the Keyword Planner it will output:

  • An estimate of the number of exact match searches performed on that keyword monthly
  • A list of keywords that its (ever-more-intelligent) database thinks are similar to the one you entered, along with the same estimated total for each of those.

You can filter by location, languages, devices people are using to access the search engines, and other factors.

For example, if you’re planning to offer a white paper on a landing page, you want to know how people look for the term.

Are they using the one-word “whitepaper” or the two-word “white paper”? It turns out that searchers are more than twice as likely to look for “white paper” than “whitepaper,” so that’s the term you should use.

The Google Keyword Planner will also give you suggestions of keywords (related to what you searched on) that you might be interested in.

Based on the white paper results, you might want to create a “How to write a white paper” article – if you know it will meet the needs of your target audience.

Align With Consumer Behavior

In summary, in this stage you want to identify words your audience uses to look for content you are going to create.

You can do this by:

  • Asking customers how they would find a specific product or category
  • Analyzing existing search engine referrals
  • Researching external keyword databases
  • Listing product names (and their generic equivalents)

The most important thing to keep in mind while creating content is to write for your audience – not for search engines.

Some website owners and search engine optimizers use tricks to try and fool search engines into sending traffic to a page.

This is a bad, bad idea for a couple of reasons:

  • The Google police will catch you. Google and the other search engines actively, constantly
    look for websites that violate their terms and conditions.They continually update their algorithms to automatically detect pages and websites trying to cheat the system.

    Even if you aren’t caught by the algorithm, the search engines review reports of cheating submitted
    by the public and will take manual action to punish sites that get caught attempting to fool the algorithm, or violating the guidelines.

  • The second (and more important) reason is that the search engines are not your target
    audience.People are. You want your readers to appreciate the content so much that they
    read it, recommend it, and return.

    If the content they discover when they visit your site via search is misleading, they’ll skip away and never become buyers or advocates.

    Bringing random traffic to your site won’t accomplish your goals.

Search engines want to return pages that are highly credible, with rich information.

As semantic search continues to evolve, search engines are looking for (and rewarding) words and phrases beyond just keywords.

For example, if you have a page on a vintage Mustang car, Google would consider words like “Ford”, “wheels”, “engine”, and “car” that co-occur on the page to be further proof that the page is indeed about a Mustang car. If you write to give the reader the best experience possible, this use of “proof” words will happen naturally.

Word Choices and Natural Language

Once you know who you are writing for and why they’re looking for your content, you’re almost ready to
start writing.

There is one more important step before you get started: you need to know the language of your audience.

This is more than knowing that your target audience speaks US English, or British English, or Russian, or Japanese.

It’s about the actual words they use when talking about your products, the industry you are in, or
whatever they are looking for.

For example, suppose you manufacture automotive accessories.

You want to promote a new anti-slip mat for car trunks – to a UK audience. You should write about “boot liners.”

If you write about “boot liners” for a U.S. audience, you will get very different results.

Julian ConnorsSEO 101 For Albany’s Small Businesses Pt 3: All About Keywords