Updated: Aug 26
From our last post on “How to improve your SEO ranking in 2020?”, we talk about different ways on how to increase your site ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). We also mentioned how to utilize keywords in your marketing strategies. Now, let’s get into in-depth usage of keywords in SEO.
what are keywords?
Keywords are words that indicate ideas and topics that your content is about. In terms of keywords in SEO, keywords are words users enter in search engines, aka “search queries”.
When building your website, you’d want to have as much “organic traffic” as possible. Most of your organic traffic will come from “keywords”, which means what people search for through search engines and click on the results.
These “keywords” on your page should be relevant to what people are searching for so that you have a higher chance of visibility among other results.
Why are keywords important to your SEO strategy for your business?
Keywords are crucial to your SEO strategy since they’re the link between what your potential customers are looking for and what you provide through your content to fill that need. While many factors can affect your ranking on search engines, “keywords” have always been an integral part of SEO as they are based on building websites.
To build content that ranks well organically and drive visitors to your page, you need to understand your target audience’s behaviors: what they’re looking for and what kind of languages they use. To do this, you need to do keywords research before launching any SEO plan. There are a few tools for you to utilize your research, some of them are even free like Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner.
Before seeing which keywords would be best for your sites, we need to identify what kind of keywords should be used since they’ll have direct impacts on the performance of your websites.
Head Keywords (aka short-tail keywords)
Keywords that include one to two words are called “head keywords”, which are usually broad and far-fetching. Short-tail keywords may seem to be your ultimate goal since they offer high-volume searches.
For example, when I type the word “accounting”, there will be about 591,000,000 results on Google search engine. You can easily find short-tail keywords by using Google Suggested Search.
As you can see, head keywords have high search volume, which in turn, making them highly competitive. Most websites with massive authority rank high for short-tail keywords.
Generally, long-tail keywords include 3 or more words and tend to refer to a specific topic. For instance:
- How to do accounting for individuals
- Where can I find accounting firms in Irvine
- What is accounting
These searches sound lengthy, but it’s how users usually look things up on search engines. They satisfy user intent that you can use to your advantage. This signifies that users know what they want: answers on specific questions.
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Short-tail or Long-tail keywords – which is more effective?
Ideally, you’d want to rank high on both keywords. But that only happens when your website has massive authority.
While looking for head keywords, aside from its high search volume with competitive nature, it can also be extremely vague. If one searches for “bed”, it can range from “best bed design”, “where can I buy bed” to “how to arrange bed in the bedroom”.
What you’re searching for as a business owner from a user’s search is their intent, which means you have to look at what they really need or want. That’s when long-tail keywords come to play. For example, “best bed designs 2020 for children”. Long-tail keywords also have less competition, which is perfect for smaller businesses to make their break-through on SERPs.
Moreover, long-tail keywords comprise nearly 70-80% of Google searches, according to Moz.com
Long-tail keywords attract more people with clear intent in mind, who then can be converted to potential customers, not someone who bounces back immediately from your site.
Use keywords for your page
Using keywords in your website might be one of the best ways to get organic traffic. That doesn’t mean you can stuff as many keywords into your posts in hope that they can make your site rank on the first page of search engines. Over-optimizing your content marketing with keywords phrases can get your page penalized, which makes your ranking drop significantly.
What you should do is providing high-quality and relevant content to your customers. Your goal should be about creating content with real values for real people, not just for bots.
Remember this: Google only cares about search users.
That means Google search engine finds your content valuable when users find it valuable.
This time, other factors from Google algorithms like dwell time or bounce rates of your page really count. Based on that, Google will determine if users like your content or not, then decide to rank you higher than other pages.
To start putting keywords to your post, there’re a few key rules you should follow. Your target keywords should be put somewhere that both your users and bots can see clearly for them to make sure that the post has what they’re after. This includes the headline and the body of your content.
But hold up! Don’t fall into the pitfalls of clickbait! Enticing your audience by writing some alluringly vague titles may seem to be a good idea at the time. However, if your content is not what you link it to be, your users can immediately bounce back from your site, and the rate that they may come back can be very low.
Search engines see this as a bad user experience, which can down rank your page tremendously.
Putting your primary keywords into your URL, H1 tag on your page or a meta description can also help search engines clue in on what your page is really about.
These are the most basic ways for you to utilize keywords into your content. Doing these things may not immediately get your site to the top of SERPs, but failing to do so keeps your site from ranking otherwise.
Formulate keywords into your SEO strategy
Now, to utilize your keywords you’ve been researching for quite some time, let’s see how you can put them into use.
Mapping out the keywords for your content would be a good first step. The reason is you would want to match your keywords to users’ searches.
Take a look at this: you are about to launch a financial services website. Your website targets customers locally, but also nearby areas. You do bookkeeping and accounting but also taxes both online and in-person.
Your main keywords for your websites are “bookkeeping”, “accounting” and “tax”. When you look these up in search engines, there would be millions of results, and you can’t really compete with those on top. What you need to do is to put yourself in users’ shoes.
- Keyword: bookkeeping.
- Intent: find bookkeeping services in Irvine.
- Content: detail bookkeeping services (what they offer) for customers, if there’d be any discounts.
As keywords define the content for each page of your site, organizing your content around that specific keyword is a good idea. Start with a spreadsheet, then for each keyword, map out the relating keywords to see if you can create a long-tail keyword. After that, search its metrics, from search volume, organic traffic, to any page authority to see if you can put your page on top.
Remember that you can always go back to fix your content and keywords after your articles have been posted for a while if its ranking is not as high as you’ve expected since it takes about 6 months to see real SEO benefits.
Take small steps at a time and be patient.
You can always use other channels to drive traffic to your site, such as paid ad networks from Google Ads or Facebook Ads, which are very useful.
But if you stick with implementing keywords into your SEO plans and improving your content to bring more valuables to users, it can bring more benefits in the long run for your website and business.
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