How to Research For Keywords

February 27th 2014       Sally Ormond       Keyword research, keywords, title tags, tools

I am the first to let out a blood-curdling scream whenever anyone mentions keyword density – it’s a practice that should no longer be used.

However, that doesn’t mean to say keywords are defunct. You must still do your keyword research before setting up a website to aid with its design, navigation and copy.

So where do you look for them?

I have written about this topic a lot on this blog and on Freelance Copywriter’s Blog. What follows is a round up describing:

  • What a keyword is
  • The value of a good keyword
  • How to decide on your keywords
  • How to use your keywords

What is a keyword?

The first thing to remember is that a keyword isn’t necessarily a word; it can also be a phrase.

In a nutshell, it is a word or phrase people use to search for a product, service or piece of information.

So if you sold designer leather dog collars, your keywords would be things like:

Dog collars

  • Leather dog collars
  • Designer dog collars
  • Leather designer dog collars

The other thing to remember is that every business will have more than one keyword. Which is just as well, because every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword.

Your keywords can also include your geographical location to give your local search engine optimisation a boost.

The value of a good keyword

 Before deciding on the keywords you want to use, it’s important you check out their competitiveness and impression frequency.

It is pointless going after keywords if they are:

  •  Hugely competitive with everyone chasing after them
  • No competition because no one uses that term to search for things

You can use Google’s keyword tool to find out the number of searches (globally and locally) and whether the competition is high or low.

Long tail keywords (such as ‘leather designer dog collars’) will draw a lower search volume, but because it’s more targeted they are likely to bring in buying customers.

Single keywords, for example ‘copywriter’ are incredibly competitive and will take a very long time to rank well for, but if you opt for something such as ‘email copywriter’ or ‘copywriting services’ you’ll stand a better chance of getting quicker results.

How to decide on keywords

The best way to come up with a list of keywords is to write down everything that relates to your business, including technical and non-technical terms (your customers are more likely to use the latter).

Then use tools such as Google’s keyword tool and Wordtracker to help work our which ones are the best to go for. You can also use Google Trends to see how certain keywords are performing.

Using your keywords

I mentioned earlier that every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword, but that doesn’t mean cramming every inch of the page with it.

Firstly, work out which words are to be included on which page and create your navigation bar (each page should have its keyword in its title).

Then create a keyword rich title tag (that actually makes sense) to show Google what your page is about.

When it comes to your content, make sure your keyword is in your H1 heading (main heading) and any other subheadings you use and then write naturally. You will find that your keywords will appear without you having to shoe horn them in.

That last point is vital – write naturally. Your website is there to attract people not search engine spiders because it’s the people who’ll be buying from you.

That’s basically all you need to know about keywords. If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

 

Tags: Keyword research, keywords, title tags, tools
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