Keyword research is a critical part of any SEO strategy. If you get it right, then you’ll bring high volumes of relevant traffic to your site. In this article, we are going to look at what keywords are, and why you need to research them.
Keywords are essentially the bridge between a website and a search engine. They are what helps a search engine identify what your site is about, and how relevant it is when a certain term or phrase is searched for by the user. A search engine keeps a database of websites which they have filed away under the appropriate tags/topics to be able to produce fast results.
You can make sure you have a much stronger chance of appearing in the SERPs by optimising your website for the right keywords.
There can be hundreds of options when it comes to keywords. So how do you know which ones you should optimise for?
The general rule of thumb is to look for keywords which have a high search volume (meaning your website will have more opportunities in the SERPs) but on the lower scale of competition (meaning you won’t be fighting multiple large companies for a piece of the pie). We will look at how you can do this a little later in the article. First, let’s take a look at what we mean by keyword optimization…
Now when you think of keyword optimisation, you may be tempted to stuff your chosen keyword into your content as many times as possible. This may have worked a few years back, but now, keyword stuffing is a huge no-no!
When adding your keyword, it needs to be as natural as possible. But there are a few places that you want to ensure this happens. The three most important places to optimize are:
- At the beginning of your title tag;
- Your meta description;
- The first 50 to 100 words in your content.
And there are still some other ways to optimize your keywords that will help when it comes to ranking your website:
- Your image alt tags (preferably the first image on the page);
- In the page’s URL;
- In at least one of your subheadings;
- 2-3 times (or more depending on your word count) throughout the content.
As you can see there is plenty you can do to fully optimize for a keyword whilst keeping your content natural.
The types of keyword that you decide to use on your website determine whether you bring in visitors who can offer you the most value. There are seven keyword types you should learn about:
Generic keywords will isolate a topic, but you won’t get any further detail. Usually known as ‘short-tail’ keywords. For example: “Shoes,” “Vacuum Cleaner,” or “Book.”
You should stay away from these types of keywords as the competition is usually very high and you have no idea around the search intent so conversions are generally pretty low.
Brand Keywords are pretty self-explanatory. They include a keyword relating to the brand of the product, for example: “Adidas shoes,” “Dyson vacuum cleaner,” “Harry Potter book.”
They are a step up from a generic keyword but it is still unclear what the intent behind the search is.
Broad keywords are more promising. They provide good levels of traffic and have much less competition.
Usually, the searcher has decided what they are looking for but may only have an approximate idea. For example: “Running shoes,” “Upright vacuum cleaner,” “Children’s books.”
These are still open to a little interpretation but the search is more specific.
Exact keywords show that the searcher knows exactly what they are trying to find.
This type of keyword is good to optimize for because they usually convert very well and have high search volumes. For example: “Best running shoes,” “Vacuum cleaner reviews,” “Recommended children’s books.”
There is a problem with exact keywords though: they have a lot of competition.
In my opinion, long-tail keywords are the best type of keyword to focus on.
They generally have lower search volume, meaning they have less competition but they have a really high conversion level. For example: “Which running shoes are the best for marathons,” “Upright vacuum cleaner with retractable cord,” “Which children’s books are best for ages 8-10.”
Long-tail keywords have the right balance between competition, conversion, and traffic.
Buyer keywords will have a word attached that signals the searcher is ready to part with their cash. For example: “Buy Adidas running shoes,” “Dyson vacuum cleaner discount,” “Children’s books coupons.”
If this fits with your business model, then optimising for buyer keywords can be a really smart move.
Tyre kicker keywords usually indicate that the user isn’t one that’s going to benefit you in anyway (unless this aligns with your business strategy.) For example: “Free running shoes,” “Dyson vacuum cleaner exchange,” “Download children’s books.”
There is usually a word attached to the keyword which shows the are not looking to spend money.
In this article, we have reviewed what keywords are, why they are important and how keyword research is crucial for the success of your website.
We looked at the best places to optimise your keywords on your website without resorting to keyword stuffing. And you now know the seven types of keywords used, meaning you can make a decision which type is best for your business.