It’s been a while since I wrote anything about keywords, so I thought I would end the year with a quick look at what we should all be looking at these days. So, let’s take it from the top with a beginner’s guide to keywords.
What are keywords?
Keywords are phrases or words that describe what is on your website, in the context of search engine optimization. They can be a single word or a longer sentence – known as ‘long tail keywords’. These account for as many as 70% of all online searches and are an important part of any keyword research strategy – more on long tail matches later on.
Why are they important?
Put simply, keywords are what you use to help Google, Bing, and other search engines determine what your site is about. When people search for anything online, they enter a query, and matching those queries to your website will help you rank higher in the SERPs. It’s important to match your keywords with relevant content, so that when a visitor arrives at your site, they get what they were looking for.
What words do I use?
There are several ways to research the keywords you need to use for your website. First of all, take a look at the competition. It’s easy to do – just type in the keywords you think are relevant to your business into a search engine, and the results will tell you. It will give you a good starting point for identifying how hard it will be to rank for a particular keyword.
Can I use tools?
The next step is to use a free tool such as Google’s Adwords keyword tool. You’ll need to set up an Adwords account, but once you have, you will get access. Just type in a word or a phrase that interests you, and you will get a basic report on its popularity. You can also take a sneaky look at the competition, too. Just type in your rival’s web address and Google will hand you a list of the 100 keywords that the site ranks for. There are other tools to use, too, such as Wordtracker and Keyword Canine. The better tools you use, the more accurate you can be with your choice of keywords.
What are the benefits of long tail keywords?
In general, the more simple the keyword, the more competitive it will be. So, this is where you can start thinking about long tail keywords, which will have far less competition. Let’s say you want to rank for the term ‘florist’. Type that term into the keywords tool, and you will see that competition is stiff, on a national and local level. Maybe you will need to think a bit deeper. Perhaps there is a flower that you sell that others don’t – why not throw this into the mix? So, put ‘florist+rare+orchid’ if you sell them – and voila! Already, you will have less competition to face. This is just a simple example, of course – but you get my point!
OK, so that’s the basics in place. Why not take the next step and take a look at my more advanced guide to finding the right keywords?