Getting Started on Keywords
You’ve made the decision to optimize your website’s SEO. You’re ready to charge ahead. The only thing left standing between you and increased traffic and improved brand awareness is the answer to one simple question: “Which keywords do I use?”
There’s no simple answer to this but there are some simple steps you can take to determine your best keywords for improved SEO.
Start With What Works
As you begin to optimize your website for SEO, you may already have a list of three primary keywords or secondary phrases that define and describe what your website delivers. For individuals researching keywords for the first time, however, starting with a list of words that are already directing traffic to your website may be the best place to start. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics provide a readily available list of keywords that people are using to find your website.
In Google Webmaster Tools, navigate to Search Traffic > Search Analytics.
In Google Analytics, navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search.
This list will not only help you identify which phrases your audience is already using to find you but it is vital for testing and improving them over time.
Use a Keyword Search Tool
If the purposes of keywords are to help you “speak the language” of search engines, then there may be no better teacher than Google itself.
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that allows you to input one keyword, multiple keywords, or even your website’s URL in order to see a list of related keywords. Among these benefits, you’ll also have access to simplified metrics regarding keyword competition as well as historical statistics that will help you predict how a keyword might perform as well. If your plan is to run an AdWords campaign, Keyword Planner will also help you choose competitive bids and budgets.
Google Trends is another free tool that helps you understand how much web interest there is around a keyword. This is particularly helpful when you need to narrow down a list of similar keywords by comparing which one would generate more potential interest.
Research Your Competitors
Learning from your competitors is a time-tested, proven method used in other parts of business. In terms of SEO, it’s no different.
In order to understand how you can achieve this, go to Google and enter your top keywords into the search bar. Where does your page rank? What does your listing look like? What do your competitor’s listings look like?
If you’re not already ranking at the top of the search results, click through each of the listings and review how specific keywords are being used. Are there ways that keywords are being used that you can utilize? Are there ways you can improve upon it?
Ultimately, effective keywords enable you to stand out above your competition because they capitalize on what makes your business better and unique. When used alongside the list provided by Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, this method can provide a clear image of what those two pieces are.
While the benefits of SEO cannot be overstated, the commitment it entails is equally great. It is an on-going process that should be revised and diversified over time in order to achieve better leads and increased conversions. Keyword research requires detailed analysis, the ability to think of your business in new terms, and – most importantly – frequent testing.
In short, keyword research and SEO implementation requires commitment.
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Also published on Medium.