One of the most important components to modern marketing, especially in the digital sphere, are keywords. Keywords are vital in various ways but all center on SEO. Keywords are what people most often type when looking for particular things on search engines. They are how people are directed to your website and thus your brand. Having the right keywords in healthy amounts within your content (no keyword stuffing) can boost your SEO rankings. Hopefully boosting them to the point your website gets placed by the algorithms on that all important first page of search results. Maybe even in the top three ranks which get the most clicks.
It should be noted that keywords should not be the sole focus of your marketing strategy. Successful marketing is composed of multiple components working together to bring the best possible returns without you overspending in time, resources, and money. That said having good keywords cannot be overlooked.
In this article we will talk about how to do good keyword research and how to best use the keywords you find.
Consider this- over 2.3 billion searches are carried out by Google every minute. What this means for you is that in order to get anywhere with using keywords to enrich your content you need to make sure that your keywords are relevant to your content and your brand. Otherwise it would be like trying to fish without knowing what kind of bait or tackle you need. Unless the search engines recognize your content as relevant- no matter how well-written- it is unlikely your website will get placed and thus not get any traffic.
To rectify this is where keyword research comes in. The primary purpose of keyword research is discovering specifically what keywords people are using to search for products and brands like yours. That way you can design and customize your content to include and respond to the keywords people are already using.
- Start by creating a keyword list. Make a spreadsheet using Google Sheets or whichever program you prefer to use. This way you have a quick reference resource for whenever you have new content to publish such as web pages or blog posts. Keep this sheet constantly updated to track trends of current keywords as well as to add to new ones. Or even to remove ones that have become outdated.
- Your spreadsheet should at the least have these three columns: keyword, search volume, and competition. The first is obvious. The second column refers to the number of searches made using that keyword. The third refers to the degree with which you will have to compete with other websites over that keyword.
- After you have created your spreadsheet you can start your proper research by brainstorming with Google. You will probably have noticed Google attempting to autocomplete the rest of your search query once you start typing. Use that and the search options autocomplete provides in the drop down menu as a jumping off point. The algorithm that supplies those words is affected by the popularity of those same keywords.
- Another place to find keywords are websites like Wikipedia. If you find an article about your keyword you may also find subtopics listed in that article. These subtopics can potentially provide keywords you can also experiment with.
- If you already have or once you have your website set up, you can also Google Search Console to look up your business. Make sure you have a Google account, then enter your domain name and click on Google Search Results listed under Performance. There you can see the queries that get the most clicks and impressions. With this information you can start compiling a list of keywords useful to you and your brand.
- Use Google Keyword Planner or other similar tools to then obtain information on your keywords such as searches and competition. Information you can keep track of on your spreadsheet.
- With all the data accumulated and organized thanks to these tools you can make informed decisions regarding what keywords to use and the content to build around them.
Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
You will likely quickly discover that some larger and older companies have a solid grip on the simplest keywords relevant to your brand. If your business handles ‘Trips to Ireland’ chances are there are quite a few other brands heavily entrenched in their search result rankings. Brands that you and yours are unlikely to be unseating any time soon. Trying would just be a waste of resources and money. Instead you focus on a long-tail keyword like ‘Travel Tips for Ireland in the Spring.’
A ‘long-tail keyword’ is a keyword phrase composed of three or more words. Building content around long-tail keywords is helpful in getting initial traffic to your brand’s website. After accumulating a measure of authority in search results relevant to your brand then you can use more short-tail keywords.
Further onto long-tail keywords we should also talk about targeting local keywords. Due to the pandemic more people have been looking to take trips closer to home. Within their own state, country, or a neighboring one. To this end you should consider incorporating keywords relevant to customers local to your region or nearby ones. Much of what we will discuss in this article can be enhanced by including the local element to your research, strategy, and implementation.
Despite being too often overlooked keyword intent is an important component to effectively using keywords. Keyword intent specifically refers to the intentions a user has when using a search engine. These intentions can fall into one of three categories:
- Informational- searches made with the intent to find an answer for a question or to find knowledge about something.
- Navigational- searches made with the intent to find a particular website.
- Transactional- searches made with the intent to purchase something, like a dvd or a hotel booking.
Recognize these categories and these intentions so as to better design your content to respond to them. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. Doing so will result in Google punishing your website by sending it far down the search result rankings where no one will see it.
There are also ‘sub-intentions’ of a sort that fall under the Transactional category. These specific intents mean a search engine user is preparing to make a purchase.
- Deal Coupon
- Shipping (Free or otherwise)
Make sure to target these keywords when selling your product.
Make sure to keep track of your Domain Authority- DA. As a metric DA was created by MOZ to measure and predict a website’s likelihood of ranking for specific keywords. DA is measured from 0 to 100. The higher the DA means the higher the chances of ranking.
What makes a good DA for your websites is relative. Use tools like the free MOZ DA tool to get your website’s DA as well as the DAs of your competition to make comparisons. Your DA is affected by things like the quality of your content and getting your content linked to from other websites not your own (which is usually helped by having good content).
Once you have your keywords you will need to think about how you use them. This refers to having them as part of content on your websites.
- Create quality content that uses your keywords but is also engaging, interesting, and attention-grabbing. The more and longer you can keep readers on your website with good content the more trust you cultivate. The more trust the higher your rankings.
- As we mentioned earlier, use long-tail keywords to get people onto your site while using shorter keywords to help them navigate and stay on your website.
- Maintain onsite optimization. Or in other words maintain links throughout your website to pages of yours that are relevant to the keywords that attracted people in the first place. This will also have the side-benefit of boosting traffic and thus boosting your SEO ranking.
- Have catchy titles and meta descriptions that will draw peoples’ attention and translate into higher CTR- Click Through Rates.
Make sure to incorporate keywords into the design of your webpages, not just the articles.
- URL Slug– the portion of your website’s URL that follows after the primary domain.
- Page Title– the HTML component identifying the title of your page. This appears in both the search results and the browser window. It is also called the title tag.
- Meta-Description– you may have seen meta-descriptions but never knew what they were called. These are 160 character snippets you see displayed in search results beneath the title links. Meta-descriptions give a very brief summarization of what your page is about.
- Image Alt-Text– a short but effective description of an image used on your webpage that is read-aloud for the hearing-impaired or appears as text if the image does not load.
- Image Filename– you can incorporate keywords into the filename of an image to make that image searchable itself.
- Headings– the main title at the start of a webpage.
- Sub-Headings– are the headings for subsections on a webpage and are prime places to use synonyms of your keywords.
- Item Name– the actual name of a product or service you provide.
- Item Description– the detailed description of the products, services, or accommodations you provide.
Another great place to use keywords is social media. Social media traffic to your website also contributes to your ranking in Google’s eyes.
Keywords are simple on the surface but contain great depths for you to explore, experiment, and understand to better serve your tourism brand.