Let’s talk about keywords! Last week we discussed the importance of your website’s structure regarding SEO ranking. In this article, you will learn why having a keyword strategy is essential for any website. You will also learn how to set things up, and we will give you a list of some valuable tools that will make the whole thing much more straightforward. Let’s go!
Why Do Keywords Matter?
Keywords are search terms people use when trying to find information on the Internet. Many people are looking for a product or service search on Google or Bing to do some research. Whether you’re a construction company in Chazy or a web designer in Plattsburgh, you have competitors who appear next to you on search engines.
You may want to rank in the #1 position ahead of everyone else for “web designers near me,” but how do you get there? First, you need to ask yourself, “Do I specifically say I’m a web designer?” “Do I discuss my current and past web design clients?” One step to getting there is using the keywords that potential searchers may use to find you. You need to know a few things, but first, you need to understand how search engines work.
A Very Smart Bot
Search engines like Google are primarily automatic. Because there are billions of web pages out there, it would be impossible to rank them manually, and for every search term a.k.a. Keyword.
The core of every search engine is its algorithm, as it does all the ranking. The algorithm compares every new page/post with all other existing pages and posts on the Internet. The result is obvious; it is the collection of search results you see when you press “enter” after Googling something.
Keywords Are Like Guideposts
Keywords are essential because they tell the algorithm what you’re writing about so they can help people find your article. The algorithm will go through the article, trying to understand its point.
For example, articles like this one that contain the word “keywords” often include “search engines” but also “search engine optimization” and similar words. That will signal to the algorithm that the article is about digital marketing and that it should show results related to this topic.
Forgetting About Keywords Might Cause Problems
Because the algorithm is not a human, failing to include some relevant keywords on your site, page, or blog post can cause problems.
While a human would pick up what the article is about without any issues. A bot will have difficulty understanding what your page is about if you don’t add any industry, brand, or service information listed. For example, a car mechanic that never mentions engines, exhausts, brakes, or similar car parts anywhere on the website will probably hide its purpose from Google.
Modern search engines are smarter than ever, and even if you don’t have a keyword strategy, they will probably do quite a good job. However, because taking care of the keywords and SEO isn’t too tricky (nor expensive if you want to hire pros), neglecting it is a risk not worth taking.
Don’t Go Too Fancy
While having a site that seems exotic and uses alternative words and synonyms might seem like a good idea, think twice about it. Your goal is to get found on Google, and you should adapt to your average customer’s tone. Aim for keywords they would use when searching for services like yours.
How To Choose Keywords The Right Way
Identify Your Niche
You need to take a step back and look at your brand when thinking about keyword ranking. What is your main advantage?
If you are a mechanic, “car repair” is too broad. Try to rank for that, and you are doomed. There are just too many significant players with an already established web presence.
Maybe you specialize in repairing old-timers? Or perhaps you are the guy to come to when people have a muscle car problem? Are you the best one in your area for caring for dents and restoring the body to its former glory?
Ranking for search terms like “old-timer car mechanic” is much easier and more effective than just “car repair.” It will give you a competitive advantage, and you won’t lose anything. Yes, you will still rank for “car repair” if you try to rank for “muscle car mechanic,” but it won’t be the other way around.
Go For Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer, more natural phrases people use when searching for something. These become especially important nowadays when more and more people use Siri and Alexa, and voice search in general.
In our car mechanic example, a long-tail keyword would be “best Mercedes transmission mechanic in Portland” or “where to fix a muscle car engine in Philly.” (always try to be location-specific!)
Trying to rank for long-tail keywords is one of the smartest things you can do. Not only are these more natural, but because they involve more words and are more specific, there is less competition. Plus, you can rank for your “niche.” For example, focusing on niches like Mercedes transmission mechanics will mean you will get contacted for things you specialize in, making the sale more likely to happen. Of course, long-tail keywords will draw less traffic, but conversions are all that matters.
Tools You Can Use For Keyword Planning
Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a staple regarding search engine optimization on WordPress sites. If you are on WP, you must install Yoast; it is that essential.
While the free version of this plugin doesn’t do anything radical, it covers all the basics, ensuring you start your SEO journey right. It will show you what to improve on every page on the site and guide you through the Google Console setup process, which will help your rankings.
Install Yoast, and follow its instructions on every page. It will help you understand SEO much better.
Keyword Rank Checker by Small SEO Tools is a great app that lets you do bulk checks. You can enter up to ten phrases and see where you rank. Unfortunately, this only works for global results, not location-specific, but it is still a valuable tool to find out where you are among others.
This tool is free to use, and all it takes is for you to enter your URL and up to ten keywords you are trying to rank for and to select a search engine. There’s also one cool option, as Keyword Rank Checker lets you compare mobile and computer results. If you don’t find your site in mobile results, that might indicate it’s unoptimized.
SEMrush is a premium tool used by SEO professionals worldwide, and it is one of the most famous and best apps out there. It’s costly, and we don’t advise you to buy it if you have only one site and aren’t involved in SEO.
However, go ahead and try their gap analyzer. You can do it for free; it will tell you all the keywords your competitors rank for, and you do not. While not everyone is relevant, you should incorporate the most important ones, as it will help Google index your site correctly.
BrightLocal is a tool you have to try, even if you don’t plan to purchase it later. This tool has one of the most generous trial offers, as it lets you fully use it for 15 days, completely free. And for small businesses, this is more than enough to establish your SEO presence. BrightLocal is especially interesting as it shows you how to take care of local citations, which are a very important but often neglected ranking factor. Not only that they will help local people find your business, but they will also tremendously help Google to rank it. Local citations will even give you an advantage over your direct local competitors.
Free Keyword Research Tools
Answer the Public and Also Asked, both websites are fantastic resources when performing long-tail keyword research. You can only perform three searches a day on Ask The Public for free. Also, Asked, on the other hand, allows you to conduct unlimited searches for free. I like to enter short-tail keywords such as “Search Engine Optimization” into Answer the Public.
What is returned is the most common query associated with that term. It connects every who, what, when, where, and why to the term and gives you the results. This is an excellent tool to help you brainstorm for future pages or articles. Your goal is to take each of these questions and answer them to the best of your ability. Speak to the reader using that search term, define what the issue is, and how you can help guide them to success.
As you can see, taking care of keywords is not super complicated. All it takes for you is to narrow down on the most important ones, find appropriate long-tail keywords, and aim for local search rankings. That’s it; if you do that, you will be so far ahead of most of your competitors. Trust us on this; most people won’t bother to take care of keywords, even if it isn’t much work.
But, if you feel like all this is too time-consuming, tedious, or technical, don’t hesitate to contact us and get everything done by professionals.