You probably already know that keywords are important for your SEO strategy, and that effective targeting helps to improve your site’s organic performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
What you might not realise is that your choice of keywords is equally – if not more – important than how you use them.
In this guide, we’ll share tips on how to avoid being led on a wild goose chase with your keyword choices, and how to find the phrases you should be focusing on instead.
1. How to find SEO keywords
Before we begin to analyse whether your keyword choice is a good option to target, it’s wise to check we’re not missing any obvious choices.
One of the first places you should start is to find all the variations that describe what you do.
Let’s use Marketing Square as an example (that’s us and we’re a team of marketing experts).
As well as targeting the keyword ‘marketing experts’, we should also focus on variations, such as “content marketing expert”, “digital marketing consultant” or “small business marketing agency”.
To help you can find relevant variations for your own business:
- Use Google Suggest to see what other people are searching for, related to your industry
- Enter your basic keyword into Ubersuggest and browse their suggestions
- Use a tool like Monitor Backlinks or SEMrush to find what keywords your competitors are ranking for
2. Are my keywords “good”?
Once you’ve collated a list of potential keywords, it’s time to move onto the fun (but often confusing) part: analysing whether to use them in your targeting strategy.
Start by opening a free online tool like Google Keyword Planner. (You’ll need an AdWords account for this, but you can create one without actually running a campaign.)
Once you’re on the Keyword Planner, add the keywords we found from step 1 to the ‘Get metrics and forecasts for your keywords’ section:
Then, hit the “Historical Metrics” tab and you’ll be greeted with all the information we’ll need to analyse a keyword:
For each keyword, there are two main things to look at:
- Average monthly searches (AKA search volume) – This shows how many people are searching for that term each month. A higher number is often harder to rank for, since everyone wants to target the keyword with a high volume of people searching for it.
- Competition – This indicates how likely you are to rank for this keyword, based on how it’s being used by other people. Keywords with a High score may take longer to rank for, and require more advanced targeting.
You can decide whether your keywords are “good” or not by using this criteria:
- Homepage: Should be keywords with the highest search volumes, but uber-relevant to your product or service offering. These are often labelled as High competition. For example: “marketing consultant”.
- Category pages: Should be slightly more in-depth than your homepage keyword, with relatively high search volume. These usually have Medium competition. For example: “email marketing consultant”.
- Blog posts: Should be long-tail keywords with lower search volumes, only searched-for by your ideal customer. These tend to have the lowest competition (or none at all). For example: “how to find a marketing consultant”.
3. Building an effective strategy
Although keywords are fundamental for SEO, don’t give them the power to rule your website.
Keywords – and SEO, in general – should complement your marketing strategy. You’d struggle to rank highly without other marketing strategies like:
Luckily for you, we can help out. We create bespoke digital marketing strategies for businesses of any size, and help to build an effective all-round plan that’ll boost your SEO presence, in turn.