When you’re ready to start optimizing your content, you have a lot of boxes to check. Have you created something worthy of readers’ attention? Is it written in a way that’s easy to read and catches users’ eyes? Have you included the keywords search engines will be looking for when they’re trying to figure out if your site’s pages are worthy of ranking high on the search engine results pages (SERPs)?
Wait! Let’s back up a second. Have you thought about your keyword strategy?
Keywords play an integral role in digital marketing, but they can also be very annoying to insert into content seamlessly.
You don’t want your keywords to stick out. Instead, they should be providing relevant information to the reader. If you don’t do proper keyword research, you’ll just be throwing random words into Google and hoping they succeed. Your content strategy should be based more on facts than hope, so we’ve shared four tips you can use to help you home in on a great keyword research plan.
1. Use Keywords that Have High Traffic Potential
High-traffic keywords are search terms that have large search volumes. In other words, many people are querying these terms on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. In this step, you want to seek out high-volume keywords that don’t have a lot of competition. This strategy will help you rank in front of searchers who are specifically looking for the products and services you offer – without putting your competitors in front of their eyes, too.
Of course, you won’t know which keywords are going to yield the best results unless you use a tool or two to help you analyze your audience’s behaviors. Today’s digital marketing tools can help you identify key phrases that aren’t so popular that they’re overly crowded with competitors, yet they’re still common enough to send you website traffic. You want to use keywords that have been searched before and will undoubtedly be searched again.
Consider using a platform such as Semrush to quickly identify long-tail keywords and real-life questions people are asking online. Once you understand what searchers are actually looking for, it’s easier to create content that satisfies their needs (and gets you noticed by the search engines)!
2. Make Sure Your Content Aligns with Search Intent
Traffic is useless if people bounce off your pages as soon as they arrive. More often than not, this happens when the content that exists on pages doesn’t deliver the answers people were actually searching. If you stuff your page with keywords but don’t offer real value, you can expect a high bounce rate. High bounce rates will hurt your rankings within the search engines, so you must deliver high-quality content that aligns with the user’s search intent. When you offer content that’s aligned with search intent, you’re simply giving readers what they’re looking for.
Think about it from your own perspective. When you’re searching for something on Google, do you immediately leave a website if it doesn’t offer the information you thought you were getting? Probably. Guess what? Your audience will, too. You don’t want to be the brand that’s known for having deceptive content.
It’s important to analyze your data so you can better understand what people are looking for, which often includes one or a few of the following:
- An answer to a question
- Specific items, products, or services
- Particular sets of details
- Dates, numbers, or statistics
- An image or video
- An address, phone number, or location
Once you understand your searchers’ intents, you can create content that facilitates their desire to find the correct information. When you do this well, the search engines will pay attention to your efforts and likely reward you with higher rankings.
3. Check the Domain Authority
You’ll want to check the domain authority of the pages listed in the SERP for each keyword and ensure that your site is in the same region (similar rating). If you target keywords where the SERP is dominated by sites with much higher domain authority than your URL, you’ll ruin your chances of ranking.
Domain authority refers to the strength of any given domain. In other words, industry leaders in every segment have taken to the top as trustworthy websites by the search engines and the users.
In exchange for offering quality information to the user, they are rewarded with high domain authority. You probably don’t want to try to compete with those brands if you’re a small or medium-sized business. Those companies have spent years (and lots of money) to get where they are in the SERPs. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up. It simply means you need to be more creative and intentional about the keywords you choose to use in your content.
If you optimize your content for keywords that allow you to compete against websites with similar domain authority, then you stand a good chance of standing out from the crowd. Ensure your content answers questions and delivers high-quality information that people are looking for.
Theoretically, anyone can rank for any keyword, so if you’re dead-set on a particular topic, have at it. Be mindful, however, that you might be competing against companies that had topped out on those phrases long before you got into the game. Your best bet is to try to rank for potential keywords based on a keyword difficulty score. Each tool you might use is different, but in general, any SEO platform with a keyword difficulty score will help you understand how likely you are to rank when you choose that word or phrase. Keywords with high search volume and a low difficulty score should be the ones you include in your content.
4. Choose Keywords with “Business Potential”
If your rankings improve over time, your chosen keywords can increase revenue generated through site visits and conversions. This requires your keywords to have business potential, but what does that mean exactly?
Business potential basically characterizes how lucrative ranking a keyword will be for your business. If the search intent is just asking a question, it should be pretty easy to provide an answer. However, if the search intent asks for a blog post or other informational content, the text or videos you provide can be a little trickier. That’s because you have to think about whether or not you can pitch your product or service within the confines of that content.
Your own business’s offerings should help steer the direction of the keywords you choose. You want to utilize phrases that mean the most for your primary products and services so searchers can easily find you when they type those words into the search bars. If you can’t pitch your products and services into blog posts about specific topics, they probably don’t belong in your feeds.
Remember, when you’re trying to choose keywords with high business potential, it doesn’t mean you have to make your content sound like a sales pitch. It’s quite the opposite. You can easily drop links and information about your own company into your content. This, in turn, helps your audience solve its problems while simultaneously promoting your business without forcing readers to learn about your brand in a traditional advertising sense.
A Final Word
If you’re unsure how to navigate the digital space when it comes to keyword research, know that you’re not alone. Although keyword research is vital when it comes to ranking high, many businesses ignore the importance of this element because researching the right words and phrases can be unfamiliar and daunting. Rest assured, some tools and companies can help you better understand your consumers’ behaviors to find the keywords that resonate most with your audience.
Consider reaching out to local SEO experts who understand keyword research and have the skills, tools, and know-how to help you bring your digital marketing efforts into the current economy.