What is a Keyword?
According to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts over at Yoast, “A keyword, or a focus keyword as some call it, is a word that describes the content on your page or post best. It’s the search term that you want to rank for with a certain page.” Google determines search results partially on how a page uses keywords; in fact, over 150 SEO experts that were part of a survey conducted by MOZ, ranked keyword usage third in importance for Google’s search algorithm. So, keywords are kinda a big deal when it comes to SEO.
Now that we have established the importance of keywords, how do we go about using them to our advantage?
Do Keyword Research
The idea behind keyword research is to place yourself in the shoes of your target audience, thinking the way that they would and trying to answer the questions they are asking. It is incredible how many people use the same phrases to conduct their research, and it’s even more astonishing how few people may use a different yet similar phrase.
Think of both head terms and long tail keywords. Once you’ve come up with a list, decide which ones are most important. But how do you determine the value of keywords? Outside of keyword relevance, there are two major factors I look at to come up with solid keywords:
- High search volume
- Keyword difficulty
Determine High Search Volume
First, I like to focus on keywords that have a high search volume. If no one is using a specific keyword in their search queries, then it’s not optimal to focus on it within the content.
There are a few ways to find the search volume for keywords, but my favorite is SEM Rush. Using their Keyword Difficulty tool, you can determine which phrases have a higher volume of traffic. The phrases with the higher traffic are the ones that are probably worth keeping on your list.
If you are doing this research on a budget, use the search suggestions or related searches in Google. This is a great way to reveal some of the most popular search terms and keywords.
Determine Keyword Difficulty
Although traffic volume is important, you should also look at keyword difficulty. The difficulty of a keyword refers to how hard it will be to compete for high SERP ranking against others that are using that same keyword.
- If you are just starting on a keyword focus for SEO, we recommend keywords that have a decent volume but a low difficulty. Additionally, if you are in the beginning stages of ramping up your SEO, check out our article on best practices for SEO strategy.
- If your site SEO is fairly established and you are looking at trying to overrun some of your competition, it could be beneficial to chase keywords that have a higher difficulty rating.
How to Use Keywords While Creating Content
Now that you have decided on the most relevant and important keywords you want to rank for, it is time to start using them. Do not write by just filling your content with keywords—that’s called keyword stuffing and search engines are smart enough to see right through it. Search engines look for a number of different factors beyond the presence of a few keywords. In order to see results, it’s necessary to ensure the content surrounding your keywords is relevant.
Don’t explicitly focus on keywords to include in your content. Instead, create something that will resonate with your target audience. Once most of it has been written, apply relevant keywords from your list.
It’s important to keep in mind that the keywords you use in your content should act as a means to drive quality traffic to your site. This accuracy helps build the relevancy of your site to your target market. The more relevant, quality content you have, the more likely Google will decide to send traffic your way.
We’re Here to Help
If you need help assessing your website’s performance through an SEO audit and keyword analysis, feel free to drop us a line or give us a call. Our team of SEO experts would love to help you achieve higher quality lead generation through organic traffic!