With over one billion websites on the Internet and millions of blog posts churned out each day, the online world is a crowded place. All of this collective information is floating out there, ready to be tapped into by potential visitors who are hungry to find out more about how to do something, where to buy something, and more. But how does anyone find what they’re looking for? The answer is keywords. If you want to find any success in today’s competitive digital world, you need to find effective keywords for your particular niche to drive traffic to your site. Without the right keywords, no one will find you; your site will be a ghost town. If you find effective keywords, your site will be more visible to search engines and the people searching for the products or services you’re pedaling. Your keywords aren’t meant to get just any old visitor to stumble upon your site; you need to get the right visitors, people who actually have an interest in your products or services.
Characteristics of a Good Keyword
First off, it’s important to understand what makes a good keyword, and it’s not as simple as picking the most popular search term in your industry. Unless you’re Zappos or Toys “R” Us®, using keywords like “shoes” or “toys” isn’t going to springboard you to the top of search results. Of course, you want your keywords to be relevant to your industry, but you need to find something more nuanced, with lower competition. This is where the need for long-tail keywords comes in. Long-tail keywords are usually three- to five-word phrases but can be even longer. They are more specific than a single, broad keyword. You may not get as much traffic with a long-tail keyword, but the traffic you’ll get will be of higher quality. Sweeping terms may attract more visitors, but targeted keywords have higher conversion rates. According to Moz, 70% of searches performed are long-tail searches. More importantly, these types of searches perform better. For example, instead of using the broad keyword “rug,” you’re better off using a more detailed, long-tail keyword phrase, such as “colorful Kilim rug from Turkey.” Someone who types in a search like this knows what they’re looking for and may be closer to making a purchase.
How to Come Up with Effective Keywords
Before you can come up with your keywords, you’ll need to figure out your target audience. What’s the focus of your website? Are you trying to sell affordable, stylish basketball shoes to teenage girls, or are you hoping to sell high-end dress shoes to wealthy women? Once you know your target audience, it’s time to bust out your creativity. Start by making a list of any words or phrases your potential customers may type into search engines to look for the kinds of products you’re selling. Remember to think like a customer. You should include brand and product names because often people are looking for something particular. Your keyword list doesn’t need to cater to all of your customers. You can also select specific keywords to target specific customers. Now that you’re armed with your keyword list, you can start researching. This will help you get a feel for how your keywords stack up against the competition. You want to understand which websites already rank for your keyword. Here are some useful tools to get you started:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool: This is a great starting point for generating keyword ideas. You can also use the average cost per click in Adwords to figure out the commercial intent of a certain keyword.
- Google Trends: This will let you know what’s hot right now. Keywords aren’t something you find once, and then you’re done. You need to continually reevaluate the efficiency of the keywords you’re using.
- Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence: Like Google’s, this research tool will help you make sense of data to figure out the relevance, volume, and cost history of different keywords.
- Blog Social Analyzer Tool: This tool will show you how your blog posts or your competitors’ are faring. It can help give you an idea of which keywords are working the best for you. By looking at your most popular posts, you’ll know what your audience likely wants to see more of.
Where to Use Your Keywords
So you’ve figured out your keywords. Now you need to figure out where you should use them. Keywords are for the benefit of both search engines and the people doing the searching. There are several opportunities where you want to be sure to use your keywords. You always want to include your keyword in the title tag. The title tag contains those words you see at the top of the browser window in that little blue tab. Search engines use this in their search results. It’s the first little blip people see about your site, so make it count. Another place to use your keywords is in your headings. Search engines pay attention to these, since they consider them a type of categorization. Just as importantly, your site visitors also notice them. Online readers do a lot of scanning, so they’ll often read the headings, but not necessarily the whole article. Your content—whether it’s a blog post or web copy—is also an essential place to use your keywords. In the past, some people used to stuff their content with keywords for the sole purpose of getting someone to visit their page. Today, this practice will get you nowhere. Search engines will see right through it, and, of course, anyone who does land on your site will no doubt make a hasty exit. You still want to use your keywords, but do so sparingly. They should read naturally in your content. The idea is to make your visitor’s experience pleasant. Keywords should serve their needs. You don’t want to trick people into visiting your site, but you do want to make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.
Effective Keywords Will See You Climbing in the Search Results
Finding effective keywords isn’t as mysterious as it’s made out to be. An effective keyword needs to be relevant to your specific requirements, needs to pull in decent traffic, and should have low competition. Find the right keyword that checks these boxes, and you’ll be noticing an increase in traffic to your site in no time.