Back last year when I had to quit my job as an Apple engineer, the first thing I had to learn in my journey back to the writing field is SEO. Whilst I was more of a traditional news media writer than a blogger, I understood that I had to keyword optimise my articles – or risk being invisible on the internet. Learning the keywords that you need to use is hard; knowing your first ones is a challenge.
Keyword research is important for any business. The success of a campaign hinges on a few elements – and knowing the right words to use for those is critical in your success. The question still remains: which keyword sets are the right one?
Setting SEO Goals
When it comes to search engine optimization, the number one thing to remember is knowing that your aims are. There are a number of considerations that you would want to do to pick the right ones out of thousands.
Some factors include:
- Your audience. Are you writing an article that is designed for general consumption or for a specific niche target? Laser targeted keywording is useful for content that only needs to aim for a specific demographic.
- Your traffic type. Are you trying to educate? Are you trying to raise awareness? Are you trying to sell? Are you trying to convert?
- Your time frame. There are keywords that are hard to get but you can rank quickly if you get them; there’s also ones that virtually have fewer to no competition but have lesser searches. If you want quick results, go for something in the middle – few to median competitors with a great search value. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack but it works.
Mixing Primary and Secondary Long-tail Keywords
Primary keywords are typically hard to rank for. Since there’s a lot of sites competing for these phrases that consist of 1 to 3 words, ranking for them can pop an artery. Long-tail secondary keywords, however, consist of 4 or more words strung together. To use long-tails more effectively, you would want something that plays on latent semantic indexing or LSI.
LSI is using categorically similar words that are supposedly related to each other but does not necessarily mean they’re synonyms. I discussed LSI terminology and how to beat it on a previous discussion I did. The short of it is that the keyword “restaurant” and “fried chicken” are LSI terms, not because they mean the same thing, but because they relate.
Combine primary and secondary long-tails together. Use primary keywording as your long-term ranking goal, whilst the long-tail keyword sets are your method to rank search engines fast in a short amount of time.
Research, Research, Research
Once you have goals in mind, the next thing that you do is keyword research. I also specified good SEO basics when the year started, so you can check that out for more details. There’s a few things you need to remember.
- Trust your instincts. If you’re looking for ways to generate keywords, find wordings that describe you and your product. Think of words you feel people would use to look for your niche. Start with broad strokes, using single primary keywords and common phrases associated with your niche. Ask friends and family from different walks of life on how they will try to find your product if it was on the internet.
- Use keyword generators. You would want to have tools that can assist you on finding additional keywords. Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMRush and Google Adwords are your friend. Other tools like Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator and Seopressor’s Blog Title Generator are useful.
- Create an excel sheet. Create a master list of everything you have thought of and divide them by the number of words you have. If you are using tools, copy and paste search data like searches monthly, competition strength and word value.
Cutting Down Your Keyword Master List
Now that you have the words, trim them down. It’s expected that you have at least 200 to 300 keywords with you. Pull out words according to importance. Some reminders you may want include:
- Remove the useless and valueless. Remove any of the search terms that have zero search volume and no value. These are phrases that people are unlikely to look for. Whilst you may not have competition with them, nobody looks for them as well. Don’t waste your time.
- Shelf the top competition. Any keyword with a value of 90 to 100 on the competition scale should be shelved for now. You can’t compete with those keyword terms unless you have a magnificent DA and PA. You can use these eventually, but not now.
- Work for relevance. Are the phrases relevant to your business? Do they describe you and your products accurately? Are they relevant to your goals?
Once you’ve chosen the keywords with the right balance of competition and search volume, you can start working on your content. Make sure to follow all do’s and don’t’s for your content. Follow them to a T and create a content calendar to make sure you use the right SEO terms on schedule.