The Internet has become an inseparable part of our everyday life. There are millions and millions of searches performed daily, making Search Engines an unprecedented driver of business and revenue around the world. However, hundreds of thousands of websites competing for the same “user” can make Search Engine Optimsation (SEO) seem like quite a daunting endeavour. But fear not, if you provide information, products or services that are in demand, there is a place for you within Google’s search results even if you have just started working on your website positioning.
In this article, we will aim to cover a few simple steps you can take to optimise your website for Google and increase search engine rankings through basic yet comprehensive keyword research.
Don’t know where to start?
How to get your website on Google?
This will be the shortest answer ever – Index it! Make sure that your website is accessible to Search Engines and you are there. But where exactly? – that’s what really matters.
How to improve Google search rankings and increase conversions?
Higher search engine rankings – that’s what brings organic traffic and grows your business or website awareness. Everyone knows that. But what many non-SEOs don’t know is that there are different types of keywords that have different ranking potential at different stages of your Google journey. Therefore, in order to improve your website positioning, you should aim to optimise your website in the right way so that it can rank for the most relevant keywords.
Identify your target audience
Whilst for some industries this would be pretty straightforward, for others this task can be trickier than it seems.
Find your target persona
Imagine the person who will be interested in your product or service. This person should be the center of your messaging, not only the benefits you can bring to the table. Who you address is one of the pivotal points for your optimisation and future conversions. To illustrate, let’s give an example of seemingly correct messaging that targets a wrong persona.
Let’s say your product is “enterprise website security software”. This software can help protect the website from cyber attacks and secure sensitive information of the organisation that uses it, therefore protect the business. All good so far, right? So the website messaging and keywords are all focused around protecting the business and helping it grow and prosper.
Who would be the target persona for this type of messaging? Most likely someone who truly cares for that business to grow and prosper, perhaps an owner, or a CEO?
But who is the person who is actually dealing with the website security? Most likely a developer, or the Head of Development (unless there is a dedicated person). Do they care about the prosperity of the business? Sure, in a way, but it is not their primary concern. The actual target audience for this type of business will be lower down the seniority ladder, yet way more technically advanced, meaning that they will be using a different jargon and looking for different benefits. Then they will be taking it up to the CEO in order to get budget approval and might mention the overall business benefits along with the technical advantages. But this will be a secondary, not the primary benefit.
Think like your target persona
Based on the example above, you will need to make sure that your targeting and overall language aligns with your target audience in terms of vocabulary and complexity, not your own. Remember, you know all the ins and outs of your industry, your customers might not, and, in some cases, don’t even need to. The same applies to certain industries with very complex, technical, or academic audiences. In this case, some level of “overcomplicating” can add more trust to your voice.
To better understand how your target audience thinks and how they search, depending on your industry, consider the following:
The combination of the above will help you better understand what to target, how to approach it, and which content type to use. You might discover that your desired term returns informational articles, which can be an indication that you should reconsider your home page targeting, for instance.
Choose SEO keywords wisely
Not everyone has access to the advanced SEO tools professionals use, but even without them there are a number of steps you can take to perform your own keyword research.
First of all, make sure that you have all the basic tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics installed and configured properly. For more details on essential website analytics tools visit our full guide.
Step 1 – Establish Your Current SEO Performance
You should track and know what your website is ranking for at the moment. Unless you have a brand new website, you are likely to have some rankings (even if it is position 98). Google Search Console reports on the keywords you rank for, as well as impressions and clicks each page and the website as a whole gets. If you see that none of the keywords are relevant, it is the first sign that you may need to fully review your site content.
Step 2 – Have a deeper look at your Google Search Console
Now that you found a few terms that are indeed relevant, list those keywords per each target page and see if and how they are mentioned within the content. You can strengthen the targeting by mentioning them a few times (don’t overdo it) and adding them to a few SEO elements listed below in priority order:
If you have any doubts on how to incorporate them, use Google. Search for them in the “Incognito” window to see how other websites utilise them.
Step 3 – Expand
Again, leaving professional tools aside, use Google’s SERPs as your research tool and check out all features as we mentioned above. Do multiple searches in a chain, meaning search over and over again for each new term you found within the features and build up lists with new phrases. This way you can get quite an extensive list (or even a few) that will cover different related areas from your original keyword.
Once the keywords are accumulated, you will then need to sort them by topic and user intent. You will notice that some of them might require new pages, whilst others will be more suitable for blog posts or resource pages.
Step 4 – Utilise your website
If you get some traffic, don’t underestimate how many insights your own website can give you. If you have a site search, make sure to properly connect it to Google Analytics. Your site search can identify missing areas that users are looking for and give you additional target ideas.
Step 5 – Research your competitors and industry leaders
Analyse, but don’t copy (including very close replication). Your content, voice, and approach should be unique, but the topics and content remain universal as they are nurtured by users, not just businesses. Stay true to yourself, but don’t forget about content and targeting staples utilised within your industry. Providing a unique view and original content is highly important. Going “where no man has gone before” is adventurous, and works best for those who already have a strong target audience, or for more “viral” channels than SEO.
If you have a brand-new idea or a topic to cover, go for it. Just mix it with good old ever-green content.
Never compromise on quality
AI-powered Google algorithms are getting smarter and smarter, or at least so they say. This means that quantity over quality is never a good approach. Most of the time, low quality content, thin pages, and spammy backlinks will not get you anywhere. Yet even if they do, or did in the past, you will be at constant risk of losing everything in case a new Google algorithm update rolls out.
More advanced steps will involve using additional keyword research tools such as SEMRush, AHREFS, Mangools, or many others available on the market. However, in many cases it will be way more valuable to seek professional services or hiring an in house SEO rather than doing it yourself. In order to increase search engine rankings, you will need a lot of time and effort going into never-ending research, and keyword optimisation is only the tip of the SEO iceberg.