When it comes to creating content, one of the biggest things that trip people up is proper keyword research. It’s not just important that your website uses keywords, but that you use the right keywords in the right way.
So, what do the right keywords look like?
Everyone knows that keywords are essential
Google firmly believes that not all content is created equal. You may have the best content: relevant, well-written, original and still not get onto the first search results page. And this is where you have to be if you’re going to get any traffic: 75% of users never scroll past the first page.
(We talk about Google specifically because over 92% of all internet searches are done via this search engine.)
Competition to rank on the first page is stiff. If you haven’t done robust keyword research, chances are you’re optimising for the same keywords as your competition. And that’s bad because you’re all vying for the same few spots.
Keyword research improves your chances
One of the purposes of keyword research is to reveal keywords and combinations of keywords that your competitors may not be using.
Also, your potential customers may not use the words you think they should use when searching for your offering, so it is wise to find keywords that match the user’s intent. Among other things, Google uses your keywords to measure the relevance of your content with respect to the user’s intent.
The true cost of keywords
Keywords have one job: to connect users with content. In other words, they are what lead visitors to your website. But, if you don’t use the right keywords, they won’t do this and you are wasting your money.
There are two main ways in which your website can show up at the top of a Google search for a particular keyword.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising: This is where you pay Google to show your ad when someone searches for a given keyword. Clearly if your keywords mean something different to the user than they do to you, you’ll lose money with every click. As soon as the user sees that they’re in the wrong place, they’ll leave – and you will have paid for the privilege.
- Organic Advertising, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Don’t be fooled: even if you aren’t paying for ads, you’re unlikely to show up in the search results for free. The costs lie in creating relevant content that contains the right keywords. Even the best content will be invisible to Google without the right keywords and other SEO practices in place.
5 Common Keyword Research Mistakes
When you optimise your website or blog post for keywords, going with your gut isn’t going to cut it. Let’s take a quick look at what goes into finding high-value keywords or, more specifically, what you might be doing wrong.
1) Not Doing Any (or Doing Inadequate) Keyword Research: This is what you’ll get:
2) Blindly Focusing On High Search Volume:
While you should focus on keywords people are interested in searching for, high search volume isn’t everything. Yes, they have the potential to drive a lot of traffic, but it could end up being the wrong traffic.
For instance, say your online store sells high fashion heels, you will likely get better results by optimising for ‘buy women’s leopard print high heels in London’ than a generic keyword like ‘buy high heels.’
3) Not Thinking Like a User:
It’s important to consider why the user is searching with a particular keyword. A customer at the awareness or discovery stage of the sales funnel will be using less specific keywords than someone who knows exactly what they want and is ready to make a purchase.
4) Stopping at One Keyword:
Keyword stuffing is still a red flag to Google. Yes, you want rank for the keyword, but over-using it has the opposite result. The trick is to use a cluster of similar keywords. Keyword research will give you variations that will strengthen your content because it demonstrates expertise in that topic.
5) Not Learning From The Competition:
When you’re looking for keywords that will give you the edge over your competition, it’s silly not to investigate their keyword strategy. These are some of the questions to ask:
The Business Side Of Keywords
Aside from looking at these metrics when conducting keyword research, it pays to go back to marketing basics and define what you’re selling and who will want to buy it.
- Geographical Targeting: What keywords are people based in the areas in which your business operates searching for?
- Target Demographics: What are the demographics of your target audience? What are the keyword search patterns for individuals who fall within these demographics?
- Business USPs: What is your business’s unique selling point? How can it be used to target more specific keywords?
- Specific KPIs: What KPIs do you want to focus on? How can you optimize keywords to help your website meet those KPIs?
When taking into account the importance of keyword selection, it’s easy to understand why thorough keyword research is a vital part driving qualified traffic to your website.