Keywords – What are They, and How to Target the Right Ones?

Keywords are a crucial part of SEO, and if you want to rank higher in the search engines, you need keywords.

In this blog post we’ll discuss how to research keywords, what they can do for your website’s rankings, and how to use them in your content.

Let’s begin.

What Are Keywords?

Before we go any further into the topic of keywords, let me start by explaining what keywords are.

Keywords are the words people type into search engines when they’re looking for something online.

For example, if someone was looking to buy a new book on gardening, they might go onto Google and type in ‘gardening books’. This is what SEO experts refer to as keywords or long tail keywords (more about this later).

The term keyword research actually refers to finding out which of these keywords you should target with your website content.

What’s also important is that not just any old word can be considered a keyword – it needs to have some kind of commercial intent behind it. So let’s say I’m writing a blog post on my own website about the new TV show I started watching.

I might start with keywords like ‘TV shows’, or maybe even something more specific, such as ‘Better Call Saul’.

But these words have no commercial intent behind them and are unlikely to generate any traffic for me in terms of sales or email signups – they’re just too general.

So let’s try again!

How about: “Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul starts soon”

Now we’ve got some real keywords here that someone would actually type into Google if they were looking for information on the show… but also trying to sell it to them at the same time!

This is why keyword research can be so important when you want your business website to be found by the right people.

Types of Keywords

When it comes to something as important as keywords, we definitely can put all of them in the same bag.

So let’s talk a bit about types of keywords.

There are two main types of keywords:

  1. head keywords and
  2. long tail keywords.

Head keywords

These are the most common, frequently searched words or phrases in a given niche.

Head keywords are the most popular keywords in your niche. They are easier for search engines to find, but there are usually few of them.

For example, if you were an IT company with only five employees, the head keyword might be ‘IT service’, or ‘IT support’. This would be a good keyword to target because it is popular and easy for people to find you with.

Another example ‘garden design’ would be a good head key word for a website about gardening tools.

Body Keywords

Body keywords are somewhere in between head keywords and long tail keywords.

They contain 2 to 3 words formed around a phrase with medium search volume.

Consequently, they are easier to rank for than head keywords and harder than long tail keywords, but they also bring less earnings that head keywords and more then long tail keywords.

Please, take this sparingly. This is not a rule that applies in 100% of the cases.

Long tail keywords

On the other hand, long tail keywords consist of more specific search queries that have lower monthly searches but tend to convert better than high volume terms because they’re often very targeted. 

They are more specific phrases typed into search engines that have less commercial intent behind them.

These are keywords which contain three or more words. They’re far less competitive than head terms, and you’ll find that there’s much more opportunity to rank well for them too.

So let’s say someone is looking for ‘gardening design software’, this is an example of a long-tail keyword phrase.

An example of a long tail keyword might be “My computer has been running really slow lately”

Both kinds can work really well when it comes to your SEO campaign so you shouldn’t think twice before using them!

Keyword Metrics

When it comes to keywords, one of the most important things you need to look at is metrics.

As I’ve already mentioned, head keywords are usually easier for search engines to find because there’s so much data about them online.

But here we’re talking more specifically about which keyword phrases and terms can convert best and make your website stand out from everyone else who has a similar offering as yours (so they rank higher than you).

Search Volume

The first metric we’ll talk about is ‘volume’.

This simply means how many times people type certain words or phrases into Google each month on average – that’s all!

You should be aiming for keywords with high volume but not too high because then it would become really difficult to rank for them.

Ideally, you would want keywords with medium-high volume so that there is still some traffic available but not too much where it becomes difficult to grab a portion of the pie.

Keyword Difficulty (KD)

The next metric to consider is ‘difficulty’.

This takes into account how many other websites are trying to rank for a given keyword phrase.

In simple terms, the more people that want to rank #one for a specific term – the harder it will be! 

So you should definitely target keywords that have low-medium difficulty so there’s still opportunity but not too much competition where it’ll take forever to reach page one of Google.  

Cost Per Click (CPC)

This metric is a little more obvious and it relates to how much advertisers are willing to pay for Google Adwords.

You can use this as an indication of what people will be prepared to spend on your product or service too!  

So the higher CPC keywords tend to have, more commercial intent behind them so they’re more likely to convert into sales than low-medium CPC ones where there’s less interest in buying something.

So you should target some medium CPC keywords also with a view towards generating leads.   

Traffic Potential / Commercial Intent (CTR)

The final major thing we need to look at here is traffic potential or commercial intent.

This tells us whether searchers who type in certain keywords actually go on and make purchases online or contact businesses once they find their website.

This metric is a little more difficult to measure but you can get an idea of it by looking at the other metrics we’ve discussed already and making some educated guesses! 

You should be aiming for keywords with high commercial intent because they’re most likely going to result in sales or leads – which means you’ll make money from them if your website ranks well on Google.

How Search Engines Work?

Now that we know the difference between keywords , let’s take a look at how search engines work. 

The first thing you need to understand is what crawlers are & why they’re important for SEO.

Crawlers are robots or spiders which scour through websites looking for new content, constantly updating results every time something changes on your website.

They go from page-to-page deep down into all of your site’s pages until they’ve documented everything there is about you online!

Now if only it was this simple with humans…  

Your primary goal when creating any piece of content on your website should be to make it as easy as possible for crawlers and their spiders to index the page.

This means that you need to include keywords in a visible section of each page on your site – but not too much or they’ll get caught up in all those extra words!  

After crawling around like this, search engines will be able to see how many times certain phrases appear throughout your site, where they are located (heading tags), what other pages link back to them, etc., which makes it easier for users when looking through results.  

Moreover, they will also see how much time visitors spend on each page, when was the last time it was updated and so on.

All in all, search engines are looking for relevant content that is well-structured to ensure user satisfaction!  

So what’s this got to do with keywords?    

The Importance of Keywords for SEO

Well… keywords are everything, basically.

Keyword research affects every aspect of your online presence; from which idea you choose for a website name through to how you write blog posts or even title images!

You can’t escape them if you’re after some good ol’ organic (manual) traffic.   

Organic traffic is when people find your website by themselves. It does not come from advertising or other ways. You can get it when people are interested in the content you have.   

That’s why keywords are so important for SEO!

After all, if your target audience is searching for something that isn’t on the first page of Google, there’s no way they’re going to find you!

If you’re planning on running an SEO campaign for your website, then keywords should be at the top of your priority list.

You need to understand how people are using keywords in their search queries and writing content around what they’ve actually searched for.  

What you need to think about is the pain point of your audience and how to solve them, and base your keywords around this and the need of the audience to cover a certain keyword.

Now let me answer another question… 

How to Start Keyword Research

The first step to keyword research is brainstorming!

They are important to both you (how much you can earn) and your audience (what they want to see).

So, this might not be the easiest task in the world. You need your audience to spend more, while most of them want to spend less.

So coming up with the list of ideas is always the first step.

If you don’t know how to start, think about what you would need in their place.

Also, think about seed keywords that are specific about your business.

These keywords are the ones that you need to put into keyword planner (the best tool for long-tail keywords) and find out which of them people search more often, how much competition there is around each one of them and so on.  

You can also check your Google Search Console or Google Analytics to check what are people reading the most on your blog, and then try to come up with new keywords around these topics.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want to see more of. Check the comment section on your blog, social median, and things like that and start from there.

Of course, these are all just starting points! Keep that in mind.

Keyword research is a very complicated and ever evolving field that you constantly have to learn about. So there are just some ideas to get you started.

But to be good keyword researcher, you would have to spend a lot of time and effort.

Best Keyword Research Tools

First off – don’t overthink keyword tools .

There are literally hundreds out there with thousands upon thousands of different metrics and variations which makes choosing one a bit overwhelming at times! 

You will need this tool simply because it analyzes search data from Google & gives results about what people are actually typing into their browsers.

Bear in mind that results will not be the same for the same keyword in every keyword research tool. They vary and these tools are never 100% accurate.

But let’s take a look at the most popular options:

SEMrush

If there’s one keyword research tool that you need to use, it has to be SEMrush.     It is the most popular, well-known and frequently used by marketers & search engine professionals alike!

SEMrush provides comprehensive information for all of your keywords – like how much traffic they are receiving (organic!), cost per click, where those clicks come from (geo!) and so on…  

You can also do competitor analysis here; seeing what their ads look like or which terms they’re using in order to attract potential customers towards them!   

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another awesome keyword research tools, which takes a slightly different approach to SEMrush.   

It’s great for all sorts of information about your keywords – especially the backlink profile!    

This tool helps you find out who links to certain websites or posts in order to get more traffic and improve SEO ranking.   

Moz Keyword Explorer

I just love Moz because it gives everything that Ahrefs does but with mo’ features 😉  

So what are these features?

Well… there are two ways in which this tool stands head & shoulders above others:

You can use their free version called ‘Keyword Explorer’, which provides up-to-date stats on how popular each term has been over the past year.

You can also compare your keyword to others and see how they’re performing – which is great for finding new keywords or getting an idea of what terms you should be targeting!    

On top of that, their paid version allows you to get monthly reports with review on the work done in previous months!          

Google Keyword Planner

This is Google’s own keyword research tool!

It has the highest volume of keywords compared to other tools, ~80 million.   

Although it doesn’t give you much information on each keyword and their search volume, it does help you find new keywords related to what you already have – which can be a great addition for your SEO campaign!           

Google Trends *Free*

Another free one from Google 😉

Don’t worry, there won’t be any surprises here… because all that this awesome little extension does is show how popular terms are over time in comparison with others or competitors’ pages/sites!

You’ll know whether a term will get more or less traffic depending on if they’re going up or down!   

And it’s a great way to find out whether your keyword is worth going for in the first place, especially if you’re looking into using long tail keywords 😉   

What Keywords Should I Use?

The first thing that you need to pay attention to are the keyword metrics that we already talked about before, but apart from that, there are some other things to keep in mind.

For example

Keep Your Users’ Needs in Mind

Think about these questions:

  1. who is your main target audience?
  2. What are their problems?
  3. How do they search for solutions to these problems on the internet

These questions will help you find out which keywords your users would use when searching for information related to your site!  

Quality before Quantity

Sure, you want as many keywords as possible but remember that the best way to be found is by picking a few great terms and ranking for them!

So don’t go crazy with your keywords 🙂   

But I’m not only talking about the number of keywords you are using. I’m also talking about quality over quantity when it comes to the traffic you’re getting.

So make sure that the keywords you’re using correspond to the main topic of your website and they you can make some $$ out of it.

How to Use Keywords in Blog Post   ?

Once you have done your research and have a list of keywords in front of you, you will want to optimize old content by adding those keywords or making new articles centered around them.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Use Keywords in Title, Headings & Subheadings

You should use the keywords you’re targeting at least once in your post’s title, headings and sub-headings.     This will help search engines get a better idea of what your article is about!            

Headings are another great way of including your main keyword/phrase. 

You should try to use the keyword at least once or twice on each page – so make sure they appear naturally throughout the article.

Use Keywords in Meta description

It’s something that not many bloggers do but it can really help you get more organic traffic, especially when writing new posts!

Remember to be natural and don’t stuff your meta description with keywords… just include them where it makes sense 😉     

Use Keywords in URL

This is another way of including keywords without being too obvious.

The most important thing here is to make sure that the keyword you’re using matches with your post’s title – otherwise it can be confusing for people looking at your URL!         

Use Keywords in Content NATURALLY

When writing new content, try not to go crazy with keywords… because no one likes reading an article where every sentence has a keyword stuffed inside 😉

But what I do recommend is adding them naturally throughout your text so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb and look unnatural/spammy.         

Optimize Your Images with Keywords

Pretty self explanatory 🙂   

Just add some alt tags to images on your website so that users can easily figure out their purpose.

It would be great if they were descriptive enough for Googlebot too 😉        

Make Content More Readable by Using Long Tail Keywords

Don’t stuff keywords in every sentence – write naturally while keeping them in mind because this makes it easier for readers to find topics they might be interested in reading more about!

Final Word

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