A Guide to Selecting the Best Keywords for Your Website
Using search engines to find information on the Internet has become as much a part of life as brushing your teeth in the morning and checking your Facebook page before you go to bed. There are many search engines available, but the biggest by far is Google. More than 115 billion searches per month take place from their search engine, while a staggering 83% of Google search users utilise the search engine every single day.
With that many searches taking place to find specific pages in amongst the billions available online, how realistic is it to expect your website to feature on the front page of any Google search? That all depends on the specifics of the search query and your particular website’s niche, but choosing the right keywords to use will dramatically increase your chances.
Why Picking the Right Keywords is so Important
The rules of website optimisation have changed significantly in recent times, but the importance of keywords hasn’t. The keywords you use in articles posted to your website will have a significant effect on whether you reach the desired audience, and how deeply they engage with your content.
Chances are if you have a website you will get visitors, regardless of how poorly optimised it is. However, traffic will likely be low with many untargeted visits (users randomly stumbling upon your site by accident). On the other hand, finding your niche and the precise market segment is much more challenging. Using the right keywords could open the floodgates to a much larger, more targeted audience who are interested in your service or product.
There are a number of determining factors you need to consider when choosing keywords and phrases to use on your website.
- Figure out what people are searching for: Keywords help you to understand what people are interested in and the type of information they are searching for. Once you’ve chosen a particular keyword that you might like to use, you can access statistics about its monthly use and search volume to determine how popular it is, and whether it’s worth using.
- Understand user behaviour: Keyword analysis can help you understand what products and services are in demand. As a result, you can adjust your marketing strategy or use the information for future product development.
- Focus your marketing efforts: Once you know which keywords are most popular and relevant, you can start planning your content production, marketing and social media strategies. Using researched keywords in your campaigns will boost effectiveness and Return On Investment (ROI)
- Find new markets: Effective keywords have the power to expand your reach and attract different market segments, thus increasing your brand’s profile. If you’re selling a product or a service, this can inevitably lead to an extraordinary increase in sales.
- Better organic results: Studies suggest the majority of Google users focus predominantly on organic listings of keyword searches, while ignoring paid results. Choosing the right keyword and optimising your content will help you achieve a far better ranking than you otherwise would, leading to increased website traffic.
Characteristics of the Best Keywords
Knowing you need the right keywords is one thing, understanding what the right keyword might be is completely different. So how do you choose the right keyword to use?
- Search volume: The number of people using the particular keyword each day to look for information.
- Competition volume: The number of websites using a particular keyword. If a keyword has a very high competition volume, it will be more difficult to rank highly should you use it.
- Long tail keywords: ‘Coffee brand’ is a short tail keyword, while ‘organic coffee brand from Brazil’ is a long tail keyword. Long tail keywords are far more specific and much easier to rank well, giving you access to a more targeted audience.
- Location-based keyword: If you’re trying to promote a business, a product or a service that is provided in a particular location, you may want to target local keywords. Adding a region to the keyword you’re targeting will enable you to connect to local buyers and promote the physical location of your business.
- User intent and keyword selection: Keywords can be used to pinpoint and address a particular audience need, or ‘user intent’. Every Google search has intent, and if you can address this in your content strategy, you are more likely to increase website traffic and conversions. There’s a big difference between keywords such as ‘financial management job’ and ‘affordable financial management software’. Individuals that use the first keyword are looking for information, while members of the second group are looking for an affordable solution, meaning they’re more likely to make a purchase if you have a quality product.
Best Tools for Keyword Selection
It’s obvious that using the right keywords can have an enormous effect on how easy it is for people to find your website via search engines, and what they will do with your content once they have found you. There are several tools you can use that will help you research and select the most relevant keywords for your particular website.
Google Keyword Planner:
Google Adwords Keyword Planner enables you to perform thorough research of your audience’s behavior, with the option to choose location and language parameters before you start exploring keyword possibilities. You will find information about competition volume, number of monthly searches, and suggested keyword alternatives to your original search. By finding and using keywords that are the right combination of search volume and competitiveness, you will considerably improve the chances of your website ranking higher for that particular keyword or phrase.
This is the first screen of Google Keyword Planner:
The next image shows keywords based on the information entered here:
This is an essential research tool for every website owner or marketer. SEMRush provides data about general keywords, search volume and other relevant keyword options on the same topic. You’ll get access to data about the number of relevant searches, websites that have top rankings for a particular keyword, and other phrases you may wish to consider.
Uber Suggest lets you choose a type of keyword search, such as web, news or image, in a language that you’re interested in. It will provide suggestions and variations based on the original keyword, however it lacks information about search volume or competition.
Google Trends offers vital information about the most popular keyword right now, seasonal searches and hot search topics in a particular country. This powerful tool can be used to understand what keywords the audience is looking for and how you can make use of these trends to boost the popularity of your website.
The following image will give you a good idea about how popular two search terms have been over time and which part of the world has generated the biggest interest: