Now that we are in 2018, everyone who owns a website should be well versed in SEO. The problem is that while the search engine optimization definition does not change, the rules do – all the time. Google is constantly trying to stay on top of search engine optimization techniques that may be unethical or simple those that help some websites have more of an advantage.
Even so, you must have a solid grasp of search engine optimization tips and tricks to help your website be successful. Why? Well, if your SEO strategy is not continuously improved, you may lose your precious ranking in the SERP. And, when your ranking drops, so will your site traffic. And, when your site traffic disappears, so will your money.
Start with the Basics
Just like every other year, the first thing you have to do with your website and keyword research is start with the basics. Consider what your website is offering, and then, consider how you want people to find you. For example, how do you hope people will search for you and find you? These keywords are the most basic terms. For instance, if you are selling hair products, your basic keywords would be “hair products.” Of course, this keyword is not going to be what you end up using eventually because it is far too broad. But, it gives you the space you need to do some big-time brainstorming.
Define Your Niche
Next, you must define your niche. This is where all the previous brainstorming is helpful. You must work to separate yourself from the competition by identifying what sets you apart. What makes you different from the rest. Let’s take our previous example of “hair products.” What specific hair products do you offer? A certain brand? A certain style? Hair accessories for a specific audience?
As you key in to what makes your website different from others, you can identify keywords that will lead to a better return on investment (ROI). For example, rather than someone stumbling upon your website due to a broad keyword search, you will end up with people searching specifically for what your website offers.
Do Some Searching on Your Own
Don’t make the mistake of skipping the critical step of searching on your own. If you skip ahead to using keyword tools, you are missing part of the big picture. Instead, you must take time to do your own searching. When you do, you will get an idea of who your competitors are, as well as how the SERP display. For example, some of these pages will automatically generate an answer (if you ask a question), as well as providing the “People also ask” boxes. In addition to the search results that appear, these are other factors you must consider when generating keywords. You also want to keep up with the latest in industry news and changes. Make sure to always refer to an SEO Guide for the new page experience update and other crucial updates.
Use Google Search Analytics as a Starting Point
While SEO professionals will make it clear that you cannot (and should not) rely on Google Search Analytics for keyword research, it is a good starting point. For example, if your website has been up and running for some time, you will already be able to see which keywords landed people on your site.
Then, Use Better Keyword Tools
After you have done your basic keyword research, it is time to use more sophisticated keyword tools. Some of the best SEO tools are SEMRush and Ahrefs. Both offer SEO services, as well as options for link building and social media. There databases will help you generate the best possible keywords with multiple filtering options, so you can choose what is most important for your goals.
Keep an Eye on the Competitor
These SEO tools are also a great way to see what the competitors are using for keywords. You can easily see which keywords are generating the most clicks. Simply knowing what keywords your main competitors are using can help tremendously in keyword research. Additionally, this will help you identify possible keywords your competitors are not using that you can use to outrank them.
Use Long-Tail Keyword Phrases
If you are still resisting long-tail keyword phrases in 2018, you are already behind. Long-tail keywords are the way to go when it comes to finding the right audience and having the best ROI. Plus, according to Ahrefs, “One-word keywords account for only 2.8% of all the keywords people search for (in the United States).” Whereas keyword phrases of three or more words are generating traffic – and more a more specific audience. If you need help with coming up with these long-tail keywords, try Mergewords.
Consider Your Audience and Their Intent
Again, it is not as simple as plugging in some keywords and sitting back. You must continuously consider your audience. For example, what is the searcher’s intent? Are they searching for information or are they investigating (aka “shopping around”)? Or, are they searching to make a purchase? By considering your audience’s intent, you can formulate keywords that point these searchers to what they are looking for on your site.
Clean Up Your Spreadsheet
You won’t hear often, but it is important. When it comes to keyword research, especially when that research involves using powerful SEO tools, you are going to end up with a significant amount of data. And, much of the data in the spreadsheets will not be necessary for your success. Rather than getting bogged down by all the numbers, clean up your spreadsheet and keep only the information you need.
Weigh Your Options
Speaking of cleaning up, keyword research is a search engine optimization technique. But, there are not hard and fast rules. It is up to you. For instance, keyword tools will help you see search volume, clicks, traffic potential, and keyword difficulty. You must weigh your options and decide which one of these is most important for you to focus on.
To Wrap Up…
Choose the keywords that are best for your business – not best for clicks. If you are getting tons of clicks, but few purchases, have your keywords really done their job? No. Instead, you want to choose the best keywords to bring the best customers to your website.
Finally, here’s a guide by Fat Joe that focuses on how to choose keywords for a newly established website for those who have fresh websites and are unsure as to how to research keywords to target.