Your SEO keywords are the keywords and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site. Keywords are one of the main elements of SEO.
Finding Your Best Keywords for SEO
Most beginning search marketers make the same mistakes when it comes to SEO keyword research:
- Only doing SEO keyword research once,
- Not bothering to update and expand their SEO keyword list, or
- Targeting keywords that are too popular, meaning they’re way too competitive.
Basically, SEO keyword research should be an ongoing and ever-evolving part of your job as a marketer. Old keywords need to be reevaluated periodically, and high-volume, competitive keywords (or “head” keywords, as opposed to long-tailed keywords) can often be usefully replaced or augmented with longer, more specific phrases designed not to bring in just any visitor but exactly the right visitors. (Who visits your site – particularly if they’re people who are actively looking for your services – is at least as important as how many people visit.)
Conduct your preliminary research.
Once you have those goals and that initial vision in mind, you can work on your preliminary research:
Come up with root ideas. Start by sketching out some ideas for what people might search for related to your business. You don’t need to be exhaustive here, but try to come up with at least a few broad categories of searches, and both head and long-tail keywords they might use to find you.
Use topic and keyword generators. Next, use an online tool to help you come up with more keyword and topic ideas, based on some of your preliminary ideas. I like to use Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool for this, since it helps you come up with ideas and gives you stats on the keywords themselves (which you’ll need later).
Create a master list. Export all the keywords you can into a master spreadsheet, so you can quickly compare them and sort by various fields.
Narrow down the list.
Once you’ve got a “master list” created, you can start weeding out the weakest candidates. Take a look at the following variables with special focus:
- Current rankings.
Pick your top candidates.
At this point, your top candidates should be a matter of personal taste. You’ve narrowed your list down to keywords with the highest likelihood of earning you the results you want, so for now, pick a handful that you’ll have an easy time optimizing for (or the ones that seem the most attractive).