Everyone wants to see their business or website on the first page of Google, right? With over half of the world’s population connected to the Internet — a staggering 4.48 billion as of October 2019 — that may seem like an impossible feat. While it is certainly difficult to do in today’s saturated market, it is far from impossible. The secret? Keywords.
Okay, it’s not just keywords, but they do play an integral role in how your website ranks on Google and other search engines. Keywords themselves are not that simple either. There is keyword relevance, keyword search volume, keyword competition, keyword ROI, keyword intent, and more. Everything matters too, from the words you choose to the length of your keyword phrase.
Let’s break down each of those terms to their barebone definitions.
First off, a keyword is simply a specific word or phrase that someone types into a search engine. How relevant that term is to what you’re trying to sell or get ranked is the keyword relevance. The search volume is the number of total people looking up your keyword. While your intent is to give online searchers what they want.
ROI, or return on investment, is directed toward PPC (pay-per-click) ads. It’s the money that goes back into your pocket after people click on your ads, which appears due to relevant keywords.
But before you can get into all of that, you need to perform keyword research. What are you trying to promote or market? Let’s say you’re a retailer for shoes. While “shoes” may seem like a good starting place — it has a search volume of over 500,000 after all — remember that a keyword is specific. What kind of shoes do you sell? Athletic? Formal? Casual? Mens? Womens? All of the above?
To make it easy, let’s say you specifically sell athletic shoes for all genders. Your baseline parent keyword should then be “athletic shoes.” Using Ahrefs, which is an online tool to analyze keywords and site rankings, you can see that “athletic shoes” has been searched 11,000 times. You would need backlinks from about 18 websites on that specific page to be ranked in the top 10. You’d also see that it has a high click rate — 6.2K people clicked on websites after searching for “athletic shoes.”
Knowing this, you are armed with knowledge to start making your campaign.
That’s not enough though. Google is complex and has a lot of working parts that play into rankings. It’s essential to provide consistent and quality content uploads to your website that hit a multitude of keywords relating to your parent phrase “athletic shoes.”
So how do you do research beyond the parent term?
Think beyond your parent term. You sell shoes for all genders, so “women’s athletic shoes” and “men’s athletic shoes” are phrases you should dive into. Think sports (running shoes, basketball shoes, tennis shoes), activities (hiking boots, snow shoes, climbing shoes), comfort (Dr. Shol’s, slippers, inserts), and material (leather, suede) as well.
Make a list of everything you think is relevant and then research it. The easiest place to start is with an incognito window in Google. Its autofill feature will allow you to see how people are interacting with your chosen keyword, what competition you have, and how relevant your term is to the search. For example, go into an incognito Google window (so it’s not influenced by your search history!) and type in “men’s athletic shoes.” Autofill might show “men’s athletic shoes on sale” or “near me” or it could list sizes.
When you search the term, Google immediately thinks you’re looking to buy a pair of shoes. The first page of results should be retailers that sell all types of athletic shoes. This is good for you!
If you want to go more detailed, which is recommended for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), use keyword research sites with free trials like SEMRush or Ahrefs. Through them, you can search keywords, look at how your competitors’ sites rank, and you can see what keywords they’re using. Utilize this knowledge to build your own campaign! If your competitor is ranking well for “men’s running shoes,” you should jump on that too.
Not all keywords are short phrases. Longtail keywords are more than two words and are hyper-specific. Making your phrase more specific helps reduce competition. If done well, it can increase the number of queries that lead to you.
Think of phrases like “Best men’s running shoes 2019.” Ahrefs ranks this search volume at 250, with 364 clicks and a keyword difficulty of 41, meaning you’d need backlinks from over 58 websites to rank in the top 10.
You can even make it more product-specific too. Think of phrases like “blue Nike women’s running shoes” or “Nike Revolution 4 men’s running shoes.”
Do not shy away from it because it is difficult! If people are searching for these terms, then they already know what they want. All they need is a place to buy it. If you nail it, you put yourself in the position for high conversion rates, thus more money in your pocket.
If you do use longtail keywords, consider putting them in the title of your content piece. This will give your piece a boost in rankings by simply having it in the title, headline, or subheadline.
Keyword research creates a blueprint of your online marketing efforts. You’re just one website out of literally billions. Remember, 58% of the world population has access to the Internet.
Utilize keyword research to give you an insight on what people are looking for, thus allowing you to change your targeting strategies. If you know what is trendy and what isn’t and have that on your website before anyone else, you’ll have a competitive edge.
Conducting consistent research and updating your content on a regular basis with quality content tells search engines that you’re an active website, thus driving you further up in the rankings naturally. Quality matters! Google would much rather see a website updated with 2-4 well-made content pieces (more than 400 words!) than one that saturates the market with pieces under 100 words.
And that’s it! Well, not really. There is still a lot more to cover with keyword research, such as the tools involved, how to use it for a new website/business, and more, so stay tuned for our future blogs that break down keywords even further.