How to find the juiciest keywords for your SEO efforts

Time to complete: 30 mins

What are keywords? 

When we’re talking about SEO, most people keep coming back to one topic. Keywords. Keyword research, long-tail keywords, optimising for keywords…

But what the hell are ‘keywords’ and how do you know which ones to use?

A keyword is a word or phrase a user types into Google – like “coffee shop”. More specifically, it’s a word or phrase you’d like your website to show up for when typed into Google.

Long tail keywords are longer phrases that people might type into Google (e.g. “Mural artist for small business near me”) – it’s wordy. Long tail keywords generally get less searches but allow you to be more targeted with your approach to SEO.

Ok, yes, less people searching for them, but they are searching for exactly what you are putting out there.

For your website and blog, you want an army of keywords at your disposal. Some of them will be short phrases 1-3 words, with high search volumes… and some of them will be long tail keywords with smaller search volumes.

Both are useful when you are working on your website (don’t worry we will explain how).

But how do you find the right keywords for your website? With a little bit of research!

Keyword research

To find the perfect set of keywords for your website, we’re gonna have to do some keyword research.

To get started, try to sum up what your business does in as few words as possible, and oversimplify it.

‘Web design for women’, ‘wooden garden furniture’, ‘soy wax candles’ etc etc.

Another way to get started is by putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and imagining what they would type into Google to find you.

These keywords are likely to be your main, high-volume keywords (don’t worry we will double-check) but for now, jot them down and use them as a starting point.

Choosing a keyword research tool

Now, we need a way of checking if our keywords are any good. This means that we need to find a keyword research tool.

There are an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to keyword research tools. They all boast different perks and benefits.

But, the best place to get started with your keyword research is Google Keyword Planner.

The main reason? It’s free. But it’s also pretty simple to use. All you need is a Google account and you can get started.

Don’t get me wrong, it has its limitations but it is a great place to start. If you find you need something a bit more advanced later down the line, you can find a paid tool that suits your specific needs later. But for now, let’s stick with the free option.

Google Keyword Planner

When you first log into Google Keyword Planner, it gives you two options at the top of the page. Click the ‘Discover new keywords’ option, type one of the keywords you identified earlier in and hit the ‘Get results’ button.

You will then get a list of info, not just about the keywords that you entered, but a list of related keywords. It’s worth having a look through the suggested keywords as there might be some that you hadn’t thought about.

And the info that is worth paying the most attention to is…

  1. Average Monthly Searches – get a rough idea of how many people are actually typing that keyword in each month. The higher the better obvs but the numbers vary massively from industry to industry (and how many users you actually need on your website).
  2. Competition – We are looking for a ‘Low’ score here ideally. ‘High’ means it will be more difficult to rank (but not impossible!)

‘Holy grail’ keywords have a high number of monthly searches and low competition.

Top tip: if you are stuck with which keywords to choose, you can search by website instead. From the ‘Discover new keywords’ box, instead of typing in your keywords, choose the ‘Start with a website’ tab instead.

Try typing in your competitor’s URLs here to see what keywords they are ranking for. This can be a good place to get started if you are struggling to come up with ideas.

What next?

Keep track of your best and brightest keywords in a spreadsheet. Don’t forget to update it every now and then because the search volumes and competition ratings might change. Here is a keyword tracking spreadsheet template so that you can keep track of your keywords. This is the one that we use for all of our clients so it’s tried and tested!

Once you have a list of a few main keywords, now it is time to put them to work. Sprinkle them throughout your main website pages and blogs, include them in your main headings, meta descriptions and titles, body content and links. This is the beginning of optimising your pages for specific keywords – we’ll talk more about optimisation in a future email.

As always, don’t forget the golden rule of SEO which is: People first. Don’t just stuff your keywords into every corner of your website that you can find. It needs to come up naturally within your content in a way that is still usable and readable for the lovely people that end up using your website.

Why is keyword research important?

Good keyword research can help you to identify your main target audience and exactly what they want, this in turn can help you with more specific, targeted research and on and on…

It’s a good idea to have an idea of how people are finding their way to your little corner of the internet and trying to make that journey as easy as possible.

For most people, this journey starts with a Google search so you want to be one step ahead of the crowd. You want to know what people are going to type into Google, before they even know for themselves…

Using keywords to optimise your pages

This is a pretty broad subject, I could (…and will at some point) write an entire pice of content about this.

However, the basics of optimising your pages is really simple. It starts by just using your keywords across the different parts of your website. Make sure it fits naturally, reads well and isn’t just in there for the sake of it. 

If you use your keywords through your pages, in the different headings, links, pictures, videos etc. – this makes it clear to Google exactly what the subject of these pages is and that they should start to push them up the rankings for those keywords.

Playing the long game

SEO is all about long-term results.

It doesn’t happen overnight, it can take months for all of your efforts to start kicking in and get your pages to that all elusive number one spot on Google – trust us, we have done it for a few different websites!

But, it’s so worth it to see the progress your website makes, the boost in traffic it will bring, and more of the right clients finding you and your business.

Stick with it, keep doing the right things, and before long you will start to see the benefit of all your hard work learning to SEOyourself.

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