Knowing is half the battle. In SEO, keywords play that major role. No matter how many algorithm updates roll out, keywords will always remain at the heart of SEO. The logic behind it is simple; it is in the nature of search engines to depend on queries – each of which contains at least one niche keyword.
Where it becomes challenging is in choosing the best possible keywords for your business. Although almost every word or phrase can be optimized, not everything is worth the effort. You have to understand the niche market of your business and the keywords that belong to that niche. Your selection of keywords dictates the direction of your campaign.
How do you choose the right keywords for your business? Good keyword research chooses key phrases based on a two-pronged foundation: the combination of intent and competition.
Intent can either be informational or commercial. This takes us back to the sales funnel. The former has high search volume, but low probability of conversion. The reason behind it is easy to understand. When users search with informational keywords, they aim to learn more about the product or service first. They are in the early stages of purchasing something.
Informational keywords are useful in gaining leads. While it is okay to add this to your list of niche keywords, informational keywords should not be the primary focus.
Commercial keywords are the opposite. Users type in these keywords on search engines when they are in the late stages of a purchase. This is when they are about to or have made up their minds in making a purchase.
The search volume of commercial keywords is lower than informational keywords, but the conversion rate is higher. This is the ideal type of keywords for your business when the purpose is gaining more sales through digital marketing. Focus your keyword research on ranking higher for commercial over informational.
While intent defines the purpose of the keyword when it appears as a search query, competition gauges how easy or how difficult it would be to rank for that keyword. Competition checks how many sites are trying to optimize for a particular keyword. More common words and phrases are naturally competitive. Although it is acceptable to optimize for these terms (they are relevant to your niche anyway), it would take a lot of time and effort before you can rise to the top of the SERPs with these.
You can use Keyword Finder to check for the search volume and competition of the keyword you’re trying to optimize for. For example, you want to target the search terms “digital marketing strategy”. Keyword Finder will provide you with this list:
From the example above, it will be more feasible to target the term “digital strategy” because it has lower competition but still has a high search volume. You can also use “digital agency” or “digital marketing agency” as supporting keywords in your content.
But, what happens next?
Identifying the best keywords for your business does not end in knowing the intent behind the query and gauging the competition. Two more steps are essential in increasing your ROI from SEO. These succeeding steps, however, take place after the campaign has begun. These are the adjustments marketers make once the ball is rolling.
[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Use the data you can gather to realign your SEO strategy and optimize the best keywords for your business.[/perfectpullquote]
Tracking progress is the most important step in any SEO campaign – and this applies to your keywords as well. Your initial keyword research will provide you with a good idea of which phrases to focus on, but it is equally important to know how successful your campaign will be on these specific search terms.
Search Engine Land has listed several key metrics to check when it comes to keyword success. The combination of these measures will help you pinpoint your place in the search landscape. Check the trends for your keywords, as well; some keywords gain popularity at certain time periods.
Use the data you can gather to realign your SEO strategy and optimize the best keywords for your business.
As the search landscape changes dynamically, so should your strategy with niche keywords. Refinement is all about prioritizing keywords that convert and dropping those that don’t. Data from analytics should be enough to decide on which search terms get the boot or the boost. What matters afterward is how you refine your use of keywords in all your content.
There are many ways to create variations of keywords. For one, you can use latent semantic indexing or LSI. This allows you to avoid overstuffing content with keywords by spreading out the terms. Search engines have a pretty good understanding of semantics – especially with the Hummingbird update – so this becomes an even better method of refining keywords.
One of the tools you can use to get LSI keywords is LSI Graph. Here’s an example:
Another strategy is to be more specific with your keyword selection. Instead of optimizing for only “men’s clothes,” target less generic keywords such as “men’s shorts,” “men’s shirts,” and “men’s jackets.” It also helps to use long-tail keywords and partial match keywords. Using variety can in your keyword selection can be beneficial for any business’s SEO campaign.
Finding the right keywords for your business is not and should not be a struggle. With these insights, it becomes easier to know which direction to steer your campaign. What matters is there should be a solid understanding on the niche of a particular business before selecting keywords for its campaign. Once that is ironed out, everything else follows suit.