Keyword research is still very relevant to your search engine optimization (SEO) process and your success with search engine rankings. Without it, you might be using low-performing keywords, landing you with little to no traffic to your website – or even unwanted traffic. On the other hand, if you perform keyword research correctly, you’ll be able to see the volume and competition information for each keyword. You’ll also be able to support any pivots you might need to make to your keyword strategy in the future.
Are you intrigued? Check out how finding the right keywords will aid in your SEO!
What Happens if You Choose the Wrong Keywords?
It’s not unheard of for marketers or business leaders to skimp on their keyword research, falling into the trap of thinking they know what people are looking for. Alas, a great keyword strategy is far more than a guessing game. When you use the tools available, you can learn a lot about the terms and phrases searchers are actually looking for when they head to Google and the other search engines. Often, the results are far different from people’s initial assumptions.
Another problem is that people think the search engines no longer look at keywords when they’re ranking pages, but that’s not true.
The search engines utilize keywords to understand what your content means and what your business does. Additionally, proper keyword research gives you insight into your consumers’ behaviors to adjust your strategies accordingly. If you’re using the wrong keywords, you might have low search volume or incorrect usage of your terms, which often equates to high bounce rates once people realize your pages don’t match their intents. High bounce rates also negatively affect SEO. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if nobody’s finding it.
Here’s another thing to consider: If you’re not looking at keyword data, you might be using high-competition keywords. These are words and phrases that already have too many other pages competing for them, which could cause your content to take a long time to be found online (if it ever is).
How to Know Which Keywords to Use for SEO
Your SEO strategy should utilize the best keywords for your unique business – accounting for relevance, authority, and volume. It’s a balancing act because you’re trying to find keywords that are pretty well searched for, but you’re also looking for those you can reasonably compete for, given your status against those of your competitors.
Need a little help? The following information should guide you through the process.
1. Refine Your Keyword List
Use Google Keyword Planner to check in on keyword search and volume estimates. Remove the phrases that have too much or not enough traffic. Before you get rid of anything, though, head to Google Trends to see if there’s any trend history projection associated with the words and phrases you’re considering removing. Sometimes, the keywords with volume are phrases you’ll want to use now so you can reap the rewards later.
2. Prioritize the Easy Options
Since you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to shoot for the low-hanging fruit that offers an opportunity to rank on Google.
As you analyze your keyword metrics, consider:
- Is there traffic potential for these keywords?
- What kind of competition do these keywords have?
- Do you already have content on this topic that you can optimize for your chosen keywords?
- If you don’t already have content for those keywords, do you have the ability to create some from scratch?
- Are you already ranking for those keywords?
- Are you likely to get more conversions from these keywords, or are they solely going to increase traffic?
The most important thing to consider with each keyword is the potential profitability it will bring to your brand.
3. Check Monthly Search Volume (MSV)
The MSV will tell you if you’re creating content around words people are actually searching for. It’ll give you the number of times a key phrase has been searched in Google every month. You can find these insights in Google Trends.
4. Consider SERP Features When You Select Keywords
Google’s really good at highlighting search engine result page (SERP) featured snippets when users look for certain keywords or phrases. Once you enter a word or term into Google, take a look at the first few results. You might see any of the following SERP featured snippets:
- Image packs. These will display as horizontal images at the very top of the SERP. They usually feature image-heavy content that’s accompanied by keyword-rich alt text.
- Paragraph snippets. These are bits of text which are presented on top of search pages. Their intent is to directly answer searchers’ questions.
- List snippets. Listicles, as they’re also known, are list-formed pieces of information. They usually include commonly-searched questions, offering “how-to” types of articles.
Hire an SEO Agency
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is a good time to consider working with a reputable SEO agency that can do most of the heavy lifting on your behalf.