Welcome back, digital marketing disciple.
Whether you are a digital rookie setting up your very first online business, or an eCommerce virtuoso with an abundance of online experience, I am almost certain that you have come across the term 'keyword' from time to time. It is one of those digital marketing words that seem to pop up in almost all conversations regarding your onsite content, PPC campaigns and SEO, but do you really understand what keywords are and how to use them correctly on your website? Time to educate yourself with some simple but effective information about your new online obsession - Keywords.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are carefully selected words that define what your website content, brand and business are all about. They can be single words or a phrase of words (also known as long-tail keywords), which are used frequently across all of your online channels to help both search engines and website visitors understand what your website offers. If you looked at all the words used across your website, you would want your selected keywords to be the most frequently used as this increases the relevancy of your content for search engine search results which will help with your SEO ranking for these terms. Alongside this, the more frequently your keywords appear on a web page, the more relevant the page will be if you were to target these keywords in a PPC campaign, which will reduce your advertising spend for these terms.
Where To Use Keywords?
Now we know what keywords are, time to look at some places where they can be used. Here are a few places that I would 100% recommend you use your keywords on your website:
Link anchor text
Social media posts
Your chosen keywords should be fully relevant to your brand and business, so using them naturally across these places should be simple and effortless. If you are struggling to use them naturally in these areas then I would suggest you take a step back to reevaluate your chosen keywords and start again.
Picking The Right Keywords For You
Keywords are and will always be very specific to your online business and your online goals, so they will naturally be different from anyone else out there. To find out which keywords are right for you, start by writing down all areas that your business offers in their most simplistic form to discover your 'head keywords'.
As an example, I have done this for an imaginary clothing store:
Next, you need to check what the search volumes are for these keywords, because if there aren't many people out there looking for these terms then you may need to rethink the core keywords that you want to target. To check the traffic volumes for your chosen keywords, I would suggest using either Ubersuggest or the Google Ads Keyword Planner, both of which are super simple to use and free.
Alongside this, these free keyword tools offer additional information which may prove handy, including additional keyword suggestions, monthly and annual traffic volumes (can be split by country and region for more detail) and also organic/paid difficulty.
Go One Step Further With Long-Tail Keywords
Now that you have your main keywords (also known as 'head-keywords') selected it is time to take things to the next level and start looking into long-tail keywords - a combination of multiple terms used together to create a phrase. The head-keywords will always be your main focus, but as these are typically very competitive it is hard to rank highly for such a broad term in search engine search results.
To get around this, you can create longer and more in-depth versions of your head-keywords which will allow you to spread your wings further and show up more frequently in a much broader range of search results due to lower amount competition.
Long-tail keywords should be based around your head-keywords, but in a way that adds additional relevant wording around them. The best way to explain this is to show you, so the following shows how we can create relevant long-tail keywords from the head-keyword 'trainers' which was used in the clothing store keyword example earlier on:
Men's skateboard trainer online sale
The best ladies Nike running trainers in 2020
Shop the latest trainers online
Top 10 Adidas fashion trainers of the decade
We can see that each of these phrases naturally use the term trainers within them and that each of them have a very unique message to target the term to a much more refined audience. Long-tail keywords are essential for all websites, especially smaller and newer sites which are looking to break in and stamp their mark on the SERPs (search engine result pages).
I am never a fan of ending articles on a negative, but I can't leave here knowing that I never made you aware of the most common pitfalls that users make when using keywords on their website.
Keyword stuffing - Adding the right amount of keywords to your page is a fine art and you will become better at it the more you do it. If you are stuffing keywords into your website content for the sake of adding more keywords, then this will be flagged as poor SEO by the bots and will make the content hard to read for users. My rule here is simple if it reads naturally then that's a win, but if it is hard to read because of the number of keywords then I need to strip some of them out and relook at it.
Using keywords when not necessary - If you have a page on your website which focuses on trainers, it would make sense to use your trainer related long-tail keywords on this page. However, it wouldn't make sense to add your jumper, t-shirt and trouser keywords here for the sake of adding more keywords. Doing this will make your page less relevant to both users and the bots so make sure to pick a core keyword to use and work around this with your long-tails.
Just writing for the bots - So this one is not as much a keyword issue as it is a content writing issue, but it is still super relevant and I think you will all find it useful. The golden rule for all website content, whether it on-page or off-page, is to write for your users and not for the search bots. Gone are the days where search bots were mindless drones which solely look for keywords and rank you on that alone, with the new dawn of intelligent search bots taking centre stage where they seek for high-quality content which correctly uses keywords.
Go Forth & Start Your Keyword Journey
Congrats - you are now a fellow keyword nerd!
You should now be in a position to go out there and optimise your website with a great range of keywords which are highly relevant to your business, company and products to not only improve your organic ranking but to also help your audience understand what it is you have to offer.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on keywords, so if you have any questions about how to start your keyword journey, or maybe need some help with getting the right keywords on to your website please feel free to drop me an email here - firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe, stay positive, stay classy.
Ciao for now,