If you were running a site that deals with shirts, what keywords would you use? Would choose “shirts,” “printed shirts,” “cheap shirts” and everything else that has the word shirts in it? At a glance, you may be correct, but if you want to make it to the very top of search engines, there’s more to finding keywords than just coming up with whatever word seems relevant to your content. In fact, there’s even an entire field dedicated to it: Keyword research.
Keyword research (read: finding suitable keywords) deals with finding the most popular search terms in order to perform SEO on the content of your site. This would then help you rank higher in search engine results pages, while also helping to drive tons of traffic to your site. Keyword research is a step that you simply cannot ignore because it can also send the right kinds of visitors into your site simply through the use of the right keywords.
What Is in a Keyword?
In a nutshell, keywords help connect your sites to the words that users type into the search box of any search engine. They help you understand your site and the industry your business belongs to. And they can also provide you with great content to start with when you’re just starting out with your site. Through keyword research, you can find out the intent of users who are searching for certain keywords. By knowing what they really want to find, you can better tailor your content into material that more users want to see.
Consider the example of users who search for gadgets online. Users wouldn’t type the word “gadgets” because this would be too broad. They’d type something more specific like “iPhone 5s” or “Samsung Galaxy Tab.” But in addition to this, they’d also be looking for other aspects of those two gadgets, so they’ll type in “iPhone 5s 64 GB” or “iPhone 5s cheap free shipping.” In knowing what these users search for in line with the gadget of their choice, you can then deduce that there are users out there who are looking for an iPhone with more memory storage, less cost and free shipping. Now that’s great material to start with when it comes to using SEO for your site!
Recommended for YouWebcast: A Week in the Life of an Agile Creative Team
Finding the Right Keyword for Your Site
Here are some steps you can take in finding the right keywords to use for the content of your site:
First make an assessment of the value of the keywords you may have already thought of. Here are the questions to ask when you’re still in the initial phase of determining which keywords to use:
- Are these keywords relevant to your site’s content? For instance, would the terms “wedge” and “high heels” be relevant to an online shoe retailer?
- Will these keywords point the users to your site if they use those words in search engines? In the case of “wedge” this may be interpreted as a mechanical device or a style of shoes, whereas “high heels” are almost exclusively used for shoes.
- Could these keywords be enough to lead to a sale for your site? For example, would searches for “wedge shoes” lead to a sale or should you include other keywords that serious buyers are most likely to use, such as a color or size?
Check out major search engines before you include a keyword. This gives you insight into what keywords major search engines would group together when a user is searching for something. For example, if you were to search for the term “cheap organza dress” or “cheap satin dress,” you may find a lot of search results leading to bridal and bridesmaid dress sites. In addition, the number of ads you see for a search also indicates higher conversion rates for that particular keyword. These ads can show up on the right side of the screen or at the top of the organic search results.
Test out your keywords and see how much traffic they generate. In these cases, you can purchase “test” traffic so you can see if your keywords lead to conversions. After the testing phase, you can then check which keywords generated traffic, and eventually, conversions. So for example, your search ads generated 20 visitors each day and two of them converted a total profit of $100. So you can then deduce that one visitor for that particular keyword gave you $5 each day, and that’s quite a lot, especially for a small business.
Understand the long tail keyword demand. The long tail of searching are the search terms that make up majority of searches performed online. Popular search terms may be searched for by users about 4,000 times each day. But they only make up about 30% of all the searches performed on the web. For example, tons of people may search for “dresses” every day. But the remaining 70% are more specific keyword searches. Why are they important?
- For one 70% is a huge percentage of keyword searches that users input into search engines.
- These are the unique searches that may only be done a few times each day, but they make up a larger percentage of the users’ need to find the information on search engines.
- Long tail keywords tend to convert better simply because they’re the ones that catch people when they’ve already set their mind on making a purchase. For instance, a person searching for “dresses” may simply be looking around for trendy styles, but not necessarily buying. However, a person searching for “budget white organza dress size 2” would most likely already be ready to make a purchase.
There’s a whole lot more to keyword research than just coming up with keywords which you think are relevant. You have to think like the consumer and consider all the possibilities when it comes to what they may be looking for. In the end, when your keyword research is successful, you can easily turn traffic into conversions!