53% of organic search clicks go to the first link. When you examine the steps behind those clicks, you are led back to keywords: what terms were entered in the search engine box? Certain words and phrases are more relevant for your brand when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). The key is determining which ones will point to your site, increase traffic and hook your target audience.
SEO is critical when it comes to boosting your search rank and increasing brand visibility. Keyword research is an important aspect of your SEO efforts – you want to find a realistic balance between terms people would actually search and those that you can competitively rank for. In order to determine which keywords are best for your business, you must first understand what NOT to do when going through the research process. One of our SEO experts at ZOG Digital has filled us in on what to avoid:
- Focusing on the wrong keywords: This all-too common mistake is made by many companies – they target keywords that are either too-specific or too-broad. Niche, industry-focused keywords limit visibility, because there are only so many people who will know those terms, much less enter them in the search engine box. (These niche keywords can also be worth it – it depends on your industry and goals). General keywords, on the other hand, have greater competition – making it that much more difficult to show up in results. When it comes to choosing keywords for your brand, the best bet is to find terms that make sense and have moderate volume behind them.
- Keyword stuffing: This is against SEO best practices, and is not recommended. Keyword stuffing takes away from the quality of your site content and deters users from coming back. Of course, search engines can also detect the dishonesty. The keyword terms should appear on the page a few times, while still sounding natural – it really depends on what works best for you. Page titles should be limited to 70 characters at the maximum. Conveying the overall idea, while still including a few keywords, is ideal.
- Listing branded terms first: Companies that list branded terms first in page titles can hinder SEO because search engines read those words first. If users aren’t specifically searching for your brand, you could lose their click. For instance, a clothing company wants to reach all users looking for “women’s jeans,” not just those who are already aware of their brand (if your domain includes your brand name, you will appear for both anyway!). Therefore, those specific branded terms are best left until the end of titles, or left out entirely.
When beginning keyword research, we recommend the Google Keyword Tool for quick insight into keyword traffic and competition.