Most companies understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and the need to link back to the company website. However, what some businesses fail to realize is that the keywords and phrases that are used when linking back to a website are extremely important. If you’re starting a small business or are new to the SEO world, don’t sweat it. It is never too late to decide which keywords will help your website rank well. Consider how to choose the keywords that will get your website to the top of that Google search page.
5 Steps to Finding the Right Keywords for Your SEO Efforts
Think like your target audience
The first step in deciding which keywords are important for your SEO efforts is to think like your target audience. You want to think about what someone may type in a search bar as opposed to general words that describe your company. For example, if you work at a “paper company” and “sell paper” (The Office fans anyone?), this is what you do. If someone was going to look to buy paper, however, they are likely going to type in something like “premium paper” or “paper vendors,” and not a keyword like “sell paper.”
This is where many companies are misguided when it comes to keywords. They think like their target audience, but they think on a broad scale. The truth is the broader keyword terms have a significantly higher amount of competition. Therefore, it is much more difficult to get your page ranked well on a keyword with so much competition. If you try to target the keyword “paper,” the chances of you making it on the first page of Google is extremely slim. In other words, it is important you target specific keywords so that you can be ranked higher, faster. In addition, those who type in specific keywords are more likely to buy.
Consider multiple meanings.
Once you think you have decided on keywords for your business to target, it’s time to consider all the possible meanings that keywords can have. Think of it as a background check—you must make sure there is nothing hidden if you’re going to go with a candidate (or in this case, a keyword). This is generally taken care of when working to create specific keywords, but oftentimes even companies’ “specific” keywords are too broad. For example, if you have decided you want to use the keyword (also called a keyword phrase) “office paper,” consumers will likely get results about office paper clips, how to save office paper, office paperweights, office paper folders, etc. Therefore, it is important you consider all of these multiple meanings.
Research the keywords
If you want to get that top search engine ranking, you have to do your research. One of the first steps you can take is simply typing in the keyword into Google search. Once you see how many results pop up, you will have an idea about the amount of work you will have to do to get that keyword ranked. Then, consider using one of the many services available that will help give you real numbers about whether or not a keyword is popular. A few popular services include Google Ads and SEM Rush.
Make sure your keywords are relevant to your site
This may seem obvious, but many companies attempt to target keywords simply because they are popular. Although it is exciting to see your website rank to the top of a Google search engine page, it means nothing if your company has nothing to do with whatever a customer typed into the search box. First, consumers will see the title of your company and realize it has nothing to do with what they need. Second, even if your company has a generic title, consumers will click on the link and realize you have nothing to offer in terms of what they’re searching for. Don’t assume that people will click on your website and then suddenly remember they actually need your exact product or service; thus looking into your business proposal. This will be a waste of your time and resources.
Keyword research seems tricky and can take a while to master, so don’t feel too overwhelmed at first. Consider hiring someone to help you track keywords and choose keywords. This is becoming increasingly important and many people have developed this skill.
Amanda DiSilvestro is the Editor-in-chief for Plan, Write, GO. She has been writing about all things digital marketing, both as a ghostwriter, guest writer, and blog manager, for over 10 years. Check out her blogging services to learn more!