Branding and your keyword strategy

What’s the difference between your brand and your keywords? Are you using both effectively? Your brand is one of your most important keywords, but it shouldn’t be your only keyword, nor should you have lots of keywords but no brand. There should be a keyword strategy behind the keywords you pick. This post highlights the why of that and explains the basis of the how, then points you to several useful posts for the how.

Branding truly is branding

But what is a brand keyword? A brand keyword is the keyword used to search for a company name. The term branding stems from the literal act of branding cattle with a hot brand. You “mark your ownership” by branding a cow. You can “own” a product group too by putting your brand on it. Our brand is “Yoast”. It’s not “WordPress SEO”, nor is it “Google Analytics”. Those are keywords. We have one brand and we’ve slowly moved all our product names to be completely branded too, instead of generic. You might have noticed our WordPress SEO plugin is now called Yoast SEO and the same is true for our Google Analytics plugin, which is called Google Analytics by Yoast.

These are deliberate decisions, not happenstance. In the past, and sometimes even today, choosing generic product names or even generic keyword domains would’ve gotten you quick and easy rankings in the search engines. The question you have to ask yourself is: if I do this right, will people remember my brand?

By branding our products, we can even make people aware of our brand right when they’re searching. For instance, when people search for WordPress SEO in Google, this is the suggest box they’ll see:

wordpress seo keyword suggestion

You’ll understand that this strengthens our position in a way that could never happen if our product had a purely generic name.

Branding and your homepage

Michiel wrote about Homepage SEO, telling people not to try and rank their homepage for a specific keyword. In the comments there were clearly some misconceptions about how branding relates to your keyword strategy. We’ve been writing a lot about keyword research lately but we’ve not talked about keyword strategy much, so this post elaborates on what these are and how they connect to each other.

There’s one page that’s by far the most important in terms of our and your branding: the homepage. Your homepage has one task, and one task only from an SEO perspective: to rank for your brand. I can think of no meaningful website where this should be different.

Keyword domains

Because of our idea that you should have one brand and several (hundreds) keywords, we’re not big fans of keyword domains at Yoast either. By using a keyword domain you bind your companies past, present and future to a single keyword. And with the abundance of new top level domains (TLDs) now available, you’ll have a very hard time buying all of the TLDs with the same keyword to keep out the competition.

No single website, or worse, company should rely on a single keyword for its traffic. You need a more solid base. You need a keyword strategy!

Keyword strategy

Your keyword strategy should make clear which “keyword groups” you focus on. It doesn’t have to be a long list of keywords (though it doesn’t hurt to have one). Your keyword strategy should be a definition of a group of keywords that you’re tackling. Every time you’re writing new content you can have a quick look at those groups and pick a new keyword that falls in line with the strategy.

These keyword groups should be inter-related too of course; if you can never write posts that touch on multiple of your main subjects, they’re simply to far apart.

The main questions you should ask yourselves are simple:

What are people searching for when they should be finding me?
What question does my product or service answer, which problem does it solve?
We’ve got more of this in our SEO copywriting course. You should then take two steps with the

keywords you come up with:

Step 1: How many keywords should I target?

Keyword or keyphrase

We tend to use the word keyword all the time, but even though that’s single, we don’t necessarily mean it’s only one word. “WordPress SEO” is a keyword, as is “Google Analytics plugin”

While I can’t answer that question directly and equally for every organization and website, I can say a couple of things: 1, 5 or 10 keywords: that’s always too little. Broaden your horizon a bit and / or dive deeper into the long tail.

1,000+ keywords: if it’s just you or 2 of you, this is probably more than you can chew off. It’s not hard to gather 1,000 keywords though, so if you’ve got the time, the people and the inspiration, it usually does pay off to write a lot of meaningful content. Do make sure that all those keywords relate to your products or services as otherwise it’s nonsense and make sure that you’re structuring your site well around it.

So, even if you’re a reasonably small business, you’ll probably end up with a couple of hundred keywords. But you don’t have to have pages for all of these immediately. The great thing about having a CMS like WordPress is that you can incrementally add content.

Step 2: Head or tail?

It’s important to classify your keywords. You should distinguish your most important high level keywords, the ones that have sufficient traffic for your business and connect the best to your business. These are usually more “head” than “tail”. You should only have a few of these keywords for your business. The rest of it are bound to be more down the tail. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read up on long tail keywords.

I always tell people to think of their site as a pyramid. Your brand is at the very top, below that is your cornerstone content for your “head: keywords, the keywords you care about the most, below those are dozens – if not hundreds or thousands – of pages, strengthening your site’s structure. I wrote about site structure & SEO over 3 years ago but it still rings true. We wrote about both these topics in our ebook too.

If you have trouble coming up with more than a few keywords, try some of the keyword research tools Marieke wrote about recently.

Your keyword strategy lives and breathes

A final note: your keyword strategy should change every once in a while, it should adapt, grow with you. If it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong. Now go, and create a keyword strategy. Or stay and comment with your remarks and questions!

How to choose the perfect focus keyword

Regularly adding quality content to your website in a blog is a good SEO strategy. Google sees that your website is active because new information is added and you increase the volume of your content. If you have crafted your keyword strategy properly and your content is nicely optimized for the right keywords, adding content will increase your findability. But how do you choose the perfect focus keyword?

Especially when you’re blogging and focusing on long tail keywords, it can be difficult to decide which keywords to optimize for. In our view, there are at least three things you should do to determine which keywords you should optimize your blog posts for! Read about them here.

What is the focus keyword?

The focus keyword is the search term that you most want your page to rank for, so when people search for that keyword or phrase, they should find you. Yoast SEO it has its own input field for this. The plugin evaluates the page’s content and provides feedback on how to improve the content for that focus keyword.

Choose a focus keyword that is used in search engines

Your keyword strategy should have given you some idea of what you want to write about. Please read our ultimate guide to keyword research if you need help find your perfect keywords. For blog posts, you will usually aim for a long tail keyword (containing multiple words) as explained in this guide on content SEO.

Our Yoast SEO plugin helps you to optimize your post for your chosen keyword. One of the tools you can use to find – related – keywords is our Yoast Suggest tool. This tool uses the same data as Google Suggest to find the first ten keywords and then expands on that. This is the same as what you’d see when you type the search term into a Google search box. For additional tools, see this post by Marieke about keyword research tools.

The terms you will find in Suggest are terms and combinations of words that are logical and used by actual people to search on the web. This tool can be beneficial in giving you some first ideas about the search behavior of people in the area you want to write about. Use Answer the Public to find which questions people have about a particular topic. This’ll give you loads of new insights and inspiration for new posts.

Remember that these search suggestions change all the time. The suggestions will often be tuned to what you’ve been searching before. When we searched for the term “focus keyword” sometime last year, this was the suggest output:

Right now, the output shows this:

Suggest changes based on the problems people have, so monitoring it for important keywords makes sense. This particular new result gave us some extra input for this post.

Research the search volume for your keyword

Once you have found a long tail search term you want to rank for, you should put some effort into discovering whether or not there are many searches for that keyword or phrase – the search volume. We will be the first to admit; Google has made this really hard. The only way to know for sure how often a search term is used is to have an active AdWords account and bid on the search term of your choice. We understand this is a bit too difficult and expensive for most of you (we hardly ever do this ourselves).

Not to worry, using Google Trends should give you at least some idea, in a creative way, about search volume. Google Trends allows you to compare the search volume between two search terms over a certain time. This will give some insight into the volume of the search terms people use, relative to other terms.

Check posts that already rank

If you already have some (blog) posts that rank well for good terms, you will know how many visitors these posts attract. Using Google Trends to compare the focus keywords of older posts (which you can view the statistics for) with the focus keyword you have in mind for your new post, could give you some idea about the potential traffic this new focus keyword could bring. Make sure to choose older posts that are most similar to the post you’re planning to write: if you’re planning to choose a long tail keyword, compare posts with long tail focus keywords as well.

For instance, this post about focus keywords could be compared with a post about snippet previews, a related feature of the WordPress SEO plugin we already wrote about:

As you can see the traffic is comparable, we know the search traffic to our snippet preview post is reasonably good, so we know it’s worth optimizing for.

Using Google Trends to compare your old focus keywords and the one you want to use will give you some insights about the prospects for your focus keyword.

Another good way to use Google Trends is when you are considering a number of (long tail) focus keywords. Google Trends will easily show you which search term will have the highest search volume compared to another. Google Trends will help you decide which long tail keyword is most commonly used in search.

Google your proposed focus keyword!

Apart from knowing which search terms are actually used by people, you need to know whether or not your idea for your post or page fits the needs and expectations of the people who use these search terms. The best way to find out whether or not your content meets their needs is to Google your proposed (sets of) keywords yourself.

Take the time to look at the first two result pages. Are the articles in the Google results of similar character to your article? Could your article fit the results shown in these search pages? If you decide to write your blog post or page, while optimizing for this exact focus keyword, you are aiming to get your post amongst these results.

For instance, when we wrote this post and Googled our chosen focus keyword, we saw we’d be competing with ourselves:

We also saw lots of questions on the WordPress forums, giving us all the more reason to write this post.

Note that we looked at the old post and decided it wasn’t good and complete enough, so we decided we would delete it and replace it with this one.

Be sure to use the content of the result pages as an inspiration for your blog post. Are there any useful ideas? We are NOT encouraging you to copy content, merely to see whether you perhaps missed some information or arguments for your own blog post. But more importantly: how can you make sure your post will stand out? In what way could your post be better, funnier, more original than the post presently displayed in the result pages? Try to come up with content that will make the audience click and share!

Should every page have a focus keyword?

People often ask us whether their about page or contact page should have a focus keyword, and, if so, what should it be?

The answer is easy: not every page needs a focus keyword. Your contact page should be easily reachable, it might, for instance, need to rank for “<company name> address.” That probably doesn’t make sense as a focus keyword though, and it’s perfectly fine to leave it empty.

Conclusion: picking a focus keyword is not easy

Choosing a perfect focus keyword is not an exact science. You should aim for a combination of words that are actually used by a search audience. Aim for a focus keyword that is relatively high in volume and one that will suit your audience.

7 keyword research mistakes you should avoid

  1. Not executing your keyword research correctly

Doing proper keyword research can be a tough, time-consuming process. So, perhaps you think that you don’t need to do it very extensively. You just instinctively know what your audience will search for, right? Do not make that mistake! Take some time to really dive into the language of your audience. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for?

The result of your keyword research should be an extensive list of keywords you would like to rank for. Make sure to update your keyword research list or sheet regularly. Your audience may change, as could your business focus and business needs. That has implications for your keyword strategy as well.

Read more: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »

  1. Aiming at unrealistic keywords

Make sure you aim for realistic keywords. Some niches are very competitive. Ranking in competitive niches is hard if you’re just starting your website or business. If you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t aim for the competitive ‘head’ keywords (yet). Instead, focus on long tail keywords (which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert).

For instance, if you start a blog about fitness, it will be too hard to start ranking for the term ‘fitness’. Find out which aspects of your blog are unique and try ranking for those terms. Perhaps you write about fitness exercises for retired people. Aiming to rank for ‘fitness for retired people’ could be a good strategy. In that case, you should also aim for ‘fitness for seniors’, ‘fitness for older adults’ and so on.

If you have been around in your niche for a little longer and you successfully rank for long tail keywords, you could aim to rank for more head terms as well. Ranking for competitive keywords should be part of a long-term successful keyword research strategy.

Keep reading: Why focus on long tail keywords? »

  1. Using irrelevant keywords

The keywords you aim to rank for should be the same words your customers use. Always try to use the language of your audience. Imagine yourself selling dresses for gala events. In your marketing, you refer to these dresses as ‘gala dresses’. However, people do not search for ‘gala dress’. They search for ‘gown’ or  ‘evening dress’. You won’t get much traffic for the search term ‘gala dress’ compared to the search terms ‘gown’ or ‘evening dress’.

  1. Not checking whether you should use singular or plural

Always check if you should target the plural or the singular form of a specific keyword. Should you aim to rank for ‘ballet shoe’ or for ‘ballet shoes’? Do people search for ‘holiday home’ or ‘holiday homes’? While Google has become better at recognizing that the plural and singular versions of a word are the same, the search result pages and the number of results are often still different. Always check whether you should use singular or plural with Google Trends. Also, think about the intent of people searching for your keyword. Someone looking for the singular version of a keyword may be looking for information, while someone looking for the plural version could be looking to compare products and/or buy something. In any case, whether you should use a singular or a plural depends on your specific keyword, so give that some thought.

Optimize for synonyms and related keywords and prevent broken pageson your site with Yoast SEO Premium! »

$89 – Buy now »

 Info

If you really don’t know whether to pick singular or plural, you may want to use the synonym feature in Yoast SEO premium. It allows you to add both the plural and the singular version of a keyword, so you can easily check that you’ve properly optimized for both options. Awesome, right?

 

  1. Aiming for keywords without traffic

Long tail keywords are a great way to start your keyword strategy. These words attract less traffic, but you’ll have a higher chance to convert your visitors into buyers or returning visitors. People that use specific terms, to search for exactly that thing you’re writing about, are just a very good match. However, if your keyword is too specific and doesn’t get any traffic, it won’t help your SEO. So make sure you aim for long tail keywords that actually bring in some traffic!

  1. Forgetting to evaluate

If you aim to rank for certain terms, make sure to check whether you succeed. You need to evaluate regularly if people actually find your articles. In order to do so, you should definitely google your proposed focus keyword every now and then. But be aware that your search results may be biased because Google has personalized search. So, use a private browser session, and check if your article turns up in the results. If you forget to evaluate, you won’t know whether you could aim for more competitive keywords or you should focus on long tail variants.

Read on: Adapting your content SEO strategy »

  1. Focusing on only one keyword per post

If you write a decent blog post, you could aim to rank for more than one search term. If you’re able to do that (without stretching it), you should definitely do so. For this blog post about keyword research mistakes, for instance, I am aiming to rank for ‘keyword research mistakes’ and ‘successful keyword research strategy’. Our Yoast SEO premium pluginhelps you to optimize your post for more than one focus keyword.

Conclusion: avoid these mistakes and have a successful keyword research strategy

Executing keyword research takes a lot of time. It’s important that you take that time and really think about the terms you want to rank for. Read Keyword research: the ultimate guide for lots of practical tips that’ll help you to set up a successful keyword research strategy. If you need more help, consider taking our keyword research training. It guides you through every step of the process, and there’s even the option to get personalized feedback.

Why I’m Still Blogging After 6 Years & Being Trolled

I started this blog turned something-maybe-slightly-bigger in July 2012. Most years around this time, I take a moment to reflect on why I blog as an academic and why others might want to as well. Past reasons—which I wrote about in 20132014, and 2017—still resonate with me. Blogging builds an audience of readers, collaborators, friends and fans, mentors and mentees. Blogging also builds bridges. Blogging helps my writing, especially if and when I feel stuck. It has opened doors I didn’t even know to knock. And it’s been fun, year after year.

This year, however, I have some different things to reflect on.

What does it mean to be a public scholar, to blog, and to share my work, perspective, and life, after being trolled quite unpleasantly, for weeks? (You can read more about that in my Nursing Clio essay, “I Was Trolled, Here’s Why I’m Turning It into a Teaching Opportunity.”) Seeing this happen to me has made some fellow scholars and friends even more hesitant to start blogging. To that I say, no. Now is the time more than ever to be public scholars and to be scholars in public. 

To begin, the outlets that picked up the story about my Feminist Media Studiesarticle, those who wrote the stories, and the folks who read them, commented on them, tweeted me, and emailed me, weren’t at all interested in who I am or what my research is actually about. All of that information is freely available and easy to find here on this site. So, blogging about my research did not invite or incite any of this vitriol.

Furthermore, my research could have been attacked even if I didn’t have an online presence, which would have left me with fewer avenues to claim, own, and drive the narrative of this situation as it unfolded. Similarly, because I already have an established online presence, a Brietbart article isn’t the first thing online searches return for my name.

A more important point, at least for me, was that being a public scholar meant I didn’t have to face this experience alone. People who I had never met or even spoken to before, who had been reading my work over the years, reached out to me with words of support at moments when I needed them, for which I’m unceasingly grateful. Without my online presence, I might not have had as many generous and kind folks on my side as this experience transpired.

But what made me most uncomfortable in all of this wasn’t the mean tweets or being called offensive names or having my happy corner of the Internet poisoned—perhaps forever, which I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with. It was the sustained antagonistic sentiment against social scientists, humanists, and feminists; against scholars, academics, and professors; against the academy and higher education.

I know that I’ll likely never convince some (or maybe even very many) folks, but I also hear and see and acknowledge that there’s a lot of confusion about what academics do and why it matters. That’s part of the reason why I share publicly some of what I’m working on in the classroom with my students, like teaching with cookbooksdesigning dietary guidelinesdefining American food, or writing on food, gender, and popular culture. It’s why I’ve blogged about how my Instagram is full of visual representations of what my work life of research, writing and revision, class prep, conferences, etc. (etc.!) looks and feels like. It’s why I blog my research publications to make them more accessible, so they’re not just behind a paywall or too full of jargon.

Sure, part of me is utterly heartbroken that I’m starting my academic career at a time when my professional field is widely misunderstood, attacked, and maligned. But for me that’s all the more reason to stand up for what and who I believe in, to weather the storm(s)—(with help and support!), to not stay silent, and to be a public scholar with all the grace, resilience, and empathy I can muster.

 

Why Emily Contois Is Still Blogging After Six Years

blogging anniversary is typically a happy event: an opportunity to celebrate all the things you’ve shared with the world in the previous year, the connections you’ve made with your far-flung readers, and the new skills and knowledge you’ve gained. For food scholar Emily Contois, the sixth blogiversary was a bittersweet one.

As she recounts in a recent post, blogging has been instrumental to her work as an emerging academic.

Ready to take your site to the next level? Get a custom domain, live chat support, and much more with a WordPress.com plan.

Blogging builds an audience of readers, collaborators, friends and fans, mentors and mentees. Blogging also builds bridges. Blogging helps my writing, especially if and when I feel stuck. It has opened doors I didn’t even know to knock. And it’s been fun, year after year.

Earlier this summer, an article Emily published in a media studies journal has been met with intensive trolling and harassment on her various online accounts — which made her reevaluate her visible web presence.

This year, however, I have some different things to reflect on.

What does it mean to be a public scholar, to blog, and to share my work, perspective, and life, after being trolled quite unpleasantly, for weeks?

While the trolling Emily Contois experienced took place elsewhere on the web, if you ever encounter unwanted comments on your blog, consider these options.

Emily has expanded on the experience of being the victim of trolling at Nursing Clio, another blog she contributes to. On her own blog, she goes on to explain why she came out of this experience more determined than ever not to let others silence her.

Seeing this happen to me has made some fellow scholars and friends even more hesitant to start blogging. To that I say, no. Now is the time more than ever to be public scholars and to be scholars in public.

Sure, part of me is utterly heartbroken that I’m starting my academic career at a time when my professional field is widely misunderstood, attacked, and maligned. But for me that’s all the more reason to stand up for what and who I believe in, to weather the storm(s)—(with help and support!), to not stay silent, and to be a public scholar with all the grace, resilience, and empathy I can muster.

Read the rest of the post

Have you ever faced similar — or other — challenges while blogging and sharing your thoughts online? How did you respond, and has your online presence changed as a result? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

 

How to Use Keywords in Your Blog Posts

One of the biggest sources of traffic to your blog will be search engines, particularly Google. You can boost the traffic that comes to your blogs from search engines by implementing search engine optimization (SEO) tricks into your blog layout and writing. You can get started by doing some keyword research and determining which keywords are likely to drive the most traffic to your blog. Then focus on incorporating those keywords into your blog posts using the tricks below.

 

Use Keywords in Blog Post Titles

One of the best ways to incorporate keywords into your blog posts is to use them in your blog post titles. However, don’t sacrifice a title’s ability to motivate people to click through and read your entire blog post. Learn ​tips to write great blog post titles.

Use Just One or Two Keyword Phrases per Blog Post

To maximize the traffic that comes to your blog via search engines, focus on optimizing each of your blog posts for just one or two keyword phrases. Too many keyword phrases dilute the content of your post for readers and can look like spam to both readers and search engines. You can learn more about using specific keywords to maximize search traffic by reading about long tail search engine optimization.

Use Keywords Throughout Your Blog Posts

Try to use your keywords (without keyword stuffing) multiple times in your blog post. For best results, use your keywords within the first 200 characters of your blog post, several times throughout your post, and near the end of the post. Take some time to learn more about keyword stuffing and other search engine optimization don’ts.

Use Keywords in and Around Links

Search engine optimization experts believe that search engines like Google place more weight on linked text than unlinked text when ranking search engine results. Therefore, it’s a good idea to include your keywords in or next to the links within your blog posts when it’s relevant to do so. Be sure to read about how many links are too many for SEO before you start adding links to your posts.

Use Keywords in Image Alt-Tags

When you upload an image to your blog to use in your blog post, you usually have the option of adding alternate text for that image which appears if a visitor cannot load or see your images in their Web browsers. However, this alternate text can also help your search engine optimization efforts. That’s because the alternate text appears within the HTML of your blog post content as something called an Alt-tag. Google and other search engines crawl that tag and use it in providing results for keyword searches. Take the time to add keywords that are relevant to the image and post in the Alt-tag for each image you upload and publish on your blog.

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Keywords and Where to Put Them To Rank in Search Engines

Lack of well-chosen keywords and phrases on your Web site is a truly terrible mistake to make, as search engine spiders depend on these to find your site; as well as search engine users. If you have not targeted specific and precise keywords for your website, then you will not be easily found. Period.

Lack of Targeted Keywords Equals Lack of Traffic

For example, if you sell used art textbooks and just insert the non-specific word “book” into your Meta tagsand site content, guess what? Not only will you probably not show up in at least the first fifteen pages of search results, but users that actually find your site by some quirk of fate will most likely turn around and leave as soon as they get there (unless, again, by some quirk of fate, they are looking for used art textbooks. Not gonna happen.).

Keyword Tools

So how do you figure out these keywords and phrases? Here are a couple of great keyword tools that can help you do this:

  • Digital Tracker Keyword Suggestion: Digital Tracker is absolutely invaluable. I use this every day.
  • Free Keyword Suggestion Tool: Displays how many times a certain keyword was searched for in a given month. Shows all related searches for the entered keyword.
  • Google Keyword Tool: “The Keyword Tool generates potential keywords for your ad campaigns and reports their Google statistics, including search performance and seasonal trends.”

All of these keyword tools can help you get a clear idea of what people are actually searching for, and then you can use those words within your site copy and structure to attract more people to your site. It’s all about providing the better user experience – if people can’t find your site, no matter how great your service or site is, you’re not providing that good user experience.

Where To Put Keywords

Now that you’ve got your basic keyword research started, you need to know where to put these keywords on your Web site.

  • Title Tag: The title tag is a great place to use your keyword phrases. The title tag consists of those words you see at the top of your browser window in the blue space, and it is what search engines grab for the title display in their search results; so obviously, it’s an important part of your search engine optimization strategy. Here’s an example: [Keyword Phrase] – How To [Keyword Phrase 2].
  • Headline: Most people who read on the Web scan Web pages quickly. This is why headlines are so important – they give your reader a chance to get what they need fast with a minimum of fuss (again, back to that great user experience). Use your keyword phrase again in the headline: How To [Keyword Phrase].
  • Content: Now you need to write your keyword phrases into your site content. This is where it can get tricky because it’s easy to just write that keyword phrase where ever that keyword phrase might fit into where the keyword phrase could go (see what I mean? sounds terrible!). Be natural about it – easier than it sounds, but with practice, you’ll get it.

Keywords Increase Web Site Traffic

No doubt about it – if you’re able to place well-researched keyword phrases into your site content and structure, you will attract more searchers to your site, and provide a better user experience because they will be able to find what they are looking for. More than anything else – high rankings, increased traffic, etc. – the top goal should be to provide the best user experience for every single person that comes to your site, and making sure your keyword phrases serve their needs is a big part of that.

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Learn the Right Way to Choose Good Keywords for Your Site

Choosing the right keywords and phrases for your website is an important part of search engine optimization(SEO). When you understand the basics of effective keyword choice, you increase your site’s visibility to search engines and searchers alike. The right keywords draw interested viewers to your website; the wrong keywords don’t do anything at all.

Focus Keywords on Your Site’s Audience

Don’t rush through the important task of choosing keywords for your website. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Think about your target audience and the primary focus of your website. Your audience is looking for your website. The right keywords help them find it.
  • Jot down a list of words and phrases that you think people might type into search engines when looking for your site. Don’t worry about being perfect: Just be creative. If you are drawing a blank, use a keyword search tool such as Google Adwords or Keyword Tool.
  • Each page on your site should have one to three related keyword phrases that are site-specific. For example, say you have a page all about coffee mugs. Good phrases to target on this page are coffee mugs, ceramic coffee mugs, or unique coffee mugs. They’re all related, and they’re all pointing at the same general content on the page.
  • Use your keywords throughout your site copy—where they make sense—as well as in your title tag and meta tags. Don’t go overboard and insert keywords every other word, because this is unethical SEO.
  • If there are unusual words associated with your site’s content that you think people might search for—or any frequent misspellings—include them, but sparingly.

It takes a while to get the hang of finding the keywords that work, but once you master this skill, you’ll see how the right keywords can benefit your site.

Don’t Make These Keyword Mistakes

As you consider possible keywords, keep a few warnings in mind.

  • Avoid single-word terms. Most single word keywords—such as writer—are too competitive. Two- and three-word keyword phrases are more likely to draw the right viewers to your website.
  • Avoid keyword phrases that are too specific. Where the term writer is to too broad, the phrase freelance tech writer in new orleans is too specific. Few searchers type in a search term that is that specific.
  • Avoid broad terms. Broad terms aren’t limited to single word keywords. A two-word keyword can also be too broad to be effective. Take high school, for example. This keyword phrase would return pages of results. Modify that to nashville high schools or high school for the arts and the results are much more focused.
  • Avoid highly competitive keywords. If the web is saturated with sites that use the same keywords as you’d like to use for your own site, accept the fact that you might not compete well. You can still use them, but also select keywords that focus on your specific site.
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How to find the best keywords for your website?

Keywords:

Keywords are basically the topics which define what your content is. It is what searchers enter into the search engine to look out for something. These questions are also called as “search queries”. If you want to get noticed on the web, you need to spend a lot of time researching the perfect keywords.

What exactly is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a long process and you have to be patient and on your toes at all times. In this post, I will be explaining the process of researching keywords for your new website. If you already own a website with a decent number of visitors, and you want to scale it, it is a completely different process which I will be covering soon.

I am going to list down an example strategy which has benefitted me a lot previously.

Step 1: Thinking from a visitor’s point of view

This is the first and the most important step in your research process. A lot of people want quick results and they forget to take their time doing the required research.

Let us consider that we are starting an Online Apparel Store which specializes in t-shirts related to sports. So of course, you will think that is easy and put in the most common terms that YOU can think of. So let me just present you with a fact :

Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

 

So did you think you thought of even 1% of the possibilities? I am probably guessing no.

This is the mistake everyone makes, you need to do your research before deciding on your keywords.

You have to think about broader categories first before you start off, so in this case of a sports-themed apparel store..you might think about general broader categories like “Virat Kohli T-shirts”, “Ronaldo T-shirts”, “football t-shirts”, you get the point.

Now the next step is asking yourself questions about these broader categories.

Step 2: Narrow down the broader categories

Now that you have a few broader categories listed down, start thinking what people would type in while they are searching for t-shirts. I recommend keeping a spreadsheet ready for this purpose, you are going to have to add more details like Click-through-rate(CTR), Bounce Rate and it is great if you can have it in one place and look at all details at a glance! So let us take football t-shirts category, what questions can you come up with?

Best football t-shirts

Best football t-shirts in Delhi (Always think locally first especially if you have a physical store, do not miss out on the benefits of local SEO!)

  • Cristiano Ronaldo t-shirts
  • Best football quotes (provided you have those in your store)
  • And so on, the possibilities are endless depending on what you have in store 🙂
  • You are not done yet, you have just listed all the possibilities, you still have to find the best ones!

Step 3: Research related search queries

Take help from Google itself to come up with more related queries that people search for. Use these keywords to help you find what is trending in that niche!

See! Easy! You got some free suggestions from Google!

Step 4: Find LSI or long-tail keywords

LSI keywords are Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords. That means they are semantically related to your desired keyword. And that does NOT mean they are synonyms.

Let us take an example:

  • Tesla was an engineer who was credited with discovering the alternating current.
  • Tesla is also an electric car manufacturing company
  • So the way Google distinguishes these searches is using LSI keywords.

I found this example somewhere which describes LSI keywords in the best way

LSI keywords are words that are frequently found together which give the search engine an idea of what the context of the content is!

For example, let us say that your blog is about cars :

So now it can be about :

  • Cars – vehicles
  • Cars- The movie
  • Cars- A music band
  • In this case, Google will be looking at LSI keywords on your page to index your content.
  • If it finds the words: ‘vehicle’, ‘buy’,’sell’,’repair’,’model’..etc..your page is probably about vehicles
  • If it finds the words: ‘film’, ‘movie’, ‘Disney’ etc..your page is about the movies!
  • If it finds the words: ‘music’, ‘band’ etc..your page is about the music band.

Step 5: Use Keyword tools like SEMRush or any other tool you prefer

Now that you have a set of keywords ready for use, it is time to analyze the statistics for the keywords. I personally recommend SEMRush which has provided me with the most in-depth data about my keywords. You can download their reports and look for the keywords with most search volume(highest amount of queries), best CTR(click through rate), optimal bounce rate and many more parameters.

I will be writing an article specifically on this later as the explanation will be pretty long!

Check out my blog here for more SEO tips and tricks:  Make Your Lists

That is it for now! Stay tuned!

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