How To Choose Keywords for Search Engine Optimization

Of course you have a website for your business, right? How else will you compete with other businesses if you’re not on the web? But the prettiest and most impressive website won’t mean a darn thing if prospective customers can’t find it!

Search Engine Optimization is neither quick nor easy. Google keeps tweaking and perfecting their algorithms for SEO. Why? Because they want to provide searchers with the best and most relevant results possible. That means that we business owners must keep up with the trend as well.

Keywords that Work for Your Business

Keywords are the search terms that people enter into Google, Bing or other search engines to find information on the internet. Having the right keywords is key to getting the search engines’ attention.

When selecting the keywords you want to use, you need to remember what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. The demographics of your target audience are factors in keyword selection. For example, if you are selling to 20-something single women living on the west coast, the keywords will be very different than if your target audience consists of retired widowers residing in Florida.

Sometimes it helps to create customer personas that represent your ideal audience. This “typical customer” and the personality you identify will help you to better market to that type of person. Creating buyer personas is based on the motivations and pain points of your typical customer. When you understand what they need and want, it makes creating a keyword list a bit easier.

Avoid using industry jargon and terms that the typical consumer won’t understand or ever use to search for your product or service. For example, if you install security systems, a keyword phrase like “Ultra High Definition NVR” would not be a very good choice. How many people not in the security installation business even know what that means? Instead, “security cameras” or “wireless security system” would more likely be a phrase used by people trying to find your product.

Long Tail Keywords

When customers know exactly what they want to buy, they will likely use a highly specific search phrase. Those phrases are referred to as “long tail keywords”, which is SEO terminology for multiple word keyword phrases that are very, very specific to whatever you are selling. Long tail keywords are the search queries with very low individual search volume, but an enormous total search demand as a group.

Let’s say you sell furniture. If you use the keyword “furniture”, you will probably not show up in the top search results, as there are likely many furniture stores in your area. That keyword is very competitive and, especially if you are a smaller or newer company, it won’t do you much good in the way of SEO.

Instead, if you sell a certain niche of furniture, or certain brands or types, you can combine those attributes into keyword phrases to narrow down the playing field. So your long tail keyword could be something like, “Broyhill oak dining room chairs” or something more specific to your brand or selection. If your website is optimized for those brands, types and selections, you’ll get people to your site who are more apt to buy since they found exactly what they’re searching for.

You can optimize for these long tail keywords by including them in your web copy and writing blogs about them. Of course, don’t just shove them in repetitively; you don’t want it to appear monotonous to the reader or have the search engine consider it as “spammy” and you do not want poor grammar on your website either . You can say the same thing in different ways, which will still get your point across and help your SEO.

Because Google can now semantically understand the correlation and relationship of words on a page, you no longer need to use the exact same keyword phrase over and over in multiple places to get noticed by them. Synonyms and similar ways of expressing the same thing will provide the same ROI on SEO.

Know Your Keywords Competition

If you want to rank higher in organic search results, long-tail keywords will definitely help. But they are potentially even more valuable for advertisers running paid search marketing campaigns. That’s because when you bid on long-tailed keywords, the cost per click is inevitably lower, since there’s less competition.

You need to know what keywords and phrases your competitors are using and how they rank both positively and negatively. Both rankings can provide input into your SEO keyword strategy.

One method of doing this research is via the “allintitle: keyword” search command, which will give you a more specific explanation of the number of pages that are also optimized for that keyword.

When you invoke this search command, you will receive results showing the number of pages with that exact keyword or phrase in their Title Tag, which is an HTML title element that is important to SEO.  You can determine how many other sites are using the keywords. The more you find, the more difficult it can be to get your site ranked in the top of the rankings by using those same keyword phrases.

There are many other SEO tools out there that will tell you how competitive a keyword or phrase is, some of which are shown below:

Knowing what keywords and phrases your competitors are using allows you to:

  • steal your competitor’s keywords to compete for rankings in the same search results;
  • discover and target keywords that are not being used by competitors;
  • uncover broad terms used in searches by your target customers that you hadn’t thought of yourself; and
  • find out why your competitor’s website ranks above yours for broad keywords.

Creating an effective SEO strategy tailored to your specific business product or service can be complex and time-consuming. However, it is critical for getting you found by your target audience.


About the Author

nina radetichNina Radetich, Founder & President of Radetich Marketing & Media, is a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant  and a Las Vegas SEO for Growth Certified SEO Consultant and a .  Radetich Marketing & Media is a Las Vegas marketing consulting firm focused on solving the mystery of marketing for small to medium sized businesses by helping them gain exposure online through a powerful marketing system.



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