How to find the best keywords for SEO?
You’re writing amazing content on your blog. It’s full of great tips and super useful information for your readers. But your keywords for SEO (search engine optimization), just aren’t getting you the traffic, you feel your blog deserves. How can you really optimize the keywords to ensure the best volume of targeted traffic is finding your blog site?
Things have moved on since the early days. Back then just cramming a huge list of keywords into your website could be sufficient for search engines to take your site to the top of the listings. Today this would actually be very detrimental, as search engines are a lot smarter than they used to be. If you use the keyword stuffing strategy to try and gain higher rankings, not only will it make your content pretty awful to read, but it will cause the search engines to penalize you, driving your site into obscurity. It’s far better to focus on a small number of niche keywords or phrases, a maximum of 5 (less is actually preferable).
Today’s market is so competitive that just using generic keywords won’t get you ranked high enough to be found by your target audience, quite simply there is just too much competition. The key to optimizing keywords is all about being highly specific and really dialing down into your niche. By doing this you can use keywords and phrases that are searched by your target audience but are not being used by all of your competitors.
Optimization Tools for Keyword SEO
Many people think by using a keyword optimization tool that they’ve got their essential keywords covered, wrong. If you’re only using broad term keywords these tools only give you other closely matched keywords that are also too generic to have any effect on your page rankings.
Let’s take a look at an example. Imagine your blog was about playing golf, but specifically about ways to improve your game, golf instruction. What keywords and phrases would you use? Golf, golf instruction, golf game, improve golf, learn golf. How much of the competition do you imagine are using these same words? Let’s try punching “Golf” into a keyword optimization tool and see what happens.
As you can see, the results are very broad and too unspecific to be of any help.
Finding your niche for keyword research
Now think a little more laterally. Here’s a list of sentences you might use to find a golfing blog about improving your game.
- Lower your golf handicap
- Improve your putting
- Getting out of bunkers
- Increase your driver distance
- Improve your golf swing
As you can see these are now a lot more specific and have been narrowed down to smaller niche topics.
There are other ways to find niches too try building a reader profile like this:
- Age range: 25 to 65
- Gender: Male or Female
- Income: $40,000 upwards
- Interests & Hobbies: Making money, golf, cars, socializing, holidays, travel
- Aims & Aspirations: To have more free time to enjoy life, to travel more
- What they want help with: Improving their golf, finding ways to free their time
You could make your criteria more detailed if you like, but already from this profile, you can identify areas that may not have been previously apparent. For example, golfing holidays to improve your game.
To find the best keywords for SEO, look for forums that are relevant to your main keywords, in our example “Golf Instruction”. If you look at their individual board listings you’ll be able to see that they are broken down into many different sub-categories. These sub-categories can be used to identify more niches for you to use.
In this example, niches on golf training aids, golf rules and etiquette and fitness can be identified. By looking through the conversations you can niche it down even further.
Tools and Plugins for Keyword Research
By now you should be able to gather a pretty good list of your niche keywords and phrases. This is the time to use those keyword research tools and plugins because with a narrowed niche they will be far more beneficial. There are lots of websites, plugins, and tools you can use.
For example, Market Samurai keyword analysis tool helps you to:
- Monitor your Google, Yahoo and Bing rankings
- Highlight the least competitive search engine results page (SERP), markets
- Add easy links
- Find which affiliate offers are the most profitable
- Automates manual tasks, saving you time and money
Yoast SEO plugin is another one, it helps you with SEO and is a simple plugin for WordPress sites.
WordStream and Google’s own Keyword Planner, can be found as part of Google AdWords.
Different Keywords’ Types
Generic (usually) single words that everyone uses. In line with our example, these would be terms such as golf, tuition, instruction, practice etc. These kinds of terms are too broad to be effective in finding your blog site effectively on their own because all your competitors are using them too.
Body or Short Tail Keywords
These are typically 2 or 3 words or phrases and are more targeted at your niche than head keywords for SEO alone. They can often still be insufficient as they will still be used by the majority of your competition.
This is where you can start pulling ahead of your competitors. Long tail keywords for SEO consist of complete phrases that are niche specific. For example:
- Improve my golf swing
- Lowering your golf handicap
- Improve putting accuracy on the golf green
Despite having fewer searches made on these type of long-tail keywords, together, these niche keywords will provide better quality hits from searches being made and will figure your site a lot higher on page rankings.
We recommend using a combination of strong body keywords and some well thought out targeted niche long tail keywords, which flow naturally through your text.
Ensure the keywords appear in the page title URL of your blog post and within the first 65 characters of your headline to influence SEO. After that just keep the use of keywords balanced throughout your post in a natural fluid way.
You may also read more about head and long-tail keywords from this article that analyzes the profitability, impressions, clicks, and conversions of both.
SEO for Mobile Devices
Mobile phone users are now the biggest searchers on the internet. For this reason, it’s become an important criterion to ensure your blog is optimized for mobile devices or it will not do well in SEO.
Make sure your metadata description (the snippet of information that appears just below each link when you’re looking at a list of search results SERPs), is carefully worded to give an accurate description of your content. Metadata should be relevant, engaging and include your long tail keywords.
SEO for Images
All images used on your blog must also be optimized. Good blogs contain images that help tell the story and compliment the reader’s overall experience. Search engines look at your image file type, the alt text, and the image file name. To optimize these, you should:
- Only use recognized image files – JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, SVG and WebP.
- Use descriptive words for your image filenames. Rather than 1494876.jpg spell it out, “A-boy-learning-to-play-golf.jpg”.
- As with file names, the alt text should be even more descriptive. The alt text will be shown if the image file is not visible. For the same picture, you could further elaborate on the image “Teenage boy learning how to putt a golf ball”.
- If possible add an images sitemap to your site. This enables search engines to find pages they may otherwise not see.
- File size is one thing you don’t need to worry about when it comes to SEO. Any image file size is fine. You still need to use common sense here, too small a file will make thumbnails difficult to see, while very large files will slow your pages loading times.
- Don’t include any important text in image files. Not all users can see image files, so they won’t see that content. Any text embedded in images also won’t count towards your SEO.
- When linking images to your site, you have control of the anchor text. Use this to your advantage by ensuring it’s relevant, descriptive and useful.
- Safeguard your images in some way (watermarking). You don’t want someone else copying your image and using it on their own site! If their page is optimized better than yours, it will be higher in the page rankings.
- Only use your own, licensed, or copy write free images.
Keywords for Blog Topic Names
Try to keep blog topic names/tags as individual as possible. If they are too similar it can lower your page rankings. This is because search engines will view them as duplicate content.
Keywords in Web Page Names
Try to give your individual web pages names that make it easy for visitors to navigate your site and intuitively know exactly what they will see on each page. For example, http://myblog.com/shop and then any subpages that fit below should be treated similarly http://myblog.com/shop/books/how-to-write-an-ebook.
Internal Links for SEO
Using internal links within your site can also be helpful. If your blog references something you have written about previously in another blog or e-book you should link it.
If your website has analytical reporting (and it absolutely should), you can use it to see which keywords people are using to find your site.
Do keep in mind that no site is ever going to land immediately at the number one spot. It takes time, patience and hard work to achieve a good ranking. The best way to get there is to publish new blog posts frequently and follow the steps laid out here for each and every one.
Now it’s time to give it all a go for yourself, but if you are still not sure or don’t have the time for proper keyword research for SEO, contact our team to get a quote on our keyword research and other SEO services.