The internet is a treasure trove of information. Searchers search the net for a variety of purposes, while the websites use the net to become visible, available and known to the searchers.
When a searcher types his query in the search box he tries to translate the ideas in his mind, his thoughts and his requirements into words. A search engine reads this search query and based on it shows search results.
I) What are keywords
Keywords are thoughts put into words. Keywords are the words that best indicate your website content or what your website offers. Basically, your keywords are the words that searchers might actually use in a search query or what search engines think the searchers intended to search for.
An example –ABC gifts is an online supplier of gift articles. It can use keywords like birthday gifts, gift, gifts for men, gifts for girls and so on. Simply put, a search engine reads the search query and shows search engine result pages (SERPs) based on the keywords.
II) Understanding the target audience
To get people to your website you need a high ranking on SERPs. In order to get a high ranking, you need to identify who needs the products or services you offer, in what way will they try to search you, which words will they use in their search queries.
Understanding searchers’ psychology helps websites to incorporate apt and suitable keywords on their web pages. The more relevant your keywords and content are to the users’ intent, the higher your ranking in SERPs.
III) Brainstorming keywords
Brainstorming is an appropriate first step for choosing your keywords. You have to compile a big list of possibilities. Consider these points while brainstorming keywords. Asking these questions is quite helpful.
a) Natural Language – Which words will a person use to find a particular product or service.
b) Customer Mindset – How do people regularly talk about the products or services your website offers.
c) Industry Jargon – What do experts call your product or service.
Write down whatever you think could become your major keywords. Ask your friends, relatives, associates, employees and co-workers. Ask your sales team which words customers use while talking with them. This goes a long way in understanding customer psychology.
A simple mind map or a tree diagram can help you with new topics and concepts that relate to your site. The diagram below gives you a clue about how to brainstorm an authentic list of keywords.
IV) Long-tailed keywords
The advancement of technology and the use of smartphones has ushered in an era where searchers have become more articulate in typing their search queries. As against single word, queries comprising three or more words known as long-tailed queries are very common today, hence it is extremely important for websites to use keyword phrases in their content.
These keyword phrases are created by using qualifiers at the beginning or at the end of the main keyword, for example, instead of T-shirts use the keyword phrase ‘Painted T-shirts for women’. These keyword phrases also are known as long-tailed keywords being quite specific have low traffic but high conversion rate.
A generic keyword like T-shirt may have a huge traffic volume but traffic alone is not important. You want quality traffic. You want searchers not only to look at your site but also to buy from you.
The graph represents search queries on the X-axis and the search volume on the Y-axis. The search queries that have high potential traffic appears at the left end of the graph followed by less frequently used search queries. The potential traffic drops off in what looks like a long tail when you move to the right
V) Balancing keywords
Keyword listing is a balancing act. There are high traffic and high conversion keywords. Generic and broad keywords attract a lot of traffic but it is not so qualitative. Most of the searchers who click your site may immediately hit the back button because your site does not offer what they want.
In contrast, specific keywords and keyword phrases draw limited traffic but bring high conversion because searchers typing specific queries are very clear about what they want. As a site owner you want both ROI (Return on Investment) and high traffic, so be smart while planning your keyword research.
There are a number of useful tools to help you in your keyword research and planning. These tools save a lot of time and provide valuable data about different Q & A searchers use for particular products/services.
These tools give a long list of broad and specific keywords for your root keyword. They prove valuable in evaluating regional and seasonal variations, studying trends and volume of keyword and much more. Some of the most popular and widely used keyword tools are
Google keyword planner
Moz keyword explorer
Thoroughly understand how searchers will search for the products/services you offer. Find out which words, phrases will they use. This knowledge will help you to use the right keywords on your webpages.
Use a variety of techniques to create an authentic list of keywords. Brainstorm keywords, use Thesaurus and other resources.
Adopt a balanced approach while choosing keywords. Aim not only for higher traffic but also for higher conversion.
It is now very clear that keywords play a vital role in SEO, hence you need to canalize your time, efforts and energy towards in-depth keyword planning and research in order to get the highest SEO rankings.