Keywords are a crucial part of any effective content marketing strategy. But figuring out which keywords to use and how to seamlessly and organically incorporate them into your on-page SEO can feel overwhelming, even for a savvy marketer.
We’ve got you! This post will cover the basics and best practices for planning and optimizing your SEO inbound marketing.
Why Are Keywords Important?
To understand the importance of keywords, we need to understand how they are used. Keywords are how people look for everything in this digital world. Users expect to put a few words or a phrase into a search box and then get results that reflect exactly what they were looking for.
If the results don’t meet their expectations, they will adjust their search terms and try again. Google realizes this about its users and has continuously updated the algorithm to stay the No. 1 search engine. Not only is Google looking for specific keywords in titles or descriptions, it quickly crawls a site to evaluate the content to ensure the results fit the bill.
Google has also recently started to evaluate the user and how the user intends to use search terms and results. Are people looking for news or opinion articles? Are they looking to find a local brick and mortar shop, or are they doing online shopping? Are they looking to consult an expert?
Keywords play into every aspect of the way artificial intelligence (AI) evaluates a site to determine if it deserves to be on top of a SERP (search engine results page).
Understanding the way Google and users view keywords is critical, as SEO is foundational to the success of your business. Why? For starters, it helps nurture potential buyers and positions you as an expert in your field.
And the numbers don’t lie: SEO is responsible for 51% of your website’s traffic, and it generates a whopping 40% of revenue. That means it leaves paid search, social and other traffic sources in the dust. Bottom line, if you don’t invest in your SEO, your potential customers may never even know of your existence.
Let’s look at how you should go about deciding how to do keyword research for content marketing.
How to Do Keyword Research for Content Marketing
Fortunately, there are a number of professional SEO services, such as Ahrefs and SEMrush, that will help you narrow down the best search words that align with your topic. Google is also a great research tool because you are getting information right from the source. The truth is, you really can’t have too many tools at your disposal.
To get the most out of these tools, however, you’ll still need to know what to look for as you get started. First ask yourself: What searches do I want this page to show up for in the SERPs? Begin your research by entering your best guesses to that question, then explore related words or phrases for more ideas.
The tool will return a list of search terms related to your input, along with the monthly search volume and intent. This will enable you to gauge which words and phrases have the best reach, and also help you think about other areas of opportunity related to your topic.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to write a blog post about false eyelashes for an online cosmetic subscription business. You’d begin by entering “false eyelashes” in an SEO search tool.
From there, you might discover that “how to apply false eyelashes” and “how to remove false eyelashes” are top search terms. This can help you narrow your topic and shape your blog post into something that users are actively searching for.
As you do your research, you should know the difference between broad phrase and long tail keywords. In the previous example, “false eyelashes” is a broad phrase, while “how to apply false eyelashes” and “how to remove false eyelashes” are long tails.
A broad phrase is just two to three words, and it’s generally harder to rank for, as these short phrases have more competition. Long tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific. Strategically combining broad and long tail keywords related to your topic can help your page rank.
How to Integrate Keywords Into Your Content
If you’ve done your research, your keywords should relate to your topic. If they don’t, both Google and your audience will definitely notice. But choosing the right keywords is only half the SEO battle. You also must integrate them seamlessly into your content so that you provide value to your audience.
Before you dive into writing, ask yourself: What are you promoting and why will the reader care? How will this content satisfy the intent they had when they searched for this information?
Strive to engage your readers, and think about telling a story rather than reciting a list of dry facts. And whatever you do, do not engage in keyword stuffing. Even if you’ve never heard the term, you’ve no doubt seen articles and posts that have been stuffed with keywords, and you probably stopped reading them within a paragraph or two.
That’s because keyword stuffing overloads the copy with search terms, and comes off as clunky, awkward and inorganic. It will also sink your SEO, because Google considers it to be a form of spam.
Using the false eyelashes example, here’s an example of what this might look like:
See how clunky that is? Clearly, that’s not the way to go.
That said, you should use your main keyword in the title of your post and within the first couple hundred words, because Google places greater weight on the beginning of a post or article. As a general rule, don’t include more than two or three keywords for every page of content.
Ensure your content provides value and offers meaningful solutions. To check yourself, it’s always a good idea to read your copy out loud to make sure it feels natural and seamless. And everyone can benefit from a second pair of eyes, so if you can, have someone else read your copy as well.
If you’re still unsure about how to get started, or just want to reap the benefits of guidance from a professional SEO agency, give us a call and see how we can help you create useful, engaging content to attract and retain users.