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Keywords are a crucial part of your SEO and online visibility. Your keyword research has to be done carefully so you can rank in the first search engine results pages (SERP).
Among several criteria, search engines partly index web pages according to the keywords that have been included. The objective is that the pages that appear first in the search results are the most relevant for the internet user. This is why you need to work on your keywords and their integration in your pages to benefit from the best possible SEO. However, your web page will not appear at the top of the search results simply by repeating a keyword many times, you have to proceed methodically. The experts at our Montreal web agency can help you in this quest.
We previously revealed 10 free tools to make your keyword research easier. Here is more information on how to choose the best keywords.
- How to choose the right keywords for your SEO
- Step 1: What is your website about?
- Step 2: Understanding users to find relevant keywords
- Step 3: Capturing search intent to determine keywords
- Step 4: Study the competition to find the right keywords
- Step 5: Long tail, a solution for choosing more relevant keywords?
- How to choose your keywords for SEO
What is a keyword?
A keyword is defined as a word, or sequence of words, that an internet user will enter on a search engine to collect information, search for a product or content on a commercial or editorial site. Simply put, keywords are the words you type in the search bar to access web pages on Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine.
A keyword can be positioned in various places on your web pages. For example, they can be found in your body text, heading tags, or pictures using ALT tags.
Why does it matter which keywords you rank for?
Keywords give Google clues. The search engine can understand the key information of your website, its theme, the services or products offered, your location…
If the keywords you are ranking on are not related to your content, or if they are too general, your web pages may not be correctly identified by Google and the search engine may have trouble understanding what you do. As a result, it will be much more complicated to appear at the top of search results. Remember that 91.5% of clicks are on the first page of Google, and most are on the first 3 search results.
Get a paper and pen and determine your pages’ themes, main topics covered, technical terms used… Highlight the key points addressed by your company.
Our SEO experts always start by defining the target keywords. These are the first words that come to mind when we want to rank a page. For example, for the article you are reading, we immediately thought of the word “how to choose keywords for seo“. It quickly became our target keyword.
Our agency, My Little Big Web, offers website design services. As you can see in the image above, we inserted keywords around this service. To do so, we decided to position our web design service page on carefully chosen keywords, always keeping in mind the nature of the service we offer.
Step 2: Understand the internet user to find the right keywords
To refine your choice of keywords, you need to understand the user. As a specialist, you are probably used to using certain words and expressions that will very quickly end up in your list of potential keywords.
However, are these words used by your target audience?
If your target is made up of professionals (B2B) it is clear that the queries made on search engines will be very different from a target of individuals (B2C). An internet user new to the health sector will talk about “scanner” and not “CT scan”. If you are selling scanners for hospitals, perhaps choosing the keyword “CT scan” is more relevant.
Understanding your target audience is therefore essential to grasp their way of speaking, the words they can use and therefore their way of entering information on search engines. To get a clear idea, determine a Buyer Persona. It is a reminder that will help you with your SEO but also for your entire marketing strategy. It is a synthetic representation of your customers. You can find their ages, socio-professional categories, expectations, preferences, social habits… You can create a free Buyer Persona on some platforms, like HubSpot.
The choice of one (or more) keyword(s) is important and it is more a matter of understanding the internet user’s needs than an internal research of your needs as a company.
Therefore, analyze and put yourself in the place of your target audience. Ranking your entire website on irrelevant keywords can be as tragic as the sale of Purple Heinz Ketchup or clear Pepsi (which both existed briefly).
Understanding internet users will give you a better understand of their search intents. Google has determined 4 types of search intents which they call Micro Moments:
- I want to know moments
- I want to go moments
- I want to do moments
- I want to buy moments
When analyzing your list of keywords, you also need to identify your visitors’ search intent the goal sought by the visitors. The fact that the keyword is relevant is not enough, the person using it has to be ready to achieve what you expect from them (subscribe to your newsletter, buy your product etc).
You offer your services as a web editor for other websites. Although the keyword “writer” is relevant, it is far too general to guarantee that you will appear at the top of the search results:
You should also exclude all combinations of keywords unrelated to what you are offering: “Become a Professional Writer”, “Writer Job Search”, “What is a Writer”, for increased quality of the traffic you receive.
Choosing your keywords is also a question of details. Certain things require special attention. For example, should you choose a singular or plural keyword? The question is not what YOU would choose, but rather what your audience would choose. SEO is more than optimizing a website, it’s making sure your website shows up in the top search results of your target audience. Getting found by the right people is the goal of any good SEO campaign.
Choose your keywords based on your location
You should also pay attention to the location of your target. For instance, if you are a French or Quebec company. In this case, we would refer to “Cotton ouaté” and not “pullover”. We would use the word “cell phone” in the United States and “mobile phone” in the United Kingdom. These are details that can often be overlooked, but which are nevertheless very important.
Step 4: Assess the competition to choose the right keywords
Competitive density is important. If you are new to the mobile market, don’t expect to be first by choosing the keyword “smartphone”. There are thousands of websites with a larger domain authority and much higher online visibility like Apple, Samsung, etc.
You have to make choices and trade-offs. It is therefore important to analyze the search volume as well as the competition for your keywords.
Think of yourself as a strategist in a game of chess. Is it better to use keywords with a lower search volume, but a lower competitive density or to target highly searched keywords, but which are used by your competitors?
A long-tail keyword is a keyword of at least 3 words. For example: 5-star restaurant Montreal.
If you are in a niche market, opt for two/three words per keyword rather than one word. Be sure to include details about your business that can differentiate you from other marketers, or even list the area you cover. The more specific you are, the more qualified your traffic will be. For example:
- Cheap Used PCs instead of PCs
- Italian Restaurant Paris instead of Restaurant
- Home Flower Delivery instead of Flowers
Specific keywords to decrease the competition
The more specific your keywords are, the fewer competitors you will have trying to rank for them, which means you will be more likely to rank high in search results. Search results for generic keywords are often dominated by large companies. Keywords such as “computer” can generate 900 million results and the top results are occupied by large multinationals such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon etc.
Long tail keywords to facilitate the search
Users know that they will find what they are looking for faster if they use specific terms. Studies published by Google show that most search terms are composed of two or three words. Most people write generic keywords when they are looking for product information and specific keywords when they are ready to buy.
Analyze what the search engine suggests when you type a keyword
The most effective way to identify a good keyword is to analyze what users you target write in their search engine and rank for them.
If the search terms are evenly split between singular and plural, think about their intent (it always comes back to the same point). Perhaps people typing in the keyword “tennis shoe” are just looking for information on what makes a tennis shoe special versus a running shoe, while those typing in “tennis shoes” are looking to buy tennis shoes online. As a tennis shoe seller, it’s best to position yourself on the keyword “tennis shoes”. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but a simple change can lead to very different results.
Similarly, if you sell televisions, it is better to position yourself on the keyword “buy a television” rather than “TV” or “Televisions” to avoid competing with TV channels or TV guides.
Choosing your keywords must be a meticulous and ongoing process in your SEO strategy. The language, and therefore the searches, of Internet users evolve from day to day. Adapt to these changes. Google will understand the subject of your pages and it will be able to grasp the relevance. Search engines will be more likely to suggest your website to Internet users.
Be careful, keyword research is not the only step of a good SEO strategy. Many factors play a role in your SEO strategy and keywords are only one of them. Feel free to contact us via our contact form or by phone +1 514 572 7758, our team of experts will be happy to help you.