Every online business aims to attract visitors to their website and turn them into loyal customers. Choosing the right keywords for your SEO campaign is the first step on this journey, because the right keywords will attract the most relevant visitors, who in turn are more likely to become your customers.
The process for creating a keyword list is fairly straight-forward: first you come up with as many relevant terms as you can possibly think of, then you cut that list down to a reasonable size and prioritise it.
Creating the original list of as many relevant terms as possible can be difficult, but the following steps can help you make sure you cover off all the bases:
1 – Look at your own site
Make sure that your main products/services are covered in your keyword list. This might include brand variations, service locations, customer types (e.g. mens/womens/kids), or more. Your website should help you build a huge range of initial keywords. Make sure you cover all your products and services.
2 – Spy on competitors
Look at your competitors sites and see how they talk about your products or services – you might find some surprising additions. Look carefully at their page titles and headings, places where valuable keywords are usually found.
Also consider the sites of businesses which might not be your direct competitors, but are still in your industry. They might have a unique approach you could get inspiration from.
3– Talk to the people
Look outside the official industry to forums, blogs or social media sites which discuss the topic. Blogs and forums are populated with potential customers, and there you can see exactly how they talk about your product or service.
4 – Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Pay Per Click
Look at which keywords are already bringing traffic to the site. Compare those terms with your rankings, and you could see where an increase in rankings might bring significant increases in traffic.
If using Adwords or other paid search marketing – look at the ‘actual terms searched’ – if you aren’t ranking for those terms, there’s a big opportunity right there
Bonus: If you have site-search set up on your site you can even see what people have been searching for when they are already on your site.
5 – Keyword Tools
Google tools tend to be a bit more useful down here;
Google Related Search
Google Trends offers fewer suggestions, but a bit more data. Here you can learn about the worldwide usage, and the trend of those terms over time
One of the most popular tools is the Google Keyword tool, which really deserves its own section.
6. The Google Keyword Tool
The Google keyword tool is recommended as the final step in the keyword research process because it provides a couple of different benefits.
- Firstly, by inputting all the keywords you have already found, the Google keyword tool can create extra keywords, filling out your keyword list.
- Secondly, it will provide more information on each term, for example the number of searches on these terms each month (approximate) as well as how competitive they are.
7. Prioritising Your Keywords for SEO
Once you have all your keywords and estimates for how popular they are (by search traffic), you will realise that you can’t possibly optimise your site for every single term you have discovered. You will need to prioritise all these keywords, and to do this you need to consider the following factors
- Keywords with high business value (i.e. people typing in those searches would be very relevant customers) – should have a higher priority
- Similarly, keywords for your more profitable products/services should have higher priority than those for less profitable products/services
- Keywords with higher volume (but which are still relevant) might be give higher priority than equally relevant, but lower volume keywords
- Your current ranking should also influence priority, for example:
- If you rank at number 1 – you should keep your eye on this keyword, but not necessarily put a lot more work into it
- If you rank between 5-10 – you might want to prioritise this keyword as it might be relatively easy to push to the top.
- Very low ranking keywords might need to be prioritised as ‘longer term’
- Keywords at rank 11 or 12 might need only a bit of work to push them onto page 1