“Keyword research? It’s a list of words! Stuff ‘em all in the content – bosh! Easy.”
In what might become a recurrent series entitled “Crap We Hear at Networking Events,’ this quote is from a conversation one of our team had with a self-styled marketing “expert” recently.
Poor chap. And his poor clients, more importantly. Keyword research is a tad more complicated than that. But done properly, it’s the (ahem) key, that will help you boost your SEO results.
Google and Keyword Research
To understand keywords, it helps to know a bit about how Google works. The basics can be explained fairly simply:
Google has a famously secret algorithm, deciding the order of search results. But there are two more components: the crawler, and the index.
The crawler constantly scans the internet, following links between pages.
It saves content to the index, which is a behemoth of a database. The crawler updates the index every time it finds a new or revised web page.
For Google to find your site, there must be a link to it from another page. That’s your first crawler-session. After that, you have the potential to show up in Google search results.
But beware of marketers that promise to improve your searchability by spamming useless or inappropriate links – Google is wise to this and will demote pages if it suspects it’s happening.
Keyword Research -Go Organic
The crawler, index and algorithm combine to produce the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This has the top results, known as organic search results. They appear below the paid links, which are marked “ad.”
Now you know the system, let’s talk about how to make it work for you.
It’s All About the Questions…
Keyword research starts with questions. How will a customer find your page?
Put yourself in their mind – what are they looking for? Remember that many industries have jargon that might not be familiar to customers, so the language you use to describe your business could be different to words that are commonly searched.
Think about intent – there are five main reasons why someone might be searching:
- Information: for example, a homework question… this has been booming over the last year, of course.
- Navigation: looking for a specific webpage and searching for it by name
- Commercial research: someone intends to buy a product or service, and is looking into what’s available
- Transactional: Intending to make an immediate purchase
- Location: searches within a particular area. Google has specific SERPs for these searches.
Keywords are not just individual words; they are also phrases. Broader, individual search terms are called head keywords, and longer phrases are called long tail keywords.
Taking all this into consideration you should soon have a list of keywords, to help prepare effective content.
Prepare for Landing
Once you have your keywords, the ideal is to prepare landing pages that will cover each of them. This might take time, but frequently updating and adding to content will improve your searchability.
Think of your website as a pyramid. The head keywords should appear at the top of the pyramid, on the home page, and more niche and long tail keywords should show up on pages lower down.
Google searches for combinations of keywords, well-structured writing and readability, so these factors must be reflected in your content.
Recipe For Success
Writing outstanding Content SEO is a fine art, combining thorough keyword research with excellent writing, to make your website useful, enjoyable to view and, of course, eminently searchable. It’s so much more than stuffing all the keywords in and hoping for the best.
If you’d like some advice from people who really know what they’re talking about, chat to us.