You want to position your website in search engines and a question is bothering you: what are keywords and how to optimize them to improve your natural referencing?
Achieving this task is real background work, but it is also essential for any inbound marketing strategy.
We thought it was important to write an article on how to choose your keywords wisely.
Working on a keyword strategy means working on your natural referencing in a relevant way. Keywords allow you to position yourself on search engine pages such as Google, to acquire traffic, and thus reach the qualified audience you are looking for.
Selecting the right keywords means creating content that revolves around the words used by your buyer personas (i.e. your target audience). By identifying them well, knowing your targets well, and drawing a profile of your target audience, you will be able to write content that attracts them.
And by defining a list of relevant keywords and integrating them into your articles and content on your website, you will be able to acquire targeted traffic to your site.
Keywords are one of the most important building blocks of search engine positioning. Your blog articles, your website pages, your content offerings… all these contents are scanned by search engines to determine your positioning.
Take care to define them correctly by following this guide.
Keyword Research: How to Proceed?
First of all, let’s be clear about what we’re looking for: as the name does not indicate, a keyword usually consists of several words.
It would be more accurate to talk about “key phrases.” A keyword or key phrase corresponds to the query entered by users in search engines.
There are countless ways to search for keywords. Here are our favorite online and offline methods.
Be Inspired by Your Daily Life
The most natural reflex to define your keywords is to rely on your intuition. It’s a good reflex!
Sometimes, by thinking for yourself, you will have new ideas compared to your direct competitors. However, you may end up going in circles…
To overcome this possibility, you can ask those around you to make a list of words and phrases around your field of activity. This has the advantage of giving you keywords naturally used by users who do not necessarily know the technical vocabulary.
If you deal with website creation, it may be more judicious to talk about “web referencing” than “SEO” when addressing novices.
The last “real-life” reflex to adopt is the list. Keep an up-to-date list of all the keywords you can think of. This list should be accessible from any device. From a note on your phone to a shared document on Google Drive, support can accommodate your list and allow you to update it in a few seconds. Thus, as soon as you think of a new word, you can directly add it so as not to forget it!
Use the Internet to Find Keywords
Before turning to specialized tools, we recommend that you start your keyword research on ancillary sites, based on the following three fundamental axes:
1) search engines
2) your target audience
3) your competitors.
Keyword research in Google search
On the web, your first reaction will be to put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and try to take the same path as him. And for that, nothing is more logical than using Google Search.
By using the “autocomplete” function as well as related searches, you will be able to determine several relevant and synonymous keywords.
Go to the homepage of the giant Google, type a fundamental word from your industry in the search bar, and see what is proposed to you.
You will find related searches at the end of the Google search results pages: these are long-tail queries that may be relevant to your industry’s keywords.
Don’t panic: we’ll come back to the topic of long-tail queries just after. The disadvantage is that you won’t get many queries: 4 or 5 per term. So, to complete your research, think of the autocomplete tools of other search engines. Like on Youtube. As the second most used search engine behind Google, it is a significant and less exploited gold mine to find keywords.
Look for your keywords: observe your competitors
Looking at what the neighbor is doing is OK. And in business, it’s also very useful.
Are you looking for your website’s keywords? Go see which ones your competitors have chosen.
For this, several options:
1) Start by consulting the source codes of their web pages.
You will be able to see their keywords, but also their tags, their page structure, and hierarchy and draw good lessons from them.
To view the source code on a website, simply right-click and select the “Page source code” menu.
2) Go to major e-commerce sites like eBay or Amazon and look at the keywords associated with the products you sell.
Keywords: always listen to your target audience
Your target customers are the main actors in the movie of your SEO optimization, and they will undoubtedly provide you with the most relevant information to improve your site’s referencing.
How do you go about fishing for data about them? There are many possibilities:
- FAQs and forums related to your industry,
- customer reviews,
- questions asked of you,
- surveys on social media.
If your website has a search bar, the queries entered there should also be carefully scrutinized.
By using the data collected from user messages and queries, you will learn more about their behavior towards your website and the terms they use.
As you may have understood, keyword research is a time-consuming task. Fortunately, there are several powerful and effective tools to make this task easier.
Ready to learn about them all?
The best tools for searching for keywords
On the web, you will find numerous free and paid tools for finding good keywords.
Tools to find inspiration
1) Google Adwords / Keyword planner
This free keyword generator tool helps you build your SEO strategy. Like all Google tools, it is very reliable because it relies on user queries. It is easily accessible with a Google account.
This tool is a direct competitor, another well-known online service that helps you find keywords from one or more words. This time, Ubersuggest is a free Chrome extension that is ready to use quickly.
KWfinder is very similar to UberSuggest, but it provides an interesting feasibility index. If your keyword gets a green rating on this platform, it means that you have a chance to rank on the first page with that term.
However, although you benefit from a free 10-day trial, KWfinder is paid with licenses.
SEMrush is a big name in SEO tools that allows you to examine Google’s natural referencing and sponsored links. This tool also allows you to obtain a multitude of data about your site, which explains its price.
This tool offers a free online service that allows you to search for keywords by country and industry: very useful if you target multiple markets but limited because you will need to provide your email address to receive the complete list of keywords.
Tools to study the competition
SpyFu is a free online service that allows you to see the keywords used by your competition (both in terms of organic referencing and AdWords campaigns). However, it should be noted that these practices are not about copying content but rather taking inspiration from the competition. These tools are additional aids to improving your keywords strategy.
This tool, working on the same principle, allows you to generate word clouds and visualize them concretely. The size of the words varies according to their importance. It is also a good tool for studying the competition by creating word clouds from the content of others. You get a more visual and playful analysis.
Tools to exploit the long tail
1) Keyword Tool Dominator
This tool is a reference tool for long-tail keywords. It provides you with the best keywords based on the entered terms, based on Google Search, Amazon, and YouTube data. In short: it saves you a lot of time.
The only downside is that Keyword Tool Dominator is paid, although the free version allows you to perform up to three daily searches.
Selecting Keywords: How to Use Them for SEO
So, you have a multitude of keywords. Which ones do you choose now? Which are the best for optimizing your Google ranking? To do this, you mainly need to consider two things: the potential of the keyword and its feasibility. To clarify, here are some points to check that your selection is relevant, effective, and promising.
The perfect keyword in four criteria
Ideally, a golden keyword (the perfect keyword) must meet the following 4 criteria:
– It must correspond to a high search volume, which means that many Internet users enter this query.
– It must have a high CPC (cost-per-click), which tends to prove that your competitors consider it interesting to bid on this keyword.
– There must be little competition around this term.
– It must have a good feasibility rating in terms of SEO.
But perfection doesn’t exist or, at least, it’s very rare. In reality, you’ll have a hard time gathering all of these criteria.
Start with a relevant keyword for your sector with a respectable search volume (between 500 and 3,000 queries), a relatively high CPC, and not too much competition.
The right length for a keyword
Regarding the length of terms and phrases, it’s best to try to associate them together. Words/expressions from 11 to 25 characters correspond to 60% of searches, but those from 26 to 40 characters generate more clicks.
Varying the keywords
Google increasingly emphasizes natural content created primarily for users. So, be careful not to copy content verbatim: search engines are there to optimize quality content. They knowingly ignore copy-pasting. To optimize your Google ranking, also be careful during your web writing not to artificially overload keywords because Google also penalizes it.
Therefore, when selecting your keywords, make sure to achieve a good balance between term diversity and artificial repetition.
Exploit the long tail
Given what we’ve just observed, it’s useful to start your SEO strategy by tackling long-tail keywords first. It’s only in the second step that you can exploit the most competitive keywords once your website is generally better referenced.
What we call the long tail is the set of keyword associations that, on a given theme, produce less traffic but still represent a certain volume in total. Vary the term associations and try to find synonyms to feed this “long tail.” This way, you ensure quality traffic and a lasting brand image. Nothing will be more beneficial for your SEO!
You’ve searched for them, found them, selected them. But how do you use them?
Optimizing your SEO with keywords: how to place them correctly?
These keywords that are so beneficial to your SEO must be used appropriately to be fully effective. We’ll see where to place keywords on your site:
URLs and tags with keywords
The first step is your page’s URL. Your page’s URL (based on your page’s name) is very important: you must choose a personalized, short, relevant URL related to your page’s theme. It should contain key terms and phrases. To have truly relevant page URLs, try to have mono-thematic pages and a well-structured site architecture.
Then, also place them in metadata for search engines. Add synonyms of your keywords in subheadings and also make lists with bullet points or numbers and indents. All of this will help structure your text and thus make it easier for robots to read and lead to a good impact on your SEO.
Keywords in your content
Your keywords should be placed in the hot zones of the pages. They must be well-placed and are particularly essential in your titles and subtitles as well as in your introduction, preferably at the beginning.
Keywords on Images
Finally, add your keywords in the image descriptions and the image file names. Keep in mind that images are less competitive than text, so you will more easily rank in search engines.
However, do not overuse keywords: the ratio is about one keyword for every 100 words. Your ID (keyword density index), which is the number of keywords per page divided by their total number, should be between 2.5% and 5.5%.
Now you know everything about keywords and Google SEO.
Or almost everything.
Web SEO and Keywords: Stay Alert
As a webmaster implementing your keyword strategy, you must always be on the lookout and keep yourself informed about the “weather” in the SEO territory. Whether it’s raining, windy or snowy, you must be the first to know!
However, conducting such a wide watch can be time-consuming and almost counterproductive. Fortunately, Google Trends allows you to practice precise and constant monitoring of the evolution of search terms in your industry.
Indeed, it allows you to compare up to 5 terms and obtain a graphical representation of search volumes, the list of the most frequent and those in progression, and the distribution of their use in the form of a geographic map.
Thus, you can anticipate the creation of content that may take much longer to optimize than you could have imagined. It is customary to say that it takes 4 to 5 weeks after the content is published for optimum Google referencing. Therefore, take this delay into account for the publication of your events.
In general, always inquire about trends, user habits, and Google updates to obtain a coherent, adapted, and effective SEO keywords strategy.
So, we now know that keywords are the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. It is now up to you to implement your effective keyword strategy, define your long-tail keywords, and thus generate more qualified traffic to your site.
Armed with your sharp, relevant, and strategically placed keywords, you will triumphantly reach the Holy Grail: the first page of search engines!