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Keyword Research Tips

How to choose keywords for your website

Keywords are the foundation of SEO. Getting them right is essential for ranking on search engines and helping people to find you.

As web searches become ever more targeted and local, nearly all your effective ‘keywords’ will rather be long-tail key phrases that will help you reach exactly the people you want to.

If you’re setting up a new website or blog, you need to get your keywords right from the start. Follow this guide to identify the most valuable keywords for your customers and make sure you rank for popular search terms.

1. Brainstorm ideas

You can jump straight to the research, but taking a little time to think about the sort of search queries and phrases that might bring people to your website can give you a headstart.

Consider the needs of different types of people searching for you, such as novice customers and those with specific goals. Remember to account for common synonyms that people might be using, e.g. lawyer/solicitor, optician/optometrist, hairdresser/salon.

These might not turn out to be the most valuable keywords for your customers, but they’ll give you an idea about how keywords work.

2. See what your competitors are doing

If you’ve already identified your main competitors – companies that rank on Google higher than you – find out what they’re doing right. You shouldn’t copy them directly, but you can get an idea of what’s working and what isn’t.

You might get an idea of the keywords they’re targeting simply by looking at the headings and content of their best ranking pages, but you can get deeper insights by viewing the page source. In most web browsers, you can do this by right-clicking on the page and selecting ‘View page source’ (or Ctrl+U in Chrome). In Internet Explorer, select View > Source from the file menu.

Search for the page’s <title>, <meta name=”description”> and <meta name=”keywords”> tags and see what keywords are included.

3. Get suggestions from Google

Google’s prediction services are designed to help users by suggesting similar searches, based on what other people are looking for. They can also offer valuable keyword insights if you have the time and patience to play around.

When you type one of your brainstormed keyword phrases into the search field, Google Suggest should offer several options for expanding the phrase after you hit the space bar. For example, a search for ‘lawyer newcastle nsw’ could offer suggestions like:

 

google.com.au suggest example
Adding one or more letters after your keyword will give you even more targeted results based on what you’re typing.

Google also offers suggestions for related searches at the bottom of the results page. These are real searches people often make next after their initial query.

google-related

Other free and useful keyword search tools include LSIGraph and Answer The Public.

 

4. Perform keyword research

For more in-depth keyword recommendations, use Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You can use it for free when you sign up for an AdWords account

This comprehensive tool shows you which terms are currently ranking based on the initial keywords and parameters you entered, such as your location and industry, and how valuable these terms are to advertisers, among other insights. You can also enter negative keywords that you don’t want to feature in the list.

 

keyword-planner

 

Keyword Planner is the best keyword research tool that’s available for free, but it’s still not perfect. Only take note of the keywords that make sense to you and your customers. If you don’t find everything you’re looking for on Keyword Planner, you could find more ideas on other sites like Übersuggest.

5. Plan your keyword strategy

Now you have your list of valuable keywords, you should stick them in a spreadsheet or other document and organise them according to the criteria that will help you when planning your content marketing campaigns.

Keywords may be organised by category or theme, search volume and value (from Keyword Planner), and where they lie along the buyer journey from research to conversion.

When your keyword worksheet is ready to go, find out where to go next with content strategies for different search queries.

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