Keyword research

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You want to rank your website for specific keywords, and you are trying to determine the best way to go about the process. Often, people will add content to their website with the hopes of ranking for specific keywords, phrases, and terms with the goal of improving search engine optimization. Before you start writing content and “trying to rank” we want to help you create a plan for writing great content that will rank every time, for the keywords most important to your business. We want to research what keyword will drive the most traffic, along with the keyword that convert the most sales. This is why keyword research is so effective when creating or implementing any new web page or blog post.  Our goal is to lay out an easy strategic plan of keyword research that is repeatable and impactful.  Simply stated, we are going to lay out a process you can follow to not only rank but convert on your most important phrases.

Start With The End Goal In Mind With Keyword Research

What type of visitor are you trying to reach with your website? What terms do you believe will help turn visitors into paying clients? Marketing your business is more than just doing one Google search and seeing if your business ranks on the first page. Although there are a number of tools you can utilize to help you find those ‘golden nugget’ keywords, you have to think about what potential problems visitors may be encountering. If you can solve a problem, you have an opportunity to capture a new potential client. Your end goal should be to solve the person’s problem. For this example, let’s use roofing as our example.

What Problem Can I Solve For My Roofing Client

If a homeowner is thinking about a new roof, they are asking questions and looking for answers to those questions. They may ask:
How much does a new roof cost?
Should I replace or repair my roof?
What is the best type of roofing material for my home?
Who is the highest rated roofer in my city?
What is the lifespan of a roof?
Does insurance cover the cost of a roof after a wind storm?

We will stop there even though we can probably add about 20 more questions to our process. When we do keyword research, we start with common questions that are going to be asked. We then determine which pages need to be created that will answer as many, if not all, of those questions. Our goal is to try and appear in the Google search results for the questions most searched by your target audience.

If you come up with 20 different questions, you can create twenty different pages on your website. The key is to make sure you don’t overlap your pages or what is called cannibalize your website (we will discuss that further) and make each page stand on its own. What people miss is they are so focused on one or two keywords, and they miss the point that you want to rank for as many keywords as possible, all relating to the potential searches people can do online. When you create multiple pages answering different questions, you start to create a “theme” that Google will recognize. These individual pages will begin to rank for specific keywords.

In our example above with the problems people are facing, we would create a page for each question, and then answer those questions using as many “LSI” or related keywords that we can find. This is how keyword research will help you to create a powerful website that ranks for hundreds of keywords, rather than just a few.

Understand The Message Of Your Page After Keyword Research

Now that we have identified what types of problems people are having, we want to start crafting a message for our page. We want to have one major theme on the page, and then have supporting content to enforce that message. Search engine marketing in the information age is about providing the best possible answer to those searching Google and asking questions.

If you have completed your keyword research and see that many people search the question “Should I replace or repair my roof?”, then you want to make this the main theme of your page, and then add support throughout the page along with these questions.

Utilize your H Tags On Your Web Page

In this example, your H1 on your page should be…..Should I replace or repair my roof? Then you should use supporting H2’s, H3’s, and H4’s that layout the supporting information like how long a metal roof may last, or how long an asphalt shingle roof may last. Pick your message, and all other content on your page should relate to that message. Of course, you want to tie in the keywords, phrases, and terms that are related to those terms.

This page we are writing is about identifying the best keywords for your web page or your website. So we obviously want to have the phrase keyword research and best tools for researching keywords, but we also want to add related phrases to our content. LSI stands for latent semantic indexing, and the best way to describe it would be related keywords or patterns used to identify relationships between keywords. When it comes to roofing, you may have LSI keywords like asphalt shingles, homes, residential, commercial, GAF, etc. When it comes to keyword research, we may want to add keywords that relate or identify with what we are writing about.

LSI keywords for keyword research may be software, science, applied mathematics, algorithms, Google search, human-machine interaction, science and technology, web technology, electronic publishing, artificial intelligence, etc. None of these keywords are directly related to keyword research, but you can see how all of them connect in some way to the topic. Your goal is to search and locate as many of these “related terms” with your web page and then use them throughout your content. Google will understand this relationship through information retrieval and can determine through AE learning what the page is about. Understand this concept with your keyword research, and your content marketing and search engine marketing will forever change.

Using Your Competition To Search and Find The Best Keywords To Target

Now that we got through some of the more challenging aspects of keyword research, we can get into what SEO’s do day in and day out. This will help you understand why having an SEO expert working in your corner can transform your business. Let’s start with your biggest competitors.

When we start working with a client for the first time, we ask them to provide us with the names of their biggest competitors. We do this so we can see what keywords are most profitable to each. If we can create a large list of keywords that capture traffic, we can implement those keywords throughout the content of our website. We pay attention to those phrases with the highest monthly searches and the least competition. If we can capture front page placement for these keywords, we will also start ranking for longer tail keywords and capture even more traffic.

When we research the competition, we like to find 5 to 10 competitors that rank pretty well on Google. We use tools like SEM Rush and Ahrefs and compile a list of all of the phrases and terms that each competitor ranks for. We will then identify the most common, and look for our opportunities. If all of our competitors rank for one keyword, we realize that this may be something we also want to include in our rankings. When you do this process, start by doing a Google search for what you believe is your best keyword and start reading through each page. Copy keywords and related keywords into a list that you can then start sprinkling throughout your new content. You are not stealing their content, you are simply utilizing information retrieval for your search engine marketing.

Longer Tail Keywords Will Rank You For Shorter Keywords

The purpose of this article is to help you rank for keywords that are related to what you do. Think about your most recent online search, did you do it with one word, or did you type out your entire problem or question in the Google search bar? We understand that Google’s search engine software is so sophisticated and the technology understands what we are trying to learn or uncover a solution to our problem, which we now search very often in full sentences or longer phrases. This is why we want to target longer tail keyword phrases.

If you understand that people search in a variety of ways, you can then start to craft your content to these questions. If you create H2’s and H3’s in your content with long tail keywords, Google is going to recognize these phrases and start to rank you not only for these phrases but the shorter ones as well.

The biggest A-ha moment our clients have is that when they start to rank for longer keyword strings, they then start to become more relevant and trusted for a variety of others. Stop targeting the one and two keyword phrases, and start going after some of the most common questions people may have. Here is a real-world example you can test right now after reading up to this point.

Aggregation Websites Can Damage Your On-Page Optimization With Duplicate Content

So take this phrase above, copy it, and search for it exactly on Google. The example that I am showing is that this phrase is going to help our page show up on Google, and likely will be in the first position. Why? There are no other websites that are targeting this phrase exactly on Google. Over time, this page is going to be the most popular page on Google on this subject and will drive traffic to our website.

Data aggregators gather your information online and scrape other websites to find information about your brand and your company’s website. If you have the same description on every single one of these websites, you are going to run into duplicate content issues. I state this for those coming here to learn what it is, however, my point is that when you find specific phrases and highlight them by using H tags on your page, and follow up with supporting content, you then will rank for that particular search phrase. I bet you could come up with 5 to 10 of those phrases right now for your business, and if implemented properly, a keyword search on Google you would start showing up in the number one or number two spot on the SERPS over time. Instant traffic just from understanding how Google indexes particular content.

Top Keyword Research Tools To Improve Your Website Optimization

If you are looking to do research on the world wide web on your own, we want to give you some of the tools that we use for our digital media research. We will not go into which tools we like best, but we do want to provide you with those we use on every single campaign we optimize.

We start every campaign with Ahrefs. We like this tool because it shows what keywords our website currently ranks for, and shows which ones are the low-hanging fruit. We define low-hanging fruit keywords as those that are currently ranked between 8 and 20 on the Google Serps. If our client is ranked in one of these positions, we can complete our on-page optimization, make some minor changes, and likely rank in the top three on Google, depending upon the competition. So often we take on clients and see results in the first few weeks because we take the time with our keyword research to identify easy wins. We take advantage of the power and trust your website already has, and just tweak a few long tail words to rank quickly.

Ahrefs is by far our go-to keyword tool because we can also see competition and current backlinks. We also like to use SEM Rush for the same reason. They are very similar tools but use different areas of computer science and indexes to provide their users with online databases. Each may have a different index term or page depending on when and where they scrape their information.

We are also fans of Moz and Majestic. They both provide helpful information for gathering all of our information for both on-page optimization, content marketing, and link building.

Refine Your Niche Keyword List

If you ever speak to one of us, you will likely hear us state “The Rich is in the Niche”. What this simply means is if you have an area or service or product that you offer that does not have a lot of competition, you are going to make a lot of money online. When you offer something that has value, and it can help people solve problems, you can maximize your online exposure with the proper content and optimization. You have to start by breaking down your keywords into segments or niches.

Going back to our roofer example above. We want to determine which keywords are going to convert to clicks, so we take our detailed list of keywords, and then try and determine which of those falls into its own niche. If we do metal roofing, we want to break down the different types of metal materials used and continue to drill down to the least competitive area online. Once we determine something that not everyone is targeting, we then start writing pages of content related to that niche. If you can find a unique selling proposition that you offer that no other company offers, or in a specific geographical location, you can simply cash checks all day long. Search for what you do that is totally unique to the marketplace and capitalize on it.

Determine The Competition of Your Keyword List

Many clients want to rank for the most significant and most competitive keywords possible. The problem is, so does every other company that offers this product or service. You want to find keywords that don’t have millions and millions of competing pages online. Start by searching for the keywords you think are most important to your company, and start to pay attention to Google’s autofill (the words Google is filling in when doing your search). These are keywords related to the search, and Big G is telling you exactly what to target.

You also want to check out the keywords at the bottom of the Google page for searches related to your initial search. This will give you a detailed list of what other people are searching for in your market.

Avoiding Cannibalization With Your On-Page Website Optimization

This subject could be its own page, and we can break this topic into multiple areas of on-page and off-page optimization, but for the purpose of keyword research, we are going to keep it simple. Cannibalization of your website is when Google cannot determine which page is most important for the keyword phrase you are targeting. This can often be a problem when people create and implement several different pages on the site that relate to the same keywords.

Google is unable to determine which page is most important or the original source of content on the website and several pages will go in and out of Google’s index, while the machine tries to determine which is best. The issue that this causes is that neither page usually ranks well, and both pop in and out of the index each time Google crawls or spiders the website. Your hypertext on each page should be specific to one topic. If you create a supporting page, it should link to the page most important for that topic. In this example, if we wanted to go into great detail on Cannibalization, we would link from this article to a page dedicated completely to the keyword cannibalization. This then tells Google that the particular page is most important for that subject.

Avoid Cannibalizing Your Content and Your Keywords

As we have mentioned above, have specific pages dedicated to longer tail key phrases and provide supporting content throughout the content. We have suffered from this at Hit Me SEO for many years. Initially, our home page was the most important page for the keywords Maryland SEO and Maryland SEO company. We realized that all of the pages within our site were dedicated to this one phrase, so we are de-optimizing our home page, and now have one page dedicated to this keyword, with a bunch of supporting content. This new page discusses a variety of topics, but Maryland SEO is the focal point of the page.

With the emergence of Siri and Google Voice, it is pretty evident that human-computer interaction is on the rise, and we need to optimize for keywords utilizing this behavior. Human communication and digital technology are still not entirely connected, but we are getting closer, and we must keep this in mind. For your own business, think about what people may search for using their voice, and then include those keywords and terms within the content of your most important page. The benefit will be long-lasting as cognitive science and web development start connecting even further.

Finding Keywords That Have Buyer Intent

If you are going to put in the time to research your competition and write long pieces of content for your online advertising, you must think about the web search query. What intent does someone have when they are searching online? Understanding what a potential client is looking for online is essential, but you want to make sure the pages you are using to educate your potential clients are different than those you are asking to make a buying decision. Communication design by web developers is used to accurately interact with online users to provide the best user experience as possible, and that means providing useful information when they need it, and a buy button when they are ready to move forward.

This piece of content is not designed to have you purchase our product or our service. We would like you to inquire about web services or online optimization through our home page or contact us button. This page is explicitly created to help educate and explain some distinct differences between how you should perform keyword research and how to organize your information management style.

Research Keywords vs. Buying Keywords

When trying to construct your page, think about the goal you are trying to accomplish. When you research and see keywords like emergency, near me, best, or lowest priced, you know people are looking to find a company who can provide the solution now. Your Adwords campaign on Google should be highly focused on these types of keywords. However, when creating an informational or educational page, you don’t need to focus on these buying keywords. People that go to the SERPS looking for why does this do this or how does something work, should be a clear indication that people are doing research. Look for more buying related keywords and optimize around those phrases, and you will start to see more purchases coming through your website.

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