One of the main things Google looks for is to match up the keywords that searchers use and the keywords found in your site content.
In Google’s dark ages, that meant you could rank well by just stuffing keywords onto a page repeatedly. It made for terrible websites, and most of us are glad those days are gone.
Now Google uses clues about keywords in context. They consider the way you are using those keywords and how they relate to the rest of the content on that specific page and on your site as a whole. Keywords are just as important as they ever were, and how you use them is more important than ever before.
In order to show up higher in Google search results, you’ll need to understand what words your target audience uses when they search for the answers and solutions you offer.
Do your homework: keyword research
Keywords are one of the most important parts of your SEO strategy. You need to use the key words and phrases that your target market uses when they search Google for the products you sell or topics related to them.
The goal of keyword research is to find out what words your target market is using to search for the things you sell and the topics your website content address. This is not “if you build it, they will come” it is much more “build it where they already are, and they will come inside.”
Instead of creating the content you think people want, you find out what they are looking for (that is relevant to what you do) and then you create the content so that they can find it, and by extension, find your business.
How do you do this kind of research? There are a lot of ways to get really deep into keyword research, but this is how you can get started right now. I’m going to give you a quick run through, and then hand you some resources to dig deeper into if you want.
Step 1: Build a list of seed keywords
First, we’ll find our starter words. These are the terms directly related to what you do, but aren’t necessarily terms you’ll be able to rank for.
Find and make a list of the top few sites and stores that are strongly related to what you sell. Now look through their navigation menus, product categories, and blog categories. Make a list of the common ones you see that are relevant to your market.
You can also look directly at product reviews, and again see what you find in common. Look for the specific terms that buyers use to describe the things they purchased.
Finally, use Google itself. Type in a word related to what you sell such as “coffee,” but don’t hit enter. You should see a drop down list of suggestions from Google that will give you more common key terms. You can also go through the alphabet and see what terms show up for “coffee A, coffee B” etc. Google is putting those suggestions in because they are commonly searched terms.
Step 2: Plant your seeds
Either will give you a list of keywords, tell you what the search volume for the term is like, and tell you the difficulty of ranking for that term.
The terms you have right now are great for blog and product categories. You can use them directly for those purposes. They are not as specific as we are going to get, but they are good for these broader uses.
Step 3: Bring in the harvest
Take the popular, highly searched-for terms from your list, and plug them into an awesome tool called Answer The Public.
It will give you a list of questions and other related searches that people use to find more specific topics. These can inform your content strategy. These are real, long-tail, question-based searches that people make.
You now know what words people are using when they look for the things you sell. Use them when you write. Use them as blog post titles, product descriptions, product names and categories. Think about these words whenever you make something that faces your audience.
This is just one little piece of the SEO pie
Keyword research is one of the most written about and discussed parts of SEO. There are thousands of guides and tools out there to help you find the keywords you need. The ones you found today are enough to get you started, but you may want to dive in deeper.
Want more in-depth SEO knowledge? Dive into these guides:
- 8 Free SEO Tools to Grow Your Ecommerce Store
- Backlinko: KEYWORD RESEARCH FOR SEO: The Definitive Guide
- Moz Guide to Keyword Research
- Yoast: Ultimate Guide to keyword research for SEO
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