When it comes to ‘ON-PAGE’ SEO, you ought to never forget that success on the internet is determined by competition against the vast forces of the World Wide Web.
Your successful keyword selection depends on your balancing act of customer value and competitor analysis.
But perhaps you haven’t been able to contemplate just how many other people are selling your product/service online.
You are going to have to think bigger, more creatively and strategically. With a bit of time and effort, you soon get the hang of your industry’s digital landscape. You get a feel for exactly where you need to position yourself, then suddenly working with keywords is not so frustrating.
I can coax your ego and reassure you all I’d like but I am confident you would prefer a the demystification of keywords as they relate to Search Engine Optimization.
WHAT ARE KEYWORDS?
You put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business, and now you have to squeeze all of it into the perfect few words.
To Google, which is practically the internet, a keyword is a summary of what your website has to offer. It is information stored away, on your behalf, awaiting a search query. When the Google bots and spiders come crawling through the domains of the digital world, your keywords let them know what sort of attention to send your way.
To web users, a keyword is that thing we enter into the search bar. It is the closest phrase encapsulating our online interests.
To you, a keyword is your cyber billboard, alerting passersby to your place of business. But don’t forget that you are competing on a frantic and crowded highway. You need to stand out to become a priority for Google or any other search engine.
If search engines recognize your website as a trusted response to a particular query, you just may have uncovered the key to sustained revenue. The hard work is well worth the reward. You may have found the building blocks to the foundation of what could become your online empire. Dream big.
THE KEYWORD GOAL: PAGE ONE
Maintaining the magnetic power of a successful keyword is a fulltime job.
When people search for your keyword, you want your website to be on the FIRST PAGE of google search results. Why the first page? Because it is how you gain free online traffic. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, how often do you scroll past the first page when you are searching online? Exactly. Hence why the name of the game is ‘get to page one.’
You have to get to the first page and then inch your way up towards the first result, as 60% of clicks tend to go towards the first three slots.
Now let’s take a look at how to select your keywords.
A COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
Below this section, I will explain how to start thinking of original keywords specific to your business. But in case you already have a few ideas of possible keywords, I am going to skip ahead by taking a look at your competitors.
Write down the short list of your ideal keywords. Also, create a second list of what you offer. We are going to be observing competitors. You may stumble on their approach to promoting something you provide. Try to keep things concise. Be ready to take notes.
Enter these keywords into the google search bar. Among these results, who do you consider competitors? Write them down. I would choose five competitors from each of your top 5 keywords.
Install an SEO scanning tool into your Google Chrome browser. This will save you the time of having to dig into the source code of various websites. They take a second to install and will list your competitor’s titles, keywords, Meta descriptions, Meta tags and H1 headings – all at the click of a button.
Two extensions that I find particularly useful for this task are MOZ SEO TOOLBAR (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mozbar/eakacpaijcpapndcfffdgphdiccmpknp ) and THE SPARK CONTENT OPTIMIZER (https://www.seoclarity.net/spark-content-optimizer). But there are much more to choose from, go wild.
Now you have an idea of what keywords your competitors are using to rank on search engines.
From the above results, tweak your keywords to fit the patterns that seem to be working. Some details that you thought would make great keywords may suddenly feel like they’d make better headers (H1 HTML format) or you may suddenly realize how to make your META descriptions more precise. But overall you should be feeling excited, more in control of your destiny in the once intimidating cyber world.
Use the google keyword planner (https://adwords.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/) to see exactly how competitive these keywords are. As a bonus google will give you ideas that you may not have considered.
You don’t need to spend any money at this point. You are merely getting a better idea of what sort of battle you will face in gaining relevance. Personally, I like to start off with the low competition keywords. What Google considers low can still end up being millions of searches per month, you only need a slice of that to be successful. If you are a small business, check for location specific traffic estimations.
After doing all the work on your ideal keywords, ensure that your effort will not go in vain. You get more from SEO keyword optimization on a user-friendly website. And by friendly, we mostly mean fast and easy to navigate.
You may not know exactly how to begin gauging how well your website compares with others but no worries. Here is a useful tool, SEO & Website Analysis (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/seo-website-analysis/hlngmmdolgbdnnimbmblfhhndibdipaf?hl=en). This is another google chrome extension, made by Woorank. You get an SEO score and review of both your website and that of competitors.
THINKING OF THE CUSTOMER: THE 6 W’s OF KEYWORDS
This is where we brainstorm original keywords. We are going to try to dissect what we market from a few angles.
Let’s pretend the product you’re trying to get attention for is a camera. How perfect life would be if you could simply add ‘camera’ as a keyword, kick your feet up, and expect traffic? Not that easy.
You need a thorough understanding of WHAT value your product/service offers, along with a deeper understanding of your customer. Juggle these two as you come up with keywords by asking yourself, WHY, WHO, HOW, WHERE, and WHEN. The 6 W’s to your rescue.
Think, why would your customer be looking online for a camera? Looking for a gift perhaps? A more niche keyword could be ‘gift camera.’
Or maybe your potential customers are about to go on vacation? ‘Camera for vacation.’
Or maybe it’s as simple as finding a replacement for a broken camera. Then your potential keyword could be ‘Secondhand cameras.’ Thinking about why your customers are online is never a waste of time, plus it can be the source of engaging content. This is where I would also advise you to create a blog post on your website, writing about ways of fixing and replacing cameras. Most people won’t open up their camera, but they will trust that you know what you are doing. They just may stop by your store for your expertise.
This is an aside, but since I brought up blogs, be sure to leave a highly visual and conveniently placed links leading towards your sales page.
There are two WHOs to think about here. Who is paying for your product and who is going to be using the product.
Parents shopping for their children may search ‘camera for kids’ while teenagers may be more interested in ‘camera for youtube.’ Two very different keywords that will attract a different demographic.
How do your customers use your product? Knowing the answer to this just may provide some insight as to what customers are prioritizing in their searches.
Let’s say you already realized that most people in Tinytown buy cameras to record their water adventures. You may want to choose a keyword that anticipates their need. A useful keyword could be ‘water resistant cameras.’
Or maybe you know that a majority of your cameras are purchased by travelers. This group of people don’t necessarily want to carry around bulky cameras as they tend to be on the move. Since they are typically more space conscious, a keyword could be ‘portable travel cameras.’ Plug these ideas into the Google Keyword Planner for a sense of how much traffic the term generates. Then look to see if you can compete with those who already rank for the query.
This one often gets overlooked, and we can’t be sure why.
Where exactly is your customer? Where can you most immediately meet the needs of potential clients?
Including location in keywords is a big deal for small companies trying to market to their communities. As a little mom and pop shop, the keyword ‘best cameras in Tinytown’ may be the difference between break even and oblivion.
Again go back to your customer, when do they tend to look for camera’s, when are they most likely to start snapping at statues and foreign skylines? Ding ding ding. You are right. summer. A keyword could ‘cameras for summer.’
Consider the 6 W’s of your SEO keyword, then run your competitor analysis! Don’t forget!
SHORT AND LONG TAIL KEYWORDS
Think of the 6Ws as a matrix. You get to mix and match the results. For example, a possible keyword could be ‘Best travel cameras in tiny town,’ depending on if you are aiming for short tail keywords or long tail keywords.
SHORT TAIL KEYWORDS (SHORT KEYWORDS): Short may be sweet but beware, the shorter your keywords, the more competition you are going to face for it.
LONG TAIL KEYWORDS (LONG KEYWORDS): The longer the keyword or phrase, the likelier you are to stand out. Unfortunately, make your keyword too long, and you risk irrelevance. Sometimes there is no competition for a long tail keyword because barely anyone is looking for it.
Like every good thing in life, getting keywords right is going to be about balance.