Before we go into creating a good keyword strategy, we need to know how Search Engines work. Google, like all the other major search engines aim to provide the best user experience possible. In order to maintain its market dominance, search results need to be relevant, useful and user friendly. In order to do this, search engines will index the content on the internet through the use of their crawlers, or bots. The ultimate goal is to serve the most relevant content out there for the user’s search query. This is done by measuring how users interact with a website so it is not just text and general content that is important. User experience, reliability, website speed, site map and general user behaviour are all used to rank your website.
The importance of keywords
Keywords still matter when it comes to optimising your website for the search engines. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comprises of many different elements. Each of these vary in importance and this changes depending on Google’s algorithm updates. Link structure, user experience, quality of content and URL & domain authority are still extremely important in creating an optimised website and even though we are focusing on keywords (as these are the building blocks), the other SEO elements should not be ignored.
Tools that can help
A combination of the following tools will help you research and develop a good keyword strategy for your website:
Google: Use Google search console and analytics to determine what keywords people are searching for to find your site. Google’s tools are sometimes amongst the least utilised but they can provide a wealth of information and help improve the performance of your website.
Majestic: This is a great tool to give you a complete profile of the link structure around your website.
SEM Rush: This tool works really well to help you with your keyword research and development.
Moz Open Site Explorer: This tool will allow you to collect linking data around your site
Where do keywords impact your SEO?
The Title: This should be 50-60 characters and it is important to place your keywords close to the front. Use your brand name too.
The URL: Needs to be relevant to the site. A descriptive URL is important to rank well.
The Description: Your meta description is important to generate interest and get you click-throughs. The description is not a ranking metric however accurate and enticing information will help drive high quality traffic to your website.
Keyword strategy research & development
Your keywords need to be aligned with your website goals. It is important to understand the visitor’s intent when they are searching for specific keywords on Google. Find the balance between keywords that have good search volume and keywords that are highly focused for your content. Using the tools mentioned earlier you will be able to understand the competitiveness of your targeted keywords and also what keywords your competitors are targeting themselves. Using the Chrome Moz extension you can analyse your own website or your competitors’ websites and you can see how well (or not) specific pages are optimised. You can find the meta data included in a page, title tags, link metrics and other useful information which can be used to find out what keywords the page is targeting and optimised for.
How to do keyword research?
Ask yourself if a keyword or key-phrase is relevant to your website and business. Search for the phrase in Google to find out how many search results are returned, which companies rank highly for those terms and are there many Google PayPerClick adverts competing for those terms. Using Google’s keyword planner, you can assess the quality of the keywords you wish to target. Using all of the data you have gathered you can build a well-researched keyword list.
Once you have your keywords for your keyword strategy, make sure you include keywords in your Header tags (H1, H2, etc), page titles and content. Do not stuff all the keywords into a single page but instead create valuable, content rich individual pages covering each keyword and topic you are targeting. Most importantly, make sure the content you create is useful, valuable to the user and worthwhile to read.
Keep checking how your pages rank and constantly improve the content and create more valuable content. Check out using Google analytics which pages your visitors are looking at. How many pages are they viewing? Are they staying on your page? These are good indications of what content visitors want from your website and if they are finding the content useful.
Remember Google is constantly striving to improve the relevance and importance of content to its users. The more relevant and well structured, informative content you have, the more times it will be served to users when they make a query requesting that type of content.