Keywords are one of the most fundamental elements of a good SEO strategy. These are words or phrases that you sprinkle naturally through your content to make sure audiences searching for that content are more likely to find it. While occasionally marketers put too much emphasis on keywords, to the exclusion of all else, there’s no denying that using the right keywords can make a big difference.
When it comes to keywords for a piece of written content, you typically have one focus keyword that will be used most frequently. This keyword should be in your title and at least in your introductory paragraph. You may also have secondary keywords to sprinkle in, but the focus keyword should take priority. So, how do you find the right focus keyword for your content? Here are our tips:
There are a number of keyword tools that can help you in your research. Google AdWords, SEMrush, Wordtracker, and more all have options. Some tools may even have limited free access in case you have a reduced budget.
These tools basically work on the same premise. You type in the topic you want your content to be about. The tools then spit out a list of keywords that are commonly used within that topic. This can easily lay out your options for focus keywords as well as give you a sense of how effective each keyword would be.
When you use these keyword research tools, take a look at the search volume. If a keyword has a low search volume, you won’t have much competition, but you also probably won’t get a lot of bites. These terms are infrequently used in written content because they are infrequently searched. Try to find something that has a higher search volume but one that isn’t too highly competitive. Even if these competitive keywords have a high search volume, you may be lost in the massive amounts of content vying to show up in those searches.
If you want to see how effective your focus keyword will be, consider Googling it yourself. From there, you will see the kind of results that come up and get a sense of what your target audience might be looking for. If the results you see don’t seem to fit with the topic you want to write, consider a different focus keyword. If they do, those search results can serve as research and inspiration for your own content — examples of what works and what doesn’t work.
There might be a very rankable keyword out there, but if it isn’t relevant to your target audience or your topic, it won’t help you much. You ultimately want something that will rank highly on Google’s algorithm but also get the attention of your human target audience. If you only have the first, you’ll get new traffic to your sight but very little follow-up. Choosing a focus keyword irrelevant to your target audience can also make your content fall into keyword stuffing.
We’ve mentioned keyword stuffing a few times, but what is that? Keyword stuffing is the practice of trying to fit a keyword into a piece of content as many times as possible to make it rank more highly in searches. Not only does this make your content clunky and difficult to read, but it is actually penalized by Google. By stuffing your content with a repeated keyword to boost your ranking, you could actually end up doing the opposite and fall further down the rankings.
Instead, look for a focus keyword to fit into the content naturally. Something that you could use frequently but in a way that makes sense. You’ll want to have secondary keywords that are synonymous with your focus keyword so that you can further avoid keyword stuffing.
Take a look at your past content. How well did your blogs perform within searches for your focused keyword? If they didn’t perform so well, what was amiss? Try to assess your past mistakes so that you can learn from them. For instance, if you’ve had a habit of choosing keywords that are too competitive for you, try finding a less competitive focus keyword. If you choose keywords that are too obscure or generic, try to find something that is more searchable.