YBT Digital Marketing Series on Search Engine Optimization. Part 3 includes: How to create a keyword list that will drive the right audience to your website and content. By Afshan Shaikh
Researching your Keywords
The keywords used on your website will be used by the search engine to link it to specific search terms that users input. Certain are more common and popularly used, and so they lead to more search results. As such, a keyword list is used by marketers as a guide for creating web content, titles of pages, website navigation, meta data, and URL structure. It is critical to identify the keywords that would be most suitable and relevant to your business and will help search engines clearly recognize and index your pages against related search queries.
Forming an initial keyword list
The initial phase of creating an effective keyword list is very important. They help marketers rely on logic and facts to transition into a final list of keywords that perfectly represent their business on search engines. Let us go through the keyword list creation process:
Step 1 – Brainstorming: Take some time to think about the keywords that would be most relevant to your company and its core products. Try to consider everything from a consumer perspective. If a customer is looking for your kind of products and services, what is he/she most likely to use as search terms? Also, it would be good to take second and third opinions. Every human mind thinks differently and taking multiple perspectives into consideration might help you identify keywords that you may have missed.
Step 2 – Consumers: A great way of identifying the right keywords is go to the consumers themselves. You can use a free email service to send questionnaires to a few of your regular clients and have them describe your organizations, and its products and services. From the list that is thus created, select the words that are most commonly cited by the customers. Make sure the list is highly targeted. You could also try to access the keywords being used by your competitors.
Step 3 – Researching: By following step 1 and 2, you will have developed a provisional keyword list. You will now need to refine this list through keywords. There is a search volume level attached to each keyword or phrase that defines how competitive the keyword would be. While paid keywords and listings automatically find their way to the top of the first page, unpaid or organic listings take much longer to reach the top using high-traffic words. You will need to rely on several online tools that will help you identify keyword competitiveness, density levels, and variations. Over time, you will be able to weed out low performing keywords and develop an optimized keyword list.
Step 4 – Finalizing the List: You should now ideally have a finalized keyword list consisting of about 20 words to begin with. You will have to wait for a period of 6 months, which is the time that search engines usually take to crawl the millions of websites on the net. Within 6 months, you will have a much clearer picture of how to further streamline your keywords and modify your web content accordingly.
Factors determining keyword value
Caution points when choosing keywords
Once you have a final list ready, you should be careful about the following points while selecting the keywords to use:
- Always keep in mind that, as far as search engine keywords are concerned, it is all about relevance. So make sure that the keywords that you choose are highly relevant to your business and website content.
- The keywords that you have used for SEO when creating your website will need to be included in the website content. The integration of the keywords into the content should be seamless, unforced and natural, so that there is no negative impact on relevance or user experience.
- Make sure that you are not using any famous, copyrighted phrases or catch like. Not only will this be perceived as an act of ‘imitation’ by readers, but would also land you in legal troubles for copyright infringement.
There are several tools available online that will help you measure the popularity of the keywords you are considering. For example, Google Trends lets you search for keywords, their current popularity and also forecasted popularity. You just have to enter one keyword at a time into the search field provided, and Google will display the growth/decline in interest in the keyword over time, as well as forecasted interest levels. It breaks down the interest levels geographically, so you can see which country searches your keywords the most. Finally, Google Trends will provide you with a list of ‘related’ searches and their popularity levels. This can be a major help if you want to identify alternate words that consumers may be using for your products and services, as well as understanding which related keywords are gaining popularity.
Stay tuned to learn more about SEO and Digital Marketing as we continue this series in the days to come!
Also, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Series: