March 9, 2020
A term you will hear very often when discussing your websites Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is keywords, but what exactly are they? And why are they so important when it comes to building your website?
Ps. If you are new, I recommend you check out my first blog post in this series SEO Basics for Small Business Owners.
Ranking is how high up you appear in a search result.
With billions of content on the internet, search engines, like Google, need easily sort through it all and work out what your website is about so that when someone types a question or phrase into Google, they can deliver the best results to that person.
Ps: There are lots of Search Engines out there but for the purpose of keeping things simple, I am just going to focus on Google as it is the most common of the search engines and the one I recommend to everyone.
There are a lot of factors which Google takes into account when it ‘crawls’ your website, but one of the most important is your use of keywords.
It makes sense; the words on your website are a great indicator of what your website is about.
Because of this, if I was looking for a takeaway shop, I wouldn’t get results for a new gym that’s opening near me (and thank God).
Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that a million and one results come up for certain keywords. If you type in ‘photographer’, Google is going to show you the very best results in all photographers.
You’re going to need to be more specific; You want a Branding Photographer who lives in Brisbane. In this example, we have been specific about the type of photographer and the location where we want to find them.
Suddenly we are getting really relevant results. These results have shown up because Google trusts that these websites are what you are looking for due to the keywords that appear within their website. The search term you put in matches what Google can read on their website.
Unfortunately/fortunately, the result you get depends on the phrase that you use. Not all keyphrases are the same, which means you could rank for one keyphrase, and not another.
Let’s take ‘photographer’ and ‘photography’ for example. If you type these two terms into Google, you are going to get slightly different results. This is pretty much the same with all keyword variations. Different results are going to come up depending on the exact phrase that you type.
While a lot of people might use the term ‘photographer’ when they type it into google, some people might use the term ‘photography’. They are going to see results that most likely also use the term ‘photography’ since Google sees this as a match. Now obviously, this can get a bit more complicated, but in essence, that it the basics of it.
So how do we know the best keywords to use?
Before we even start to check the keywords, I encourage my clients to do a massive brain dump/ brainstorm of all the different combinations of keywords that their customer might use. In this phase, I encourage you to literally put yourself in the shoes of your target customer. Are they going to type the same things into a search that you would?
Things to consider include:
It’s important to think about the type of term that your target customer would use to search for your product or service. For example, if you sold a mobility product that was intended for elderly citizens, the types of phrases you would use would depend on who you were selling them to.
While a carer or organisation might know an industry term for a product, an elderly person might search for what they are hoping to achieve rather than the exact name or might not know the specific jargon.
‘Copywriting’ is a great example of an industry profession that could be marketed differently depending on target audiences as the name of the job is still relatively unknown by many people.
A copywriter looking to attract clients in similar online industries might use the term copywriter – since it is more likely for potential clients to use it when searching. However someone in a completely different industry and demographic might have no idea what a copywriter is. They might use the phrase ‘blog post writing’ instead.
Sometimes when we are looking for a particular product or service, we will want to look in a particular location. You will need to keep this in mind when choosing the types of phrases people will use to find you.
A hairdresser, for instance, will need to target their city or possibly even their suburb/area.
Their keyword would look something like ‘Miami hairdresser’.
Think about the area that you provide products and services to, if applicable. You may want to consider the names of surrounding areas or specific provinces.
Next, consider if there are any nicknames that local people would use to search for that place. For Australians, instead of writing ‘New South Wales’, most people would write ‘NSW’. In the US, instead of Southern California, people might use ‘SoCal’.
This works the other way around as well; a hotel in London located just a mile from the main airport might advertise as being located in ‘Stanwell’ in their keywords. This would mean practically nothing to anyone not local to London and might affect the search results. In turn, it could affect the type of people that book to stay there.
The way you write your keyphrase also affects the results.
This can be best described through the below images:
Image 1 shows the results from the search term “Brisbane Branding Photographer” whereas the second image shows the results from “branding photographer Brisbane”.
While many of the same photographers came up, the results were ranked in a slightly different order.
Crazy stuff, huh?
Evergreen keywords relate to words and phrases that are often and consistently searched for. These types of keywords are great to use because they generally have a long life.
Think about questions about your job that your target audience might always search for. For example, in my industry, a common question could be “Do I need a website as a small business owner?”. So, I wrote a blog post about it with a key phrase that I thought suitable. This type of post is great for me because it is a common question that people may be typing into search engines and therefore has a greater chance of converting.
Evergreen content generally has a high conversion rate since people are usually searching with specific intent. Additionally, while I may go back every now and again to refresh the blog post, I expect it to stay relevant and as a driver to my website for a long time.
Kind of opposite to timeless/evergreen keywords, you may also consider using short-term keywords in your content. These types of keywords take advantage of a topic that is all the talk of that moment – think recent news, trends, movie releases, etc.
The benefit of these types of keywords rather than the timeless/evergreen type is that they usually receive an explosive search volume and have a high conversion rate, they have a higher chance of going viral.
The negative factor of these types of keywords is that they usually expire quite quickly. Trending keywords are exactly as the name implies, trends.
Are there any other keywords that are similar to your main keywords? While we want to create a consistent topic on our website, Google does not love keyword stuffing.
Also known as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), it’s important to include relevant keywords throughout your content. Think about similar topics that you could discuss and show Google that you are not some kind of robot.
You have brainstormed different keyword in your head, now its time to take it further.
Researching can help you find a broader range of keywords that you might not have considered. Ask your target customer what they would type into Google or use a keyword planner or other tool to suggest relevant keywords or phrases.
Tip: Pinterest is a great tool for planning keyword. Pinterest is a visual search engine, but a really cool feature when you type something into their search bar is often they are going to come up with relevant keywords or related words.
There are also numerous keyword tools on Google that can help you find different keywords. A lot of them are hit or miss and most require payment, but you could always trial a free version if you are really interested.
By now probably have a massive list of keywords. In the next step, you’re going to need to check them.
There are lots of well-known SEO checkers, but if I’m being honest, they are hella expensive for small business owners – including myself. If you have the budget to spend on your SEO, I recommend Moz. But if you are like me and early in your SEO journey, there are two free tools which I use.
Note: The tools can be a bit hit or miss. So take everything with a grain of salt. I don’t use them as a holy bible, but I find they are both great starting points to figuring out great SEO keywords.
The first tool I suggest is the Google Keyword Tool. Warning, the tool can be a pain to find, but if you already have a Google Account, I suggest using this. It’s meant to be a tool for finding the best keywords for Paid Google Ads, but it works pretty well for organic keywords too.
Now, understanding the tool is a little technical. I am planning on making a quick tutorial for this someday soon, but in the meantime, check out this link https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-keyword-planner/.
If you don’t have a Google account or can’t get your head around the Google Keyword Planner tool, I have an alternative for you. It’s the Ubersuggest tool by Neil Patel. Sometimes I actually prefer it because it’s so simple.
Check it out here:
It can get a little bit advanced, but these are the bits that are relevant:
If you input a keyword, it’s going to give you that keyword, along with a few suggestions to similar ones that it thinks are similar
Side note – this is a free website, so I find it doesn’t always come up with all the alternatives, which is why it is important to write down as many as you can think of beforehand.
I record the monthly search volume and the SEO difficulty in separate columns
The volume is how often that term is searched in a month on average (the higher numbers, the better)
And the SEO difficulty calculates roughly how hard it would be to rank for taking into account the number of other websites ranking for it (the lower the number, the better).
PSA: If you are looking to work with me in the future, it is worth pointing out that all my website packages include keyword research. This means all you do it supply and search terms you think your target customer would use and I do the hard bit.
In addition, you get to keep the list! This list is incredibly valuable for blogging and helping you rank in the future!
Now you have a list of your ultimate keywords, you’re going to want to put a game plan into action to start creating content revolving around them. Drafting a content plan is really going to help you plan blog posts that centre around those keywords and attract traffic to your blog and website.
Pull up an excel sheet or word doc and just start writing. Go through these steps and let me know how to go! Message me on here or Instagram and tell me what you are struggling with or if it has been helpful.
I'm Madison; a tea drinking, adventure obsessed Brand + Web Designer working remotely around the world.
I help solopreneurs, digital nomads and bloggers build strategic online spaces that help them achieve FREEDOM.