This post may contain affiliate links, these are indicated by an *.
In this series of posts, I’m looking at what you need to think about to get your website to the top of Google, which mainly involves improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This article is about how to find the best keywords for your website.
- How to get to the top of google for free
- The first steps to create a website for your small business
- Why Is SEO important for small businesses
- How to rank in Google – what is SEO and how it works
- SEO for business growth – how to structure your website
- How to get your website on Google’s first page creating relevant content
- How to find the best keywords for your website
- Website content ideas – how to create good website content
How to find the best keywords for your website
Ranking for the best keywords relevant to your business is a vital source of visitors to your website.
These visitors could become customers, so making sure you can a) maximise the number of people who visit and b) answer their questions, so they linger on your site, so they don’t go anywhere else, should be your primary goal.
What makes a good keyword
A good keyword is a word or phrase regularly searched in Google, that is not too broad a topic, and doesn’t have too much competition.
Good keywords for you to focus on do not need to be the most searched for term, as you need to consider the level of competition. The search volume needs to be high enough that there is enough potential to bring traffic in, and the competition isn’t so high where you have to compete with high profile businesses.
For instance, logo design might be a good keyword for my business. Indeed, according to KeywordsEverywhere (which is my keyword tool of choice), there are over 1M searches a month for this search term. The results displayed include many tools that will create logos for you, so competing in this market would not work for me. However, if I use hand-drawn logo design, the number of searches is radically reduced to just 320 per month. Plus the competition is also reduced. The 320 people doing those searches may be more likely to purchase my logo design than someone just searching for logo design. So this could be a good keyword for me.
As a side note, hand drawn, hand-drawn and handdrawn all resulted in the same search numbers, so Google recognises these variations as the same thing. However, using web design and website design does give different results. So when investigating keywords for your business, make sure you research all variations of words.
Steps to find a good keyword:
1. Brainstorm keywords for your core products or services.
Start making a list of all the terms you think your potential customers may use to find your services or products. Add in anything that springs to mind. Remember your customers may use different terms to describe your services. In addition, they may not know the correct technical jargon so put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
2. Download keywords from Google Search Console
If you already have a website, download the keywords you have currently been found for from Google Search Console. If you haven’t signed up for this yet, make sure you do, as it’s a great source of helpful information about your website.
3. Check competitor keywords
Take a look at some of your competitors’ websites and see what sort of language and terms they use. However, please don’t copy them blindly, as you may find that they are the wrong keywords!
4. Find good local areas to target.
If you are a location-based business or want to target specific locations, make a list of the regions, cities, counties, towns or postcodes so you can check the search volume later to find out which areas offer the highest value.
5. Find your most profitable keywords.
Now you have a massive list of potential keywords, it’s time to run them through a keyword tool to prioritise them into a manageable list. There are many keyword tools, some free and some paid.
Google has their own Keyword Planner, which is used for Ads, but you can use it to find out the key metrics we are interested in, and it is free.
SEMrush is a paid-for tool that offers extra functionality to show you what your website, or any URL, is ranking for, which could be interesting.
Another tool that I use is KeywordsEverywhere. It is a paid-for tool but is a credit-based price, and for $10 you can usually get enough credits to cover yourself for a year, as long as you remember to switch it off when you are not actively using it!
KeywordsEverywhere uses the same data as Google’s Keyword Planner but displays the data directly in the google search, showing the search results, search volumes and other related keywords all on one screen. This kills two birds with one stone by doing the next step for you.
At this point, capture the search volume, cost per click (CPC), and competition for each of the keywords in your list.
Add any relevant related keywords to your list with their data.
6. Do a Google search using your keywords to check the search results are relevant.
It is always good to do a sanity check to ensure that the keywords you are interested in actually produce the search results you are expecting. After that, it is simply a case of confirming that Google thinks the keyword means what you think it means.
While many keywords may seem relevant, they may have multiple meanings, and Google may favour one definition over another.
7. Analyse your keywords
Now you have your list of keywords, check the analytic data that you have also acquired and try and identify the terms you want to prioritise.
Search volume: The search volume should be high enough to bring in sufficient potential traffic. Remember that ranking top for any single keyword could bring you around 40% of the traffic for that search. So if your goal is to bring in 100 leads per month from keywords with search volumes in the 0-10 range, you know you will need to rank well for many keywords to hit your target.
However, there is always a balance to be had. Keywords with the highest search volume are likely to be the most competitive. So if your site doesn’t have great visibility yet, targeting these high volume phrases means you will have to work very hard to see your traffic increase, if it ever will.
Competition: This metric indicates the level of competition in paid ads for this keyword. The most competitive being 1 and the least being 0. The higher the competition, the more difficult it will be to rank, although not impossible.
SEMrush and KeywordsEverywhere also give you an indication of how difficult the keyword is to rank for. So again, it would be best to balance out keyword phrases that you can win (low competition) against those worth fighting for (high competition but high rewards).
The keywords you choose to prioritise will depend on where you are with your business; if your site has low visibility compared to your competition, you will want to start by targeting the lower competition keywords.
CPC: Cost per click (CPC) indicates how profitable the keyword could be. It is the average price an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their ad for that keyword. A high CPC shows a high commercial intent, i.e. people are looking to buy something. These could be your potential customers.
It is often better to target a niche keyword (or more commonly known as a long-tailed keyword) and get to the top of the ranking so you can pick up all of the highly targeted traffic rather than try for traffic from broad terms with high search volumes. So, for example, a new accountancy practice might be better to focus on the long tail keyword of Contractor tax Accountant in Newcastle rather than the highly searched and broad keyword of Tax Accountant.
8. Identify your key pages and add content.
Now that you have a list of keywords you want to target, it’s time to identify which key pages you will use them on.
A key page is a page on your website to drive specific focussed traffic to and improve rankings.
This is where you can get creative with your product or service pages or blog posts. Make them specific so you can really target the traffic at them.
The more pages you can rank for with different keywords, the more traffic you bring to your site.
This step aims to map all your target keywords to one or more key pages. If you find that one of your target keywords doesn’t have a current key page, then this is a good indication that you need to start creating new pages to target these keywords.
These steps encompass how to find the best keywords for your website.
How to use the keyword in your content
To create a key page, you should be able to satisfy the following questions:
- Does the page mention each of its target keywords at least once? Using a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO will tell you how many times you should use the keyword in your content based on the length of your content.
- Are there more than 300 words of text on this page? Blog posts should aim for about 500 -1000 words.
- If a searcher used this keyword and found your page, would their questions be answered?
- Do the page headline and subheadings contain the target keywords or variations? Again, using a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO will tell you whether you need to add the keyword into more headings or content areas.
In most cases, your key pages can be improved by adding more detailed content, with more use of the keyword, which will enhance their ranking.
As a final note in how to find the best keywords for your website, it’s essential to realise that keyword research is not an exact science. Common sense plays a big part, so go with your gut and monitor the results if something feels right.
Also, remember that keyword research is never complete. Popular searches change, so you need to review your content every six months to see how your optimisation has responded and ensure your target keywords are still suitable.
If you want to find out more on how to find the best keywords for your website or want us to help you with improving the SEO on your website pleaseget in touch.