You probably already know that keyword research lays the foundation for your SEO campaigns and makes it easier to set expectations with your business objectives. This article will help you learn how to win at keyword research to drive more business and value for your visitors. By the end of the article you will be able to:
- Understand Your Keywords
- Classify Keywords according to User Intent
- Determine the Ideal Keywords
- Check Keyword Density and Grouping
- Interpret Challenges in Keyword Selection (and How to Overcome Them)
So what are Keywords exactly?
Keyword(s) are defined as:
- Terms used in queries by visitors
- Search terms you want to be relevant for your business
- A general marketing concept; they’re not a digital marketing concept
Different Parts of a Keyword Phrase
1. Understanding Your Keywords
Understanding your keywords makes it easier to narrow down your keyword list. This helps you to:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Eventually convert traffic into customers
- Use the right keywords according to the different stages in your sales funnel
2.User Intent Classification for Keywords
- Navigational Intent- Company or brand queries, domain queries.
- Informational Intent – Curiosity, question-oriented, solution-seeking queries.
- Commercial Intent – Informational search queries with future business implications.
- Transactional Intent – Looking to purchase queries
Following the above four user intent keywords helps you to identify the best fitting keywords for your business niche.
3. How to Apply Keywords in your Sales Funnel?
The longer the tail of the keyword, the closer your visitors are to the conversion portion of the funnel. The more general the keyword, the more informational it tends to be.
Let’s look into the four pillars of Google’s Micro-Moments in this context:
- Consumers act on a need to learn something new instantaneously.
- People are actually doing research in this phase.
- Consumer expectations grow as location-based queries rise.
- Queries are focused on Maps or local searches
- Consumers use their Smartphone’s to search for different ideas while performing a task.
- Queries are mostly focused on “how-to” type of content.
- Consumer decisions are influenced by what they find online at the last minute.
- Commercial and transactional queries drive valuable outcomes for businesses.
How you can determine the Ideal Keywords?
Following are the most important Factors which affect the success of your Keyword Selection:
1. Keyword Purpose to Landing Page Match
Don’t try to target a specific money term for your homepage unless the money term is your core business. Which keywords you allow your visitors to have depends on what kind of pages you have or you are willing to have inside your website.
Example: Informational Keyword = How to Content = Informational Page
2. Existing Semantic Relevance
Make sure that your website is already talking about a particular topic inside your content and they do have a strong contextual relationship.
The easiest way to pick your keywords is through the Google Keyword Planner tool:
1. Make sure to enter the domain in the keyword section and not in the domain.
2. Select Keyword Ideas
3. Existing Ranking Equity
Don’t deny a keyword if it is good enough to be on the 1st page of search results. The thing is keywords are possible to rank; you just have to beat the competing pages.
4. Supportive Content
One of the characteristics of a perfectly optimized page is how targeted the keyword is; you won’t be able to rank for a term you’re ashamed to mention in your content.
The keyword, topic, and your content should have the following relationships:
- Semantic = You’re actually talking about the topic.
- Contextual = You have topics somewhat related to the keyword.
- Syntactic = Keyword exists in its exact match on your site.
Short-tail vs. Long-tail Keywords
When do you long-tail or short-tail your keywords selection?
It obviously depends on what your website is designed to do and according to your business objective. If you want to drive traffic to your website then your focus should be on informational or commercial terms i.e. short-tail terms. On the other hand if you want to drive more conversions you have to use long-tail variations to bring users to the lower portion of the sales funnel.
Keyword Density and Grouping
Page Density is measured based on the number of times the key terms appears on the page compared to the source code. It is suggested to have the key term appear < 5% inclusive of all the times it appears on the page.
Content Density should be < 3% inclusive of all the times the key phrase appears in the <body> tag with the most powerful appearing at the top and to the left.
1% – 2% of the key term should be hyperlinked to most relevant page on the website. As far as outbound linking is concerned 1% – 2% key terms should be linked with 1 exact match to 2 partial matches. One key term is hyperlinked with 1 to 2 other semantically-related terms pointing to relevant websites.
The practice of categorizing sponsored keywords into groups to simplify PPC campaign management is called keyword grouping.
Example: digital marketing agency, digital marketing service provider, digital marketing company, digital marketing services
What are the challenges in Keyword Selection and How to Overcome Them?
Challenge #1: Saying No to a Keyword
It’s about aiming for the “Holy Grail” terms vs. aiming for multiple little grails.
Example: Suppose you want to rank for “Family law New York”.
Then you have to aim for variations of what comprises family law. (E.g. divorce, child custody, child support, prenuptial agreements, etc) and look for the easier wins to get relevant traffic.
Challenge #2: Diluting Down the Vanity Keyword
You have to set the right expectations; if you want to beat your competitor for a specific term, even if they are already on the top spots for over a hundred keywords, you have to:
- Set expectations on what you can and cannot win.
- Focus more on long-tail variations that drive business today, and then work on the vanity keywords later on.
Sometimes, it’s wiser to say no.
Challenge #3: Targeting for a Specific Term, but your Stake is on the Homepage
Under these circumstance you have to steal the equity in the homepage and make the inner pages rank.
For Example: if you offers a range of services and wants to rank for a specific term “family law in New York”, you should:
Make the inner page relevant by splitting the term ‘family law in New York” between the homepage and inner page by placing Long-tail variations on the homepage and exact match variations on the inner page. Take content from the homepage about family law and transfer to the inner page.
- Understanding your keywords properly helps you select the right search terms according to the different stages of your sales funnel.
- You have to categorize your keywords according to user intent: Navigational, Informational, Commercial, or Transactional.
- Search queries are based on micro moments: “I-want-to-know”, “I-want-to-go”, “I-want-to-buy”, and “I-want-to-do”.
- Keywords should match the purpose of your landing page.
- You need to find the existing semantic relevance between your keyword and website.
- Your keyword, topic, and content should be a semantic, contextual, and syntactic match.
- Your keywords should have the right density and should be grouped wisely.