Any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert will tell you that finding and using the right keywords on your website is arguably the most important thing that you can do to generate traffic and get more users.
But knowing which keywords to target isn’t always obvious.
Some keywords have high search volume but lots of competition while others have low search volume and not much competition but high intent.
So which keywords should you focus on and how can you be sure that these keywords will generate quality traffic for your website?
The basics of keyword research
The goal of doing keyword research is to find out which keywords are the most valuable for your website.
The most valuable keywords are the ones that generate the most valuable users, not necessarily the most users.
For example, if your website sells shoes, it’s more valuable to rank for the search term shoes rather than clothes because the people that search for shoes have a much greater chance of buying shoes than they do clothes.
Sometimes the most valuable keywords are also the hardest keywords to rank for so it's also important to understand the metrics that are used to evaluate keywords.
Some of the common metrics used to evaluate keywords and their difficulty are:
- Search volume - How many searches does your keyword get in a month?
- Keyword difficulty - How hard is it to rank 1st for your keyword in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)?
- CPC (Cost per Click) - How much do you have to pay to get one click when using Google Ads for your keyword?
Keyword difficulty and keyword value go hand in hand when it comes to choosing the best keywords for your site. But how do you really know when a keyword is valuable or when the keyword difficulty is too high?
Here’s the 5 things you should do to make sure that you are choosing good keywords for your website.
1. Know your niche
Understanding the niche that your website occupies is key to finding the right keywords.
One of the most competitive markets for SEO is the online sports betting industry. You’ll find hundreds of sites online that compare betting websites, each occupying a different niche, from the best betting websites, to new betting sites or betting sites with free bets.
Of course, some websites occupy a few of these different niches with pages that are targeted towards each niche. However, no website is 1st in the SERP for every niche that they target.
Therefore, the more focused your site is, the better chance it has of becoming an authority on that subject and the better chance it has of ranking well for the keywords that you target.
2. Make an initial keyword list
Once you have determined the niche that your site occupies, or the niche that you want it to occupy, come up with a list of keywords based on searches that you think people might make.
Also consider the way people search and bear in mind that not all searches are grammatically correct.
Don’t worry about making the perfect list, you’ll be refining this in the next step.
3. Research and refine your focus
Remember that the best keywords for your site are the ones that will bring the most value.
You’ll want to research all of the keywords on your list to determine which are the most valuable.
There are plenty of useful keyword research tools out there.
A useful formula for determining keyword value is:
Competition x Search Volume x Intent = Keyword Value
Competition and search volume can be found easily by using keyword research tools. Intent is something that you will have to follow your gut on but remember that keywords with the highest intent are the ones where users are most likely to find your page helpful.
You have your most valuable keywords so now it’s time to put them on your page.
Note that adding keywords to your URL, Title Tag, Meta Description and in headings helps Google to understand what your page is about.
Also, make sure to avoid keyword stuffing. At the end of the day your page needs to satisfy users so should be well written and keywords should be used naturally.
5. Evaluate and re-refine your keyword focus
When you’ve done all of this you need to give your website some time to rank.
Keep adding pages, building backlinks and writing articles and blog posts.
When you’ve given your page time to rank, re-evaluate your keywords, figure out which keywords are bringing you the most valuable traffic with tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics and continue to add new valuable keywords to further optimize your page.