If you’re doing SEO, the first step is to learn what keywords people search in Google so you can target them in your content and SEO strategy.
This is called keyword research and it can easily make the difference between ranking on page 1 or page 7. Keyword research should preferably be done before designing a website. Because if it’s not involved in the design, how are you suppose to align your content with the phrases people are searching? Otherwise you might need to go back and make adjustments.
I will cover some basic strategies for selecting good keywords. Because if you choose one that is too competitive or one that’s not being searched at all, this can you leave in the dust with more page 7 rankings. It’s the most common mistake I see. Let’s not do that.
- Start With Google Autocomplete
- Hone In Using Google Keyword Planner
- See Competitor Keywords With HubShout Web Grader
- How Many Searches Should My Focus Keyword Have?
- Create A Keyword List
1. Start With Google Autocomplete
Google Autocomplete is the easiest way to learn what keywords are being searched in Google. Just go to google.com, start typing in a phrase then you’ll see suggestions based on previous history. Be sure to try out the “fill in the blank” method shown in second photo.
Phrases on top have more searches, however you’ll want to target the other keywords so you can maximize search engine traffic. Long-tail keywords (phrases that usually have 3+ individual words) are more specific and bring a more targeted visitor to your site. That means a better conversion rate. These are also easier to rank for (less competition in Google) and are just more profitable all around.
So whether you’re looking for a keyword to use in your upcoming blog post or you’re creating an entire keyword list, always start with Google Autocomplete. The one thing it doesn’t tell you is the actual number of searches each of them have.
2. Hone In Using Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner tells you how many people are searching for a particular keyword. It provides suggestions and has filters on the left to help you narrow down the best phrases.
- Must sign up for Google AdWords to get started :(
- Start with a broad phrase
- Make sure the “keyword ideas” tab is selected
- Ignore the competition tab, that is for AdWords and not SEO
3. See Competitor Keywords With HubShout Web Grader
HubShout Web Grader compares your website’s keywords with your competitor’s. It also provides valuable info like estimated traffic value and number of links to your website.
4. How Many Searches Should My Focus Keyword Have?
In Google Keyword Planner, you’ll see the actual number of monthly searches each keyword has. But how little is too little, and how many is too many?
The number of searches your keywords should have is different for each website. You need to check your domain authority in the Semify Web Grader report. This is your website’s predictive ability to rank in search engines on a scale from 0-100.
Now use this handy chart I borrowed from Orbit Media’s keyword research guide to learn how many monthly searches your keywords should have.
If you want to rank for a keyword that has more monthly searches than the chart recommends, you can always make additional SEO efforts to do that – mainly getting more links and social shares for the page that targets the phrase. Just don’t go too high.
And don’t be discouraged if a keyword only has 30 or even 10 monthly searches. If you have 20 pages that target 1 primary keyword each, multiply that by 10 searches/month which potentially adds up to an extra 200 visitors/month. Not too shabby. Plus, people are likely using variations of that keyword so that number could actually be more.
If you want to improve your domain authority so you can target keywords with more monthly searches, you will need to get more links from high quality websites (in the HubShout report, notice how the monthly traffic value almost directly correlates with the # of links to each website).
You get links by creating new, helpful, keyword-targeted content on your website and blog which people naturally want to link to. My strategy is to take all the articles I’ve written about WordPress SEO and turn it into a series which I’m currently working on. Once you’ve created some good content, start promoting it and the links will come.
5. Create A Keyword List
I hope you found this helpful. Stay tuned for an update on my WordPress SEO Series and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter if you want more helpful articles.