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If you want to get more from your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, focusing on your keywords is essential.
Your keyword strategy should involve you using the most valuable keywords for your site and influence the types of content you create and how you structure your site.
Here’s how to develop a strategy that will set up your site for success.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want to jump straight into keyword research when you’re building your strategy.
Instead, start by listing what you want to accomplish with your website. Do you want more appointment bookings? More blog readers? More gym members?
Once you understand your goals, think about what your target visitors want to achieve. With the gym example, a potential visitor might want to lose weight or add muscle.
Once you understand what your visitors want to achieve (and how that ties into what you want), you can start brainstorming keywords that fit both your goals and your visitors’ goals.
Once you start digging into keywords, you should use a keyword research tool to see if the list of keywords you brainstorm is good for your site.
A keyword research tool will tell you important information like:
How many people search for a keyword each month
How competitive a keyword is
Whether the keyword has any notable trends (for example, maybe more people search for gym-related keywords around New Year’s Eve)
Here are some good free and paid tools to help you:
Keyword Planner — free
Ahrefs — purchase needed
KWFinder — purchase needed
Moz Keyword Explorer — free tools available and paid products
When Google curates its results, it doesn’t just respond to a keyword. It attempts to respond to the intent of the person searching that keyword.
For example, if someone is searching for “vacuum cleaner,” do they want to buy a vacuum cleaner? Learn how vacuum cleaners work? Research vacuum cleaner history?
Depending on a searcher’s intent, a keyword could be especially valuable…or not that helpful.
There are two ways to determine intent:
See what’s already ranking in Google. This gives you a good idea of what Google “thinks” people want. For example, if Google only ranks eCommerce stores, that tells you that Google thinks searchers intend to buy something.
Look for intent modifiers. For example, if someone searches for “best vacuum cleaner,” you can be pretty sure they’re looking to buy something.
When you’re researching keywords, it’s natural to be drawn to the high-volume phrases. However, while those keywords are valuable, they’re also the most competitive.
If your website isn’t an SEO powerhouse quite yet, you might struggle to rank against more established websites.
Often, a better strategy is to find the keywords that are valuable but not so valuable that the competition is too fierce. Long-tail keywords can be useful for that.
After all, it’s usually more beneficial to rank first for a keyword getting 500 searches per month than to sit on the second page for a keyword getting 10,000 searches per month.
If you know how SEO works, then you know how to rank for keywords, but your keyword strategy is what helps you figure out which keywords will bring the most value to your website.
Once you perform some research and implement these tips, you can find keywords that your site can rank for and your site will be more successful, no matter what your goals are.
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