More than likely, when you have a question that needs a quick answer, you turn to the internet as a resource. With the search of a few words, the internet can produce hundreds of responses within seconds. After browsing the results, you choose one that seems promising find the answer you need.
The words you type into search engines play a role in how easily you find a blog or web page, and the same goes for the way people find your website. If you want people to find your website, you must understand what keywords are, why they matter, and best practices for how to find them.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are the foundation of search engine optimization (SEO). They are the terms or phrases that someone would use to find your website. When keywords are well-researched and strategically placed throughout your site, they tell Google and other search engines what your site is about, which then helps those engines determine where to rank your site in search results.
For example, if you were to type “violin” into a search engine, the results would show a variety of results that correlate with those keywords:
Keywords fall into two categories:
- Short keywords that contain one or two terms
- Long-tail keywords that contain typically three or more terms
As a result, short keywords are generally on broad topics, while long-tail keywords are all about specificity. In the example above, “violin” was a short keyword. Take a look at what a long-tail version of “violin” would look like if you search “history of the violin”:
Why do Keywords Matter?
If you want your website to appear as a top result in search engine results pages (SERPs), keywords are essential. SEMrush’s blog has found that the first organic result on Google gets an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.24%. That number drops significantly as you get further down the page, meaning that keywords are a major player in whether or not people will visit your site.
While it may seem like keywords are all about getting clicks to your website, they also help build credibility with search engines. As we mentioned earlier, keywords tell Google and other engines what your site is about. If you use relevant keywords throughout your site, it will signal to Google that your site is a credible source on that topic.
Additionally, keywords are important for voice search. With the rise in popularity of digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, people are using voice search more and more to find the answers to their questions. For your site to come up as a result of a voice search, keywords must be included.
Best Practices for Finding Keywords
There are a few different ways you can go about finding the best keywords for your website. The first is by using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. This tool lets you research keywords and tracks how often they’re being searched.
Another way to find keywords is by using Google trends. This tool lets you see how keywords are trending over time. You can also compare multiple keywords to see which one is more popular.
Lastly, you can use SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. This tool lets you find keywords related to your main keyword, as well as the search volume, CPC, and competition level for each keyword.
Once you’ve found a few keywords that you want to target, it’s important to sprinkle them throughout your website, but beware of keyword stuffing. This is when a site includes too many keywords in an attempt to rank higher in search results. This practice will not only make your site look unprofessional, but it will also get you penalized by Google. A good rule of thumb is to use keywords when they naturally fit into your sentence.
Whether you’re just getting started with keyword planning or looking to amplify your current content efforts, keep your target market at the front of your mind, and don’t be afraid to change things up as you test certain keywords. Great inbound marketing is about having the right content reach your ideal potential customers when they need it, and getting smart with your keyword approach is a fantastic way to do that.