Finding the best keywords for your website isn’t as simple as throwing a dart at a list of potential keywords and picking the one that sticks. To ensure that your website is visible to people searching for the products or services you offer, you need to know how to find (and select) the best keyword for your goals.
In this article, you will discover the importance of keyword research and how to find the best keywords for SEO.
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The Importance of Keyword Research
Keywords might not carry as much weight as they did during the early days of search engine optimization, but it’s essential that you understand how to perform keyword research and select your target keywords. After all, skipping keyword research is one of the most common SEO mistakes companies make.
Target keywords are the words and phrases you want your website to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Selecting your target keywords requires research and careful consideration regarding their relevance to your website, estimated search volume, competitive level, and, perhaps most importantly these days, the search intent behind the keyword.
What is search intent?
Search intent describes why someone is typing a particular keyword into the search engine. There are four main types of search intent:
- Navigational: The searcher is looking for a specific website or page. For example, if someone types in “Facebook,” they are likely looking to be taken directly to the Facebook homepage.
- Informational: The searcher wants to learn more about a particular topic. For example, if someone types in “how to install a garage door,” they are looking for information on DIY garage door installation advice.
- Transactional: The searcher is looking to buy something. For example, if someone types in “buy running shoes,” they are likely interested in purchasing a pair of running shoes.
- Commercial: The searcher is looking for a particular business or service. For example, if someone types in “treatment centers near me,” they are likely looking for a list of treatment centers in their area.
To find the best keywords for SEO, you need to identify the search intent behind the keyword before you select it as a target keyword. This will help you track the best keywords for your digital marketing campaign.
Most SEO services include keyword research, so most companies opt to partner with an SEO company so they can focus on other aspects of their business.
How to Find the Best Keywords for SEO
Keywords are one of the core essentials of good search engine optimization – the right effort and planning directed at the wrong keywords will net a poor return on investment, and awful lead generation for your business, meaning money down the drain.
Before investing in paid clicks, high-quality copy, and customized ad campaigns, it’s important to get your keywords sorted. Step one in this process is to do your keyword research. There are countless ways to get started, but any SEO expert will tell you to use a program to get the job done.
Whether starting with a free tool to figure out your niche as a blogger or investing in an enterprise-level keyword analysis tool like Ahrefs, figuring out the most competitive, popular, and cost-effective keywords for your business or specialization is important.
But beyond simply setting up a list of potential keywords to focus on, you need to get better at selecting the right keyword for your needs. Keyword selection is an entirely separate process from keyword research and analysis. It will require an in-depth look at a keyword’s respective relevance to your content and product, its competitiveness, bid rates, click-through potential, and much, much more.
Do Your Research
Before we get started, you will want an idea of what keywords to compare with each other. Free tools like Google Keyword Planner can give you a greater insight into related search terms and popular search terms for topics closest to your business or niche and provide some basic insights into those terms and their recent performance. More in-depth tools like Semrush or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer are popular alternatives. Some are free or with limited early uses, while others are paid.
Start by working backward. Who are you selling to? What do you provide? What kind of audience are you trying to foster? What kind of customer do you want to cater to? Understanding your buyer – and creating an accurate profile – is important. Ask yourself what they might be looking for and what search terms you should optimize for first.
For example, if you are a fledging personal trainer looking to coach clients online, you know you’ll be up against challenging competition. But if you can refine your niche based on the profiles of your current and existing clients, you might be able to identify keywords that are less popular, and more cost-effective; keywords you can home in on with a relatively high search volume to capture a potentially huge list of interested clients, such as those interested in beginner calisthenics, or setting up a home gym.
You need to understand what your competitors are doing in order to rise above them.
- Eric Sachs, CEO
Learning to differentiate between different kinds of search intent is important because commercial search terms tend to be more competitive, with a higher sales potential. However, informational search terms such as the home gym equipment guide can still pull in a lot of potential leads, whether you’re selling the equipment yourself or simply collecting referrals and affiliate cash through your free guide.
Once you’ve broadly identified useful niches and search terms, it’s time to analyze your results and optimize your selection.
Identify Low-Competition Keywords
High-competition keywords are tougher to rank for because they require greater authority, which usually means more backlinks and more established content. To cater to home gym owners, you might have to contend with popular websites like Men’s Health for certain general, highly competitive terms.
More specific search terms tend to be lower in competition, meaning it’s easier to rank for these. The downside is that these terms might not attract as much sheer search volume – but there’s no point in gunning for a high search volume keyword when you have no chance of reaching the top of the first page with your current budget and existing page authority.
Consider Keyword Difficulty
Keyword difficulty is another abstract term that some keyword planning tools use to sort search terms based on how difficult it would be to rank for them. These difficulty scores utilize backlinks to measure how many backlinks you might need to rank for a respective keyword.
However, because these scores rely on a single factor, they might not always be an accurate reflection of a keyword’s actual difficulty – that being said, it’s an easy way to sift through a long list of high-value search terms and narrow down the few keywords that might net you your best return on investment. This can help lower your choices when selecting the right keywords for your campaign or the next lineup of copy.
Identify Search Volume
Search volume is another important metric for identifying the value of any given search term. Even without a sophisticated keyword planner, you can use Google’s own Keyword Planner to figure out the search volume of any given term.
Search volume is not to be mistaken for search results – search volume refers to the number of people looking up a specific keyword or term, while Google’s search results estimate the number of websites that rank for that term.
Higher search volume may not necessarily mean that a keyword is more competitive. You can find keywords with higher search volumes than other, similar keywords, but with less competition. Either way, you want to find search terms with high volume versus other search terms in your niche or industry.
There is no right or wrong number in this case. Something like “spinning classes near me” will have a much higher search volume than “peaking program for powerlifting competition”, but if your niche is to provide training programs for lifters, rather than offer spinning classes at a local gym, the comparison will be useless.
The Relevance of a Page Bid
Some keyword planning tools help sort potential keywords by their respective value for advertisers. Search engines like Google are ad agencies first and foremost, meaning they rely on money from advertisers to build revenue. As such, these search engines are also extremely adept at sorting through keywords to determine the relative value of each given search term to any respective advertiser. These “page bids” give you a good idea of the relative value of each keyword and can be a useful way to sort through potential keywords.
The higher the value, the more valuable it would be for you to rank on that term. However, don’t forget to take into account factors such as competitiveness and keyword difficulty, and relevance. Is it relevant for you to rank for a high-bid search term when none of your services or products relate to that term, or when the average user searching for that term won’t be interested in anything you have to offer?
How Visible Would Your Result Be?
So, let’s say you’ve gotten a shortlist of high-value target keywords for your blog content, landing pages, and product or sales pages. Have you given any of them a search yet? If you have, you might have noticed that certain keywords – especially high competition keywords and informative search phrases tend to be more difficult to rank for, because the search results on these terms are cluttered with sponsored results, YouTube video thumbnails, information snippets, and more.
Optimizing your website can help increase your visibility and attract new customers to your products, services, and brand.
- Chris Rice, Senior SEO Strategist
Part of Google’s growing changes to the way search works include taking snippets of content from popular pages and injecting them into the top of the search result, so many users don’t even end up clicking on anything to get their answer. Competitive search terms with low click-through-rates will not yield as much of a return on investment in terms of traffic and leads as a less competitive term with better CTR.
Keep Up to Date with Changing Trends
It’s difficult to keep up with the way search changes, whether it’s the users’ own interests, or Google’s prioritization and ranking factors. Keeping track of it all can be dizzying and can detract from your actual work. Thankfully, you’re in good hands with us. Let us help you set up a robust SEO plan that adapts to your requirements and is tailored to your audience.
Hire a Professional SEO
If you want to find the best keywords for your website but find keyword research overwhelming, consider working with a professional SEO or full-service digital marketing agency that provides SEO services.
Professionals have access to premium keyword research tools, the expertise needed to accurately target the best keywords for your goals, and keep their finger on the pulse of the SEO world. It’s an investment, but it’s well worth the money to ensure you have a solid SEO foundation on which you can build your website.
Need Help Finding Keywords?
Are you struggling to identify the right keywords that could propel your website to the top of search rankings?
Sachs Marketing Group has the expertise and tools to help you discover those valuable, traffic-driving keywords you might be missing. Our SEO team dives deep into understanding your business, your competition, and your target audience.
Imagine your website content perfectly aligned with the search queries of your ideal customers, leading to higher visibility, increased traffic, and more conversions.
Contact Sachs Marketing Group today and let us help unlock your website’s full potential with our keyword research expertise. We’re ready to help your business shine in the crowded digital landscape.
Keyword Research FAQs
How do I choose keywords for SEO?
Choosing keywords for SEO involves understanding your audience and what they are searching for, researching keyword volume and competition, and considering the relevance and intent behind the keywords. You want to choose keywords that your audience is using and that are relevant to your content, with a balance of competitiveness and search volume.
How do I find the best keywords for Google Search?
To find the best keywords for Google search, you’ll want to use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs. Consider your audience’s search intent, look at what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and also consider long-tail keywords which can be less competitive and highly specific.
How do I find the best SEO keywords for free?
You can find the best SEO keywords for free using tools such as Google Trends, Google’s “People also ask” and “Related searches” sections, or the free tier of keyword research tools like Ubersuggest. These tools will show you popular search terms related to your topic and can give you ideas for new keywords.
What is the best keyword research tool?
The best keyword research tool depends on your needs and budget. Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that provides keyword ideas and data straight from Google itself. Paid tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz offer more advanced features, like keyword difficulty scores and competitive analysis.
How many keywords should I use for SEO?
The number of keywords you should use for SEO varies depending on the length and depth of your content. A good rule of thumb is to focus on one primary keyword per page, along with several secondary keywords that support the main topic. Remember, it’s not about keyword stuffing, but rather providing valuable content around your chosen keyword theme.
Keyword research is still an important part of SEO, but it’s more important than ever to select target keywords that align with your website’s content and the search intent behind those keywords. By understanding the four types of search intent and how to find the best keywords for SEO, you can better select target keywords that will help you achieve your desired results in SERPs.
What helps you find the best keywords for your SEO? Do you use any tools we haven’t mentioned here?