How to Choose the Right Keywords to Climb the Ranks
How Long Should a Keyword Be?
Keyword selection is one of the most important aspects of improving your website’s SEO. It steers your entire site’s direction from on-page content to the way you represent your company on social media. When selecting keywords there are three different types that you must consider. Each type is more popular among different users and different search methods; the main thing that sets them apart from each other is user intent. When somebody looks up this certain type of search term, what are they really looking for?
First you have your head keywords, the shortest ones that we will be reviewing today. They include the broadest, most general search terms you can look up. Terms like “jobs”, “cars”, “marketing”- those are all head keywords. They return the most general results, although search engines will use additional stored data like cookies to return more targeted results to each individual user. Generally speaking, these keywords are the ones that you don’t want to target unless you are absolutely dominating your field on a global scale. Most of the time when people look up these terms it’s because any result will do. They’re not focused on your brand or becoming a customer, it’s just a quick way to get the thing they’re looking for.
The most popular brands in the world are head terms too. “Facebook”, “Nike”, “McDonald’s” are all head keywords. These you especially don’t want to target. These terms are popular because of the brand’s already established identity. In this case people know exactly what they’re looking for, so they’re not going to do any exploring past the first result.
Next you have your medium-tail keywords. These are slightly longer, more specific search terms. Instead of “marketing” someone might look up “content marketing” or “social media marketing”. These slightly more specific keywords show that the user now has at some level of general interest in that specific topic. These are the keywords that you want to start trying to rank for. The reason is, as users begin to follow that initial interest that they’ve developed in a topic they’re going to start looking for more information on it. That gives you a much higher chance of having your web page seen when it comes up as a search result because the person is exploring different avenues to learn more about their topic of interest.
Beyond medium-tail keywords are the last kind that we will be discussing today: long-tail keywords. These are the terms that you have the best chance of ranking for. Long-tail keywords are the most specific search terms that people look for. Going back to marketing, a long-tail keyword that someone might look up is “content marketing in Austin, TX” or “industrial content marketing”.
You should tread very carefully when targeting long-tail keywords though. The reason these terms are easier to rank for is because there’s generally a lot less competition around them. By simply integrating these terms into your web SEO you can often see a rise in rank. The thing with that is people have to actually be looking up the search term you’re targeting. If there’s no demand for the term you’re trying to rank for, any optimization you make for that keyword will simply be ineffective. Don’t try to rank for a keyword that doesn’t have the search volume to show you that it’s worth targeting in the first place. If you go after a keyword that’s too long or oddly specific, like “digital content marketing for plasma cutting services”- I mean, who’s looking that stuff up? Targeting a low volume search like that won’t really gain your website a significant uptick in traffic.
Need some help? Our SEO experts can find the best keywords to target in your industry. Schedule your consultation with MFG Tribe now.
How Do You Use SEO Tools to Select the Best Keywords?
Now that you’ve learned all the different lengths of keywords let’s talk about how to go about finding the right keywords to target.
As previously stated, search volume is a big deal. It’s a balancing act- you don’t want to go after a keyword that has a high search volume and end up lost in the mix, but you don’t want to go after keywords with extremely low search volume either and have nothing to show for it.
You can retrieve search volume data from SEO analysis tools like Semrush and Google Keyword Planner. Using these tools is simple: you give the software your list of keywords that you’re interested in researching, and it will return the most up to date data about how many people are looking up those terms. This should help you significantly narrow down which keywords to start targeting- or if you don’t end up eliminating any, you’re still left with a long list of good keywords.
SEO data analysis tools are useful for so much more than just selecting keywords. With these programs you can view keyword data over time including how your own rank is changing. If you see that one of those keywords has gone up in search volume in the last month, or if your rank has gone down since the last time you ran the numbers, maybe it’s time to give those keywords some more attention in your content.
Usually with the most expensive versions of SEO analysis programs you can even gain access to your competitors’ performance. You can run a report on them and see if they’re starting to target keywords you hadn’t thought about, or if they’ve risen in rank for something that you’ve been trying to target. You can take notes from all that info and implement it into your content strategies.
The most important thing you can do with this data though is use it to understand your target audience. See what they’re searching for, how they’re doing it, and why they want to look up certain search terms in the first place. If you understand all of those things, you can use that valuable insight to select the keywords that your audience is searching for and start leading them right to you.
If you have the right data but you’re not sure what to do next, reach out to the industrial marketing champions at MFG Tribe for a helping hand.
How Do You Effectively Implement Keywords to Improve SEO?
Once you have the right keywords picked out, you can begin to implement them into your on-page SEO.
You want to make sure that you have keywords integrated in all the right places. Page titles, title tags, and headers are all very important places to nest your keywords into. Just make sure that they’re relevant, that they flow well with the content, and that you’re not keyword stuffing the same word over and over again. Practices like that can get your page or even your entire website blacklisted from search engine results, so use your keywords intentionally and decisively.
Meta descriptions are a great place for keywords as well. Although they don’t often get seen, they do still boost your page’s overall SEO. Alt tags or alt text for images are another couple of places to put your keywords for a light SEO boost. Using keywords in your URL slugs will have a similar effect.
Finally, make sure you’re using keywords that are geared toward SEO. Remember, people are searching for things on the internet, so make sure to adapt to inquisitive language. Use the 5 W’s- who, what, where, when, why- in your keywords, because people are likely going to use those exact words when searching for info. They might not know just what they’re looking for yet either, so try adopting a few adjacent keywords that will point them in your direction.