At the heart of every search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign will be keywords. In fact, you can’t do any SEO without knowing which keywords you are targeting in the first place. So, what are keywords? How can you use a keyword research service to find them? I want to talk about both of these topics in this article.
When creating your website, it helps to have a list of keywords in mind. All of the sites I design for my clients are created with SEO in mind, but I can really help you get your site off to a flying start if you have used a keyword tool beforehand.
If you don’t have time to put together a list of keywords, or you want to ensure that things are done correctly the first time. Sanders Design offers website design and professional keyword research services to reduce the pressure, by finding keywords to drive more customers to your website.
What are keywords?
I have seen many people come up with complex definitions of keywords. I have seen it with many a keyword research service before. However, the definition of keywords is rather simple. You just have to think about your Googling habits.
I am sure that you have used a search engine before. When you use that search engine, you type in a couple of words to find what you want, yes? Well, those are your keywords.
Keywords are the words that we use to find relevant products, services, and content. It really is that simple.
When you use a keyword research service to determine which keywords you want your site to focus on, you are really choosing the words that you want people to type into the search engines to find you. You are thinking about which words would help your target buyer land on your website and spend their cash.
Now, there are a lot of things to think about when selecting your keywords. You need to think about easy something is to rank for. You need to think about whether the selected keywords are ‘buyer’s keywords’ i.e. the people searching are in the mood to buy. So, what their search intent is. Are they just looking for information, or do they want to spend money? You also need to think about whether your chosen keywords are actually relevant to your business.
If you didn’t know what keywords were before today, then I actively encourage you to work with an SEO expert. They will have a keyword research service in place, which means that you don’t need to focus on the selection of keywords.
I want to focus on some of the methods that people use to select the keywords instead of throwing a wealth of information on choosing your exact keywords. This is because I feel your time would be better spent running your business and letting the experts select the right keywords for you. It will save you a lot of headaches, and it will often be a lot more profitable.
Check out a competitor’s site
Before you even touch a keyword research service, I recommend that you spend a bit of time looking at your competitor’s sites in a search engine. You can also browse their website to see whether they place a significant focus on specific words or combinations of words. You can often gauge this from their content-creation habits, e.g. if they write a lot about particular subjects.
Sadly, it is more complicated than it used to be to look at the keywords for a competitor’s site. In the past, many sites used meta tags to hide keywords in the HTML code, and you could view the source and instantly see a list of your competitor’s keywords. However, now that the search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated so ignores the meta keyword tag.
If you use a decent keyword research service, a lot of this work will be performed for you. However, it’s always a good idea to get a feel for what other sites are doing. After all, if something is working for them, it will probably work for you too.
List all your services and what people ask for
When I design websites for my clients, I often ask them to list the products and services that they are selling. This makes my job easier on the design front as it ensures people get the site that they want for their business. It also helps when it comes to keyword planning.
Perhaps the best way to come up with keywords is to make a list of the products and services that your company sells. You will be able to come up with ideas from this list alone. However, try to think more about ‘search intent’ here as opposed to just blindly targeting random keywords.
Let’s say you are a hairdresser in Truro. You wouldn’t want one of your keywords to be hairdressers. For starters, no SEO service out there will be able to rank you for hairdressers.
It would take too much time and money. However, nobody simply searching for hairdressers would want to come to you. No offence, but I cannot imagine that somebody searching for ‘hairdressers’ in, say, Sweden is looking for a hairdresser in Truro. Instead, you would want a keyword such as ‘hairdresser in Truro’. This means that you are actually reaching your target audience.
You can tinker with this list quite a bit. Let me give you another example.
One of my web design clients sells power tools. A few years back, one of the most popular drills on the market was the DeWalt DCD711. Now, he wanted to rank for the keyword ‘DeWalt DCD711’, which you think would be a great keyword to rank for, right? No. Wrong.
Think about all those people typing DeWalt DCD711 into the search engines. They could be looking for the following:
This means that you wouldn’t want to rank purely for DeWalt DCD711 as not everybody searching for that would be willing to buy the product from you. Instead, it would be better to target a keyword like ‘buy DeWalt DCD711″ or even more specific “Buy DeWalt DCD711 online”.
I hope you get what I mean here. All you need to think about is what a person’s intent is when searching for your products. If you can nail that, then keywords will come easy to you.
So, now that you have an idea about how a keyword research service may analyse your business and your competitors for potential keywords, let’s start to talk about some of the tools that you, and your SEO expert, can use to select your keywords.
I want to start with the free keyword research service tools here. They are not the most sophisticated tools ever, and you will have to expand your horizons into some paid services. However, I feel that they are a great way to get some initial ideas for potential keywords.
Google Trends is a system that looks at trending keywords in search engines. Basically, it shows how searches in Google change over the course of a year.
For example, Google trends would show stronger searches for ‘advent calendars’ in the run-up to Christmas, and in the run-up to Easter, you would probably see that ‘Cadbury’s Cream Eggs’ start to trend.
It is actually a pretty fun tool to see which news stories are taking the world by storm. However, you can also use it to research keywords.
Google trends will allow you to type in something related to your business. You can then narrow your search to find trends in the UK (or worldwide, if you plan on going international). And look at a cool little graph about how searches for that keyword change over time (you will notice more people search during the summer months!) the best resource, however, comes below that graph.
There will be a list of related keywords, i.e. words that you may also want to consider ranking for if you sold power tools.
Google auto-suggest doesn’t need you to use any specific tool. You just need to type in a keyword in the search engine. Before you hit that search button, though, you will notice that a drop-down box appears. These are auto-suggested keywords, i.e. what people tend to search for when looking for that particular keyword. Make a note of them. These will come in useful when planning your keyword research.
Answer The Public
As a keyword research service, not a lot of people talk about AnswerThePublic.com. I see this as a shame because it is one of the most useful tools I have used when designing my client’s websites.
Answer the Public is essentially a visual representation of various searches people perform for particular keywords. You often get hundreds upon hundreds of keyword suggestions. Not all of them will be good for running a business, but I have found no better free keyword research service than this one.
I now want to discuss the premium tools, i.e. paid keyword research tools. If you outsource your SEO (and I suggest that you do), we use these services for keyword research. However, if you wish to undertake your own keyword research, I will give an overview of some of the best services below.
SEMRush.com is all about taking your digital marketing to the next level. This keyword research service will allow you to analyse your competitors to see which keywords they are ranking for. You can also get a feel for which keywords you can use on your website.
One of my favourite features of SEMRush.com is the ability to see keywords focused on buyer intent. The keywords you want to be targeting if you’re going to convert your site visitors into paying customers.
Ahref.com is perhaps the most popular keyword research service used by SEO companies. This is because it is more than a keyword research service, it is a complete toolset for those engaging in SEO. This means that Ahref can research keywords plus carry out an SEO audits (a ‘report’ of your website to see how it performs for SEO). For example, sites I create regularly rank highly in search engines due to the on-page optimisation possible by organising content based on a defined list of keywords.
Moz.com is a keyword research tool used by some of the ‘big players’ online. This includes Trivago (you have probably seen their adverts on TV). If you are a local business, then Moz.com is especially useful. This is because they have developed several tools such as rank tracking, SEO audit, and Backlink analysis to help local businesses get ranked as quickly as possible in the search engines.
For keyword analysis, keysearch.co provides an affordable option. The previous services I talked about are brilliant, but they tend to only focus their suggested keywords on sites like Google and Bing. Keysearch.co takes it to a whole new level. This platform can allow you to research keywords on YouTube (the second most popular search engine globally) and keep track of which keywords your site is ranking for.
As you can see, there are many steps in analysing keywords for your website. If you have a list of keywords, this will help influence your website project and will ensure that your new site ranks in Google.
Researching keywords may appear complicated; however, I promise you that your time marketing yourself online will get a lot easier when done correctly from the start.
Keyword research is just one of the many services that we offer to businesses here at Sanders Design. We can offer a keyword research service separately, or we can package keyword services into our web design projects. If you want keyword research carried out by a professional, contact us for a quote. Working with us really is the best way to find keywords for your business and start to profit with your website.