- Keyword research
When writing for SEO we are not doing so for ourselves or our clients, but ultimately for the targeted end-user – bearing in mind the behaviour of the person searching for our content. How do we go about finding the right keywords that will satisfy the search queries of the person sitting on the other side of the screen?
“Sound keyword research, before you start writing, is critical. We use various tools to tell us what the reader is actually searching for – not what anyone else enforces onto the reader. Keywords are the foundation of any digital marketing strategy, in fact any marketing strategy, as most businesses are now spending their marketing budgets online. Traditional advertising is slowly phasing out,” said Marisa Louw, sought-after professional freelancer, integrated marketing strategist and web developer, who unpacked this topic in the second session of a series of five Safrea webinars.
“Frequently updated website content will prompt search engines to find the content, enhancing the ranking of the website. This is why regular content updates with the right keywords are so important for SEO.”
Two types of keywords
|There are two types of keywords:
· Short-tail keywords are the most searched, and the conversion rate is 15-20%. They do not contain specific details and have fewer word counts (1-2 words). They get high search traffic but have a lower conversion rate e.g., “Buy shoes.”
· Long-tail keywords’ conversion rate is between 70-80%. They contain more specific details and have longer word counts (2-5 words). They get less search traffic but have a higher conversion rate e.g., “Buy breathable running shoes.”
The industry focuses on the long-tail keywords. Gone are the days when people are searching for single-word phrases. If you are for example looking for a fridge, you are not going to type in “350 litre energy saving fridge,” but “350 litre double door energy efficient fridge with ice dispenser.” We have to consider this when writing content.
Keywords and topics
Keywords and topics are very similar. Keyword research tells you what topics people care about and, assuming you use the right SEO tool, how popular those topics are among your audience. By researching keywords that are getting a high volume of searches per month, you can identify and sort your content into topics on which you want to create content. Then you can use these topics to dictate which keywords you look for and target.
Do the keyword research first
When writing for SEO, ask yourself what your audience want to know. What is it that they search for? The sweet spot is in the middle – between you and the audience is what becomes the content. This is where keyword research comes in. It is important to do the keyword research first, before you start writing. Knowing the keywords will make it easier to plan and write content.
To Search Engine Optimise a website’s existing content is a time-consuming process. It is not simply changing things in the backend or selecting keywords and repeating it ten times, but it entails rewriting of up to 70% of the content. Therefore, it is highly recommended to do the keyword research first.
How to tackle the keyword research process
There are three steps to follow in this process – first discover and analyse your keywords, before choosing your final keywords. For proper SEO you cannot repeat the same keywords on all the pages. Each page should have its unique keyword if you want your website to rank well. If you have a 10-page website, you should have ten different keywords.
- Keyword discovery
Start with a simple brainstorming session – what is your business about, look at your business plan, marketing plan or simply your credentials, portfolio or bio. Find the words that will attract your audience.
Then, you can use three different SEO tools to enhance your research. Anyone with a Gmail account has access to these tools. If you have not created a Google Ads account yet, do so today to enable you to use these tools to plan and research your keywords. These tools are:
- Google Suggest – If you type in your keyword, alternative suggestions will be presented that you can use to elaborate on the same topic.
- Google Ads keyword Planner – This tool tells you what words readers actually use when searching for content. This way you can discover new keywords. It indicates among others the average monthly searches, whether the competition is low or high, the ranking, etc.
- Google Trends – It tells us the search terms and volume in a specific area (country/globally) over a specific time. This way one can find new related keywords, phrases and topics.
- Analise keywords
Go through all the options before selecting your final keywords.
- Choose your final keywords
Bear the following in mind when choosing your final keywords:
- If your website is commercial (offering products or services), go with keywords that seem to have the most commercial intent based on the current ranking websites.
- If your website is informational (e.g. blogs), go with keywords with the most informational intent.
- Look for a sweet spot of high search volume in conjunction with low difficulty/competition.
- Look at keywords with high search volume in conjunction with top competitors with lower domain authority.
|Writing for SEO
The series of five sessions will cover the following:
1. Search ranking
2. Keyword research
3. On-page SEO
4. Link building
5. Quality content