The Google Secret of Your Keywords …
(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)
The words we use to write our stories are sacred to us. But think about it for a moment … why do we choose the ones that we do?
It’s kind of like asking a musician to describe their musical compositions.
The words that we choose are magical bits of creativity that take our ideas and make them reality. We are trying to convey a message. So, whether in the form of a book, a guide, a poem, and even an advertisement, where we try to convey a message to a person who many want to grab hold of what we have to offer!
So, when we are trying to reach this special unicorn audience, we must choose the best words to use. The internet is a huge and massive marketplace, so we must be strategic in our thinking in order to make ourselves easily findable! This way they can always find us just when they need us.
The digital transformation of marketing over the years has made it an absolute must that the very words we choose must be searchable. They must be KEY words.
So, I think it’s fitting to start at the very beginning and define the mission.
Your main mission in this category is to conquer search engines, namely Google, to make your site rank higher than your competition. And it’s actually easier and less frightening than it sounds …
First let’s define the term SEO, the one we see everywhere as I know this term puts business owners on edge sometimes.
SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a specific web page from search engines. Which specifically targets unpaid traffic rather than direct / paid traffic.
And as Wendy Piersall sweetly says …
Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.
It’s so simple, yet so true. Google’s purpose is to organize all the information in its digital space and present it so that the “best” is at the top of the search results.
But now you’re probably wondering … how does Google determine what is “best”?
Google’s algorithm takes into account many factors, but one of the most important signals is the number of websites that reference, or link, to the information that is being searched. Think of each link is like a vote. One in that website’s favor telling Google that it deserves to rank high in the search results.
So, with that in mind, it makes sense to say that the ultimate goal of SEO is to make it as easy as possible for Google to find said website. And anyone can do this by using proper HTML code — easily implemented in platforms such as WordPress with plug-ins like Yoast, writing relevant copy and designing for ease of use – just to name just a few.
One has to give Google a reason to rank said website higher than all the other relevant sites and content. And this is easily attained by creating strong, pertinent information, using more links and using the right key words. (Which is why we’re here today!)
Now, it’s no secret that having hyperlinks and backlinks are an important part of any SEO strategy. But here’s the deal, the real trick is to have powerful links.
For example, if you work to get 100 links to your site from a bunch of bloggers, you’ve definitely done yourself an SEO favour. However, if you’ve gone ahead and gotten yourself just one link from The Huffington Post — you just got yourself one heck of a powerful boost!
In other words, it’s all about quality, not quantity. And as we know that saying goes for everything … simplicity is key. Quality is key.
Which as you already know, some favourable key concepts we love to talk about here no matter what the topic.
With that being said, here’s another one of my favourite quotes that helps me remember my mission when writing content, this one by Adam Audette …
It's not about 'get traffic' -- it's about 'get the targeted and relevant traffic'.
So, with the knowledge that the goal of SEO is not to rank #1 … that’s pointless! The goal should be to generate leads and sales, not rankings. Thus, why we need to work on our SEO strategy …
And the strategy starts with finding the right keywords that will ultimately drive conversions. And some wonderful folks out there made things easy-peasy for us all with some handy Google keyword planner tools to help us easily select relevant keywords to use in all the right places. Then, take things even one step further to organize all the keywords we find into two simple categories:
- where the person searching is most likely looking to make a purchase
- where the person searching is most likely looking to make a purchase
- where the searcher is most likely just doing research
It’s all about focusing your SEO efforts on the buying-intent keywords first to give you the best chance to drive leads and sales.
And with SEO constantly changing, we still need to carefully include keywords in our content.
So, let’s dive right on in to our top 9 tricks and tips for finding those perfect and brilliantly searchable key words … and pull in lots of profitable traffic!
#1. LOOK FOR LONG-TAIL KEYWORDS.
This term may sound foreign to most, but it’s really just phrases of roughly 3 to 5 words. They are effective because people searching for longer key phrases are usually closer to the purchase stage in the buying cycle as they’ve done their research are ready to zone in on that ever-amazing call to action we all know so well … you know, the “BUY NOW!”
So even though the overall search volume is lower, long-tail phrases attract targeted traffic that you want on your website anyway, because those people are not just cruising your pages due to boredom, they are ready to become customers.
And because this string of keywords usually aren’t as competitive as shorter ones, they can be much easier for Google to sort and rank. Meaning they are more likely to send you some solid traffic! So, our mini tip here is when using long-tail keywords, product titles are a good place to start.
#2. TELL GOOGLE ABOUT YOUR TITLE TAGS.
In short without getting all nerdy techy on you, a title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a specific web page. These “title tags” are displayed on search engine results pages as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing.
So, make sure to check if each and every page on your website has a title tag. And if it does, make sure it is under 55 characters as it’s going to tell Google — and other search engines — what content is on your site. Thus, using those magically select keywords. And the better the keyword selection, the higher the chance your site will appear in the results when someone searches for what’s you’re offering on it.
#3. DON’T SKIMP ON THE SEMATICS.
Semantics is the study of meaning, reference, and truth in words. Using this specific type of content indexing is a quick tip to finding the best keywords by using related terms in addition to your main key phrases.
It is an extremely powerful tool because search engines are getting smarter. Literally every second. So, if a page is talking about cars for example, search engines expect to see related terms like makes, models and related car parts. The more semantic words they can find, the more relevant and authoritative they assume this digital space is.
And once again … better rank for more keywords! See how that works?
So how can we find a tool to help us locate the best semantic words?
Again, you can utilize the Google keyword tool. Or even brainstorm some related words yourself, using an online thesaurus or a general Google search to see what comes up.
#4. IMAGES DESERVE NAMES TOO!
Images are meant to make the user experience better, more alluring, and just straight up more fun! Imagine an entire site that was just straight copy … ICK!
We all know that we have made decisions on where to shop based on how good the related imagery looks. (And for us, structure as well!) It’s not new news … We shop with our eyes! So, your image selections should not only improve the user’s experience but also because they have a positive impact on your SEO. It’s not enough to simply plunk images on a site, though. To help with your Google search ranking, it’s best to come up with creative file names and alt tags which describe what the image is. This content will help Google — and other search engines — identify what the picture is.
And again, the more relevant it is to the search query, the more likely your website will show up. It’s just another simply powerful tool to drive people to your site above all others! Just make sure that the words you’re using on your imagery is keyword driven!
#5. KEEP AN EYE ON DIGITAL TRENDS.
Trends show us what’s new and popular — and yes! Even in searches!
So, if you happen to find any of those popular topics and queries are in relation to your specialty and niche, you can capitalize on that and get a lot more traffic very quickly! Yup! You can hop on that gravy train and ride it all the way to the ranks – nerd humor!
There are a ton of tools available to help you discover trending search queries. The most popular and well used is Google Trends. But feel free to drop us a line and we’d be happy to offer some additional suggestions.
#6. LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!
Adding location-based keywords can help you stand out from the crowd! And most importantly, will help you show up higher in local search results.
So, make sure to add country, province or state, city and even more trim like some local nicknames and hot spots. These tend to work best when you have a physical location for your business. That’s when Google Maps kicks in and the searcher on the other side of the digital screen can click right on the map to find you. Even if you work solely from your home office – thus offering them the digital experience. That just doubled their options!
But be assured, you can use local keywords without a physical location to capitalize on your target market’s desire to shop locally. You can also make sure to offer fast shipping (if product based) or that personal touch if they want to meet you virtually face to face until the pandemic settles a bit more.
We promise! It’s super easy to nail down which location words to use by using the tools we mentioned earlier, just make sure to filter your results by location. Get as filtered as you can, keeping in mind that the more details you provide the easier you’ve made the experience. Which in turn, means the more likely they will return!
#7. DON’T IGNORE YOUR ANALYTICS!
Analytics is the science-based raw data behind what your audience is doing with the digital goodies you’re putting out into the world. It’s what we as the business owner, need to keep tabs on in order to make conclusions about what to do next! These amazing bits of digital information can then be used to optimize and increase the overall efficiency of our business … weaning out what has room for improvement from what’s knocking on the golden door!
You will want to make sure you check those out and don’t just toss those golden ticket numbers to the weigh-side. That’s like buying a lotto ticket and never checking to see if you’ve won!
So, use the data to find good keywords that are already working. Then use variations of those keywords and rinse and repeat what works and toss what doesn’t. Why mess with a system that’s working right?
It’s all about fine tuning the keywords that are attracting the most traffic for each individual page — as well as across your entire site. Then re-using those words, and variants of them, way more often. This is where semantics can come into play as well.
See how all these techie puzzle pieces work together?
Not as scary as you thought?!
#8. PRIORITIZE IN ORDER TO BE PROFITABLE.
Without a doubt, the most effective keywords attract visitors to your site, and hopefully ones that will eventually buy from you. So, one of our special super secrets to finding great keywords is to know which phrases will affect your bottom line! So, first and foremost, research your keywords and separate them into related lists. Then make a list of the cost of each offering in order to determine which might lead to a multi-item sale. Then with all that information, do your best to determine which keywords are worth more. Which of course you will now need use more!
Keep a close watch, even document, when you create posts and offerings and what words you used, compared with how many sales you made in that period.
Okay folks, I know this topic is a bit drier than usual. But it’s something business owners tend to slough to the side more than they should. And we did our best to shed some light — in a more fun way — so that all these important tidbits stick and never get lost in your digital space abyss again.
So … last tip …
#9. KEEP CLOSE TABS ON THE COMPETITION.
Business owners sometimes get unlawfully categorized into two groups … the risk-takers and the conservative bunch.
Risk-taking business owners might want to opt for the highest competitive keywords right from the get-go. While the more conservative types might prefer aiming for low-competition keywords and building on their success over time usually with well researched content — like we discussed in tip #5. Either way, it’s always, always, ALWAYS a good idea to know the competition level to produce the right keywords for your business. And to understand how much work it will take to get the results you want to achieve; we highly recommend this basic method for checking your competition:
- Log out of any Google properties (such as Google+ or Gmail)
- Plunk in your sought out keywords into Google.
- Add up the Page Rank values of the first 10 organic results.
- Videos are acceptable unless they result in more than 10 results on the first page. In that case, do not count YouTube videos since Google owns YouTube.
- Divide the total Page Rank value by 10 to determine the average results of each single keyword.
- Then assign each competitor a level. We like to keep things simple yet fun …
- Low Boil
- High Voltage!
Just remember to keep in mind that the higher the average Page Rank per competitor the tougher that keyword is going to be to rank for.
A smart strategy we can recommend is to choose one highly competitive keyword and several relatable, semantic, lukewarm, and low boil keywords for each page. This way it’s easier to start building up the high competition keywords. As a team, these words can optimize your results!
So, the low techie-techie rules of thumb can be used no matter what you’re working on … Whether you’re running a content-focused blog, a solo-preneur business, a local hot spot shop or restaurant, or a high-end brand marketer, you will need some solid, well thought out keyword research to kick-start your content — and marketing activities — to make sure you stand out above the rest! And rest assured, once you’ve gone through these 9 simple steps, you’ll have enough insight to craft a solid SEO strategy and start in on that killer content you’ve been dreaming up!
(Don’t forget, we’re only a digital click away if you need help or have any burning Q’s that need A’s … so don’t hesitate, by any means, to reach out!)
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