Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO. Without them, your content will be lost in the shuffle of the internet. That’s why it’s important to have a search presence strategy for finding and using keywords that will help potential readers find your content.
Why Keywords Are Important for SEO
When someone searches the internet, they enter keywords or key phrases into a search engine. The search engine then looks through all the content on the internet that contains those keywords and displays the results to the searcher.
It’s wise to do keyword research because it will help you understand which keywords or key phrases people are searching for when they are looking for content like yours. This information can then be used to optimize your content so that it is more likely to appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, let’s say you have a blog about gardening. You could do some keyword research and find out that people are searching for things like “how to start a garden” or “vegetables to plant in a garden.” You could then use those keywords in your blog content and optimize your blog posts for those keywords. That way, when people search for those keywords, your content is more likely to show up in the results.
Now, let’s look at some keyword strategies you can use to drive more traffic to your blog.
1. Include Both Primary and Secondary Keywords
The first thing you need to do is target relevant primary and secondary keywords. Primary keywords are the main keywords or key phrases that describe your content. Secondary keywords are similar to primary ones but are not as commonly searched and tend to be more granular.
For example, if you have a blog post about starting a garden, your primary keyword could be “starting a garden.” Your secondary keywords could be “garden planning for tropical climates” or “how to start a garden in Michigan.” Essentially, your primary keyword represents the main topic of your content, while the secondary keywords support it.
Including both primary and secondary keywords in your content will help you reach a wider audience because you will target both commonly and less commonly searched keywords.
Google also expects to see a certain number of secondary keywords on your page. If they aren’t there, Google might consider that your page doesn’t meet its relevancy or quality criteria.
For example, if your primary keyword is “dog grooming,” Google will expect to encounter secondary keywords such as “dog shampoo,” “brushing a dog,” or “how to groom a dog.” If you don’t include these terms (or similar terms) on your page, Google may not consider your page relevant to the search query or too thin on content.
You can conduct keyword research on primary and secondary keywords using various tools, including Ahrefs and Semrush.
Google’s “suggest” feature is a great way to come up with new keyword ideas. When you start typing a search query into Google, it will suggest similar or related queries that other people have searched for. You can use these suggested keywords as inspiration for your own content.
To use the “suggest” feature, simply start typing a query into the Google search bar. As you type, you will see a list of suggested queries appear below the search bar.
For example, if you type “how to start a” into the Google search bar, you will see a list of suggested queries appear, such as “how to start a business,” “how to start a blog,” and “how to start a YouTube channel.” You can use these keywords as inspiration for your own blog content.
You can use a similar approach with other search engines, such as Wikipedia, YouTube, and Bing.
3. Use Keywords in the Right Places
Once you have a list of keywords, you need to use them in the right places, which is just as important as the keywords themselves. Your primary keyword should appear in the:
- Title tag
- Webpage URL
- First 100 words of your content.
You should also try to include your primary keyword in your meta description. The meta description is the brief description that appears under your title in the search results.
In terms of secondary keywords, you can sprinkle them throughout the rest of your content, including in the:
- Body text
- Alt tags
- Image file names
Remember to use your keywords naturally. If you stuff your content with too many keywords, it will not only turn off your readers but also get you penalized by Google.
So, focus on creating quality content instead of focusing on keywords when writing. You can then edit to include the relevant keywords naturally throughout the post. Just make sure you don’t overdo it.
4. Develop Your Own Branded Keywords
A branded keyword is a keyword that includes your brand name. For example, “Trust Signals blog” is a branded keyword. Including branded keywords in your content can help you rank higher in the search results for those terms.
It can also help people already familiar with your brand find your content more easily. To create a branded keyword, combine your brand name with a relevant keyword.
For example, if you sell dog grooming products, you could create branded search keywords such as “Pawstruck dog shampoo” or “Barks and Bubbles dog groomers.”
If you need inspiration, look to your competition. Chances are, they are already using branded keywords in their content. You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to find branded keywords that your competition is ranking for.
5. Use the Right Keywords in Images
In addition to using keywords in the text of your blog post, you can also optimize your images for the search engines. To do this, include relevant keywords in the file name and alt text of your images.
For example, if you have an image of a dog being groomed, you could name the file “dog-grooming.jpg” and the alt text “dog being groomed.”
This will help the search engines to understand what your image is about and index it accordingly. As a result, your image may appear in the search results when people search for relevant keywords.
When choosing keywords, targeting a mix of high- and low-volume keywords is important. High-volume keywords are those that get a lot of searches per month. Low-volume keywords are long-tail keywords that get fewer searches per month.
It’s important to target both keyword types because it can be challenging to rank for high-volume keywords, especially if you’re just starting out. Conversely, low-volume keywords are easier to rank for. Fewer sites are targeting them, so getting your content in front of people searching for those terms is easier.
The advantage of targeting low-volume keywords is that your site will rank higher in the search results for those terms. This gives your site more authority in Google’s eyes, which can help you rank higher for other related keywords.
So, let’s say that you want to rank for a highly competitive term like “dog training.” It has a search volume of 135,000 according to Ubersuggest and a keyword difficulty of 75 according to Ahrefs. That makes it a high-volume, high-difficulty keyword.
Instead of trying to rank for that term, you could target a low-volume, low-difficulty keyword like “dog training and daycare.” It has a search volume of only 720 and a keyword difficulty of 12, making it easier to rank for. Then, find more low-volume, low-difficulty keywords and target them with your content.
Think of it like building a pyramid. The foundation of the pyramid will consist of these low-volume, low-difficulty keywords. Then, as you move on to the next level, you’ll start targeting higher-volume, higher-difficulty keywords, with each level holding up the one before it. Finally, once you have a strong foundation, you can start targeting those highly competitive keywords at the top.
When choosing keywords, it’s important to keep search intent in mind. Search intent is the purpose behind a person’s search. It’s what they are looking to accomplish with their search.
There are four main types of search intent:
- Navigational: the person is looking for a specific website or page
- Informational: the person is looking for information on a topic
- Transactional: the person is looking to make a purchase
- Commercial: the person is looking for a product or service to buy
It’s important to target keywords with the right search intent because, if you don’t, you could drive the wrong kind of traffic to your site.
For example, let’s say that you sell dog collars. You could target the keyword “dog collars” with your content. However, if someone is searching for that term with the intent to find information on dog collars, they might not be interested in buying a dog collar from you.
Instead, you could target the keyword “best dog collars for large dogs.” This keyword has a transactional intent, which means that people who search for it are looking to buy a dog collar. These are the people you want to target with your content.
Exact match keywords were the end-all, be-all of keyword research at one point. You would choose a keyword and then try to rank for that exact keyword.
However, Google has gotten smarter since then and now recognizes synonyms and related terms. So, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “dog training,” you could also rank for related keywords like “dog training tips” or “how to train a dog.”
This is especially helpful with awkward keywords like “dog training Dallas.” Instead of having to fit this keyword as-is into your content without sounding like you completely flunked grammar in school, you can modify the keyword slightly. So, you would write about “dog training in Dallas” or “Dallas dog training,” and Google would still recognize it as being relevant to the searcher’s query.
So, you don’t have to limit yourself to targeting only exact match keywords. In fact, you shouldn’t. Instead, try to target a variety of related keywords with your content. This will help you reach a larger audience and drive more traffic to your site.
9. Eliminate Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is when you have more than one webpage targeting the same keyword. It’s called cannibalization because you are cannibalizing your results by spreading out clicks, backlinks, content, and even conversions over multiple pages.
For example, let’s say you have two blog posts: “Dog Training Tips for Beginners” and “Dog Training Tips for Advanced Trainers.” Both of these blog posts target the keyword “dog training tips.”
This is keyword cannibalization, and it’s an issue because your pages end up competing against each other. Google doesn’t know which page to rank for the keyword, and, as a result, both pages could suffer in the search results.
To avoid keyword cannibalization, you need to be aware of all the pages on your site that are targeting the same keyword. You can do this by doing a site search for your keyword. For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “dog training,” you would do a site search for “site:yourdomain.com dog training.”
This will show you all the pages on your site targeting that keyword. If there are multiple pages, you need to choose one to keep and redirect the other pages to it. Alternatively, you could find new keywords for the other pages or restructure your site by turning the highest-ranking page into a landing page that links to the other pages.
Keyword strategy is a crucial part of SEO. By following these tips, you can improve your keyword research process and choose keywords that will help you drive more traffic to your site.
So, what are you waiting for? Start doing your keyword research today.