Everything you need to know about keywords and long-tail keywords [A beginner’s Guide]. Keywords help define what your content is about. These are words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines and they are also called ‘search queries’. If you have a website then your primary goal is to rank higher on the Google search engine and the keywords you choose to include in your content determine the number of traffic you will generate to the website.
This article focuses on keywords, their importance, how to generate keywords, and where and how to use your keywords.
How to choose keywords for SEO
To create content that ranks highly you need to know what keywords to use in your content. You could talk to your customers or frequent forums and community groups that talk about common questions and phrase those searchers want to see. Also, you could utilize keyword research tools like Semrush, Google Search Console, and Google Keyword planner. This will help you generate ideas on the highest-ranking keyword which then you can incorporate into your content naturally and organically.
Keyword research is vital as it provides information such as which keywords easily rank highly and which keywords are your competitors ranking for. This will help you plan your keywords and the content to create to rank more highly as you will have crucial information that will allow you to know your performance on the search engines.
Where and how to use your keywords
There are three types of keywords; primary, secondary, and additional keywords. The number of keywords used depends on the length of your post. Note that you mustn’t put many keywords in any given content as that results in keyword stuffing, which is heavily punished by Google search rankings.
One of the places you should include your keywords is in your Meta description. A Meta description acts as a small summary of your content, and it helps Google better filter your results, so it’s best to attach one or two of your keywords to this part of the page. You can also include your primary keyword in the title and subsequent subheadings. But ensure that they fit naturally with the content around them.
Pro tip: insert a secondary keyword in a Meta description, and one primary keyword weave that you will be killed when it comes to using keywords for SEO.
You could also use synonyms of your keywords instead of having too many keywords in the article. Also, ensure that you use keywords in the introduction and conclusion parts of your articles. When linking to other sources, if it’s an internal link, you could also use keywords in the anchor text links. Beware not to use your primary keyword as an anchor text to an external link, as this tells Google to ignore your page and go to the page you’re linking to.
Also, you can use the keywords in image alt-tags. Remember that images come with a lot of benefits and if you link an image with a keyword that helps search engines know what the image is about and that’s a great opportunity for your SEO. Lastly, embed your keywords in the URL. A study shows that posts that had keywords as part of the URL ranked extremely high for that keyword.
Nonetheless, keep in mind that changing your URL may affect any existing rankings and that it is important to maintain your original URL at all times. Remember to avoid keyword stuffing, refine and use a different keyword if necessary and also, optimize your articles once in a while and optimize further.
These are more specific keyword phrases that visitors search for. They consist of around three to four words, for example, “buy marathon running shoes”.
Why focus on long-term keywords
It’s much easier to rank highly for long-tail keywords than the common keywords. Fewer websites compete for these rankings on the result pages. The longer or more specific the terms are, the easier it is to rank them. Additionally, they make it easy for a visitor to find your website.
Around 69.7% of search queries have four words or more, so if you do your research properly, you have a high chance of ranking due to the long-tail keywords. Moreover, these long-tail keyword searches have a click-through rate of around 3% to 5% higher than normal searches.
Since visitors are using more specific terms, they are at a point where they are more willing to make a purchase, which increases conversion rates. With proper implementation, you may have less traffic, but since you’re attracting customers who are willing to make a purchase, you will most likely get a better return on your investment. The trick is to get a renewable source of long-tail keywords that rank well so that you can have a fresh source to achieve higher rankings.
How to find long-tail keywords
There are free keyword research tools that can easily find long-tail keywords. You could find these terms on the Google ‘searches related to’ section, or you could use Google autocomplete and other tools available on the web.
How to find the right long-tail keyword
Google keeps changing its algorithm that determines rankings. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for finding these keywords. However, some guiding principles can help you develop the best long-tail keywords.
Determine your unique selling proposition
Ideally, your keywords should represent the unique benefits customers will get from your company or business. Keep in mind what kind of people look for, what you’re offering, and why they should choose you over your competitors.
Know what your target audience wants
You should always have your customers in mind and figure out what their needs and wants are before creating any kind of content. You need to know what questions they want to answer, their problems, and the solutions that you can provide. One of the best ways to get this information is from your sales team as they have insight into what customers enquire about and from there you could come up with answers in the form of content.
Conduct long-tail keyword research
Now that you know your unique selling proposition and understand what your customers want, you need to research the words they will use when entering their search queries. This will provide valuable insight into other keywords that you may not have considered and help you form the best long-term keywords.
Keywords do not single-handedly carry SEO. However, they provide an opportunity to rank well, especially with long-tail keywords. Once you figure out the keywords that you’d like to use, use Analytics that will help you see which keywords help you rank highly and which ones do not. Only then can you know which keywords to use to help you increase your rankings.