You’ve probably noticed that more businesses are setting up their own websites and blogs and producing content surrounding their field and industry, but how do they know what to write about and what their audiences are interested in?
It goes without saying that these brands aren’t just putting out content and crossing their fingers—they’re actually using a search engine optimization (SEO) technique that searches for keywords that users and readers are actually searching for online.
What Are SEO Keywords?
SEO keywords are terms and phrases that are added to content as a way of improving its relevance to certain search queries, which can lead to better rankings on search engines. These keywords are often chosen by SEO professionals after undergoing a process known as keyword research—the act of finding the most popular and competitive keywords that users are searching for about a certain topic.
By adding keywords strategically throughout your web page’s content, you’ll be able to increase the chances of this content reaching the right audiences, which can lead to a boost in organic traffic and better engagement.
These keywords also help communicate the topic of your content to search engine algorithms, which will help search engines rank your website accordingly based on its relevance to the user’s search query.
How to Find the Right SEO Keywords?
When the success of your business partially depends on the performance of your online content, it’s best not to leave anything up to chance, including the keywords and terms that you use. To find the best keywords to help your content reach the right audience, you should utilize something called keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords based on several factors such as search volume, competitiveness, and commercial intent to help you attract your ideal website visitors.
Here are the four steps of keyword research:
Search For Keywords
Naturally, the first step of keyword research is to actually find keywords, and you can easily do this with a keyword research tool. There are many free options available online like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool and Google’s Keyword Planner.
The great thing about using a keyword research tool is that you’ll be able to easily find thousands of keywords to choose from, with some of these tools also providing valuable insights and metrics regarding the performance of each keyword.
Additionally, you can also check out the keywords that your competitors and other similar websites have used on their content. This will help you get a better idea of their approach regarding the optimization of their content, as well as fill in any gaps that you may have with your keyword selection.
There are also free online tools that can help you with this, an example being Semrush’s Organic Research Tool and Semrush’s Keyword Gap Tool which only requires you to enter the website of your competitor.
While searching for keywords using various online tools will help you get a good idea of the keywords you can choose, these programs provide you with hundreds—if not thousands—of options that it would be impossible to incorporate every single into your content. It’s important to only choose the keywords with the right metrics, and that’s where keyword analysis comes in.
Keyword analysis is the process of refining and narrowing down your list of keywords based on certain criteria like search volume and popularity, competitiveness, keyword difficulty, and more. And just like with the previous step, many online tools can help you speed up your search like Semrush’s Keyword Overview Tool, which shows you the search volume, commercial intent, and keyword difficulty among other things.
When choosing keywords to add to your list, it may be best to prioritize keywords that your website has a good chance of ranking, especially after taking into consideration the authority of your website, as well as keywords with high search volume and relatively little competition.
It can also help to have a good combination of both short and long-tail keywords for a much more balanced content strategy, with the former containing a maximum of three words and the latter containing a minimum of three words.
Create a Keyword Strategy
While a single topic can contain a wide range of keywords that you can rank for, it’s best to find the primary keyword that will help you target the topic and increase your chances of ranking on search engines. The primary keyword encompasses the topic the best among other keywords and may even have the highest popularity rating. It’s often used in key elements of a website’s content such as the content’s title, headers, link, and more.
On the other hand, the secondary keyword is a keyword that belongs under the same topic as the primary keyword but with a lesser popularity rating. While it’s possible to still rank with a secondary keyword, this isn’t as big of a priority as ranking with the primary keyword.
A great online tool that can help out with this is Google’s Keyword Overview tool which comes with a SERP Analysis section and shows you the keywords that a website uses and allows you to see which one is bringing in the most traffic.
Understand Users’ Search Intent
Finally, it’s also crucial that you find out users’ search intent—the reason that they’re searching a particular query on search engines—as this will help you align your content and its format—whether a comprehensive guide, a comparison article, or a listicle—with what they’re actually looking for.
This will improve how search engine algorithms perceive the relevance of your content and actually allow you to compete in ranking for specific keywords, all the while giving your website’s visitors a great user experience. There are typically four main types of search intent:
- Informational Intent: Users are looking for information regarding a certain topic, whether to learn or find the answers to something.
- Navigational Intent: Users are looking for a specific website and are only searching on search engines to reach the destination they have in mind.
- Commercial Intent: Users are interested in buying a product or service but may be looking for additional information before making a purchase.
- Transactional Intent: Users are ready to make a purchase.
A successful keyword research will not only help you better understand the needs and interests of your target audience but also curate a more effective content and SEO strategy with relevant and in-demand content that will help your website attract more traffic and engagement.
Keyword research is an SEO technique that allows you to find the right keywords to help your content reach your desired audience, and this is often based on a list of criteria such as search volume, competitiveness, keyword density, and keyword difficulty.
It’s an ongoing process that requires constant refinement to keep up with the ever-changing search engine algorithms, but there are many online tools and websites available to make the process go much more smoothly.
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