Google is by far the most popular search engine on the web. Not only is it the biggest search engine on the web, it is also a great way to get traffic and leads to your website!
If you are paying someone else to do SEO on your website, you need to realize the importance of choosing keywords carefully.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines. They’re also known as search queries or “SEO keywords.”
If nobody is searching for what you are writing about, you won't rank on google, which means no traffic on your website.
Any keyword-related task starts with one fundamental activity: keyword research.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword Research is the process of understanding the language your target customers use when searching for products/services/content that you offer.
Despite all the many changes to SEO practice over the years, keyword research remains one of the most fundamental SEO tasks.
Step #1: Brainstorm Basic or 'Seed' Keywords
The best way to choose keywords is to do it through brainstorming and looking for search phrases from your target customers' point of view.
When brainstorming, think of all the related words or phrases someone would use if they were interested in a website like yours. You can also ask your friends and family members. There are resources on the web that will help you come up with the right keywords. These include Google Trends and Google AdWords.
If you are just starting a new website, you should focus on some basic keywords. These keywords should be easy to rank for as a beginner.
Step #2: Long-tail Keywords
As you get more into the site, you should add some more specific keywords. These are what I would consider "long tail keywords."
Long tail keywords are just what they sound like, more general than your shorter keywords yet longer. These keywords usually are more than 3 words long and don't include just as many words or phrases as your shorter keywords. Long tail keywords are often what a computer would call "long winded."
However, both short and long tail keywords need to be used in your content. You should optimize your longer keywords for your home page as well as for every other page. Just be mindful of the fact that your homepage is going to be your highest source of traffic.
Use Google's Keyword Tool to find the keywords that are most popular as well as the number of monthly searches for your keywords. There are both free and paid tools available.
Step #3: Analyse the level of competition
There is no harm in picking your own keywords and targeting them by publishing high quality content. But, it is important to define who your competitors are before you finalise on your keywords.
Running a simple google search on the keywords you want to rank for will reveal the biggest players in the category.
Tools like SEMRush, Alexa, Ahrefs can give you the comprehensive view of your competitors' website. This data is extremely important because it tells you what you are up against and the kind of resources you will need to overthrow them.
Only choosing the right google keywords won't rank you higher on google. There are a lot of other factors that affect your content's google ranking. And you need to keep evolving as per the latest trends because of the constantly-changing nature of Google’s algorithm.
Fill your site with quality content
This may sound old fashioned, but content is loved by Google and the other search engines. The more pages you have with solid, quality content, the more you will be noticed. But make it a point to not go overboard with your content. Go for quality over quantity.
Link with care
In particular, .edu and .gov sites are greatly regarded by Google. You should try to build backlinks from these sites as well. You can also get good backlinks by posting comments on blogs and Squidoo lenses.
One of the most important tags that should be optimized is the description tag. The description tag is a short sentence or two that describes the content of the document and this should be helpful.
There are several other important tags that you will want to optimize. The keywords tag is not as vital as it used to be, but you should still optimize it. The heading tag should consist of a heading ( guessing ) tag. And finally, the alt tag for images should contain the ALT tag keywords.