In SEO, we’re always keen to rank the highest and drive as much traffic as we can. But how do we know we’re driving the right traffic? Traffic with valuable visitors who are interested in your brand and are ready to convert.
We target the right keywords.
Choosing the right keywords to incorporate into your content is a vital – if not the most important – part of any SEO strategy. Do it right, and you can put your brand right in front of your customer when they need you most.
But before we get into which keywords you need to be considering, let’s start with the basics. Why are keywords so important, anyway?
What are keywords in SEO?
In SEO, keywords are words or phrases that users search for when looking for a particular webpage on Google, or another search engine. In order for your page to be the one they find, you’ll need to use these keywords within that page’s content.
Including a good amount of helpful, engaging content on your website is crucial, as search engines use this to determine what your pages are about. That way, engines, like Google, are able to provide users with the most useful information.
However, just be sure to write for your audience – not search engines – as this could be detrimental. Black hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing are no longer viable, and Google puts quality, helpful content first and foremost. Especially since the recent Helpful Content Update.
How to choose keywords for SEO
The most effective way to choose keywords for your SEO strategy is to conduct keyword research using an SEO tool such as Ahrefs or Semrush. Here, you’ll find all the high-volume search terms that are relevant to your brand.
However, there are factors that go beyond tools when it comes to choosing keywords for SEO.
No keyword is the same. Some are easier to rank than others, high volume doesn’t necessarily mean high conversion rates, and there are many different search intents to consider.
Intent is what will help you target users at multiple stages of their customer journey.
Hit Customers at Every Touchpoint
When thinking about the keywords your users are searching for, think about why they’re searching for them. What do they want to achieve?
That’s where informational and transactional keywords come into play.
Informational keywordsare used when audiences want to know more about something; they might search for a question or a broad topic.
Transactional keywordsare used when audiences are ready to make a purchase, so this could be the name of the brand or product.
Catering to both of these searches will help you target customers throughout their whole buying journey.
Keywords and the Customer Journey
Let’s take a look at the buying journey and think about some potential keywords that users could be looking for:
Awareness: At the awareness stage, you’ll want to target customers who haven’t yet heard of your brand. So, you might want to create blog posts to target topics that your brand is an expert in. Searches will be really vague at this point, so you can subtly introduce your brand.
Consideration:This stage is when the customer knows the solution to their query, but is still weighing up their options. These informational searches will therefore be much more specific to their desired outcome.
Decision:Here, the customer is ready to make a purchase but doesn’t mind which brand they choose. They’ll likely search for a product or service name, so these searches will be transactional.
Retention: The customer is now aware of your brand and wants to make a purchase with you. They’ll now use a branded search term
Prioritise high converting keywords
High converting keywords are the search terms your audience uses when they’re ready to make a purchase. This could be a product name such as ‘chocolate truffle boxes’ or a phrase that leads you to a product, such as ‘Valentine’s Day chocolates’ or even ‘Valentine’s Day gifts’.
There are multiple ways you can find these bottom-of-the-funnel keywords. The first is simple; think about the products or services you offer and imagine what a customer would need to do to find these. Think broader than your specific product titles.
Another way to find high converting keywords is to look at the paid search terms your brand is bidding on. Which terms are you seeing the biggest ROI on? You can look at targeting these in your organic strategy too.
Next is to use Google Analytics to see which pages have the biggest conversion rate. Look at the keywords that these pages naturally include, so that you can optimise the content and make these rank higher.
Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting
By looking at the keywords and topics your competitors are targeting, you’ll be able to get an idea of what’s helping them convert – then you can apply this to your SEO strategy.
Search tools like Ahrefs and Semrush have useful competitor gap analysis abilities that allow you to pull and compare keywords of different domains. This highlights any terms that your competitors are targeting that your website is missing.
If you don’t have access to a tool with a keyword comparison feature, it’s still a good idea to look at your competitors’ sites from an on-page perspective and see if there are any topics or pages your brand hasn’t covered.
Use long tail keywords as well as broader, high-volume terms
As well as using the most popular keywords, try targeting the more in-depth, niche search terms that are super relevant to your brand or product.
Not only will this give you a greater chance of ranking, as long tail keywords are often less competitive, it’ll also provide a solution to your customer’s specific pain query, showing them that it’s your product or service that they need.
So, rather than solely target the keyword ‘blue jumper’ that has a search volume of 3.6k but is highly competitive, target longtail keywords such as ‘navy blue polo neck jumper’ with a volume of 140, or even ‘navy blue polo neck jumper women’s’ (40) and ‘navy blue cashmere polo neck jumper’ (0).
Yes, the volume is significantly lower, but because this is exactly what the user wants, it’ll be especially high converting.