How to choose keywords for SEO

Ever wondered how businesses choose what keywords they want to rank for? In this article we'll help you get to grips with the basics of keyword research to help you start boosting your search engine ranking

Starting off with keywords

Anyone reading this who is new to the world of SEO or has some vague understanding of how it works will undoubtedly have heard about keywords and how important they are when it comes to increasing organic traffic.

Keywords allow search engines like Google to identify what your website offers and place it in front of audiences searching using similar words and phrases.

Sounds simple, right?

Yes and no.

Although SEO has changed drastically over the past two decades, with Google releasing regular algorithm updates that have forced businesses to make considerable changes to their SEO strategy, the importance of keywords has largely remained unchanged.

So, while there are some proven methods to choosing keywords that will attract your target audience, there are some nuances that you should be aware of if you want your keywords research strategy to be bullet-proof.

Conducting keyword research

The best way to kick off your keywords research is by looking at commonly used words and phrases associated with your industry. For example, if you're a marketing agency, you could pick out terms such as:

- Digital marketing agency (8.1k)
- B2B marketing (2.9k)
- SEO strategy (1.3k)
- PPC marketing (1.3k)

Although you will undoubtedly have a good understanding of the relevant keywords and keyword phrases within your industry, it pays to be specific and find out the exact keyword search volume and keyword difficulty.

You'll have a better idea of which keywords will be best to pursue.Several excellent keywords research tools are available, but they aren't always cheap, especially if you're a start-up business with a limited budget.

However, if used correctly, websites such as Ahrefs and SEMrush provide some excellent keyword research tools to help you locate, track and update your keyword research strategy to produce the best results.

Here at Jubilee Copy, we've used SEMrush since day one. It has turned out to be one of the best investments we've ever made, as it allows us to track all our clients’ SEO rankings and keyword ranking positions as well as providing us with excellent backlink analysis.

Search intent and the right keywords

So, now you've picked some keywords and phrases that you want to start ranking for, and you've invested in some SEO keyword tracking tools, it's time to start thinking about how your target audiences use search engines.

Start by asking, what are your searchers looking for?

- Are they looking for basic information about a product or service? (Awareness stage)

- Are they looking at different brands? (Interest stage)

- Are they ready to make a purchase?

Understanding your target audience in their sales journey goes a long way in determining the keywords and phrases you use and the type of content you produce.

For example, if you're targeting prospects in the awareness stage, you need to look at more long-tail keywords that ask questions, i.e. "How to set up a profitable marketing agency".

Using these long-tail keywords, you can create blog content, social media posts, and infographics to help educate your audience and create awareness for your brand. Thus, you can begin to filter your prospects into your marketing funnel.

One of the main benefits of long-tail keywords is that they allow you to be laser-focused and target prospects searching for answers to a specific problem. In doing so, they sift through most searches that may have no interest in ultimately making a conversion.

Analyse your competition

Like most things in digital marketing, competitor analysis plays a huge role in choosing the right keywords for your business. Not only will it allow you to see what you're up against, but it will also let you see if there are any gaps in the market that you can capitalise on.

An excellent place to start is looking at the sponsored ads at the top of the Google search results page. All you need to do is type in a keyword and see who's ad appears at the top, and this will let you know which companies are bidding the highest to rank for that specific term. 

After that, you’ll start to see which websites appear organically and do some research into the size of the businesses. If they're giant corporations with millions to spend on marketing, you might struggle to rank on the front page. So you might want to look at different keywords where the competition isn't so stiff.

Keyword tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush will also be able to tell you how difficult a keyword is to rank for and what it might take to achieve SEO success.

For example, SEMrush will tell you how many backlinks you will need to achieve a high ranking for a term and provide you with website suggestions that will provide you with high-quality backlinks.

Be careful not to cannibalise your pages

Page cannibalisation is something that anyone who has worked in SEO for some time is guilty of, as it is so easy to do without knowing you're doing it.

Page cannibalisation targets the same keyword on multiple pages, which ultimately leaves the pages to fight against each other to achieve the best ranking.

An excellent way to avoid this is by creating a keyword spreadsheet that allows you to assign keywords to each page you produce so that you can see if you're using the same keyword more than once.

Here at Jubilee Copy, we have a Google docs Masterfile that allows all of our employees access to our SEO projects to ensure that we don't overuse keywords and see how each project is performing in real-time.

This approach has saved us thousands of pounds in fixing errors and allows us to be incredibly effective with our project management.

In addition to our Masterfile, we have a content schedule that allows us to be organised and see when content needs to be created, edited and uploaded.

This not only ensures that all staff members are aware of our current timelines, but it also ensures that our clients' content gets uploaded precisely on time to the correct designated channels.

Content scheduling comes under our content strategy service, so if you'd like to know more about how we can create a content calendar to ensure that your content generates the maximum engagement, speak to us today.

Don't cram keywords into your content

Although choosing the right keywords to implement into your content to increase organic traffic is the name of the game here, be careful not to cram keywords into your content as that will only make your content less valuable.

At Jubilee Copy, we subscribe to the maxim "write for people, not machines", as ultimately it's your target audience that will be the ones consuming your content and not the Google bots crawling to find the keywords.

So, remember, your content has to provide your audience with something helpful, educational, and insightful. This should be your ultimate goal when producing any content, whether a social media post, a blog, or even a short video.

Because even if your keywords attract visitors to your site, your bounce rate will be through the roof if your content doesn't provide your audience with something useful.

Search engines such as Google will actively lower your ranking if they feel you are trying to beat the algorithm by keyword cramming, and trust us; you don't want to go upsetting google if you're trying to improve your search engine ranking!

A few final words on SEO

Hopefully, this blog has helped familiarise you with some of the core components of keyword research, and you can now take this information away and start building an SEO strategy that will see your organic traffic levels go through the roof!

Although SEO might seem daunting at first glance with terms such as "meta tags", "XML sitemap" and "SSL certificate" being banded about, it's not as scary as you might think.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, so don't be disheartened if things don't happen overnight.Here at Jubilee Copy, we've been working in SEO collectively for over two decades, and we've seen hundreds of changes go on.

We know how to adjust accordingly to ensure that our client's rankings aren't affected.

So, if you'd like to know more about SEO in general - or you'd like to know how Jubilee Copy can help you achieve an excellent search engine ranking. Book a free consultation, or drop us a message.