Keywords serve as the backbone of all SEO efforts and strategies.
Like most other search engines, Google constantly strives to bring content the searcher wants to them, and your job as a blogger is to present such content by writing content as closely related to what the searcher will likely search.
Keywords can be regarded as the most critical element in search engine optimization (SEO) as search engines crawl your page, searching for these keywords to ensure your content is relevant to the searcher’s query.
Placing your keywords in the correct quantity and the proper manner is crucial to a website’s ranking.
This task may seem daunting and almost impossible, especially for someone new to the SEO space. So, in this blog post, you will understand keyword optimization in SEO with tried and tested methods of using it.
What exactly are keywords in SEO?
Keywords are the words, clauses, and phrases searchers enter into search queries on which they want to see content.
For your website, keywords are the main ideas of your content. They are the things that all the paragraphs, images, and illustrations should boil down to.
Also, keywords are phrases and words placed strategically in your content to remain relevant to the searcher’s query, keep their attention, and prompt Google to deem your content a viable answer to their search queries.
Types of keywords
Concerning length and relevance, 3 (three) types of keywords are used in SEO.
Of course, there are other types of keywords; however, these are terms you will likely come across early on in your SEO journey:
1. Short-tail keywords
These, also known as generic keywords, are concise phrases of one or two words. They are popular, broad search terms that generate significant traffic but face high competition. An excellent example would be the term “Men’s Shoes.”
2. Long-tail keywords
Long tail keywords are specific phrases with lower competition and lower search traffic. Due to their specificity, they often yield higher conversion rates. These are typically the longest keywords, tailored to specific audiences or topics. “Black and White Comfortable Men’s Shoes” is a long-tail keyword.
3. Medium-tail keywords
These keywords fall between short-tail and long-tail keywords. They have moderate traffic volume but offer better conversion rates and less competition than other keywords. “Comfortable Men’s Shoes” is an example.
What is keyword optimization?
Keyword optimization is the process of identifying and selecting the right keywords in your content so that your target audience can find your pages more easily in search engine results.
It means identifying common phrases and clauses searchers type into search queries and forming your content to match those keywords. In keyword optimization, you analyze the best possible keyword for the content you wish to create and work those keywords into your ideas to appear as relevant to the search query as possible.
Why is keyword optimization relevant to your blog?
Keywords are vital because they link the content people want and the content you create. And, importantly, proper keyword optimization:
1. Drives organic traffic to your website
Searchers will likely click on headlines and websites that display keywords that correlate to their search queries. You also increase your likelihood of ranking higher on SERPs, which enhances your chances of organic traffic.
2. Reduces bounce rate
With proper keyword optimization, the searchers will find your website relevant to their search queries and be less likely to leave your website as soon as they enter it (bounce).
3. Competitive advantage
In the SEO world, everything is subject to comparison; your goal in SEO is to rank HIGHER than your competitors. A website with proper keyword optimization has an advantage over its competitors because it can get more traffic.
Keyword research is simply gathering information from available registries on the right keywords for your content, how well they do on search engines, rank difficulty, and content from other sources regarding the same or similar keywords.
Keyword research helps you understand your audience better so you can write content they want to read.
If you’re thinking of all the stress involved in research, there are tools to help you. Keyword research tools show you data concerning the keywords you want to use so you can avoid common pitfalls, such as writing content on topics with high-ranking difficulties or writing good content people do not search for.
Keyword optimization and research tools
There are several options regarding the keyword research and optimization tools to use for your SEO journey. Here is a list of trusted and known keyword research tools:
- Moz Keyword Explorer is the best all-around free SEO keyword research tool
- Google Keyword Planner for researching paid keywords
- Ahrefs for simple SEO tools
- Semrush for advanced SEO professionals
How to use keyword optimization in SEO
i. Find keywords for your site.
The first step in keyword optimization is to conduct your keyword research. Know what the searchers want and conform to that.
You can use keyword tools to find and incorporate keywords that fit your goals into your writing. Begin by brainstorming a list of keywords and phrases associated with the content and then systematically enter each keyword into a search or tool.
Also, keep notes of all the analytics you get from your brainstorming session and use them to further your SEO goals.
ii. Map your keywords.
Keyword mapping is simply mapping your keywords!!!
After you’ve done your keyword research and have all your data, consider where all the keywords will go while writing. Think of it like drawing a map; you don’t want to keep all your keywords in one place and then have a lack of them in other spaces.
Keyword mapping ensures your user’s interest is still piqued throughout your entire post, not just at certain points.
iii. Avoid keyword stuffing.
It is vital in keyword optimization to think of quality over quantity.
It is more important that the keywords you use are relevant to your content.
It may be tempting to discover keywords with high search volumes and want to place many on your site. However, most search engines have learned to adapt to this and do not rank websites with excessive and unnecessary use of irrelevant keywords.
iv. Don’t forget your target.
As previously discussed, understanding your target audience is pivotal in optimization.
Consider a scenario where you’ve diligently optimized a webpage, striving to secure a high-ranking position in search results, only to realize that the people searching for the terms in your content seek something entirely different.
Two potential consequences may unfold when you fail to reach your intended audience.
Firstly, many individuals outside your target demographic might stumble upon your page, discover it doesn’t align with their interests or needs, and promptly exit, potentially avoiding your site as a future resource and negatively impacting your site by increasing its bounce rate.
Secondly, your intended audience might never come across your site in search results.
It’s crucial to weed out keywords that attract the wrong audience to your site and instead incorporate the search terms that resonate with your target audience’s preferences and interests.
v. Target popular keywords.
When a keyword enjoys high popularity, indicating a significant volume of searches, it can drive substantial traffic to your website if you attain a high ranking.
To maximize website traffic, focus on optimizing for highly searched keywords. However, note that as a keyword’s popularity increases, so does the level of competition, making it more challenging to secure a high ranking.
vi. Target less competitive keywords.
On the flip side, while it might appear counterintuitive to target less popular keywords, this approach is often the most effective for new websites.
Competing with well-established websites that have already gained trust and authority for trendy keywords in competitive industries can be highly challenging.
Therefore, newer websites often find tremendous success by optimizing less popular and less competitive keywords or by enhancing their keywords with modifiers, such as thematic or geo-targeted modifiers, to create mid to long-tail keywords.
In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, search engine keyword optimization remains a cornerstone of success.
Understanding the intricacies of keyword research, implementation, and monitoring can help propel your website to new heights in search engine rankings.
But remember, it’s not a one-and-done task; it requires continuous effort and adaptation to perfect it.