Keywords and Keyword Research – What, Why and How

When you go to Google to search for something, the words that you type into the box are a keyword. Keywords can be a single word or a multi-word phrase, and there are millions of them. When everything else is said and done, this is what SEO is all about – getting your website listed on search results pages for keywords in your industry.

How to Choose Keywords to Target

When considering keywords you should look at relevance, search intent, and competition.

Let’s say you sell glasses – the drinking variety. The keyword “glasses” is the niche-relevant keyword that is likely to have the highest number of searches in your geographical area. When you do a search in Google for this term, however, the results are about reading glasses.

glasses organic search

You therefore need to make your keyword targets more specific.

You also have to think about buying intent. Here are some examples:

  • Keyword “types of wine glasses” – this person could be looking for new wine glasses, but they might also be simply getting a better understanding of the types of wine glasses available
  • Keyword “red wine glasses” – this is a more specific search so would indicate someone who is much closer to making a buying decision
  • Keyword “cheapest Waterford wine glasses” – this is the type of search that is used when the person is ready to get their credit card out

red wine glasses serp

Another thing you have to consider when looking at keywords is difficulty. When you find a keyword that you think is relevant and has buying intent, you should go to Google and search for it. If all 10 search results on the first page are from major competitors and large brands, you might find it difficult to unseat them. Also, are there lots of ads on the page – above the organic results and down the right hand side? This also indicates a competitive keyword.

Long Tail Keywords

The last keyword example listed above – “cheapest Waterford wine glasses” – is an example of a long tail keyword. It is basically a keyword that is three words or longer. These are important as they are the phrases that are often used when someone is ready to buy, i.e. they have found the product/brand they are looking for, and now want to find a specific item.

They therefore usually have much lower search volumes. The traffic from long tail keywords is better quality, however, so is more likely to convert.

Doing Keyword Research

The best place to start keyword research is Google – enter some keywords that you think will be relevant to your website. If you scroll to the bottom of the results page you will see a “Searches related…” section. This will give you other ideas.

You can then take these keywords and input them into the Keyword Planner Tool in Google AdWords. If you set the parameters as exact match and target to your geographical area, it will give you an estimate of the monthly searches.

You can use this information to decide which keywords to target in your SEO efforts.

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