What exactly is a keyword?
Interestingly enough, a keyword is rarely just a word. More often it’s a string of words together, to form a complete phrase. It’s a description of what someone is looking for.
Why are keywords important?
Keywords are really the fundamental principle on which search engines are built. Without them, search engines would not be very successful at showing people what they are actually looking for. This in turn would lead to a lot of frustration on the “information highway”.
Perhaps we can liken it to a complicated road network – made up of highways and smaller roads all interconnecting. Now imagine if you’re in a car, but there are no road markings, no lane definition, no road signs and definitely no sat nav! It doesn’t bear thinking about, but there would be traffic jams, accidents and in all likelihood, it would be a miracle if we ever got to out intended destination…ever.
Keywords keep things ticking along as they should, so that anyone searching online for information has the best chance of finding what they are looking for, in good time. In summary, it allows the search engines to be effective and efficient.
How should you use a keyword?
Having worked in marketing for many years, and been around when the digital revolution really started to develop, there has been quite a shift in how keywords have been used.
Initially, the most common practice was often to flood all web content with the keywords a website owner thought matched their target audience. This tended to be very fairly haphazard, quite subjective and it’s fair to say it worked for a while. This was due to the fact the web was a far less busy place than it is now.
Because there is such a massive amount of information in the online environment now, a better way had to be developed to distinguish between different websites and the content they contain. Thus, the power and role of keywords have become a lot more significant over time.
Now, it is good practice to use a keyword (and remember, by this I mean a string of words, or a phrase) in the title of an online article or blog, and then again somewhere in the first paragraph, but only once. Following that, the search engines then like content to be naturally written, unique and of course relevant to what you are trying to convey.
What better way to achieve this than writing from your own perspective. You are unique, and if you write like you would generally speak or communicate with people, your article or blog will be unique.
By all means use the web to research ideas, see what other people are doing – but never copy their work! Your own content should always be written by YOU, and the search engines are far more likely to show your content if you combine good keywords with unique content, that is relevant to your topic. By doing this, you are providing “clarity of content”.
But, how do you know what keywords to use?
Well, this is where things definitely get interesting. You can think of something yourself, and you may get lucky in the sense it’s the right keyword for your target audience. However, chances are someone else has also thought of that same keyword for that same audience – in fact, it’s possible that many people have.
Then what you are faced with is high competition on that keyword, which means you have to work A LOT harder to get ranked at the top end of any search engine results. This is especially the case if your website is relatively “young”. If it hasn’t been on the go for very long, and you are competing with other that have been around for much longer, you are likely to rank a lot lower for the same search.
Why is this? Simply because the search engines have already established that “older” website is a trusted source.
So, what can you do to give yourself the best chance of getting your own website ranked highly for search terms? For a start, you need to select keywords that do the following 3 things
The 3 Golden Rules of Keyword Research
- Are being searched for – by that I mean keywords that are already directing some traffic to websites
- Do make sense – whilst there are a lot of grammatical errors made when people perform searches on the web, the search engines are clever! Most of the time, they will recognise what the searcher intends and will direct them to the CORRECT keyword. So don’t try and second guess the search engines by selecting keywords that are just commonly entered “mistakes” – you won’t get good quality traffic to your website this way, and in fact you might not get any
- Have low competition – you want to have keywords that meet these first two criteria, and then ideally that have very few websites competing with you.
How do you find these keywords?
There are many ways of researching keywords, you can use. So I don’t turn this page into a novel, I am going to talk about only two now:
I) Google Instant
By typing into a Google search bar examples of keywords, Google will reveal “instantly” in a drop down menu what people have been searching for.
Let’s go through an example:
Here is a search for “dogs toys for puppies” . You can see that Google instant starts suggesting keywords that people are commonly searching for
So, what happens if I select one of these terms? If I click on one of these keywords from the drop down menu, I will be presented with the search term results for that keyword. As well, Google will conveniently tell me how many search results there are – this is an indication of the COMPETITION
In this first example, there are 2,000,000 results for “good dog toys for puppies”
In this second example, the number of results has fallen to 60,200 because I have selected something more specific – i.e. a more “targeted” keyword
There are pros and cons to this method of keyword research. What is good, is that Google Instant does give you real results of what people are searching for. Therefore, it does provide keywords that will yield traffic. You can also get an idea of competition for that keyword, through the number of search results shown – as illustrated in the pictures above. However, the downside is the time you have to spend in order to actually conduct your keyword research.
I don’t know about you, but if there is a shortcut to completing something more quickly, so I can get on with other things, then I want to take it. For keyword research, there is, in my opinion, a quicker and better way to conduct keyword research.
II) Jaaxy – a purpose-built keyword research tool
Jaaxy has been created solely for the purpose of researching keywords, and giving you the results you want to see to make informed decisions about which keywords are good choices for your online content.
It’s a really powerful platform that in one click will yield a whole lot of valuable data for you. It’s really easy and simple to use
- type in a keyword and click search
- the tool will provide you with data not only for that keyword, but also a whole list of related keywords – you don’t have to be stuck for keyword ideas!
Jaaxy will give you all sorts of valuable information
- like the average monthly search numbers for that keyword
- the traffic you can expect to your website if you rank well within the search engines
Not only that, it will assign a “traffic light” system to the search results for a keyword, which grades that keyword and the similar results as either red, yellow or green. And you guessed it, green ones are good, and red ones you should avoid. Easy or what!
The deal breaker is getting keyword competition data, which is ONLY available with Jaaxy. this is probably the single most valuable piece of keyword research you can get your hands on, and I think a MUST if you want to have maximum chance of success with a particular keyword.
One of the best things is that you can get a free trial to see just what it can do. I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.
I don’t think you will be disappointed when you see just how powerful it can be, and the amount of time it can save you – and who doesn’t want a bit of extra time?
I hope you have found this helpful and you know a bit more about keyword research as a result. If you would like to ask any questions or have a comment you’d like to share, please do so below. I would love to hear your thoughts.
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