Are you struggling to improve your online presence? For most business owners, ranking in the SERPs is a real challenge. In the past, you could get around this somewhat by using a heavier keyword density and a good backlinking program, but that’s really not the case today. Today’s SEO world requires some specific steps, including the ongoing creation of reliable, quality content. Of course, keywords still play an important role, and you’ll need to know how to research them in order to build a robust web presence for your business.
The first thing you need to understand is that you must avoid highly competitive, oversaturated keywords, even if they’re a perfect fit for your products or services. There’s a very good reason for this. If you’re going up against more established companies that have been using your target keywords for a long time, they’ve pretty much got the market “cornered”. That is, they’ll have far more content optimized with the keyword or keyword phrase in question, which means that your pages will be pushed far down the results page.Instead, use alternate keywords.
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What’s an alternate keyword? These are based on your target keyword, but they’re dissimilar enough that they’re not as saturated, giving you a way to improve your SEO without duking it out with your more established competitors. Finding related/alternate keywords is as simple as using a quality keyword research tool (like Google’s keyword planning tool). In addition to showing you search metrics and frequencies for your targeted keyword, the tool will also show you alternative keywords and keyword phrases and how heavily they’re used by consumers. That gives you a firm basis for deciding what keywords to include in your content optimization.
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are much less competitive than primary keywords, but they can be excellent additions to any SEO program. Long tail keywords are really exactly what they sound like – phrases that extend beyond the normal one, two or three words in a keyword phrase. It might be something like “sports shoes in Milwaukee’s east side”. Good long tail keywords give you an even better chance of improving your SEO without getting bogged down in a highly competitive sector. It can take some research to determine what long tail keywords will work for you, but again, Google’s keyword planning tool can be used to ferret out the phrases that apply to your business.
Know the Method
Keyword research isn’t necessarily a complicated process, but it does require that you follow a few specific steps. First, you’ll need to brainstorm applicable keywords for your business, products or services. Second, you’ll need to find a good keyword tool (Google is free, but there are plenty of other options out there). Next, use the tool to refine your keyword list (based on search frequency/volume, competitiveness, and other metrics). Finally, analyze your competitors to find out how many are targeting that keyword and whether it’s worth your time to use the word/phrase.
A Note on Implementation
Optimizing your content with keywords is important, but don’t forget about the internal structure of your site. If you’re using one of the many high quality WordPress templates available, you can insert your keywords in many different areas of the site, including your page titles and tags. Add a plugin like Yoast to make adding keywords and optimizing your pages even easier.
With the right keyword research, you can find applicable keywords that aren’t super saturated and still bring your target audience right to your website (which is where you want them).
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