Google algorithms are becoming ever-more advanced – even relying on machine learning and artificial intelligence to sort and provide the most relevant matches – but even with those systems, Google needs data. They need to know what your pages are about.
And the easiest way to give Google that information is to incorporate relevant keywords into your content.
Here are some key tips for finding and utilising relevant keywords on your pages – and how to use them correctly to help boost your search rankings.
1. Find out what search terms people are using
This is a fundamental principle of SEO – you can’t optimise your content without first understanding what you’re optimising for. It’s important to know what people are searching for in order to find businesses like yours.
Oftentimes it is the most obvious search queries that lead people to your business page – if people search for ‘plumber’ and your hometown, you need to be there. But there’s more to keywords than the obvious, so how can you find other common queries?
SERPs.com is a good, free keyword suggestion tool you can use. Simply enter your keyword of choice and it’ll return a list of related search terms. So if you enter ‘plumber Doncaster’, it’ll show you a list of other searches people have conducted related to those terms.
This will give you a better idea of the terms you want to target – as well as some ideas for content you could create around those queries.
You can also use Google Trends to find similar data, direct from Google.
2. Look for long-tail terms
Long-tail search terms are the ones that are outside the norm – they might not be as common, or popular, as the main search terms, but if you find the right ones, an accumulation of long-tail keywords can drive significant traffic.
For example, you might never be able to reach the number one ranking for your most popular key terms, especially if you’re up against a larger company with a well-established presence. But you may be able to rank for hundreds of less obvious search terms, which could help you drive more business.
To do this, you need to go a bit more in depth with your searches. Most keyword tools will tell you the most common search terms, but you need to think about related queries that extend from them – you can do this by using keyword tools and looking for those less popular matches, or you can conduct your own brainstorming session and try to come up with related events and sequences.
For example, you probably know the most common questions in your niche – what are the questions those people are asking before they come to you? Is there a popular product you sell or specialise in – that could be another keyword you could rank for.
Finding less obvious search terms enables you to focus on them in your broader keyword strategy – as noted, it may not get you ranking on page one for the most common terms, but plenty of people are still looking for advice on other fronts, and more traffic means better rankings overall.
3. Create useful content around your focus topics
But maybe the best SEO tip of all is really to forget SEO.
Well, don’t forget it – as we’ve established, it’s critical to online discovery – but forget it once you’ve found your focus terms and you go to create content around them.
While you definitely want to ensure you mention those terms in your web copy, you also need your pages to read well – there’s no point coming up high in the rankings for all these terms if the page you link the searchers to is just an SEO-focused mess.
People are searching for these terms because they’re looking for answers. So provide them. Answer the questions related to these key topics, put together blog posts and guides that cater to audience demand. That will help provide a better user experience that, in turn, will see them refer to your site when friends have related questions, and see them turning to your site as a key source, which, eventually, will lead to increased authority for your site – and thus, increased Google search rankings.
The path to Google success is not always the most obvious one, and taking the time to research and understand your users can lead to much better performance. It can take time to conduct that initial research, but it’ll all be worth it when the queries start coming in.