What are keywords?
Simply put, keywords are the backbone of search engine optimization (SEO). They are the specific words or phrases you incorporate into your content to help your audience find you when conducting an internet search. Keywords are how you tell your audience that your content (and, by extension, your product or service) is the answer to their problem.
Why are keywords important?
A search engine provides one primary service: answering the question that the user is asking. That’s it! How it provides that service is constantly changing, but its primary function does not.
Therefore, if you want your audience to find your content, you must be sure that you are answering the question your audience is asking. That’s where keywords come in.
Without clearly defined, targeted keywords, you cannot hope to rank well on SERPs. And if you’re not ranking, you’re not getting clicks. No clicks, no conversions. No money.
Yes, they are that important! However, algorithms constantly evolve to ensure they deliver the highest quality answer to the user’s question. That’s why practices like keyword stuffing have fallen by the wayside (in fact, keyword stuffing will likely tank your ranking if you use it) in favor of creating quality content that incorporates short-tail and long-tail keywords in a meaningful, organic way.
How do I determine my target keywords for SEO?
First, you’ll want to understand the search intent of your target audience. Are they looking to make a purchase? Do they need more information? Conduct some research to find out what questions your audience is asking so you know exactly how to answer them.
Next, utilize tools like Google Trends or Answer the Public to help you find keywords that rank well. Consider search volume and competition when narrowing down your list of primary and secondary keywords. You can even use Google’s autocomplete function to a potential keyword into the search bar and see what suggestions come up.
Why does search intent matter?
Understanding what your audience is searching for – and why – ensures that you’re delivering exactly the content they need when they need it. It can also provide insight into where a user is on their buyer’s journey.
Optimizing your keywords for search intent can also mean:
- More sales
- Reduced bounce rate
- Increased user engagement
- More warm leads
- Higher rankings
- Better content ideas
In short, understanding why your audience is searching means you can cut out the guesswork and just be the solution. And that means your audience is much more likely to respond favorably to your content.
Do you really need short-tail and long-tail keywords?
Yes. Short and long-tail keywords increase SERP visibility as long as they are used intentionally and organically. (No adding keywords just for the sake of it.)
Your short-tail keywords are the broad strokes that help narrow the field. Your long-tail keywords get even more specific so that your content finds exactly the right audience. Similarly, you’ll utilize both primary and secondary keywords to optimize for less competitive phrases. Your target keywords all support each other so that, ultimately, you’ll get visibility on that top keyword as well, even if there’s more competition.
Remember, the more content you have – even if it’s built around secondary keywords and supporting phrases – the more ways your audience will be able to find you. Google loves expertise and authority, and being prolific with high-quality content provides both.
Aren’t keywords just topics?
Yes and no. Your short-tail keywords are, in a sense, the topics you’re addressing with your content. But topics are primarily the subjects that your content is organized around. You will certainly have sub-topics within those topics, and these will influence your content ideas.
Keywords, however, are the specific words and/or phrases your intended audience inputs into their search engine to help them find your content. They work in tandem with your topics; therefore, topic research should also be part of your SEO strategy.
Get Started with Your Keyword Strategy
We get it. SEO is a lot, and it’s constantly changing. Who can keep up? Whether you need help developing a keyword strategy, delivering high-quality content around those keywords, or both, ClearVoice has you covered. When you partner with us as your managed content solution, not only will we
- Research what your audience is searching for
- Get to know your competitors
- Analyze your industry
- Identify your ranking gaps and opportunities
- Ideate themes and topics
But we will also help you
- Increase your reach
- Produce content at high volumes
- Build authority & thought leadership
- Connect with qualified leads
Ready to get started? Talk to a content specialist today!