Keywords are how you convince the search engine matchmaker that you're just the page your perfect match is searching for.
WHAT ARE KEYWORDS?
To someone searching for answers on Google, keywords are simply what they type into the search bar. To an inbound marketer, keywords are how you optimize your content to get it in front of your target audience.
Keywords are basically the topic of a given page, whether that page is a blog post, product description, landing page, or other type of content. By shaping content around a specific keyword, you can help that content rank in search engine results for those keywords.
Why are Content Keywords Important?
You want your content to get noticed. But there's an obstacle: the search engine. Like a strict parent before prom, the search engine decides if you are a good fit for their beloved searcher. You have to seek the search engine's approval, show it you have the answers your audience wants, and prove that your content is so good it should be the first result.
Without the search engine's approval, people won't find your content. However, don't forget that content keywords are about more than just impressing the search engine. The goal of inbound marketing is to attract, engage, and delight your audience. Use content keywords to help your target audience find you, but don't forget to shape relevant, useful, and interesting content around those content keywords to provide value to the reader.
How to Choose Keywords
How do you get noticed? Here are a few ways to learn what keywords to target:
- Brainstorm topic ideas for your content. What is your company an authority on? What problems do your products or services solve? What do your sales and customer service teams get asked a lot?
- Find related search terms. Type some ideas into a search engine and write down what comes up in autocompleted results and under "Related searches" or "People also ask."
- Use a keyword research tool. There are many free and paid keyword research tools that can help you choose the best topics. These tools display important metrics about search results and your competition.
- Look at metrics such as search volume, level of competition, and your current ranking for the keyword. Keywords should be words that people are actually searching for, but hopefully not so general that the topic is already too competitive and saturated.
- Start with one or two keywords at a time to create content, or recycle content you already have that is relevant to those terms.
There is also something called a long-tail keyword. Think of a long-tail keyword like a long-tailed duck. A long-tailed duck is still a duck, but it's more specific, eye-catching, and literally longer because of those long tail feathers. A long-tail keyword is a specific phrase that is three or more words and captures the attention of a niche audience. Like having an obscure interest, your long-tail keyword won't appeal to everybody, but when it does, you are much more likely to get that person's attention.
How to Use Keywords in Your Content
Don't do this: "The keyword is a really keyword keyword. Keyword different keyword another keyword more keywords." That semantic nightmare is called keyword stuffing. Google doesn't appreciate it, and neither does your audience.
Do this instead:
- Put your main keyword in your blog post about three times: in the title, once in the first few sentences, and again in the last few sentences.
- Use synonyms for your keywords throughout the content. Your audience and search engines are smart. They know what you mean without you having to repeat the same word over and over.
- Include the keyword in the meta description.
- Remember that quality matters. Even if you can rank #1 on Google, viewers won't actually turn into customers if they didn't enjoy the content. Make people want to stay and see more. You're looking for a real relationship, not just a first date.
Bonus Tips to Help Your Content Get Noticed
Keywords are a simple idea, but mastering their art isn't easy. Here are a few more ideas to get those topics flowing:
- Consider user intent. Good news! Search engines have realized that people have actual feelings and reasons behind each search. Before choosing a keyword, make sure you understand what a searcher expects to find by looking at what currently comes up in search results for that keyword. If it's mostly product ads, people who search that term are probably looking to buy something. If it's mostly educational blog posts, they're likely just looking to learn and wouldn't be interested in a promotional post.
- Make video content for your keywords. Search engines know that people love to watch stuff instead of reading about it.
- Use local optimization. A good long-tailed keyword may include location-based terms like "in Denver."
- Stay up to date on search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Search engines love to change the rules. It isn't fair, but it's the algorithm's world—we're just living in it.
Now that you're a keyword expert, can you guess what the ones on this page are?
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