Selection of keywords is a crucial aspect within our SEO strategy. Inappropriate selection can affect all the efforts in the future. This is the reason why we will see a proven methodology in this area, the methodology which has given us very good results in the past.
Before we go on, let’s start with the definition of some basic concepts used in this area.
Keyword: Combination of one or more words that people use in search engines to find what they are looking for.
Long tail keyword: This term is used to denote keywords that individually provide fewer visits, but when combined often generate the greatest part of organic traffic to a website.
Competitive keywords: Those keywords that can potentially provide a lot of traffic, but they are very difficult to use to position because we must “fight” a lot of competition.
Mid-tail keywords: It is between the two concepts above.
Organic traffic: Traffic from the search engines, excluding the traffic from advertising (typically Adwords).
Three fundamental aspects for choosing the keywords
When choosing the best keywords there are three main aspects to consider: popularity, competitiveness and relevance.
We understand popularity of a keyword as the potential number of visits you can get to a website from the search engines. Obviously we’ll be interested in choosing the words that can bring more traffic.
In order to examine the figures related to popularity of a keyword, Google offers a very interesting free tool: Keywords Planner. This is a tool that we recommend you use in order to see the popularity of keywords. It can be found at the following web address: https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home?
This tool is free, but you need to have a Google Adwords account.
The usage of the tool is very simple, we just provide keywords related to the topic of our website, and we will be offered a series of related keywords and the popularity of those keywords.
We define competitiveness of a keyword as the level of difficulty in needs to be positioned using that keyword.
There are multiple methods to measure competitiveness, and here are some of them.
We go to Google for example, and write the keyword that you want to analyze.
In order to further refine the results from the simple search, it is advisable to use search parameters. For this purpose we use the allinurl and allintitle command. By using the parameter allintitle: “keyword” the results will show the websites that have used the keyword in the title (allinurl:”keyword” to see if the keyword appears in the url). These two commands give us valuable information, we see the results from websites that have specifically used the keyword in the title (or url). This means that those pages are very focused on the keyword in question, so logically it will be more difficult to compete against them.
The third aspect to consider when analyzing the best keywords is whether these are relevant to your website. Obviously, we must choose keywords that are related to our business. A rookie mistake is to try to position a website for keywords that have nothing to do with the theme of the site, assuming these can bring a lot of traffic. This is not a good practice for the following reasons:
Positioning for words that have nothing to do with the content and theme of the website is very difficult.
This can harm the SEO effort related to other keywords that are really relevant for the website.
In addition, the marginal traffic you get will be of very poor quality, as the visitors will not really be interested in the topic of your website, so the bounce rate will be very high (which, by the way, is another negative factor of SEO).
Having said all this, let’s see how to consider the relevance when selecting keywords.
The main criterion applied to the selection of keywords is common sense. No one can assess which keywords are really relevant better than you. The questions that one should answer include the following “Are the visitors, searching that word in the search engines, interested in the subject of of company?”, “Is it reasonable to think that you can convert them into customers / users of your company?” These and similar questions can really help us decide if the keywords are relevant.
If we have a web analytics program, which is in fact essential, we can perform a subsequent analysis with historical data that the tool offers. To do this we should have defined what we call conversion goals. A conversion is an action within our web done by the visitors and it is interesting to us, for example, conversions of online sales or requests for information via form.
Even though this information is very valuable, there are two serious drawbacks:
It is based on a subsequent analysis based on historical data, so it is obvious that you can not apply this to new websites that do not have the data.
It is also a partial analysis, since it is clear that there will be many keywords that would potentially provide conversions, but if you have not used them for positioning, they do not currently generate visits, so they will not be reflected in your analysis.
Bounce rate / session duration
A variation on the previous approach is to use the so-called bounce rate or session duration. Without going into technical definitions, we can define that “bounce” refers to the situation when users visit our website and only view one page, without navigating through the rest of our website. High bounce rate represents a traffic of poor quality as visitors are not interested in our website; meanwhile the average session duration is the average length of session during which users navigate through our website. Extensive time means higher quality users who are more likely to become customers / users of our site.
Compared to the previous approach, this type of analysis:
It has the advantage that the number of keywords used is much higher, and that while in the former case we have been restricted to the keywords that resulted in conversion, in this case it can be applied to all keywords.
The disadvantage is that it is an intermediate variable, it is clear that it is more useful to know the words that have resulted in conversions, than whether we have low or high bounce rate or session duration. While in the second case we assume that words are interesting, in the first case we are certain of it.
Position in the buying cycle
It is known that most buying process have a fixed time duration, the longer the time the higher the purchase price. Except impulse purchase products, before buying the product in question users go through several phases, product discovery, awareness of a need, comparing suppliers… Simply put, it is best to be positioned for the keywords that are more related to the final stages of the buying cycle than with the initial phases (which are much more informative), as the propensity to buy from the first words is much greater than the latter. For example, if we sell the product x, it is far more likely that those looking for example “to buy product X” or “comparative price product x” are more interesting to us than those looking “news about product x” or “blog about product x “.
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