How to Find Relevant Keywords for SEO?
The most important aspect of writing an SEO-optimized article is choosing the right keywords.
If you choose the right keyword phrase for a given article and write an engaging, well-written post, your article could rank on page 1 of the SERPS on that phrase.
Beyond the importance of ranking on page 1, there are at least three other good reasons why choosing a target keyword phrase is important.
- It will be part of your title and meta title – the first part of your article that a potential reader will see. It’s in those nanoseconds that you’re most likely to catch or miss a potential reader.
- Your research to choose the keyword phrase will carry over to the rest of the article. What you don’t choose as the main phrase can become secondary keyword phrases that will enrich the intro, subtitles, etc., of the article, which will increase the weight of the article in the indexes of search engines.
- Studying the keywords that people search for will make you a better copywriter. Simply put, research gives you insight into how your potential audience thinks and seeks information.
Below is a step-by-step overview of choosing the best target keyword phrase for an article, including a hypothetical example to illustrate the steps. Don’t assume your SEO work is done once you have a headline with a strong target keyword phrase. What you learn through keyword research can be applied throughout the writing process to improve readability and make the article easier to find.
The goal here is not just to satisfy search engine algorithms. It’s about making an article better, more likely to find its potential audience.
1. Think about the article
What is its main subject? Not generally, but specifically. Will the reader learn? What questions does it answer?
Example: An article on the pros and cons of underfloor heating – its pros and cons for different rooms in a house, its cost, etc.
2. Brainstorm on your keywords
Before you approach a keyword research tool, ask yourself what you would look for if you wanted to find an article on that topic. Scribble a few sentences of varying lengths, but nothing shorter than two words (we’ll get to that later).
Example: underfloor heating, cost of underfloor heating, is underfloor heating green? How underfloor heating works.
3. Do your keyword research
My favorite tool for this step is the Google Keyword Planner. There are many keyword research tools with a variety of different options. Some of them are free, and some are not. For me, using the number 1 search engine tool appeared to be the best option. When you open the (free) Google tool, start by entering the phrase (s) from your brainstorming list in the “Word or phrase” box. Leave the “Website” box blank unless you want to limit the results to keywords that bring traffic to your website.
4. Examine the results
At the top of the results list, you’ll see the phrases you’ve searched for. Below you will find related phrases. The columns to the right show the search volume, and there are a few options for sorting and customizing the information. For now, I recommend that you focus on the monthly search average column.
Example: underfloor heating (1 k – 10 k), cost of underfloor heating (10 – 100), operation of underfloor heating (10 – 100), is underfloor heating green? (0 – 10)
Write down the search counts for the phrases you’ve targeted and any related phrases that reflect the article’s topic. Avoid phrases that are not in natural language as they will be difficult to work within headlines or the body of the article. You may need to repeat steps three and four a few times to find good sentences. For example, “heated floors” can hold some good surprises.
Even if you are looking at numbers, remember that those numbers represent real people using search engines to find the information your article might provide. If you’re not sure whether a particular phrase fits the article’s topic, or if you’re looking for words that can mean different things in different contexts, Google the phrase. The results will show you what the search engine considers to be relevant results for that phrase. The search will also reveal the competition for that phrase (who and how much).
5. Resist the temptation of large numbers
I know I told you to focus on the “average monthly searches” column, but don’t settle for the keyword phrase with the most searches. Your chances of ranking on the first page will be higher for a more specific phrase that is less searched. It is far better to rank on page 1 for a phrase that does a few thousand searches per month than on page 12 for a phrase that does several hundred thousand searches per month.
The trick is to look at the sentences that most accurately reflect the article’s topic and then use the numbers to weigh the different options there. There is no magic search volume number to choose or ignore. Choosing a phrase from the options offered is the hard part, and it’s hard to resist the temptation of big numbers.
After you’ve done your keyword and phrase research, if you’re still having trouble evaluating the options or you’re tempted to pick vague phrases with very high search volume, try using Google Analytics.
Find the keywords that drive traffic to your website, then enter them into the keyword planner. Then compare their monthly search volume with the number of visitors they bring to your website. You might be surprised that the most effective keywords don’t have a high search volume.
In general, when people search for short, general sentences, they’re searching early and likely to narrow down their search quickly to something more specific. When people are looking for a longer, more specific phrase, they are closer to conversion.
It’s the long tail. These days, ranking for long-tail keywords is more important than ever. Also, be aware that if you target a multi-word phrase, you will also effectively target the words within that phrase if you find a short, searchable series of words, repeated word for word in a longer, more specific sentence, bingo!
Certainly, your article should include a caption titled “Underfloor Heating: Pros and Cons”. You will also position yourself on “underfloor heating”, which has a much higher number of searches!
6. Select secondary keyword phrases
Finally, you can avoid repeating (unnecessarily) 50 times the words “underfloor heating” since the expression “heated floor” is also sought after.
This may all seem like a hassle, but you will find that the whole process goes quickly for most topics with practice. As you go, you will go faster and will not be able to do without it.
The payoff can be huge – 15 to 30 minutes of research to choose and apply a target keyword phrase can get thousands of more people reading your work.
If you want to carry out a complete website audit, contact my team of SEO experts at ufound.