SEO is an ever-changing landscape because Google’s algorithms are constantly changing to improve their user’s experience. In fact, Google’s latest update, though delayed numerous times, Penguin 4.0 is coming sooner or later.
Instead of fighting it, your company needs to stay abreast on the changes to SEO best practices to keep your outstanding organic search results, or improve weak ones.
That’s why keyword research has become such an art. Implementing the right markups, HTML, CSS, and tags aren’t enough. Finding and properly targeting the right keywords for your campaign is an integral part of driving traffic, funneling visitors through the sales process, and increasing sales.
SEO Best Practices
Keyword Density is Over
Keywords have always been important and always will be, which is why keyword research is so important to your firm. But as Google’s algorithms and AI become smarter, they can understand much more than they could a couple years ago. This includes target audience, searcher intent, and most importantly for SEO copywriters, synonyms.
You still need to focus your articles on specific keywords, but this means the keyword stuffing of yesteryear is no longer as important. Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress sites, used to recommend keyword density of up to 4.5%. Now, it’s down to between 0.5% and 2.5%.
More important than density, is writing clear, concise copy for your targeted audience.
Because Google’s algorithms understand synonyms, you can focus your energy on more than one keyword. Actually, it’s recommended, as long as the keywords are relatable.
Though you wouldn’t try to have two or more keywords in the same article 22 times each, it is perfectly acceptable to have one 18 times and another 12. Not only is this good for SEO, as now you are able to rank for two keywords, but it’s also beneficial to good copy. When writing a well-thought out article, you will naturally end up using more than one keyword. By going as in-depth in your keyword research as possible, you will find relatable keywords that you can focus your articles on.
The Flesch Reading Ease Test is a way for Google to test the ease of reading a certain article. The more syllables per word and the more words per sentence, the more difficult it is to read. Google’s algorithms do include a reading ease test, which affects your organic search results.
Your goal as an SEO copywriter is to write clear, concise copy for your targeted audience. As an inbound marketing writer, you’re goal is to drive traffic and increase sales. Both of those goals revolve around determining your target audience and writing for them.
Now, Google’s algorithms can understand the intent of an article and the target audience. If you’re writing a serious medical article, there is no way you’ll be able to get your point across intelligently writing simply for ease of reading. Don’t forget, most people don’t like reading articles that are difficult to read. So consider the ease of reading, but don’t belittle your target audience in the process.
SEO and Keyword Research Tools
When researching, it’s better to focus your energy on long-tail keywords, which are more common in searches. Nobody searches for SEO. They search for SEO best practices or most common SEO mistakes. More often than not, those searching with only one or two words are still in the research phase of the buying process. By targeting long-tail keywords, you’re also targeting visitors closer to purchasing.
There is no magic amount of keywords you need to find which will guarantee success, though most smaller companies and startups should be able to come up with at least 100. This may seem like a lot, but too few keywords can hurt your strategy. By using the tools below, you’ll find the keywords needed to drive traffic to your site.
1. Google Keyword Planner
This is the staple of any keyword research because of the amount of data Google has collected on all of us mere mortals over the years. By entering a specific keyword or URL, you can get keyword ideas, search traffic, and PPC competition and cost. You need to set up a Google AdWords account, but you don’t need an active campaign to use the tool.
2. Google Trends
This is more of a general tool to research keywords compared to the keyword planner, but it’s still an important reference. Before diving too deep into research on a specific long-tail keyword, make sure people are actually searching for those terms or a similar topic. You can compare the performance of up to five keywords for varying lengths of time, and results show top and rising related keywords.
This is a paid subscription service, but offers free limited access. The free version, while incomplete, provides keywords a specific URL ranks for, PPC campaigns, and average position of the ads. The results show the top five keywords ranking in the Top 50, and you can enter your own to check the rankings, all for free. This is also a useful tool when performing keyword research to check your own site’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your competitors.
SEMRush is a direct competitor to SpyFu and offers a similar, but different version of the same data. While SpyFu’s search rankings only go to 50, SEMRush’s go all the way to 100. That means you can get a more complete picture of organic rankings and targeted keywords.
One of the easiest ways to perform keyword research and generate long-tail keyword ideas is to type the first couple words and let Google’s auto-complete feature show you other common searches. The free version of keywordtool.io shows you the complete list of Goggle’s auto-complete based on a keyword, not just the 8-10 that fits into Google’s small window. With the paid version, you can also get search volume data, as well as cost-per-click and competition for PPC ads.
Keyword Research and Your Company
Keywords are an important part of your inbound marketing campaign. They shouldn’t just be related to your products or services (although they are obviously important), but should also target your branding objectives. By promoting your company’s unique story, you can differentiate yourself from your competition.
Keyword research and SEO takes time. You cannot rush the process, nor can you expect to achieve amazing results after only a couple posts. Providing consistent, relevant content is just as important as finding the right keywords to target. By taking the time to research all possible keywords, and revisiting your list and research every quarter, you can make sure that you’re not missing a golden opportunity.
Finding the right keywords are an important part of Developing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy. Once you have Created Your Buyer Personas and your target audience, you can make sure that every blog post has a specific goal. This, along with the Metrics and KPIs important to your campaign makes it easier to track successes and failures.
If you need help finding the keywords that will help drive traffic to your site, or creating the targeted content, schedule your Free Consultation today!
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Generate more leads through properly structured content. Copyright Mike D. O’Brien 2016