How to do keyword research for SEO beginners
If you’re new to small business or to digital marketing, SEO – search engine optimisation – can feel pretty scary. It’s this technical thing with jargon and keywords and you have to write in a special way and know weird IT stuff, right?
No girl, that’s not quite it.
It’s actually easier than that. And the first place to start for SEO newbies is keyword research.
I’m going to show you what keywords are, why you need them, how to choose them and where to use them in your website copy to tackle your SEO – and win!
What are keywords? Why do you need them?
SEO keywords are the words a user types into a search engine to answer their query. A keyword is a word or phrase that describes the content of a web page.
Keywords are what make SEO work because they make you discoverable by Google – when they match the terms your audience is typing in.
Keywords have a powerful impact on your SEO because when used correctly they can:
Connect you with your ideal customer
Put your business in front of your customers at the moment they are ready to buy
Lift your conversions
Boost your search engine ranking
Keywords are to search engines what hashtags are to social media. Without them you’re invisible.
Different types of keywords
Each kind of keyword addresses a different user intention:
Short-tail keywords –1-2 words, are general and therefore very competitive so hard to rank well for e.g wedding hire. A user punching this into Google probably doesn’t really know what they’re looking for and isn’t ready to buy yet. They’re just dipping a toe in to see what’s out there.
Medium-tail keywords – 2-3 word phrases, more specific than short-tail keywords and have less competition. E.g wedding furniture hire Sydney. A Googler keying in these terms is getting clearer on what they want and is probably likely to join your email list, follow you on social media, or grab your free download.
Long-tail keywords – intentional searches using 4+ words by a user who is definite on what they are looking for and highly likely to make an enquiry, browse your calendar for an appointment, click to call or buy your products. E.g. rustic style wedding table hire Sydney
How to choose your keywords
Keywords help your audience find you.
Choosing the right keywords is essential to attract the right buyers.
Here’s an example for a family and wedding photographer on the Central Coast, NSW. They would need to target their website content to search terms like:
Central Coast family portrait photographer
Wedding photographer Central Coast
Affordable wedding photographer Central Coast
Best family photographer on the Central Coast
relaxed family photographer Central Coast
How do you find keywords?
Here are some ideas:
Make a list of topics related to what you do or sell
Think about what your ideal customer would be searching for to find you. Not sure? Ask them! Or look at customer reviews for the language they use.
Google your product/service – look in the search box at Google’s suggested search terms. At the bottom of the results, Google shows you suggested search terms based on what others type in. This video shows you what I mean.
Head to your Google Search Analytics and click on Performance to see the search terms you rank for
Use a range of keyword search tools like SEMrush
Use a host of free tools available online like the cheekily-named Keyword Sheeter
If you follow the above, you will come up with a decent collection of keywords and their variations. Don’t dismiss the ones you don’t end up using as they can make perfect fuel for blogs.
Next, place those keywords in your website
Now you’ve got the keys to keywords, you’re ready to use them on your website and give Google what for. ?
Choose one keyword/phrase for each page of your website and target all that page’s content to that phrase.
But don’t overdo it. Write naturally, remembering humans are your first audience – search engines are second. If you meet your customer’s needs first, that will send the right message to Google to let it know your website has useful, relevant content – which will benefit your SEO ranking.
Choose one keyword phrase – and its synonyms – per page and use it in your copy here:
Meta title: Central Coast Wedding Photographer | In The Frame
Meta description: Central Coast wedding photographer with a relaxed style. Affordable, efficient and local. Phone 0444444444 to save your date!
In your copy, including in first 100 words of your body copy
Image alt text and file names
SEO is a wonderfully powerful tool available to all businesses. Once you get your head around how SEO works and implement some of the tips above, you can attract more of your ideal customers, massively boost your online visibility and grow your business.
Note: keywords are chosen by SEO professionals based on search volume, competition and business goals. This blog is a basic guide to get small businesses in the SEO game.