Last Updated on September 18, 2021 by scottkandh
This post examines some of the basics for doing proven best keyword research. You might also want to check out the last post about Holistic SEO called “Ned more Traffic Focus on using a Holistic SEO Approach”. One of the first elements I mentioned is that Holistic SEO is doing your keyword research.
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The outline for this post is in three parts:
- Discussing what is a keyword
- Different types of keywords
- Performing your keyword research
What is a keyword?
It’s the search term that people are using in order to try and find the material that they are searching for. It can be one word or two words.
There are basically three types of keywords:
- Head keyword (also called the main keyword – usually just one word).
- Mid-tail keyword (also referred to as short-tail keywords – three words or less).
- Long-tail keyword (four or more words)
These two graphs from SherpaMarketing show the difference between short tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
From these two graphs the most important thing to take note of is that long-tail keywords have a high conversion rate.
My wife and I just finished watching one of the Jurassic World movies. I find it fitting that I’m adding this graphic from https://jcwebpros.com to depict long-tail keywords.
The head of the dinosaur represents the beginning of the spectrum. The tail of the dinosaur stretches from generic (short-tail) and extends to more specific terms (long-tail).
To optimize your SEO one of the things you can do is:
“While creating content, you’ll want to use the keywords throughout the content piece so that search engines can recognize and categorize what you’re communicating”. – SherpaMarketing
One of the statements that really resonated with me to get a better grasp on keyword research and ranking is a statement from Yoast: “The main topic or theme of your blog is the number one keyword (or key phrase) you want people to use to find you”.
You wouldn’t want to optimize your blog posts with the same focus keyword for every single post. But an alternative to that is to write several posts and provide different variations of the search term. The thing to remember about mid-tail keywords is that the words are more specific, rather than general.
Even more specific words that should focus on your niche. These longer and more specific search terms may have better rankings. What you need to figure out is the keywords and the long-tail keywords which are most critical for your website that will result in generating traffic.
Optimizing your keywords
Optimizing your blog for determining the terms that people are going to be searching for is not an easy thing to do.
You don’t want to spend all that time and hard work and no one is searching on the terms that you’ve provided.
To determine your focus keywords use two elements:
- Your audience and
- Your competition
For your audience, try to put yourself into their shoes to figure out what they are going to be looking for. Google Trends is a useful product to help out and a program that I like to use is KeySearch.
To determine your competition one of the best things you can do is to use Google to look whether your proposed focus keywords stand out. There are a variety of tools to use on the Internet for looking at keywords and one of the best ones that I found to use is KeySearch which provides a multitude of factors such as domain and page authority, volume, and more.
Keyword strategies for your posts and pages
I was rather surprised that it’s not recommended to use the exact same focus keyword phrase more than once. The rationale behind this is that you don’t want to compete for rankings against yourself. Rather than using the same focus keywords try to optimize by using different keywords for your topic. For example, many of my posts have focus keywords of: “how to grow your blog” so take a closer scrutiny of those types of posts that use the same keywords more than once and come up with variants of your keywords. It won’t be easy but hopefully your efforts will be rewarded.
The first step of every SEO strategy should be keyword research. Before you sit down to write your posts you should be thinking about the search terms that you want to be found for. One of the best things for you to do is to come up with an extensive list of keywords that you want your website ranked for. This in a nutshell is the process of doing keyword research.
One thing I’ve noticed about the Yoast SEO plug-in is that it suggests that you should use your focus keyword x amount of times because it’s not being used enough or the reciprocal. Keyword stuffing is using the keyword too many times. To avoid keyword stuffing which is putting a lot of keywords into your posts so that you get better ranking by the search engines. The workaround to this since Google prefers readable text is to have the words look naturally in your posts. Instead of using the keyword repetitively use synonyms (words with the same meaning). I don’t readily know if your Yoast SEO plug-in will recognize synonyms, but Google will.
Earlier I mentioned to put keywords into your posts and pages, and you need to ensure that the keywords are properly balanced throughout your text. For example, use the focus keywords in your:
- Page title
- First paragraph
- Meta Description
- Several subheadings
Dependent on the length of your post you can space them throughout different paragraphs. The recommended keyword density is a 1 to 2% ratio. For more information about the topic of keyword density visit Alexa blog.
“Most SEO experts believe that an ideal keyword density is around 1-2%. This means the target keyword appears about one to two times per 100 words. At this rate, the keyword appears enough times to show search engines what the page is about without engaging in keyword stuffing.”
Another good piece of advice from Alexa blog is to “Write for readers first – then focus on keyword use.
Remember that the best content is created for readers first. Write naturally, and organically use the keyword in your copy. Create content that is high-quality, compelling, and valuable … Once you’re done writing, go back and see if you can naturally add the keyword to reach a keyword density of around 1-2%.” Alexa Blog
Without going deep into the weeds here are the rudimentary steps for doing keyword research:
- Define your website’s mission – what makes your company unique?
- Consider your audience – what makes you stand out?
- Research your competition – take your competition into account
After doing the research for this post, I’m going to take my own advice over the next week to update several of my posts with long-tail keywords. So it’ll probably be at least a week before I publish my next post so that I can take the necessary time and devote it to optimizing my website (PinArtwork). I’m guessing that this may explain why several of my posts are not showing up in SERPs when I try to rank for my website PinArtwork. At the current time, the SERP results for my website only display two posts.
For more relevant posts on my website, please visit some of these other links:
It’s very important to select the right focus keywords. Otherwise, you’re hurting your SEO for rankings that may never show up in SERPs. What do your SERP results look like? What methods are you using that result in your website showing in ranked results? Please provide your comments below, thank you.