Letterblocks forming the word Keyword and surrounded by more letter blocks to enhance keyword research importance.

Keyword Research to optimize SEO activity

Keywords for your website

Before you dive into choosing the best keywords for your website, make sure you’ve read through our overview of SEO. Understanding why keywords are important, and how they integrate into the rest of your SEO activity will help you improve your
selection of keywords.

What are keywords?

Keywords are the first clue that search engines use to identify the content of your web page. They are the terms and expressions that someone who might be looking to find your page will type into a search engine. It’s important that whoever is creating the content for your webpage uses keywords that are relevant to the content. Demonstrating an understanding of the subject matter and your authorative positioning will boost your SEO ranking value.

How important are keywords?

Extremely important!!! Without keywords, a search engine is not going to be able to rank your page in search results. It won’t understand what the content of your page is about! Keywords are the link between people searching the internet and your website. Without them, organic traffic to your website will be negligible. Without a specific keyword strategy, you risk attracting the wrong organic traffic to your website.

How to choose keywords

When considering your keywords, it’s important to think about how your target audience will think of the content. Having a keyword strategy that focuses on the language a searcher will use to look for your content, will improve your results. Don’t describe your content, rather, think about the question it will answer. There are plenty of free tools available to help you understand search traffic and keyword results. Some of the tools we at birr agency use regularly to help clients with their keyword research include:

How to use keywords

Once upon a time, when the internet and webpages were still in their infancy, SEO consisted of using a keyword as often as you could in your copy. You would often come across pages that spoke about keywords being the key to your keyword activity to increase its ranking for keyword searches. Thankfully, search engines have improved significantly since those days, making “keyword stuffing”, like the above, more or less a thing of the past; most search engines will actually penalize a site if it determines that it is doing it (let’s hope this page doesn’t get penalized for this example)! Nowadays, you want to ensure that you include your keywords in the first paragraph of your body copy and that the rest of the copy is relevant to the subject matter.

Search algorithms and natural language AI tools are becoming extremely sophisticated. They can analyze the content of your webpage and determine how relevant the content is vis a vis the searcher’s intent. The more appropriate and authoritative your content is, the stronger your SEO results will be. There are three main types of search intent: navigational intent, informational intent, and transactional intent. We will discuss search intent more in-depth in a future post.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords might more appropriately be called “keyword sentences”. They are more specific queries that are entered into search engines or for searches using voice. Long-tail keywords have a lower search frequency of “head” keywords (shorter key words that are typically very generic), however, they are typically used when lower in the sales funnel. As such, they can be highly beneficial for high purchase intent searches.

Let’s walk through an example.

Say someone is looking for a new mountain bike. To start their research, they might search for “bikes”. The search results page for this search is going to run the gamut of mountain bikes (well done Rocky Mountain Bicycles , click the link and check their URL), to indoor exercise bikes, to a motor bikes, and many other two wheeled contraptions. The competition is fierce for this high level keyword. As you start to move through your research, you’re going to start getting more specific with your searches. Your next search might be, “best mountain bikes”,  until you decide that what you’re looking for is a “best climbing long-travel enduro mountain bike”.

By the time someone is searching for a specific mountain bike, their intent to purchase is quite high. By targeting this level of search, you are much more likely to convert the sale than if you’re focusing simply on “bikes”. Developing a strategy for long-tail keywords can help your website become a traffic conversion machine.

Final Thoughts

Keyword research is an extremely important aspect of SEO and digital marketing activity. Building a content plan around targeted keywords, not just for your website, but also your social media channels, will all work to reinforce improve your site’s ranking and business’s digital performance. While it may seem like the return on investment is not worth it, the long term cost of not prioritizing SEO and keyword strategies in an ever-increasing digital world is tremendous. birr agency has various levels of SEO support for businesses seeking to increase their digital presence. We would love to hear from you, you can reach us here.


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