… Think about what a user is going to type. – Matt Cutts
1) Find the Right Keywords
Your first step in determining keywords should be a brainstorming session. This is the time to write down all of the potential ideas that you can think of. The goal is to identify words and phrases your customers might search for.
In order to start your list, think through your products and services. Which words and phrases best represent or describe your brand and what you offer? Your initial list does not have to be perfect – you can keep revising it as you do more research.
2) Conduct a Google Search to Find Related Terms
Search engines are powerful tools. They provide considerable insights into your audience and what they are searching for. When you start to type in a search, Google will predict what you are searching for. This feature is a great way to add more keywords to your list.
The autocomplete feature on Google Search helps consumers find what they are looking for faster. It offers predictions based on commonly searched for terms. These predictions are based on real and trending searches.
3) Focus on Longtail Keyword Phrases
Longtail keywords are three- or four-word phrases that are more specific keyword phrases. When consumers are closer to making a purchasing decision, they are more likely to use highly specific terms and phrases when they search. They have a better idea of what they want, and they use detailed longtail keywords to search for products and services.
Longtail keywords do not have as high search volumes and they are not as competitive. This makes them easier to target and optimize on your sight. With a lower search volume and less competition, you have a better chance of ranking for your longtail keywords.
4) Understand Your Audience
When it is time to start narrowing down your keyword list, it is important that you understand your audience. Words or phrases that they do not use should be removed from your list, while common lingo among consumers should be included.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two tools that can help you discover keywords that your audience is actually using. Once you have identified your audience and their defining characteristics, you can get a deeper understanding of their search behaviors.
5) Review Your List for Content Opportunities
Trying to optimize your content for keywords after it is created is very difficult. Instead, create your content around your keyword list. Review your list and look for opportunities for content. Any time you need ideas for new content, your list is a great place to start.
Approaching content creation with a target phrase can help you create quality content that drives traffic. Otherwise, you will be left trying to back fill your keywords and searching for less-than-optimal keywords to match the content you have already created.
6) Don’t Force Keywords
Keywords should not be shoved into your content without a reason. You should only include keywords in your articles that fit naturally. If they are forced, they will distract your reader and lower the quality of your content.
Your content should be written for your users and target audience, not a search engine. SEO involves providing quality content that adds value to your users. Putting keywords where they don’t belong can actually hurt your rankings in the long run.
With so many factors, SEO can seem like an overwhelming job. However, understanding the importance of keywords and how to properly optimize them can make the process smoother. Build your list by understanding your audience and find content opportunities without forcing keywords.
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