Choosing The Right Keywords: Does The Shoe Fit?

shoes2 Choosing The Right Keywords: Does The Shoe Fit?

Photo by Eric Olson

When you’re in the beginning stages of your search engine optimization (SEO) or pay per click (PPC) strategy, one of the more challenging and also most rewarding tasks is choosing the right keywords. As you go through your journey, you’ll be identifying a ton of keywords. Some will be primary keywords you want main pages of your site to rank for, and some will be long tail, more specific keywords targeted by smaller landing pages. There are a few key ideas to keep in mind when deciding which keywords to target.

Think Phrases Not Words

While we all refer to the term as “keyword”, the word itself may be a bit of a misnomer. Even the simplest keywords should have multiple words within them. Single term keywords are both the most difficult to rank for and the vaguest; targeting these keywords could lead to a lot of wasted effort with little reward. Instead, seek out the simplest key phrase where the searcher’s intent is still very clearly for your product or service. If you create handmade watches and jewelry, don’t focus your attention on keywords like “watches” or “necklaces” but find more descriptive terms – “handmade copper necklaces” “wooden watches”. Doing this from both an organic (SEO) and paid (PPC) perspective will make for more attainable and valuable results.

Think Related Keywords

When you’re creating a keyword strategy for a specific landing page, you should also consider the related terms that give context to your primary keywords. If you’re targeting something like cage-free chicken eggs, these terms might include natural, organic, or farm fresh. It’s important to remember that Google doesn’t only look at the primary keywords on your page, it pays close attention to all the words surrounding them as well.

Don’t Fall into The “Big Number” Trap

Just because some of the key terms you’re finding have huge monthly search volumes doesn’t mean they’re the best keywords for you. First of all, your odds of winning that page are much lower and will require a lot more than a simple landing page. Second, these high search volume keywords are likely vaguer and search intent will be more general. It’s better to use these as guides to find the more specific key phrases with less search activity but more chances of winning a higher rank. Of course, it’s also important to not get SO niche in your keyword strategy that there is little to no search volume. The key is to finding a good balance.

Always Be Testing

Keyword strategies aren’t a set and forget thing. Going through your data in both search console and your AdWords campaign (if you’re running one) will give you valuable information on the effectiveness of your keyword strategy. Not only will you find actionable information for your meta data based on your click through rate (CTR), but looking closely at impressions with low CTR can help identify keywords you may have not considered. Looking at the bounce rate and conversion rate of your key landing pages will tell you if users are indeed finding what they were looking for. If you have a high bounce rate or low conversion rate it may tell you that your call to actions need to be more clear or that people are finding your page for the wrong keywords. If the latter is true, look through your search queries report for information on what keywords you may be ranking for and adjust your strategy appropriately.

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filed under: SEO