Keywords are an important aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). Without keywords, it becomes almost impossible to effectively target a specific audience. And by using the right keywords, you can actually attract a lot more traffic. Here are a few tips on how to effectively use keywords to maximize your inbound marketing efforts.
First off, if you're new to SEO, start here with What is SEO an acronym for?
- Use long-tail keywords. Keywords that consist of just one or two words usually have a lot of competition. In fact, the websites most likely to rank on the first page of search results are news websites, shopping websites such as Amazon, and other well-established sites. By using longer keywords, there is a greater possibility of achieving a high rank.
- Discover new keywords. Long-tail keywords aren't hard to find. There are many tools that will give you keyword suggestions. A simple way is to start with Google Suggest, or what some people call Google Instant--these are both fancy names for the automated search suggestions Google gives you when you type a word or a few letters into Google.
For example, if someone types "Barack" into Google, "Barack Obama" will be suggested as a search term, perhaps with some other, longer keywords. These suggestions are based on what real people are typing into Google. By typing "Barack Obama a" and "Barack Obama b," etc., a lot of longer keywords will then come up. (Some suggestions that currently come up are "Barack Obama age" and "Barack Obama biography".)
- Use keywords that are searched often. A keyword tool, planner, or service should show you the average number of monthly searches a keyword receives. Make sure that the average amount of searches is adequate.
- Know your competition. Your keyword tool should also be helpful in finding out the number of websites that contain the exact long-tail keyword you wish to use. This is not the number of search results you will receive by simply typing that keyword into Google, as Google will give you all relevant results, whether they contain that exact keyword or not. Aim for keywords that have a low competition.
- Make sure you use the keyword in a grammatically correct manner. Instead of trying to jam an awkward long-tail keyword phrase into your content, include "stop words" such as "a" and "does," which people tend to leave out when searching Google. Google is quite intelligent, and will bring up results that do include these small words, even if the searcher left them out. Most accurate keyword tools will actually show the same amount of monthly searches for these keywords, whether they contain these stop words or not.