How to Pick Better Keywords for Your SEO Efforts

When it comes to getting found online, you know you have to invest in SEO. At the heart of SEO is using the right keywords in your content and across your online platform to rank higher on common search engines and make sure people find what you offer when they search for a specific keyword.

Although strategizing to target keywords is a great way to go, you have to make sure you’re picking the right keywords to target. Otherwise, there will continue to be a disconnect between the keywords people search for and what you offer. Here’s how to pick better keywords to make your SEO efforts that much more fruitful.

Think Like a Consumer

 Start by profiling your audience. For example, are you targeting middle-aged women who have an affinity for shoes and like chocolate milk? Or, are you targeting teenagers who like hip hop and skateboard? Keep your audience in mind as you create your first list of keywords.

Then, keeping the persona of your target audience in mind, ask yourself what you would type into Google if you were searching for the products and services offered by your company. Ask your friends and family members to do the same thing and see what you come up with. What they come back with should provide a solid foundation for your keyword arsenal.

Study Your Competition

You want to rank better than your competition online, and the best way to do that is to find what keywords they’re targeting. Start by picking your top three competitors and then go to their websites to figure out what keywords they’re focusing on. This may involve spending some time reading over their content to pinpoint these keywords and then going through their content’s metatags.

The point of this exercise is two-fold. Although you do want to target similar keywords to get ahead of your competition on rankings, it can also help you broaden the scope of your keywords. Sometimes, once you have a few keywords in your head, it’s hard to notice other ones you could use.

Use NLP Strategies

Natural language describes the general way you speak. Google has become more advanced at understanding how people speak over the years, so it’s essential you consider natural language processing to better accommodate search engine requirements.  

NLP strategies are starting to take off in the world of SEO, so not only do you want to consider keywords, but you also want to make sure the keywords you use incorporate the way people naturally speak. For example, you wouldn’t say to a friend that you’re going to “hire a drain cleaning plumber.” But you would probably say something to the effect of “hire a plumber for drain cleaning.” In this situation, the second phrase would help you get better results for SEO.

Get to Know the Long Tail Keyword

Going off the theme of NLP strategies, long tail keywords are becoming more and more important when it comes to SEO. These keywords involve a combination of over three words or similar phrases. Even though you will get lower search volume from targeting long tail keywords, they generally bring back traffic that’s more relevant and less competitive. This makes them easier for your business to rank for.

Choose several long tail keywords that accurately describe what your business does. A good combination of shorter keywords/keyword phrases and long tail keywords should provide a well-rounded approach to your keyword selection.

Don’t Skimp on Keyword Research Tools

There are tons of tools out there you can use to research potential keywords you want to use. For example, Google Ads is a good one you can use to finalize your initial keyword phrase. Others, like Raventools and SEMRUSH can help you collect more specific data on current trends, similar keywords, and competitors.

Using these keyword research tools does require a level of skill. However, it is well worth your time and effort to use these tools at the start to put together a solid keyword list. Otherwise, you might struggle to rank well for keywords you pick off the cuff.

Study the Results You Get

Once you start getting results from your keywords, study them! It won’t do you any good in the world of SEO if you become complacent with your results. This is especially true because the world is constantly evolving – even if you ranked well for a certain keyword one day, this could dramatically change overnight depending on the SEO efforts of your competitors.

That being said, don’t let your keyword list remain stagnant. Since SEO changes so often, it’s a good idea to always look at your keyword list and determine if you should make changes or even stop targeting certain keywords to spend more time on others.

Avoid Being Too Enticed by Big Numbers

Sticking to keywords that are short, broad, and get a ton of searches can be helpful. However, if you do this, you’re missing out on other opportunities. Know that it’s usually better to rank for a keyword that you rank well for, even if you only get a handful of searches a month, than to sit on the 11th page of search results for a popular keyword. Target your efforts to include a range of popular and more specific keywords.

Additionally, don’t think you should only stick to a few keywords. When it comes to building your content around keywords, your list should, if possible, have more than 10 keywords and phrases to provide a range of results and a better outcome for SEO on a short- and long-term basis.

The Final Word

Picking a list of keywords won’t happen overnight. In fact, even once you solidify your keyword list, you’ll probably review it over and over again and never stop doing that. The main takeaway is that you should put time and thought into your keyword targeted list. Otherwise, your SEO efforts won’t be as effective, and you’ll have a harder time ranking for keywords that actually matter to your business.