Outlined in this post is what happened with keywords, how to find the keywords that matter now, and some tips to incorporate them without selling your content soul to do so.
Keyword stuffing. Any marketer worth their salt knows what this is – it’s when you take a keyword (“Cornchips”) and put cornchips in as many cornchip places that cornchips can go without completely diluting the meaning of cornchips.
Did that last sentence make a whole lot of sense? Yeah, no. Google figured that out too. So they changed the way they look over your site so that only the posts that answer the user’s question shows up. But they still use keywords.
Google, the definer of what good SEO looks like, realized people were using keywords to get better page ranking even though their page didn’t provide quality content. Cue the updates!
Google now looks at a number of factors on- and off- page to determine ranking [more about that here]. One of which is how well the keywords being used relate to the rest of the content on the page (Context!)
There are 1.17 billion unique searches every month! These are questions, or queries, that have never been searched for before.
With that in mind, how do we search for keywords now?
HOW TO FIND THE KEYWORDS THAT MATTER MOST
First, understand that our searches, and hence keywords, look different now. Gone are the days when we would search for “cornchips.” A single keyword doesn’t hold much meaning and doesn’t answer any query. What query do you know of, aside from a definition of the noun, would a “cornchip” answer?
So what does a keyword look like?
A person’s search is more specific, so guess what also needs to be more specific? You guessed right! The keyword. For example, “online cornchip evaluator” or “best cornchip in Virginia.” These are examples of Long-Tail Keywords that hold a lot more meaning and context.
You are also more likely to see higher results optimizing for these, because let’s face it – how many people do you know who are evaluating cornchips online? It’s a funny question, and it’s the concept that holds true. A specialized keyword doesn’t have as many competitors, and you’re more likely to get the audience that cares about what you’re producing.
Let’s take this a step further. What question(s) does your content/product answer the most? Asking yourself this question helps to get you started when thinking about which long-tailed keywords are most relevant to you and your brand.
Still having a hard time? Here are some tools:
These are free or limited-free keyword planners that will show you the kind of traffic your keywords of interest get and give you some ideas for others to use.
HOW TO INCORPORATE KEYWORDS ONCE YOU’VE FOUND THEM
This is a simple three-step process. I say it’s simple because the steps themselves are simple. However, they can also be time-consuming depending on how much content and how many pages you already have. My suggestion within each step is broken down into smaller parts. If you get them done quickly, go you! If not, don’t worry. Remember, this is a process, not a sprint.
1. Evaluate what you already have
If you have a LOT of pages, start with your top 10. You have your new keywords (“best cornchips in Virginia”). See where this query is answered or where it needs work. For this first step, just make a list – or make notes – of which page and where within the page you want to tweak.
2. Write and rewrite your content to reflect new keywords
Now it’s time to put those keywords to work! Go through page by page and make those tweaks you noted before. After making your tweaks, take a break and get a cookie. Then go back and reread the entire page. You want to be sure that the whole page makes sense in context (flowing from beginning to end).
3. Tweak and repeat based on analytics
Great! You’ve updated your keyword (“cornchip”) into a long-tailed keyword (“Best cornchip in Virginia”). Now to wait. After a week or two, you should start seeing a difference when you check your on-page and search analytics.
You’ll see which keywords are doing better, which are doing worse, and which pages are getting more traffic. With these insights, go through the process again to tweak and repeat.