The entire practice of search engine optimization (SEO) rests on the choice and use of select keywords that will enhance your article’s search engine rankings and boost conversions. That’s why choosing target keywords and keyword phrases is the most important part of writing an SEO-effective article—without the right keywords used in the right way, even a great article can get buried in the back pages of your search engine results.
A keyword, or more commonly, keyword phrase, is the word or set of words a person would type into a search engine such as Google in order to find a product or information. No matter what product you are promoting, there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of ways that people will be looking for your product, and it’s important that you choose the right keyword phrases that will attract the right people, at the right point in their search process.
The best keywords will be specific, but still common enough that they are used frequently. Look for a three-to-five word phrase that accurately summarizes your article’s message, and use that primary phrase in your headline, in the meta title and throughout your article.
Don’t think of the time spent searching for the perfect keyword phrase as wasted—ultimately, many of the phrases and words will be utilized in your article as well, and the research will give you new insight into the mind of your target audience. In order to get good search engine results, you have to know what keywords will work, what people are searching for, and which phrases are most likely to drive conversions.
These simple steps can help you find the perfect keyword phrase for your next article.
1. Look at your article carefully, and consider the main topic or message. Be specific—what particular benefit does this content give the reader? If you can summarize the message of your article in one line, you will be well on your way to choosing keywords and creating a headline.
Example: In an article about how to choose an engagement ring on a limited budget, the one-line message can be, “You can save money on an engagement ring by shopping online, understanding diamonds sale prices and pricing criteria, and choosing a setting carefully.
2. Brainstorm. What kind of phrases do you imagine you would type into a search engine if you were looking for your product? What adjectives or qualifying phrases can help narrow down the keyword from a very general product name (i.e. diamond rings) to a more specific search term (“engagement rings on a budget”).
Example: For your article about how to get perfect engagement rings on a budget, you might create a list with words like discount diamond ring, how to choose an engagement ring, save money on an engagement ring, how to buy a diamond for less, and how to choose a diamond setting.
3. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to do your keyword research. Type in a few of the potential keyword phrases from your list and look at the results. The more general the word, the more results you will have—and the more difficult it will be to compete for the top search engine ranking.
Example: For the search term “diamond ring,” the keyword search tool shows 1.5 million global monthly searches, and stiff competition. For “discount diamond rings,” the tool shows a much more manageable 9,000 searches.
4. Review your results in order to choose the single word or phrase that will be your article keyword for this article. Play around with the keyword search tool so you understand the volume and trends related to each keyword, and can make a more informed decision about what phrases are right for you. Cross out any phrase on your list that is too general or that does not accurately convey the message of your article.. When you have your results narrowed down to a few phrases, Google them to get a sense what your competition looks like.
Example: Once we’ve narrowed down the search terms to phrases that include the words budget or discount, we can try out few of them to see what the results are. As it turns out “diamond engagement rings for less” has some pretty fierce competition from big-name retailers, but “diamond engagement rings on a budget” has a much more open playing field.
Be prepared to spend up to 30 minutes choosing article keywords for your online content, especially if you are just starting out in a new field. Those few minutes of research can make all the difference in helping your content, and your website, get noticed in the huge wastelands of cyberspace.