When you’ve built a new website, you no doubt want to start attracting visitors to your website. Search engines can become a great source of traffic. But, how do your visitors find you?
Through keywords. That short phrase of search terms is what links your prospective visitor to your content. We can simply make guesses at what keywords people are using and hope for the best, or we can do some research, get some statistics and “tune into” the keywords that are most relevant to our content.
When someone enters text in that search bar, search engines look through all of the web pages out there that have been indexed, and come back with “X” number of web pages that contain those words together or near one another. One or two words or common words are going to return many, many pages of results. Longer search queries of 3 or more words will narrow things down and return fewer pages or even just a single screenful of results.
Another factor is the frequency, say number of times per month, a particular search term is done. A good choice of keywords would be a combination that returns a low number of results (web pages), and has a high number of searches being done regularly. In other words, low competition and high demand.
The “Long Tail” of Keyword Searches
Yes, that buzzword again! A “long tail” keyword search term is a keyword word phrase, with three or more words, that is intended to find a more specific result. For example, researching something specific or a review of a certain product, or “how to make lemon merengue pie”, etc.
Looking at the graph above, entering one or two word searches return a very long list full of web pages containing those words – the red “High Competition” area in the graph. It is very difficult for your own web site to stand out in all of this.
The longer more specific searches return fewer results – the blue portion of the graph. Using a longer search term will get you listed in a shorter list of results, maybe even the first page. It is said that long tail searches make up about 70% of all searches done. As mentioned earlier, these “long tail” searches are the type of search you want to optimize on.
One very important factor is relevance. You want to find a search term with three words or more that meets the following criteria:
- Your prospective visitors are performing often (high demand)
- Does not return a large number of results (limited supply).
- Is most relevant to the topic you’re writing about.
This greatly increases the chance of someone searching for that term finding what they are looking for on your website.
Google Instant Suggestions
When you start to type a search into the Google search bar, you’ve probably seen a list suggested searches drop down and change as you type.
Google is making some recommendations based on common similar searches others have been performing. These can give you ideas for keyword phrases to incorporate into your content. This is a great way to gather a list of suggestions relevant to your topic. Write some good ones down and then refine them further using a keyword research tool. We’ll cover that in the next section.
Here’s a short video where I demonstrate how to “alphabet soup” for keywords.
Keyword Research Tools
Today, a vast number of great tools, free and paid, exist to aid in researching and refining keyword choices for your website. A good tool is one that you can enter two or three keywords into and receive back some analysis results for that search term along with a list of similar search terms and their analysis. This analysis would tell you things like:
- How many “quoted search results” were returned (supply).
- An estimate of the number searches performed monthly on that term (demand).
- An estimate of how much traffic your web page may receive if it ranks in the first page full of returned search results (demand).
Quoted Search Results or QSR is the number of competing websites that have been ranked for that exact search term.
Estimates of the number of searches and likelihood your page will rank in the first page of search results. A tool might give an estimate on the number of searches performed over a given amount of time.
These are only a few of the more important things to look for in a good keyword research tool.
Here is a screen shot from a tool called Jaaxy that returns all three of the items listed above:
You get the results for your keyword phrase in the first row. In addition, you get results for variations of your keyword phrase for quick comparison. This is where a good research tool can help you refine your original keyword choice.
Read More About Jaaxy!
Try It For Yourself
Okay, your turn! Enter a keyword phrase and see Jaaxy in action for yourself!
After you’ve narrowed down a target keyword phrase using your keyword research tool, it is a good idea to paste it into a Google (or other) search bar and look at the results coming back in a real search.
See what kind of sites you’re competing with on that keyword. Even if your keyword research shows a low competition figure, you may find yourself up against a few of the “big guys” or other well established authority sites. This can make it difficult for you even if you’re on page one with the others. In that case, you may want to choose another keyword from the results of your keyword research.
Putting It All Together
As you are well aware of these days, we don’t just want to stuff a page full of a mish-mash of keywords in the hope it will attract a wave of traffic. That may have worked back in the “Dot Com Boom” 1990’s. It will not work today.
Search engines want meaningful results returned to their audiences. When people get back pages full of unreadable rubbish and tons of ads, people become turned off to using search engines to try to find what they are looking for.
To discourage this type of abuse, search engines have refined their algorithms to disfavor this type of “key word stuffing” and favor pages that are structured with meaningful, useful content. Content creation has become a whole art and subject in itself to meet this demand.
It basically comes down to careful choice of a few keyword phrases and incorporating them into your content. Be very careful not to overuse these keyword phrases on you page. You want your visitors to enjoy the results of their search when they arrive at your website, and you want them to come back! So make it great experience with awesome content.
Remember: You are writing content to please humans, not robots! Making your visitors happy, and building trust, are factors that will improve your ranking in searches. Think R2 – Relevance Ranks!
Wishing you the best on your quest!