Ever since SEO first became a marketing strategy, keywords have played an important role.
Back in the early days of SEO, website owners would cram their web pages full of their most important keywords and rank with ease. Now, keyword stuffing is highly ineffective can hurt your SEO efforts.
However, keywords still play a role—you just have to use them the right way.
Here’s how you can create an effective keyword plan for your business and leads to more traffic and more conversions.
Find the Right Keywords
It all starts with keyword research. You need to know which keywords you should be using, and it’s no point guessing them. While you can probably come up with a few good keywords this way, you will almost certainly miss out on some of the better keywords.
What types of keywords are you searching for?
In short, keywords that your prospective customers are using to find the products and services that you offer. You don’t want to attract people who are not interested in what you do because the traffic is no good unless it converts.
There are a few ways to carry out effective keyword research. Firstly, the three main categories you want to search for are:
Head keywords, which are shorter and more competitive (e.g. accountant)
Long-tail keywords, which are longer and generate less traffic (e.g. how to choose the best small business accountant)
Local keywords, which include a town or city name (e.g. accountant New York)
Try to find a mix of all three (although you will only need local keywords if you are hoping to attract local customers).
Tools and Techniques for Keyword Research
You might want to start by finding out which keywords you are currently ranking for. Use a tool like this SERPs ranking tool to get an instant list of keywords that you are already getting ranked for, and this will be a good starting point.
After that, it’s time to find more keywords that you can target. Head to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which is a free tool. This provides you with ideas for keywords along with data like a number of searches made on them each month.
Here’s a useful guide on how to use it that you might want to read.
You can also go to Google search and simply start searching for terms. You will see suggested searches at the bottom of the page, so write down any that look good, then search for them too and repeat the process.
There are more advanced tools you can use as well. SEMrush is a popular one, so you might want to try it out. You have to pay for it, but it can be very useful if you want to take your keyword research seriously.
Group Your Keywords into Categories
Once you have a long list of keywords, group them into categories. So, if you have five different services, create five columns of keywords that all relate to that service. Then separate the head keywords from the long-tail keywords. Now you can start creating a content strategy around them.
Create Authority Guides
One of the most effective ways to use keywords is to create authoritative guides based around particular topics.
Do this by taking a group of related keywords and creating a guide around them. You can then use the different long-tail keywords to create different sections of the guide. You can also use shorter and more competitive head keywords in the guide where they fit naturally.
This is an effective tactic because it allows you to use numerous keywords in one guide naturally without resorting to keyword stuffing.
It also means you end up with a high-quality guide that is going to be easier to build links to. People are far more likely to want to link to an authoritative guide on a topic than a short article.
However, this is just one way you can use your keywords, and there are many options. The most important thing is to make sure you do use them in your content, but that you use them naturally rather than trying to cram them in where they don’t fit.
Start Ranking for More Keywords
This is a quick guide to creating a keyword plan for your business. You might want to follow it exactly, or you may want to create your own tactics around it. Keyword research is such a large area that there are many different approaches you can take.
The important thing is to start finding suitable keywords and then start using them in your content so that over time you will be able to rank for more keywords. Then you can start to direct more targeted traffic to your site and make more conversions.