Learn about SEO, how to keyword search, and more tips for keyword research to supplement your digital marketing strategy.
The internet can get pretty… confusing.
I mean between NFTs, TikTok memes, and all the different types of cryptocurrency— Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum—It feels like there’s a new thing every minute of every day, and it can be hard to keep up sometimes.
And then there’s SEO, another acronym to add to the list. The only problem is that SEO matters for all businesses. It matters a lot. So, if it’s on your list of “Things I Should Know”, listen up.
SEO, or “search engine optimization”, is the strategy behind driving traffic to a website. SEO involves making changes to improve a website’s position within search results. SEO-optimized websites, for example, meet Google’s standards of a “quality webpage”, and Google, as a reward, pushes that website higher in relevant search results.
Any company wanting to sell products, advertise services, or simply exist on the internet needs to have a finely-tuned SEO strategy. If you’re not utilizing SEO, your company likely isn’t getting anywhere close to the potential amount of visibility it could get online.
This brings me to why we’re here: SEO is vital for companies that want to have a solid digital presence, especially when it comes to visibility on search engines. As one of the most fundamental parts of a cohesive SEO strategy, keywords help run the world of SEO.
And to come up with the right keywords for your strategy, you need to perform high-quality keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of compiling popular terms and phrases that people often search for and using them in copy across your website to boost its visibility in SERPs (search engine results pages). It is one of the most fundamental aspects of SEO since it serves as a direct link between your company and your potential audience.
When it comes to figuring out how to keyword search, things get a bit more complicated, but that’s what experts are for.
With the help of two of Marketwake’s SEO specialists, Bin Cochran and Josh Cummings, we’ll explore the importance of keywords and talk through some top-tier keyword research tips for businesses just getting started with their web page optimization.
insights into what keywords you should be targeting.
However, not all keyword analysis tools are created equal. Keyword analysis tools work by providing the user data surrounding your selected keywords. As you explore different tools, consider the quality of the information you get from them. Your chosen tool should be easy-to-navigate, have a reliable data source, and provide imperative data on traffic, keyword difficulty, and SERPs (search engine results pages).
Here’s a descriptive list of additional keyword analysis tools to help you weigh the pros and cons of different SEO applications and figure out what’s best for your practice.
When using keyword research to promote your brand, you want to be sure that the keywords you are compiling are relevant to both your industry and ideal audience.
According to Marketwake marketing director, Bin Cochran,
“Keyword research is all about context. It’s so important to see the whole picture before diving into your research because a keyword might look perfect for your business, but another industry may have already conquered it, so all the search results fall into an industry that we aren’t even a part of.”
Context is everything in keyword research. For example, if Brand-A, a fruit seller, is looking to create a blog, they may think “apple” is the perfect keyword for an in-depth apple analysis. They might be surprised, however, to find that searching “apple,” brings up millions of results on the tech corporation by the same nomen and zero crisp Granny Smiths.
In a scenario like the above, where keywords that fit your industry have already been conquered, you’d need to spend time reconstructing your SEO strategy to ensure that your chosen keywords are speaking directly about your brand. That little bit of context might be the difference between a fruitless strategy and a healthy harvest.
An informational search means that the user is looking for information—surprise! Most often, users embarking on an informational search are seeking information on broad topics without a specific website, brand, or content creator in mind.
Informational searches can be less beneficial to target because of the broad variety of user intentions. Preferably, as an SEO company, you’d want to target those audiences closest to making a purchase. Since informational searches rarely showcase that kind of audience intention, using lots of informational keywords might hurt your customer conversion rate.
Still, this search type can bring your brand visibility. Even if a user isn’t showcasing buying intent, establishing your business as a general resource to consumers through blog posts or FAQs builds trust with potential audiences. Being a resource can help your brand stand out as customers move through the buyer’s journey, making audiences more inclined to try your services later on.
An example of an informational search could be “types of boats.”
Navigational intent refers to users who are looking to find a specific website or brand. For example, users looking to visit Instagram might just directly search the website title—or, if you’re like me, accidentally type Google into the Google search bar.
But, since users are searching for specific websites, navigational searches don’t actually generate much traffic for unrelated websites. From an SEO perspective, companies don’t need to worry too much about targeting navigational searches, though you do want to be sure that your company website shows up when potential customers are searching for you, specifically, online.
An example of a navigational search could be “Yamaha Boats.”
With transactional intent, users are searching to do something, whether that be purchasing a product, filling out a form, or visiting a store. Those searching with transactional intent are already in the decision stage and ready to make their purchase.
Transactional keywords are great to target in an SEO strategy because they can reach customers who are most likely going to convert. Targeting transactional intent might include utilizing keywords on other areas of your website to drive traffic to specific pages. To target transactional intent, a business may want to optimize their product landing page, as opposed to a blog, for SEO.
An example of a transactional search could be “buy speedboat.”
Commercial intent lies somewhere between transactional and informational intent in the consideration stage of the buyer journey. Most users making searches with commercial intent are researching product options before purchasing something.
By using commercial keywords in your SEO strategy, you can easily target users who are exploring different product options, giving you the opportunity to draw in leads and showcase your company’s value proposition.
An example of a commercial search could be “best speedboat companies.”
For SEO purposes, focusing on transactional and commercial search intent can ensure that you’re getting quality leads that have more conversion potential. Here’s how Bin puts it,
“You have to get really good context in the research stage to go after keywords that show buying intent. Customers just scrolling through search results are probably not that close to the buying point. Looking at transactional keywords and implementing them on product pages on your website is really going to reach customers that are ready to buy.”
By targeting keywords that speak directly to customer intentions, you’re ensuring that you’re reaching consumers when they need your product/services most.
SEO is very literally about competing with other websites to rank as high as possible for specific keywords—so why not scope out your opponents?
Josh Cummings, Marketwake SEO Manager, describes SEO as such,
“I like to think of SEO as listening to the internet. You are simply listening to what people are most often searching and what competitors are ranking for and trying to speak to what they want to hear.”
Assessing the keywords that your competitors are currently ranking for, and the ones they may be struggling to keep up with can be a good way to identify gaps that your business could fill in your own SEO strategy.
For those unfamiliar with SEO, it can be easy to think that just throwing a ton of popular keywords into blogs will get you the SEO boost you’re looking for. However, oftentimes the search results for popular keywords are already overly-competitive and over-saturated. It is incredibly difficult for your content to rank for these keywords but, luckily, that’s where an SEO strategy comes in.
For companies whose digital marketing strategies are not as developed or those with a website that lacks a good domain authority, it’s much more effective to first target less popular keywords. Targeting less popular keywords allows you to still rank in search results as you establish your site as trustworthy with Google. Once your website has more authority online, then you want to move into targeting those highly competitive keywords.
Let’s see what Marketwake SEO manager, Josh Cummings, has to say:
“Primary keywords are usually high-level parent keywords [parent keywords refer to those most relevant to your content, though these keywords usually have the higher search volumes], while secondary keywords are usually less popular but fall into the same category. Sometimes you may want to start off using a secondary keyword as your primary just because they are usually easier to rank for. Once you have more authority on the internet in general, you can start going after the primary keyword you were looking at the whole time.”
One way to rearrange primary keywords into secondary keywords is to target long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are search phrases that usually speak specifically to user intent. These keywords, because they are longer phrases, might seem harder to integrate into your content, but using them on your website can be incredibly beneficial.
Because of their clunkiness, long-tail keywords usually have lower search volume, lower competition online, and are much easier to rank for. Furthermore, long-tail keywords can prove crucial in driving high conversion rates, because most customers searching for such specific phrases are already near the purchasing point of their journey.
Alongside using long-tail keywords in their SEO strategy, companies can target shorter variations of popular keywords to mitigate some competition and rank higher within search results. For example, if your keyword is “small boat,” you might also consider targeting “boat small.”
Targeting the right keywords is crucial. By combining principles of user intent with a realistic keyword strategy, companies can improve their online presence, gain more authority as a credible source, and drive conversions directly to their product or service.
Keywords don’t need to stay within the bounds of your website’s blog section.
“Any space on your website with words is an opportunity to implement keyword research. Google has a hard time deciphering a product description from a blog; the algorithm just crawls words, regardless of formatting. So, product pages, title tags, meta descriptions, these are all places where keywords can easily fit to provide a general SEO boost.” — Bin Cochran, Marketing Director at Marketwake
“And any of those keywords can rank. Literally down to the name of an image you saved on your site. If you have a file name with a keyword included, that keyword can eventually start ranking.” — Josh Cummings, SEO Manager
Basically, it’s important to use keywords wherever you can.
Start by integrating keywords into page titles and subheadings, which (pro-tip) will cause Google to think your content is more relevant to important searches.
After that, feel free to get as creative as you’d like. Using keywords in image descriptions, URLs, or even in links to other websites can provide your website with big SEO boosts.
SEO isn’t exactly simple. But by understanding how keyword research feeds into search engine optimization, your company can get a head-start on building a well-thought-out SEO strategy that lands you on page one of Google.
Looking to outsource search engine optimization? Marketwake SEO experts make the internet look easy, providing your company with the space and time to do what you do best.
And to get even more internet-literate, check out more Marketwake blogs.