Keywords and Keyword Research

A critical part of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is keywording. But what exactly are keywords, and how do you know which ones to target or how to use them? With any digital marketing campaign, the specific terminology and language changes to fit the industry—but the fundamental nature of keywords stays the same.

At their root, these are the words or phrases that people type into a search engine to find what they are looking for. For example, if a person is looking to buy cupcakes for a birthday party, they may type ‘cupcake bakery’ into a search engine like Google. Consequently, any bakery that wants to show up for these queries needs to optimize for these phrases, or keywords.

However, understanding which phrases to choose and how to best implement them requires time, skill, and know-how. At BluShark Digital, our experienced SEO team understands how to properly research, filter, and implement keywords for any digital marketing plan.

The Dual Benefit of Keywords

Like many elements of SEO, a website has two target audiences: potential customers and search engines. As a result, keywords have a two-pronged benefit for optimization, simultaneously telling potential customers what you do, what you sell, or the services you provide, while also informing the Google bots what your website is.

Simply put, if a person searches ‘cupcake bakery’, they want to find various cupcake locations around them, not tire replacement shops or lawn care services. With proper keyword use, Google can put you in the right categories on the search engine results page (SERP), which in turn aligns your services with the right searchers.

The Importance of Keywords and Variants

Keywords are important for any business that wants to have a targeted digital marketing plan, which means that virtually any website could benefit from researching and implementing keywords and keyword variants. Think of it this way: if someone is using Google to look for a coffee shop, how would they search?

“Coffee shops in [location]”, “cafes near me”, “coffee nearby”? Most likely, they will search for some variation of “coffee shop” or a related phrase, like ‘café’ or ‘coffee’. This makes a keyword like “coffee shop” essential to optimize for, along with a slew of keyword variants such as “coffee”, “café”, “tea”, etc.  This can quickly become overwhelming, encouraging a company to throw the kitchen sink at its copy and stuff it with any and all keywords.

However, the potential unpredictability of the searcher is combated by the quantifiable predictability of highly trafficked keywords, which makes it essential to conduct keyword research before optimizing your site. Effective keyword use makes it easier to link your business, firm, or organization to the services it offers, in any variation of search. The more you link your brand with critical words that explain who you are and what you do, the more likely you are to be crawled properly by the Google bot and found by potential users.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding the keywords a business wants to rank for within a specific search engine, such as Google. A business—or their digital marketing team—can conduct keyword research to see what potential customers are searching for and how they can apply these terms to their website structure and content. It may seem simple: can’t you just brainstorm all of the potential ways a person could Google “cupcake bakery” or “coffee shop” and then try to include those unique keywords or phrases into your content?

Yes, a simple part of keyword research could generate terms like ‘baked cupcakes,’ ‘vanilla cupcakes,’ or ‘birthday cupcakes’, all of which could be included in a cupcake shops website. The more applicable keywords a business puts onto their website in an organic, creative way, the better a bot will associate that website with those terms—and the better the websites chances at ranking organically.

However, the complexity in keyword research comes with understanding how popular the keywords a website wants to use are. If keyword research is done properly, a site can gather information such as:

  • How hard it is to rank for a particular keyword
  • How much traffic a site could get if they rank for a particular phase
  • What kind of content they should draft to obtain these keywords

Knowing the answers to these questions can help a business pick their battles wisely and optimize their site accordingly. Once a marketing team understands how potential customers might search for their business, they can then combine that knowledge with tools to find more keyword ideas and pick the ones that best fit their goals. There are many free and paid tools that can help a business hone their keyword strategy, and there are additional ways to use keywords in a paid setting, such as pay-per-click (PPC).

Start Finding the Right Keywords Today

Utilizing keywords is another seemingly small but powerful tool any website should include in their digital marketing toolbox. Understanding what people are searching for in your industry, knowing what you can offer, and using just the right words to express that can be the difference between poor rankings and a steady stream of organic traffic.

To learn more, contact BluShark Digital today for a free consultation.

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