When it comes to running an SEO campaign, understanding keywords is the first and most important step. With poor keyword selection, you may find that you'll end up frustrated with wasted time and money. The tips below will give you some ideas and information on how to better find your keywords as well as how better to use them.
1. Google will tell you what keywords they already associate with your site
If your site is already established (anything other than a new site), you can use Google to give you an idea of what Google already thinks your site is about. Using the Google Keyword Planner Tool, you can enter website URL and have Google supply you with a list of the terms your site is associated with.
Once you run the tool on your site, you can understand if Google is on the same page as you as far as what your site should (or could) be ranking for. If your site is related to home improvement and you find that Google is associating weight loss with your site, you may have some work ahead of you to reign in control of what your site is about.
Along with using the Keyword Planner Tool for information on your site, you can also use it on your competitors' sites. This can give you an idea of what terms they may be ranking for that you are not. This can help you decide if you want to attempt to supplant them in the rankings for those terms.
2. Research, locate, and use your long-tail keywords in your content
Long-tail keywords are often several words and much more specific than a standard broad term. The long-tail term "metal roof repair in southern los angeles" will have far less competition than "roof repair". Granted, the term "roof repair" gets more monthly searches, but "metal roof repair in southern los angeles" will bring in the traffic of only those looking specifically for metal roof repair in Los Angeles. While the traffic is smaller, this traffic is targeted and more likely to be interested in your services.
If you have multiple locations, products, or services, you want to break up the content across multiple pages when appropriate. For instance, if your site as a whole is directed towards weight loss, you wouldn't necessarily want to have information on exercise routines coupled with weight loss pills. You would want those on two separate pages or posts. Similarly, if the terms are close, you can write the content to include all terms that are similar. You can write one piece of content that focuses on both weight loss pills and weight loss supplements, as long as the content comes across coherent and the terms don't feel out of place within the content.
As mentioned before, however, you still want to find your long-tail terms and offer content for each group of terms.
3. On-page optimization can go a long way in helping your site rank
You have your long-tail keywords and your amazing written content. It's published online and you still aren't getting traffic. This may be due to a lack of on-page optimization.
On-page optimization may sound difficult, but the process is relatively simple. If you're writing and publishing your own content, chances are you are either familiar with web design or using a service such as WordPress, Joomla, Wix, or one of many other site design services and content management systems. The influx of these services has made on-site optimization relatively painless.
The first and most important item on the checklist is your page title. This is still the most important piece of information that Google reads when determining what your page will rank for. You want to use your main (long-tail) keyword in the title, preferably at the beginning of the title. You also want to keep your title to about 60 characters as this is what will display in the search results. Anything beyond the 60 characters may get chopped off. Make sure every page has a unique title.
It's also important to look at your meta description. This is a brief description to let Google know what your page is about. This is an opportunity for you to insert terms similar to your main keyword. You still want to keep it coherent as this is often the text that displays under the title in the search results. If it looks like random words and ramblings, it may turn a searcher away from visiting your site. You also want to keep the description under 160 characters. Again, anything over 160 will be chopped off.
Also take note that you don't always see your page description in the search results. There are times that you will see a snippet from the content of the page. If Google thinks that snippet is more relevant than your description for a given searched term, they will provide that snippet instead of your description. Because of this, you want to make sure your content is always great.
Heading tags are also important. These are often designated by H1, H2, H3, etc. Your H1 tag is often your page title. If that is the case, you do not want to include a second H1 tag. You can use H2 tags as section headings if your content calls for it. Beyond that, you can use H3 as sub-section headings, and so on. You want to use your keywords when possible within the heading tags as long as it is appropriate to do so. At the same time, you also want to avoid repeating the same terms over and over.
The easiest way to think of heading tags is to think of a text book. Your H1 tag is your book title. It wouldn't make sense to have two title. The H2 tags are chapter titles. Section titles are your H3 tags.
You also want to make sure that you utilize your main keyword in your content near the beginning and anywhere else that it fits. Don't be afraid to mix it up and use synonyms or other similar terms. Just be careful not to use your term too often. If you write your content without the intentions of ranking, more often than not, you'll have the recommended usage of your keyword and variations. The goal is to have your terms in your content often enough but still feel natural.
These few tips won't guarantee your site to rank high, but they will definitely give you a boost and ensure that you are ranking for the terms you want to rank for. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when starting an SEO campaign, but if you don't do proper keyword research or utilize your terms properly, it won't matter how good your content is.
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