In our overview of SEO foundations, we highlighted 7 important pillars that affect your SEO ranking:
- Meta-information: Incorporate keywords into titles and descriptions.
- Relevant Content: Write with knowledge of your subject – keywords and relevancy will naturally follow.
- Social Media Optimization: Get your content out there! Do more than simply posting to your timeline.
- Linking: Links are the backbone of the Internet. Build up your website’s internal links and backlinks.
- Mobile Optimization: Since most people use their phone as their primary device, having a scalable website is important!
- Accessibility: Make sure everyone can read your website. Consider those with disabilities.
- Maintenance: Your ranking is not permanent. Update your website and check for broken links regularly.
Before you can really delve into the meat of SEO, you should start small with keyword and keyphrase research. Brainstorm with your team to figure out who your target audience is and what they’re searching for when they look for your website or the service that you provide.
Finding the Right Keyphrase
Keyphrases are what your target audience might type into a search engine to find your company. Therefore, you must know your audience. In order to learn about your audience more in depth, consider creating a buyer persona, or a representation of your ideal client. You may have more than one buyer persona. Create detailed profiles of personas using demographics, behavior patterns, level of income, gender, goals, etc. The more details you include, the more accurate your hypothetical target audience will be. Google Analytics, and even Facebook Analytics, provides many of these insights, going as far as to show your audience’s possible hobbies. There are various templates online to help get you started.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’re ready to research like a consumer. Think of keyphrases as “conversational.” Don’t get bogged down in technical jargon. There are 2 aspects to consider when searching for your one, true keyphrase:
1) Search Volume
Search volume indicates how many people are searching for your keyphrase. The more popular, the better. There are various tools to check your keyphrase’s popularity including Moz Keyword Explorer, which allows you to filter through phrases that have little to no searches. Ideally, you want a keyphrase that gets 1000+ searches a month. However, sometimes suggestions are limited, providing results that only include the keywords you specifically searched for. On the other hand, tools like Google Trends will offer suggestions that are similar to your keyphrase, but don’t necessarily include a specific word you searched for. For example, when you type “web development” in the Google Trends search bar, you also get suggestions like “web design” or “app development.” Neither tool is necessarily better than the other, but rather can be used together.
If your website is already set up with Google Analytics, you can also get ideas about your target audience there as well as find phrases and topics that are already driving traffic to your website. Google Search Console sends keyword data to your Google Analytics account in order to show you your website’s presence in search results. Or an easier hack is to simply type in your desired keyword phrase into the Google search bar. Google will automatically suggest popular phrases.
Another great way to find unique keyphrases is to determine niche topics for your target audience. Create a list of topics that your audience might search for that are closely related to your company.
In addition to an ideal search volume, you want a keyphrase that doesn’t have a lot of competition. You can scope out the competition for your desired keyphrase by, again, searching on Google and taking into account the amount of other companies that rank for your keyphrase as well as their caliber. Make sure you’re logged out of any Google accounts (as google will tailor results to your profile) and set your location to that of your target audience. You can also use a privacy mode such as Incognito Mode in Google Chrome.
You can ensure less competition by using long tail keyphrases. These phrases are more specific than just using a keyphrase like “web development.” Instead, you could use a narrower version such as “web developers and hosting in Atlanta.”
When you’ve finally found the perfect keyphrase, optimize your web page using that phrase without “stuffing.” Build on this phrase on other pages and your blog as well. You can continue to check search volume for any variation of your keyphrase. For interior page key phrases, search volume will most likely be around 100 searches a month. You want every page to rank on SERPs, not just your homepage.