The truth is that keyword research strategy has dramatically changed over the last several years. Not too long ago, marketers would simply fill their websites with keywords and watch their website rise to the top of the search engines. This was back in the day when keyword stuffing was running rampant, and businesses were cashing in quick with massive exposure.
Eventually, Google put its foot down and pinned huge penalties on those who were implementing keyword-stuffing techniques. Their search engine results tanked at the flip of the switch, with some never to surface to page one again.
Although this may seem like an unfair play on Google’s part, it actually forced businesses to reconsider their keyword research strategy for what really matters—and that’s customer experience.
How Keyword Research Works in 2018
User experience is one of Google’s top priorities, but we still need keywords to give our content marketing engines some gas. Keyword research can be conducted in multiple ways, but what it really comes down to is if you’re willing to shell out some cash to get the best results possible.
To start with the free options, Google’s keyword planner tool has been around for several years. This is an extension of Google’s pay-per-click Adwords platform. The idea is for customers to use the keyword planner tool and implement those keywords while strategizing their PPC campaign—but you can use the tool without paying for an Adwords account.
Another free keyword tool that you can look into is keyword.io. However, there is also a premium version that you can sign up for if you need more detailed results.
Beyond the free options, SEMRush is a keyword research tool that’s immensely popular with digital marketing professionals.
SEMRush displays the following data in terms of keyword research:
- Latest updates
- SERP Source
Although this collection of data is great, most small business owners don’t know where to start in terms of selecting the proper keywords.
Determining The Best Keywords For Your Business
Whether you’re using SEMRush or another keyword tool, there are generally three important categories to keep in mind:
A keyword’s search volume can be a tricky subject because many business owners believe that a higher number is always better. This isn’t always the case, especially when you’re dealing with local terms such as “plumber Greenville SC”
Low search volume can be beneficial because it often leads to a higher conversion rate.
Search volume also can have a direct correlation with how competitive a keyword is in general. For example, targeting the simple term “plumber” will be a lot more difficult than targeting “plumber Greenville SC”. However, one quick way to rise above the competition with competitive keywords is by investing in a pay-per-click campaign.
Cost-per-click is the third indicator on the value of a specific keyword. You don’t want to choose a keyword with $0 per click, since this indicates that there may be very little ROI on this particular term.
However, some industries naturally have lower CPC values, while others can be quite high. A pay-per-click advertising professional can help you determine the best keyword in this situation.
How we Use Keywords in 2016
As we mentioned earlier, the days of keyword stuffing are long gone. Digital marketing professionals use keywords very differently than we did 10 years ago, and these are a few of the top techniques:
Use Keywords as Naturally as Possible
An awkward article will never create trust between your brand and your customers. If you have to force a keyword to fit, think of how to rework the sentence or even splice up the term if necessary. Google is smart enough to understand the context of your keyword, even if you don’t use it in a seamless phrase every time.
Don’t Overdo it
Keywords are still important in 2018, but be careful with how often you use a particular term within an article. Using the same keyword over and over again will appear as spam to Google, which will ultimately result in lower search engine rankings.
Think Like Your Customer
Above all else, think of how your customer uses your keywords in the search engines. It isn’t enough to simply guess what terms they might be using—which is why research is required before executing any keyword research strategy.
How is Your Business Performing Online?
Whether you’re strategizing keywords for SEO or a pay-per-click campaign, it’s important to understand how those keywords are impacting your bottom line. Get in touch with Bigfoot Media today to learn more about the keywords that are perfect for your business.
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