In today’s multi-use world, it can feel threatening to specialize.
We want our pots to cook rice, yogurt, soup, and cake. We want our online stores to sell furniture, groceries, clothes, and toothbrushes.
It can be tempting to cast a wider net to attract more visitors, but there is a benefit in specialization. If you advertise your insurance company as a “financial service firm” instead of a “life insurance broker,” the people who are looking for you and want to be your customers will have a harder time finding you.
Being specific is vital to your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). If you want your website to rank well on search engines like Google or Bing, you need a keyword strategy for SEO that focuses on specific targeting.
Using keyword targeting, learning what makes a good keyword, and being specific will help you reach the users you want — the kind you can convert into customers.
Here, you’ll learn why a specific keyword strategy is important, including:
- The basics of keywords and SEO
- What makes a good keyword
- How to make a keyword ranking strategy
- How to improve keyword search results
What Keywords Are and How They Impact SEO
Keywords are terms that users type into a search engine to find a relevant website. Keywords help search engine algorithms direct traffic to the right pages.
So, why is keyword strategy important?
When you optimize your content with SEO keywords, your website will rank higher.
However, SEO depends on more than just keywords.
Another essential aspect of SEO is quality content. If you have well-written, helpful posts specific to your users’ needs, people are more likely to stay on your page. And the longer visitors stay on your website, the better your ranking will be.
Keyword Ranking Strategy
- Determine search volume
- Use relevant keyword terms for your niche
- Consider search intent
- Determine ranking difficulty
- Use both short-tail and long-tail keywords
- Optimize for unique keywords on every page
- Be specific with keyword targeting
- Use familiar keywords
- Don’t forget local SEO
By understanding your keywords’ search volume, relevance, intent, and ranking difficulty, you can create a plan that best suits your company. Use more specific keywords to attract users to your website that you can convert into paying customers
How to Choose the Best Keywords
When choosing effective keywords, there are multiple factors to consider:
- Search volume: The number of users searching for a particular item
- Search relevance: Whether the keyword fits your website
- Search intent: The reason behind the visitor’s search
- Ranking difficulty: How difficult it is to compete with already-ranking results
It’s essential to know how many people are searching for your target keyword — the higher the volume, the more users are looking for it.
SEO newbies often gravitate toward keywords with a higher search volume. They believe they’ll get more eyes on their content that way. However, they don’t realize that a higher search volume also means more competition for that keyword.
Most websites that make it to the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs) often win out because of a higher domain authority (DA). They have more relevance in a subject matter or industry, supported by backlinks from other similarly authoritative websites. You can measure your website’s DA (plus competitors) with an SEO tool like Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush.
There might be a lot of search volume for “wealth management.” But you’ll get more (relevant) traffic to your website by optimizing for a lower volume search phrase, such as “estate planning wealth management services in Michigan.”
Make sure you’re using the right keyword targeting for your business. “Women’s handbags” might have a high search volume, but if you run a finance website, it definitely doesn’t make sense to rank for it.
There are three main types of search intent:
- Informational: Searches that are looking for an answer to a question
- Navigational: Searches performed to locate something
- Transactional: Searches to buy something or take an action
Transactional intent refers to keyword searches that represent the highest likelihood that a customer would convert or purchase something. Keep intent in mind when you use keyword targeting for specific products or services.
Ranking on a relevant SERP depends on your website’s DA in your niche. If your DA is low, choose keywords with a lower ranking difficulty so that you can effectively compete.
Use Short-Tail Keywords & Long-Tail Keywords
Most keywords fall under two umbrellas: short-tail and long-tail. By understanding the different types of keywords and their respective use cases, you can fine-tune your keyword strategy.
Short-tail keywords consist of one or two keywords. They are also referred to as seed keywords, because you can use short-tail keywords to create long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords are broad and mostly used for information and navigational intent — rarely transactional. Competition is fierce to rank with short-tail keywords because of high search volume.
Here are some generalizations to keep in mind when using short-tail keywords:
- Search Volume: High
- Transactional Search Intent: Low
- Conversion Rate: Low
- Ranking Difficulty: High
Long-tail keywords consist of three or more keywords. These keywords are usually used for specific queries to get fewer, more relevant results.
Search behavior studies show long-tail keywords are used more frequently than short-tail keywords. Those who search using long-tail keywords generally know what they want, so it’s a good idea to use them when you are selling products or services.
Here are some generalizations to keep in mind when using long-tail keywords:
- Search Volume: Low
- Transactional Search Intent: High
- Conversion Rate: High
- Ranking Difficulty: Low
A good keyword strategy has a mix of both short-tail and long-tail keywords. You need the short-tail keywords to attract people to your website. However, the type of visitors that convert will likely come to your website through long-tail keyword searches.
Add Unique Keywords to Every Page
Use unique keywords on every page of your website to improve your chances of ranking in relevant searches without cannibalization.
Specifically, you’ll incorporate keywords within:
- Title tags
- The body of the content
- Post URLs
- Meta descriptions
- Image ALT text descriptions
Be Specific with Keyword Targeting
Let’s say that you own a futures trading brokerage firm. For the greatest success with specific keyword targeting, you’d want to create a page on your website explaining your technology. You might be inclined to title that page “platform” or “trading platform” to keep your content simple and minimalistic.
But, there are multiple kinds of platforms, including social media platforms, oil platforms, and platform heels. If you use “platform” as a page title, you will only confuse search engines with your lack of specificity.
When you choose simplicity over specificity, you’re not optimizing your website to attract users looking for your particular flavor of service. Instead, your keyword research data might lead to the more aptly named software page “futures trading platform.”
Specific keywords help users and search engines understand the context of your content.
Use Keywords Familiar to Your Customers
When specifying your services, don’t get so caught in the weeds with language that you alienate your customers.
It won’t make you look less sophisticated if you stray away from industry-only jargon.
In other words:
Don’t optimize for words your customers wouldn’t search for.
For example, if you load up your futures brokerage website with terms like “retail trading”, that inside-the-industry term won’t help the individual trader who isn’t likely to immediately identify themselves as “retail”. Instead, frame your content using the same language a customer would use.
There is a time and place for industry terminology — like in a press release before a trade conference or on a website page about partnerships with other businesses.
Using familiar keywords can help boost your SEO by using keyword targeting relevant to the end user.
Don’t Forget Local SEO
If your target audience is specifically within your state or region, you will want to boost local traffic, so remember to incorporate local SEO best practices.
For example, if your business is a registered investment advisory or a mortgage brokerage firm licensed only to serve customers within a specific state or region — it is critical for you to capture visibility in localized or regional search. While many firms may wish to cast a broad net (perhaps desiring to appear as if they serve a larger audience), it is more beneficial to the bottom line to meet customers where they are.
Google optimizes results that will give customers the best answer to their query. Since almost half of all Google searches are made by people looking for a local solution, you will have a better shot at ranking if you include your location in your keywords, when relevant.
You might want to give the impression that your business services more than your local community. But, if your advisory is licensed only in Indiana, you can’t help someone in Ohio — and they can’t help your business’s bottom line, either.
Final Thoughts: Keyword Strategy: The Importance of Specific Keyword Targeting
Keywords are essential to a website’s overall SEO strategy. However, your keyword strategy shouldn’t solely focus on getting the most visitors to your website. The primary goal should be to attract quality visitors that will engage with your website — and convert into customers.
Use both long- and short-tail keywords in your keyword targeting. And avoid being too general with your keyword strategy. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for customers looking for your services or products to find you.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a keyword strategy for your business, get in touch with the experts at Gate 39 Media.
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