How to Choose The Right SEO Keywords and Improve Their rankings?

What this article covers:

How do you improve keywords rankings?

A robust search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy relies on selecting a complementary range of techniques and tactics designed to increase your ranking position in search engines results pages (SERPs) and drive traffic. To do this effectively, your website must be easy to understand for both your audience and search engine robots. Keywords play a significant role in this process and should be central to every on-page SEO strategy.
Keyword selection can make or break your SEO strategy and mark the difference between a good and a poor return on investment (ROI). Choose well, and your site will be rewarded with a strong ranking position and benefit from the significant amount of traffic this can help you to secure. However, making a misstep with your keyword selection can be detrimental to your website and your business’s success.
Keywords will inform almost every aspect of your on-page SEO strategy. Your target keywords should be incorporated into everything from title tags to meta descriptions, URLs, heading tags, image alt tags and copy. Google likes keyword-rich titles because they typically indicate a professional, carefully considered and informative piece of content. It is also a good idea to include your target keyword within the first 100 words of the article, blog post or page copy you are writing. Additionally, ensuring your target keyword is also present in the page URL will provide Google with yet another reason to view your content as being more relevant for an associated search term than your competitors’ efforts.
It is crucial, however, to be mindful that search engines don’t value keyword stuffing. So, it is not enough to simply place keywords randomly throughout your content, hoping you will be rewarded with more prominent ranking positions. Adopting a strategic keyword mindset will pay dividends in the long run, so be sure not to force keywords into your content. Place them thoughtfully and where they make the most sense.

How long does it take to rank for keywords?

If this is the first question you made a note of, you’re certainly far from alone. As various factors will influence the time it will take for your page to rank prominently for your target keyword, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer that we can give you here. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to estimate a timeframe within which you can expect to start seeing beneficial results from your efforts. To do this effectively, you will need to conduct a thorough audit and understand:

    • How many keywords you want to target: While it is important not to place all your eggs into a single keyword basket, so to speak, targeting too many keywords will make the ranking process much more complex and often more expensive. Being selective in your choices can be extremely valuable, particularly at the start of your keyword optimisation journey.
    • The competitiveness of your target keywords: When looking at the competition, you should focus on identifying new opportunities that you can capitalise upon. Suppose you are hoping to implement a long-term SEO strategy. In that case, you might decide that focusing on creating high-level content will drive the best results, and you may choose to target keywords with a medium/high level of competition. If this is the route you want to take, your optimisation team are also likely to recommend implementing a short-term pay-per-click (PPC) strategy to ensure you are also in a position to secure some quick wins.
      When you have identified a keyword you want to rank for, your first step should be to evaluate competitor content that already exists. This process is likely to highlight some gaps or quality issues, which you should view as an opportunity to improve upon.
      Your competitors’ domain performance is also something to consider. If you are trying to compete against high-performing websites, it will take longer for you to reach and surpass them than it would be to overtake less authoritative, lower-performing sites. It is often best to target a mix of high and low performing sites.
    • Your budget: The budget you have to work with will make a significant difference in the time it will take for you to start seeing results. After all, your budget will determine how quickly technical issues will be addressed and the quality of the content you will be publishing on your site. Content is an investment, and it is important to ensure that your content’s quality is better than that of your competition.
    • The current performance of your website: Although you can begin the keyword research stage of an SEO campaign even if your website provides a less than perfect user experience, those issues will need to be addressed for the maximum impact to be achieved from your keyword strategy. If, for example, your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you will struggle to secure a prominent ranking position in SERPs even with the best possible keyword strategy simply because search engines value mobile-friendly websites so highly.
      The age of your site will also play a role here. An older website with a clear purpose and value is likely to perform better than a brand-new website. Why? Well, Google is wary of spam sites, so you will need to invest some time implementing tactics that will tell search engines that your offering is fast, informative and well-structured.
      Generally, most site owners can expect results to take between six months and a year to become apparent. From minor refinements to comprehensive overhauls, the good news is that there are various steps you can take to increase both the quantity and quality of the traffic you are driving to your most important digital asset.

What makes a good keyword?

As with most SEO aspects, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what a good keyword looks like. Keywords can be either broad or highly targeted and can help you to secure a top-ranking position or drive a higher search rate. So, depending on the unique goals and objectives you have set for your business, broad, general and targeted keywords can be categorised as good keywords.

        • Broad keywords: Broad keywords will generally describe the purpose of your website but won’t incorporate a lot of detail. Broad keywords are more generic in their nature and will often help you to increase your websites reach; however, the individuals you connect with might not necessarily know exactly what they are looking for. This means that they might ultimately end up leaving your site fairly quickly because they decided that you couldn’t meet their needs.
        • Targeted keywords: Targeted keywords are typically specific and highly relevant to your business and will give search engines a comprehensive understanding of what you can offer. Individuals who include a targeted keyword in their search are more likely to be in a position to sign-up for a service or purchase a product from you because they will have arrived at your site at an advanced stage of the buying cycle, with something specific in mind. Both targeted and broad keywords have their merits, and a combination of the two will often yield the most beneficial results for your business. Additionally, search engines will begin to associate targeted keywords with related broad keywords and phrases, which means that utilising both will help you to showcase that you are an authority on the subject(s) you are discussing.

How do I choose keywords for SEO?

We hope that by this stage, we have made the point that keyword research is one of the most integral components of creating a strong SEO strategy. So, we have established that selecting the right keywords is crucial, but how should you approach that process? Let’s run through the steps you should take when embarking on this important process.

        • Compiling a list of keywords: During this first step, you don’t need to get too caught up in cost-per-click (CPC) or levels of competition. Your only goal here is to put together a comprehensive list of keywords you might want to target. Google’s Keyword Planner will be a useful tool, but be sure to ignore all the additional information here and add every keyword that is even remotely relevant to your business.
          When focusing on long-tail keywords, ‘Google Suggest’ can be extremely helpful. Simply start typing a keyword related to your business and make a note of the suggestions the search giant presents you with. These suggestions are based on the terms that real people are commonly searching for, so they are both popular and relevant.
        • Identifying low-competition search terms: Now is the time that you want to start looking at your competition and separate the low-competition terms from those that will be more difficult to rank for. You’re going to want to keep a close eye on the keyword difficulty score associated with each term as well as the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of your competitors.
        • Identifying search volume: You also need to know how many people are searching for the keywords on your list; this data can be found in Google’s Keyword Planner. You will find that some keywords simply aren’t worth optimising for, but the searches that inform this decision-making process will vary depending on your industry. It is generally recommended to select keywords that have a moderately high search volume within your niche.
        • Assessing keyword earning potential: Just because a keyword has low competition and the ability to generate plenty of traffic doesn’t automatically equate to a strong ROI. It is critical to determine whether your target keywords have any earning potential accurately. Looking at the Top of Page Bid will give you an idea of how much a top-ranking advertiser is playing for each click. The higher this number is, the more commercial intent a keyword has.
          You will also want to look at Product-Keyword Fit to ensure that your target keywords are related to your business and therefore have the potential to attract searchers that are likely to convert. It is worth noting here, however, that you can also target keywords that your audience search for when they aren’t actively looking for what your business sells, which will help you to increase your reach and build your online community.
        • Estimating organic click-through rates (CTRs): Understanding how many searchers are actually clicking on pages in SERPs is a crucial next step. While considering search volume is important, there is no point targeting a keyword that no one is actually clicking on. During this part of the research process, you will find that some SERPs have several ads, a large featured snippet, and a ‘People also ask’ box before the first organic result is visible. This doesn’t mean that you will need to avoid this keyword entirely, but it should inform your decision-making process.
        • Choosing trending keywords: Keywords will naturally trend and decrease in popularity. Hence, it is a good idea to target keywords that are on the up to secure more traffic over a longer period of time.

How many keywords should you target on a webpage?

In the mid-90s, websites wanting to increase their visibility in SERPs needed to optimise for keywords in precisely the same ways users were entering them into search engines. Search engine algorithms are now far more sophisticated and can understand both content and context.
Although they have the ability to identify phrases that have the same meaning despite containing different words (semantic keywords), this doesn’t mean that they will display identical results for different keywords. Let’s take the terms ‘hooded jumper’ and ‘hoodie’ as an example here. Although Google recognises the similarity between these two keywords, it treats them as independent terms. So, if your website sold this type of product, you should target both these terms alongside a handful of others, which might include ‘athletic hooded jumper’ or ‘women’s hoodie’.

        • Understanding the subject of your webpage: Let’s continue with the hooded jumper example here and say that you run an eCommerce website that sells a large selection of hoodies. The hooded jumpers are the subject of the page, but a quick search using Google’s Keyword Planner will provide you with a selection of keywords that can be utilised to describe them.
        • Identifying variations on your subject: If you have chosen ‘hooded jumpers’ as a target keyword, you should then consider the variations on that keyword that could yield beneficial outcomes. This process will likely reveal many options, such as ‘men’s hooded jumpers’, ‘women’s hooded jumpers’, ‘casual hooded jumpers’, etc.
        • Organising subject variations: Organising this information is key to presenting a logical and appealing webpage. So, from your general ‘hooded jumpers’ page, your visitors should be able to easily access a page that displays only ‘women’s hooded jumpers’, which will contain more specific information.
          It is best practice to target one keyword per page, ensuring that important variations of that keyword are afforded their own page populated with detailed information that your visitors will find engaging and valuable. With this strategy, it is crucial to be highly specific and only integrate keyword variations that fit naturally. This approach will help you avoid keyword stuffing that search engines actively dislike and ensure that you are effectively meeting your audience’s needs and wants. You will also demonstrate to search engines that you are an authority within your niche, helping you secure more prominent ranking positions and further increase your reach.
          Ranking well for relevant keywords will help you generate a solid ROI and ensure that your business is highly visible to your ideal audience precisely when they’re searching online for the products and/or services you deliver.

If you would like to find out more about what a comprehensive SEO and keyword research strategy could do for your business, contact the Search Creative team today and unlock the full digital potential of your offering.


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