How to choose keywords when you're first starting out
So, understatement of the year: Google’s changing. That’s going to be true whether you read this in 2016 or 2816 once Google is the complete overlord of half our world and Facebook finally owns the other half. The goal isn’t to always keep up with the changes the moment it happens, specially when it comes to learning how to choose keywords, but you do need to have a strategy that doesn’t depend solely on the latest algorithms but on the reason behind why they’re using it in the first place. Here’s what Google wants you to know: Cheating will hurt you more than help you; Keyword cramming just to get a certain ranking should never be your focus; You should aim to help.
Now that we have that down, let’s see why choosing the right keywords it’s still important and how new comers can still get in on the fun:
- Page Ranking
When was the last time you checked out the second page of a query's’ result? Most people haven’t done it since the early days of the internet, so successful brands with serious marketing strategies covet that first page of results.
How do you get there, you ask? Honestly there’s a million different -mostly paid and some free- ways to do that, anything from finding a really profitable niche to injecting an insane amount of money into your brand, but it all comes down to: choosing the right keywords.
When you choose keywords that you want to represent your brand, you need others to know about it. Including them in all of your writing will be like having a really public wedding with search engines as your witnesses. The more they see the two of you together, the more they’ll take you seriously and start recommending you to people looking for the topic you’ve selected.
- Reader’s ease of understanding:
Likewise, if you commit to your keywords, your readers will instantly recognize you. They shouldn’t have to scroll through endless pages and text to know exactly what you do, no one’s going to take the time to do that. You have to play your cards right and have your keywords ready and easy to find on the most important places of your website.
- Help you focus on a topic
Your brand probably does lots of different things -hopefully well-, and that’s great and all but you need to focus your message. Your audience is very unlikely to remember that you fix phones, play the guitar, brew excellent coffee, organize weddings, knit scarves, and also design logos. First, you’ll look like a crazy person, second you’ll seem to be grasping at straws, third, your audience won’t know what they can associate you with exactly. But, if you focus on a set amount of keywords at a time you’re forced to keep your message direct and succinct.
That’s all great but... how do I choose the right keywords?
- Research your head off
In the world of marketing, research we’ll always come first. But in case this is your first time here, it’s worth repeating. No decision should come out of thin air, you need to carefully think about your Buyer’s Persona and their stage in the buyer's journey.
If you can’t accurately know what kind of keywords your Buyer’s Personas are putting into search engines, you won’t be able to reach them even if you manage to rank first with a specific keyword.
- What do you need for this?
A clear understanding on who your Buyer’s Personas are and what they need. You need to be able to specify what you’re a solving for them and how. Once you know that, it shouldn’t be too hard to think of exactly what kind searches they’re doing.
- Keep tabs on your competitors
Don’t take this the wrong way, we know you’re awesome, but: Is there anyone out there doing better than you? Unless you’re the Vogue of your category, chances are there are some bigger players out there. Maybe they’re not even better, but they’ve been around longer, have more customers, and a bigger budget than you. Well, that’s a good thing because you can look at them with the kind of clinical eye of a surgeon performing a face transplant.
Carefully study what they’re trying to say, which keywords they’re focusing on and who they seem to be talking to. If they suddenly seem to be talking about a very specific topic, chances are they saw a pretty big opportunity and decided to go after it.
- What do you need for this?
Mainly, knowledge of who you’re competing with and enough time to check out their social media and blog at least once a week. Tools like Hubspot allow you to extract the keywords off a specific website, but you have to pay for access. Others, like Northcutt are free, but not as accurate, that’s not the worst setback, you can still get pretty useful results but it will take a bit more time. So at the end of the end it depends on how serious you are about choosing the right keywords and whether you’re ready to go pro with a platform like Hubspot, or would rather grow a little more before investing in your marketing.
- Go ahead and follow the trends
Specifically Google Trends. This won’t give you exact keywords you can use on your writing, but it will give you an idea of what people are googling. Are those people your Buyer’s Personas? You’re going to have to figure that out on your own. Why are trends helpful then? They give you general directions. They won’t get you to your exact destination but they will at least get you to the right neighborhood.
- What do you need for this?
Keep in mind that…
When you’re working with professionals, like say… a Miami SEO Expert like us, you’re doing a lot more than what we’ve outline, and you’re also working with specialized tools designed just to help people choose the right keywords. Once you decide to go pro, you need to also think of things you won’t get with a free tool:
- Difficulty in terms of how easy it would be to rank high up on search engines for a certain keyword.
- Search volume or the fancy way of saying “how many people are searching this keyword on any given month?”.
- Relation to your brand, or how many of your pages use the same terms.
There’s nothing wrong with sticking with free tools when you’re first starting out, but know that you will need to upgrade as your brand grows. Go find your keywords, we’re rooting for you!