“In the beginning was the Word” – This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible.
And you would not sound preachy if you quoted this to an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) professional. You would totally be speaking his or her language.
Words are the basic building blocks of SEO. An SEO journey begins with the understanding of the Words that the audience will use on search engines to search for something.
For Example: Let us assume that you sell ‘fountain pens’ in the city of Sydney, Australia. You have a website, and you want to be found when your customers visit Google and search for fountain pens.
What do you think are the probable set of words they would type in search engines?
- fountain pens
- pen shops in Sydney
- fountain pen seller
- where can I get a good fountain pen in Sydney
- Ok Google, help me find a good fountain pen (when using a voice search on mobile or smart-speaker)
- writing instruments shop
These set of words are called ‘Keywords’. You will notice that some of them have more the one word, they are sometimes called ‘Keyphrases‘.
Definition of Keywords: Keywords are words or phrases that are typed in the search box of a search engine by a user who wishes to find information on something, which might include an organisation, a product or a service.
As a marketing professional, you need to know and understand the words or phrases that your target audience is typing in that search box, when they wish to know more about your organisation – church, nonprofit or business.
Definition of Keyword Research: Keyword Research is the process of figuring out the probable set of words & phrases that your target audience will type in the search box of a search engine, when they wish to transact or know about your organisation.
You do this so that you can start optimising your website, mobile app or content for those keywords. Optimisation in simple terms, is presenting your content in a form, manner and structure that is easily understood by search engines like Google. For more details on the basics of SEO, read my earlier blog.
Understanding the Characteristics of the right set of SEO Keywords:
For successful Keyword research, it is important to understand the characteristics of the right set of Keywords. Because you need to be sure that you have the right ones before you start optimising your website for them.
1. The right set of Keywords will be relevant and aligned with your Core Content:
The right set of Keywords will be relevant and aligned to the theme of your Core content.
For example, as someone who specialises in ‘fountain pens’, your website may not have content about ‘ball pens’ or ‘calligraphy pens‘. Right?
Let us assume that you decide to focus on a generic Keyword like ‘pens’ and you optimise your site for this Keyword, very soon you might see a lot of traffic coming in.
But there is a high probability that a good number of visitors will leave your site quickly after they visit, because they may have been looking for ‘ball pens’ but your site has content only about ‘fountain pens’. Since you have optimised your SEO for just for the keyword ‘pens’, they landed up in your website and found it to be irrelevant and closed the website tab immediately. The rate at which this happens is called ‘bounce rate’ in analytics parlance. (That is a topic for another day)
Of course, Google is becoming smarter by the day and not show up such search results in their pages, but it is just an example for you to understand how important it is to have the right set of ‘Keywords’ which is aligned with your ‘Core Content’.
Now let us assume that you also sell ‘Waterman fountain pen with golden nib’ as part of your collection and choose to have that exact phrase in your Keyword list and optimise your site for that exact Keyword.
And you have a dedicated landing page that talks about the quality of the Waterman brand and the golden nib that makes it looks good & last long, price, guarantee information, delivery details, etc.
Then a visitor who lands up in this page will be happy that she found the exact information she was looking for and there is a higher chance of her staying on your website for longer and even making a transaction like a product purchase. This is a perfect example of a good SEO technique.
So, make sure that your Keywords have high relevance to your core content.
2. The right set of Keywords will meet your Audience’s need & solve their problem
Like we saw in the earlier example, the right Keyword will meet the need of your audience during search and solve their problem by taking them to the relevant webpage that has the exact information that they were looking for.
As a website owner, it is always good to remember that someone takes the time to get on a search engine and type something in the search box, only because they have a specific need. And if you are able to optimise your content for Keywords that lead them to the right place and meet their needs, then you are truly helping your audience.
Having this need-based approach to Keyword analysis will help you in coming up with relevant Keywords.
3. The right set of Keywords will help you track Latest Trends & Demands:
With eCommerce boom around the world, the very first thing that most customers do before making an online purchase is ‘search’. Research shows that 82% of customers research on their phone before making a purchase decisions.
During the process of Keyword research, you will start understanding what your customers are searching for by looking at the search volume, period, location, etc. of each Keyword. This will give you insights into market trends and demand patterns like never before.
This is why Keyword research is an exciting activity. For example: In your Keyword research as a pen seller, suppose you find that there is a high search volume for the Keyphrase ‘Parker fountain pen with matte finish‘ within your store location, you know exactly which product you need to focus on procuring. Insights like these can be crucial for your growth.
4. The right set of Keywords will give you clarity on your campaigns
Keyword research is not just useful for website optimisation, it is also the foundation for online marketing campaigns like social media campaigns or ad campaigns.
Part of a good marketing strategy is to know how to segment your brands, products, services etc. into groups and run specific campaigns targeting specific group of customers who might need those products and services.
This is where Keyword research helps.
The set of Keywords that you come up with, will help you segment your online marketing campaigns based on brands, location, services, etc. so that you can run relevant campaigns for each target group.
5. The right set of Keywords will lead to Conversions
Finally, the most important measure of a good Keyword is its ability to convert.
Once you optimise your site with the right set of Keywords, you should start seeing higher conversion rates for specific conversion goals (like clicks on a checkout button or sign ups for email newsletter or download of eBooks, etc).
Customers whose needs were met because they landed up in a relevant website or blog, will happily respond to call-to-actions most of the time.
Your analytics tool like Google Analytics will help you track and measure these conversions.
Now that you understand how to select the right set of Keywords, what action steps are you going to take to incorporate this into your keyword research process? Let me know. If you have any questions, thoughts using the comments section.
Stay connected. Stay blessed.
Author of The Connected Church. Social Media and Digital Marketing Consultant for Nonprofits, Faith-based Organisations, Churches and Ministries.