One aspect of SEO is optimising certain pages within your website for specific search terms, otherwise known as keywords.
Each page within your website should be optimised to target a specific keyword so that when users search on Google (or Bing!) for that keyword, the search engine knows how relevant you are. If your web page has a high level of relevancy for that search term then you will rank higher in the search results.
There are a number of steps you can take to increase your relevancy in search results, which will be covered throughout this topic.
Before you begin to optimise your website for any search engine, you must first know or have a very good idea, of the search terms people are using to look for your product or service.
We will base our keyword research on these search terms as we look to identify suitable keywords for optimising our web pages. Fortunately, once again there are some excellent free tools available to help you do this.
Keyword Research Tools
Keywords Planner - Google
Google also offers a free Keyword planner tool which is tied into the Google AdWords service, which we will cover in more detail later in the course in the Paid Advertising Module. If the link above does not take you to the Find keywords screen as shown immediately below then click the Tools option in the header, and select 'keyword planner' as shown in the second image.
The image below shows information regarding the search term 'Legal Services'. It shows other search terms that are related to this one and how many times per month they are searched for. In addition, it shows the level of competition for that word, and an estimated cost per click (CPC) represented in the 'Top of page bid' columns.
Ideally, it is best to target keywords that have low - medium competition because you have a much greater chance of ranking highly in Google for those keywords.
For our search term, you can see it estimates the cost between £1.20 and £9.24 per click if you were to purchase ads for this term. This is a very broad estimate based on historical monthly averages. You will notice this is different in the next image.
Get Search Volume & Forecasts
As we have just mentioned, the historical average for CPC as displayed in the Keyword Planner tool can be very broad. Thankfully, Google also provides more accurate data in the 'Get Search Volume and Forecasts' option. This option will give you more real-time information should you wish to run an ad campaign for your desired keyword.
The image below shows an estimated monthly cost if you were to run an ad campaign today (at the time of writing this) for the term 'Legal Services'. As you can see the Avg. CPC is slightly lower 'Top of bid (low range)' as stated above, at just £1.17.
You will also notice that in the image above Google estimates the average monthly searches for this term being between 100 - 1,000. However, in the image below Google tell us that if you were to run this ad today you would get around 23,000 impressions (monthly searches) for the same search term, 'Legal Services'.
With such a high difference in data, it is good to do more research on keywords than purely taking the first numbers you come across.
We will now look at another Keyword Research Tool by Moz called Keyword Explorer. Don't be surprised to see slightly different metrics between services!
Keyword Explorer - Moz
Keyword Explorer gives you 10 search queries per month for free. It provides you with similar information to Google but displayed in a slightly different way. As you can see from the example below, it still gives us details for Monthly Searches (Volume) and Competition (Difficulty) with some additional info; Organic CTR and Priority. Organic CTR estimates the percentage of clicks (or click-through rate) available to traditional and organic (non-paid ads) on the search engine ranking position (SERP). When other SERP features (ads, verticals, etc) compete for attention the score is lower. Priority represents a sweet spot of higher volume and organic CTR with a lower difficulty. It is good then to target keywords that are high-priority!
The image above from Moz shows that there is a monthly search volume of between 201 - 500 for the search term, 'Legal Services' (in the UK), remembering Google estimated this between 100 - 1,000. The Keyword Suggestions included by default, as shown above, aren't great! However, by clicking the blue link, 'See all suggestions', you can ask Moz to filter keywords suggestions to produce more relevant keyword ideas.
In the image below you can see that Moz has been asked to display keywords that are 'based on closely related topics' to our initial keyword, Legal Services. The results have also been grouped together by how similar they are in language (medium lexical similarity).
You can see that the Suggested Keywords are much more suitable this time around, and more importantly reveal to us that if we optimised a web page for the term 'free legal advice' rather than 'legal services' we could expect a much greater volume of web traffic - 4.3k - 6.5k monthly search volume instead of 201 - 500.
Current Ranking Position
Once you have settled on a set of keywords you wish to be ranking highly for, it is a good idea to see if you already rank for them, even at a lower position.
SERPROBOT is a great free tool to do this. Without registering you can check up to 5 keywords or phrases at once to see if you are in the top 100 Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERP). You can also compare your ranking with competitors by entering their domain name.
If you register a free account you get access to additional features such as the ability to track ranking position over time.