a phone with a google browser shown in the search bar showing the importance of choosing effective keywords

One of the simplest but also most difficult aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) is choosing effective keywords.  Let’s discuss.

What Do You Mean Keywords?

One of the key aspects of on-page search engine optimization is choosing the right keyword or keyphrase for your content. What exactly is a keyword or phrase? This is the word or phrase that you want search engines to identify quickly and connect your content with. It also takes into consideration what words your audience will be using when searching for you. Keywords for the home page of your business would include your business name and other keywords that identify the business field you are in (if it is not already a part of your business name) Many people have trouble remembering exact web addresses and rely on search engines to find the site. 

Keywords should be identified on every page of your website and tell the main idea of the content on that page. If you have an SEO plugin on your website such as Yoast or RankMath, there is a field to input the specific keyword for that page before publishing your post. (You can also go back and retroactively identify the keyword from past published content) 

Keywords and Keyphrases

You may identify one keyword for a page, 2-3 keywords for one page, or choose a keyphrase. When trying to decide which to use it is important to conduct proper keyword research and also consider a few things:

  1. How difficult will it be to rank for this keyword? If you choose a very general term and your competitors already have a very strong ranking with similar keywords, it may be difficult to rank high on search results for that keyword. Try a keyphrase or a more specific keyword. 
  2. Is this keyword part of my Title (or H1 header) and is it mentioned several times on the page? This will help strengthen the confidence that search engines have when they scan your content. They will see that your content truly matches your keyword therefore it is relevant to show in search results. You may need to re-work some of your content to make this happen. Do not try to game the system by wildly inputting your keywords. Be sure they flow naturally in your content. 
  3. Consider Search Volume for the keyword. How many people are actually searching for your keyword or keyphrase? Just because the search volume for that keyword may be lower does not necessarily mean you should not use it. Are there enough people searching that keyword monthly that could then turn into leads for you?
  4. Do not use the same keywords more than once. Think about that- You are trying to rank for that keyword in search results. Using the same keyword will only create competition for yourself. Consider a longer phrase that may include the previously used keyword. 

The Different Kinds of Keywords

There are three different types of keywords: head terms, body keywords, and long-tail keywords. The best SEO strategy combines body keywords with longtail keywords that include head terms in them. Let me clarify each:

Head Terms (Fat Heads)

Head terms also called fat heads, are usually single words and very broad in nature. They have a high monthly search volume and also have high competition. Examples include “shoes” or “marketing” 

Body Keywords (Chunky Middle)

Body keywords are more descriptive than head terms. They are usually 2-3 word phrases and are not as broad in nature as head terms. They have a decent search volume and competition should be less than those of head terms also. Examples of body keywords are “athletic shoes” or “email marketing.” Do you see how we narrowed the results by adding another word to the keyphrase?

Long-Tail Keywords 

Long-tail keywords are much more specific phrases. They do not get as much search volume but tend to have much less competition and are easier to rank for. Examples include “athletic shoes for indoor soccer” and “email marketing inbox automation” They are not called long tail because they are actually longer phrases, but because of the tail on the graph of search volume results when compared to other keywords. 

Choosing Effective Keywords with SEO

The best keyword strategy is to use a combination of body keywords on some pages and long-tail keywords that are based on head terms on others. 

Let’s imagine I own an athletic shoe business. When choosing effective keywords I will consider search volume, head terms, and other more detailed questions my customers may be searching for. I could create content around the following keywords:

“athletic shoes for children”

“athletic shoes for golf” 

“What are the best athletic shoes for fallen arches?” 

“What is the life expectancy my of athletic shoes?” 

“Nike vs. Adidas Athletic Shoes” 

The possibilities are endless. Choosing effective keywords will provide answers to questions your customers are already asking, give you a long list of content inspiration, and help you to rank higher in search results. This should ultimately lead to more sales and more profits for you!

Let Dogwood Help!

While this may seem overwhelming on top of all of your other duties as a business owner, the good news is that Dogwood can help! We know how to craft an SEO strategy that will help your business rank higher and see more organic search results. We can help with keyword research and guide you in choosing effective keywords for your SEO strategy. Contact us today to get started. Let us take one more stress off of you! 

To learn even more about how choosing effective keywords can improve your website search engine optimization visit our blog post Dogwood’s Guide to SEO.

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