What are Keywords?
Keywords are single words or phrases that you want search engines to associate with your site, so that when those keywords are entered in search by someone, your website is visible.
Your keywords should be at the core of your business, and highly relevant to the services and information provided by your site.
There are two important steps to targeting keywords within an SEO campaign: Research and Optimisation.
Choosing your keywords
When SEO agencies begin the process of researching the keywords a website should be targeting, a large amount of information about the website’s target audience is revealed. These insights are important as the focus of a strong keyword strategy is not just to bring a higher quantity of traffic to the website, but also a higher quality too.
Keyword research should is an ongoing process, which lets allows you the opportunity to adapt your site in response to changes in search behaviour, and new market trends.
The two main keyword categories
Every company should have a strong grasp of the basic keywords they wish to appear for in search engines. Most of the time, these are names of services or products you offer, and the industry and region you operate within. In targeting these keywords, companies are able to attract web users who are searching with intent. Such keywords have transactional value, and the benefits of attracting traffic for such terms is high conversions.
Transactional Keywords: Search engines conclude from these queries that the user wants to be shown a product or service. They can be very specific queries or broader phrases, depending on how close the user is to making a purchase. SEO agencies will aim to catch users at every stage of the purchasing cycle.
Informational Keywords: Search engines infer from these queries that the user wants to be shown a resource from an informed source. These queries are usually made of several words, and can often be a question. There are plenty of search analytics tools which SEO companies can use to determine which informational queries and questions appear most frequently in search, and should therefore be targeted in your onsite content.
What is the difference between short tail and long tail keywords?
Two other groups used to define keywords are short tail and long tail. These overlap with informational and transactional. They refer to how search queries appear when plotted in a distribution graph that shows how often low-traffic, high-conversion keywords (long tail) searches are made each month, and how they compare to more frequently searched, more competitive keywords (short tail).
Short tail keywords: These queries are made up of a few words, and they are usually more generalised and harder to rank for.
Long tail keywords: These queries make up 70% of monthly searches. In a search demand graph, you will be able to see the percentage creates the ‘long tail’ of search traffic. These queries tend to be more specific and descriptive than short tail. Although the traffic arriving at a website through long tail keyword may be lower, these searches will usually have a higher conversion rate.
It is significantly easier to rank for long tail keywords than it is for broader, short tail phrases that are highly competitive. So while long tail keywords have less search volume, due to their specificity, they are a valuable part of any SEO campaign, attracting traffic and conversions.
Short tail keywords, however, are easier to optimise your site for. Spreading short keyword phrases throughout selected page content is a very effective method of helping search engines associate your website with those short tail terms.
Your keywords should be as specific and uniquely relevant to your products or services and site as possible.
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