How to Find Proper Keywords for High Ranking

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By Lisa Turnbull

How to Find Proper Keywords for High Ranking

Full optimization of your website so that it shows up on the first page of any web search requires a thorough analysis of your keywords. You need to find the common high volume search phrases that result in low competition and incorporate these into the meta-data, title and tags in your website. This will require research into which keywords people looking for a site like yours are typing into their search engines. Everything you need for a thorough analysis and evaluation of keywords can be found on the web. Anyone new to this may find it a long and frustrating process, but it is an essential part of any successful online marketing strategy.

The end should justify the search

The most optimal keyword in terms of increased web traffic is no use unless the destination – your website – delivers. To build the perfectly optimized web page – this is the first challenge. As search engines have evolved and social networks, blogs, referring links, etc., have created other sources of web traffic and become increasingly interconnected, what exactly is optimal for the purpose of attracting traffic is open to debate. There is no single, absolutely correct way to optimize a page, but it will have to achieve the following: 1, a consistently high ranking on the search engine results page (SERP); 2, earn traffic from social networks; 3, build links and shares from across the web; and 4, build your brand’s visibility and build trust in your site’s visitors, with the potential to convert them to your product.

Optimized keywords

In the past, search engines responded only to keywords that were relevant to the search and were placed in certain locations of the HTML. Conforming to this old model won’t cut it today. The relevancy and keyword-based algorithms used by modern search engines are much more complex. A slight benefit gained by keyword placement may still harm your overall rankings because of how it impacts on visitors’ experience of your site. You need to think holistically and be prepared to sacrifice perfect keyword placement in a title or web address (URL) in favor of a better user experience that gives your site a higher click-through rate or makes its content more likely to be shared on social networks. Optimum ranking of keywords can be achieved using the Google free keyword research tools, which will help you to understand what your potential customers are looking for and the common search phrases they use.

Perfectly optimized keyword targeting may conflict with your natural writing style, but making some sacrifices for optimal user accessibility is fine. Your primary keyword phrase should be used at least once in the page’s title, preferably as close to the start of the title tag as possible. Search engines assess titles for relevance to a search, and they impact on a searcher’s likelihood to click on it. The simplest way to find an optimum keyword or phrase is to type it into Google’s search field and see what comes up in the auto-complete drop-down box. This will give your keyword’s top add-on words, but this should be only the start of your search.

Look at your competitors. Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword will give an invaluable insight into its usability. If your website doesn’t rank highly for that keyword, you can buy test traffic to see how well it converts: go to Google Adwords, select ‘exact match’ and point the traffic to your site, then track  both impressions and conversion rates over a few hundred clicks. You can assess a competitor’s keywords using a keyword research tool such as David Naylor’s Keyword Density Tool. Just type in the competitor’s URL to obtain a list of their keywords and the percentage of repetition. This can also be used to analyze your own website.

Long-tail keywords

The only problem with using third party keyword research tools is that they are not personalized; they give everyone the same popular keywords. To gain a greater competitive edge, you need to dig deeper and focus on long-tail keyword rankings. Long-tail is a statistical term that means the portion of the distribution having a larger number of occurrences far from the central part of the distribution; in other words, as it applies to online businesses, selling a large number of unique items each at relatively small quantities over a large geographical area.

The advantage of long-tail keywords is that they are less competitive, so your site has a better chance of attracting visitors. They are also more targeted and reveal more about what the searcher is looking for, so you are more likely to satisfy them. To generate long-tail keywords you can use a keyword grouping tool such as WordStream or HitTail. These will improve the performance of individual keyword rankings as related keyword groups enable more strategic searches. A more targeted search will result in higher click-through rates, with an improved quality score on search engines, leading to higher rankings. You can also prioritize your workflow and create ad groups and web content around the keywords that generate the most traffic.

An easy way to make long-tail keywords is to add qualifiers that make them more specific. A simple example would be a word like ‘garden.’ This will generate traffic, but is too general. A website with keywords and phrases including ‘garden,’ ‘garden makeover,’ ‘garden design,’ ‘garden plants,’ etc. will generate more traffic through the sum of the response to each phrase, which you should make as diverse as possible. Research your competitors, find out which words and phrases to target and either add these into your content or create additional pages that address each.

Linking between pages on your website or different posts or articles with varied anchor texts will help to generate traffic from a variety of long-tail keywords and avoid Google’s over-optimization penalties. Since Google’s Panda update, low quality content is also penalized: this can mean that websites with spelling and stylistic mistakes, poor design that is not user-friendly, too many ads, redundant or shallow content can also be marked down in search rankings.

Create a content hub – essentially content with a related theme on different pages that can be interlinked. This is most effective when there is a central landing page that includes links out to the different parts of the content. A good example would be a collection of recipes around a theme, all linked to a main introductory page, which is separate but linked to the home page. Finding the right key terms to target in content hubs can be done in the same way you have researched your other keywords.

Ranking of advertising

The advertising network Chitika has published a study that shows how click-through rates (CTR) for ads on a website vary according to its position on the SERP. Results show that the highest CTR on ads occurred when the user found the site from position 10 in the SERP. This would seem to be an anomaly as you would assume that position 1 would be the closest match in your search. As Chitika explained, this is probably due to the user commonly finding unsatisfactory results higher up the page, so increasing the probability that they will click on an ad related to their search on websites found lower down the page. This is not to say that you should be aiming to achieve position 10 on every keyword, but in terms of doing business through your ad or website it is not a bad place to be: aim to be number 1 by all means, but do not consider it a failure if you appear further down.


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