A Guide to Keyword Research for Website SEO

Last updated: December 13, 2016

What do we mean when we refer to keywords in SEO? It can mean a single word or be a keyphrase consisting of two or more words together.

If you want to beat the competition in the google search results, you need to target the right keywords for SEO.

How to select good keywords and competitor analysis is a key stage in website marketing and with the help of online services like AdWords, you can discover the most popular searches used by people who want to purchase your products or services.

Keyword suggestion tools do not give you the whole picture, but they can provide you with some key insights.

You need to take in to account, traffic monthly volume the keyword will generate and advertiser popularity when trying to find the best and most searched words or phrases that will help you reach the top of the search engines.

Do keyword research with the free AdWords tool on Google or use propriety software or keyword finder services to get suggestions from Meta data from a search engine.

Dont just focus on keywords, think about researching the whole topic your webpage is about, choosing the best keyphrases is part of an SEO experts job, but if you follow the simple guidance below you will get an idea of how to improve your keyword stratergy.

You need to work out what keywords are the rights one’s to target and also how many keywords you should be targeting per page.

Here’s four questions you should be asking yourself when doing keyword research:

Once you have determined what phrases you are targeting you then need to include them in the content of your website.

The whole point of this is to include these keywords in to the copy of your pages naturally, so it satisfies the customers search objectives and satisfies Googles algorithm.

It’s not so important to use these exact keywords in the site, but to help Google understand what your page is about so that when people search for content related to your site they find it in the search results, so these phrases can include synonyms and related terms that describe the same concept.

Keywords are still important and Google does use them to rank websites, but don’t focus exclusively on keywords as this is just one of many factors that are used to determine what site is placed on top of the search results for those keywords.

So think about creating content that is broadly associated with the keywords, but primarily the quality of the content will determine if you get to the top of Google, based on other factors such as external links that provide trust and relevancy signals and internal link architecture.

You still need to optimise your site for keywords but it’s not the only thing you need to do to get good rankings, without optimising your site you will end up ranking highly for the keywords you have targeted. It’s a thin line between optimising or over optimising, use the keyword appropriately but don’t use it too many times and also use related terms and phrases.

keyword research

Here’s three points you must consider when researching keywords:

  • Where in your page you use keywords.
  • Variation of keywords and semantically related terms.
  • How many times you repeat these keyword in your copy.

Where in your page you use keywords

This can be broken down in to separate points of where to use your keywords on your website to let Google know what your page is about, in order to rank highly for these keywords

Page Title

The page title is arguably the most important palace to include them, interchangeably referred to as the “title tag” or “title element”, it is not something that appears on the actual webpage but in the code of the page.

This is the blue clickable link that appears in the search results of Google when you type in a query on your browser, make sure you place your keywords in the page title!

Its important to note that you will have to augment with this other terms and related phrases such as a business name or related terms to your primary keyword.

The URL

This is the actual web address of the page for example: www.yourdomainname/include-keywords-here/. By adding keywords here, you strengthen the relevancy of the page and do not have to worry about adding additional words.

You cannot use them in you domain so it is sometimes useful to buy a domain that already includes your primary keyword that is descriptive o your business.

H1

The heading that appears at the top of a webpage, usually in a larger typeface to denote its importance, clearly declaring what the page is about.

It’s important that it catches the attention of the browser and appeals to readers, not just search engines.
A good heading will encourage viewers to read further and explore the articles content.

The main content of the page

This should include the keywords, if you are selling products or services your content will naturally include related phrases in to the copy of the page when you are writing.

Don’t over use the keywords and also include synonyms, you can use a thesaurus to find alternative ways to describe the same item that will help you to not over use the same keyword.

Internal navigation

Keywords can be used in websites internal navigation, in either the main menu or the side menu of your webpage.

Adding keywords to the text

Placing the keywords in the text copy or adding them, as links on your page that refer to other pages on your site, is a great way to add keyphrases, improve the user experience and help to promote related content.

Don’t just use the exact keyword every time, use the semantically related phrases that essentially mean the same thing to each engines, such as:- Cheap, low cost, deals, rates).

Including keywords in image names

Another way to squeeze the keywords in to the content is to include them in image alt tags, these appear in the “sorce” code of the page.

Also offer a description of the image to people who are browsing with images disabled.

The meta description

This does not have any SEO benefit but it is important as the words included in this element can appear in the search results under the clickable blue title link, including keywords here will result in them being bolded in the results and therefore more noticeable and creating relevancy to the users search.

Meta keywords

I personally don’t include meta keywords as it is no longer relevant to modern search algorithms, it also has the disadvantage of allowing competitors to look at the source code of your site and see what phrases you are targeting, if you right click with your mouse on any webpage and select “view source” you will see the meta keyword tag if it has been included:

It is possible to target a few keywords on the same page but its important to realise that is not viable to target multiple phrases that are not related.

Ideally, you will choose one main keyword and use extra words to also target that are related, such as (buy, cheap, online, London, reviews)

It’s important to take in to account that google does not count plurals of words, and “stems” words, this means amaze amazing and amazed are all reduced to “amaz” when the Google algorithm analyses the webpage.

Another thing to realise is that “stop words” such as (an, is, it, on, to etc.) also never used to count, but can influence the results now.

You can also include variations of these keyphrases in the page as outlined below.

  • Page Title: Keyword Research for Companies: get help with Keyword Selection.
  • H1 Tag:Competitive Keyword Research.
  • Body Content: Are you looking for a SEO Keyword Search Specialist in the UK.
  • Image Tag: keyword-research-and-analysis.
  • Meta Description: If you are looking for help with how to do keyword research in the United Kingdom, I can help.

This is the best way to include related terms in your webpage without over optimising for the main target phrase “Keyword Research UK”.

By mixing it up a bit and including variations and words and phrases that are commonly used by people searching for researchers in  the UK, you avoid over-optimising your content and also help to improve your relevancy for related keywords that are searched for often.

You don’t have to use the main keyword in all of these places including it in some is going to send relevancy signals to Google, for that search term, in fact it’s not always advisable to do so as this could lead to over optimisation penalties making it more difficult to rank your website for the keyword you are targeting.

Don’t “Stuff”” the keyword in to the page too often, its important that page reads naturally and the keyword is not just inserted in to the page as this can look unprofessional and look spammy to Google.

Because site ranking is not only determined by onsite content but also off-site signals from sites that link to you, even if you get your on-site copy perfect, Its possible to rank in first place in the search results only repeating the keyword a few times, its overall quality of the page that will determine its ranking, this is based on your copywriting skills and the quality of the backlinks pointing to your site.