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How do I know which keywords to optimize for? #AskAlison
August 25, 2020

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a challenging, often mysterious, but necessary part of effective digital marketing. When it comes to doing SEO right, keyword research is an essential step. Keyword research involves researching keywords to target to drive traffic to your website. 

While it may be easy enough to perform keyword research with the help of tools like SEMrush, Moz, or Google Search Console, it’s not enough to dig up some keywords, plug them into your website, and expect the traffic to start flowing. You’ve got to find the optimal keywords to target the right audience. Since every brand is different, finding the most suitable keywords can be a challenge.

Why bother with keyword optimization?

Let’s start with the basics. Why even bother with keyword optimization? Is the challenge of finding the best keywords even worth it?

If you’ve struggled with keyword research before, you’re not alone. WordStream found that search marketers voted keyword research as the second most “annoying/time-consuming/challenging aspects of search marketing” (only second to link building, if you were wondering). 

Yet, abandoning the task altogether is not a good idea. Keyword research may be one of the most challenging aspects of SEO, but it is also one of the most important. Here are just a few of the benefits of keyword research:

  • Drive high-quality traffic to your website: This one’s a no-brainer. There are many ways to drive traffic to your site, but if you want qualified traffic that is more likely to convert into a customer, you’ll want to target the right keywords. That, of course, takes keyword research.
  • Get an idea of your website’s traffic potential: Using tools like SEMrush, Moz, or Google Search Console to see the size of your target market will give you an idea of the breadth of the market you’re trying to reach.
  • Analyze the wants and needs of your target user: By getting a feel for what your target audience is searching for, you’ll know how to best market your brand to their wants and needs.

How do I know which keywords to optimize for?

When picking keywords to use in your SEO efforts, there are a number of factors you should look for:

  • Popularity: How many hits does the keyword get? The more clicks a keyword gets, the more traffic you could potentially drive to your site. It’s a double-edged sword though: these high-traffic keywords only do you any good if you rank high for them, and they are, of course, more competitive than low-traffic keywords. If you have a young website, you’re better off targeting lower-traffic, niche, location-focused keywords.
  • Relevance: You and search engine users alike only want to visit your website if your offerings match their needs. Targeting keywords that accurately describe your product or services is an excellent way to attract the right visitors. 
  • Intent: There are three kinds of keyword intents: navigational, informational, and transactional. If you are trying to educate, you’ll want to target informational keywords. If you want to sell, you’ll want to target transactional keywords.

Case study: “interior design” vs. “interior designer”

Still don’t believe that keyword optimization matters? Here’s a real-life example of a small keyword change making a big difference.

Here at Cromie Creative Consultants, we had a client who was an interior designer. She had her keyword set up as “interior design,” but wasn’t seeing the traction she had hoped for. We recommended switching to “interior designer.” The switch made sense because her target audience was people looking for interior designers, not people looking for general information on interior design. After she made the switch, she saw a boost in the number of keywords she was getting found by.

As a final note, remember: keyword optimization is not a one-and-done task! Even if you find the perfect keyword or keywords and incorporate them well into your website, your job’s not over. There are always new keyword opportunities to jump on. That means, if you’re looking to get seen and expand your reach, you should be regularly doing keyword research.

Want optimized content, but still not sure which keywords to optimize for?

We can help! Start by scheduling a discovery call. We’ll walk through where you need help and how we can grow your business and reach your sales goals. We might even have some fun in the process!

About the Author
<a href="https://cromiecreativeconsultants.com/author/alisonalisoncromie-com/" target="_self">Alison Cromie</a>

Alison Cromie

Alison is the owner of Cromie Creative Consultants and loves to help educate business owners on websites, search engine optimization, and creative storytelling.

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