Are you utilising blogging as a tool to grow organic traffic to your businesses website? If you answered yes, then pat yourself on the back. An effective content marketing strategy is vital. But how do you know which keywords your business should target?
Natalka Antoniuk has spent years building a content marketing strategy that works for her business, Quadrant2Design. She has seen organic traffic increase (and then decrease when trying something new that didn’t work).
But her trial and error strategy paid off. And now she shares her secret to targeting the right keywords for your business.
In this article, you will learn how to:
What are keywords and why should I target them?
A keyword is a word or phrase with great significance. From an SEO perspective, your keyword should be the search phrase you want a web page to rank for.
If you understand the basic principles of SEO, you will already be optimising your content to rank on Google. But what keywords are you targeting with your content?
Targeting the right keywords for your business is essential. A keyword could be anything from a single word to a lengthy-phrase, question or proposition. It’s always tempting to target the word with the highest search volume.
But that’s not always the right thing to do. Let’s find out why.
Keyword research tools: search volume and search difficulty
The first thing you should do to make sure that you are targeting the right keywords for your business is to find a keyword research tool. Many of these keyword tools are free! My personal favourite is Ubersuggest by Neil Patel, but it’s crucial to find a tool that works for you.
What you are looking for is search volume and search difficulty. Search volume tells you how many times a specific keyword is searched for per month. Search difficulty is a number between 1 and 100 that tells you how much competition there is to rank for that keyword in SERPs.
When conducting keyword research for your business, you are looking for the list of keywords or keyword phrases that have a high search volume and a low search difficulty. That’s when we look at fat heads, chunky middles and long-tail keywords.
Fat heads, chunky middles and long-tails
These are the categories that all keywords fall into depending on their length and specificity. Keywords categorised as ‘Fat Heads’ receive a high volume of searches. They are usually short, vague, one – two-word phrases.
The ‘Chunky Middle’ category is for keywords that receive fewer (but still plenty of) searches per month. They are starting to get longer and more specific.
Which should you target?
You want to target fat heads. I know you do. I want to target fat heads. But don’t. Targeting fat head keywords could cause your website more harm than good. Firstly, fat heads have a lot of competition. This means they are incredibly hard to rank for.
Most of these search terms have the first page dominated by the top ten domains in the world.
Do you know what they are? These are the current top ten domains:
If you think your business can compete with sites like these then target the fat heads. If not, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. I only target long-tail keywords. Yes, they have far fewer monthly search volumes. But someone somewhere is still looking for an answer, and I intend to make our brand the one who delivers it.
I have also found that long-tail keywords have a much lower search difficulty. There is less competition. I have a much better chance of ranking for a long-tail keyword than I would for a fat head. The final reason I only target long-tail keywords is that the query is much more specific than a fat head or chunky middle.
The more specific a query, the easier the search engines find it to understand their intention. Search intention is one of the most important factors when researching the best keywords for your business.
Search engines crawl and index every webpage that they come across. They look at the code to determine what that webpage is about. This is so that they can serve relevant, organic results that will answer the searcher’s query.
To do this, search engines have developed an algorithm that predicts search intent.
There are four types of search intent:
1. Informational intent
A query with informational intent signifies that the person is seeking information. Search engines will serve articles and informative guides, images or videos.
2. Navigational intent
A navigational query indicates the searcher is looking to go to a specific website. The keyword may be a brand or product name.
3. Transactional intent
If the searcher is looking to make a purchase, their query will have transactional intent. Searchers who have the intention to buy typically use keywords that fall into the chunky middle category. They could use transactional verbs and adjectives (cheap, purchase, etc.) alongside product names or categories.
4. Commercial investigation intent
Last but not least, commercial investigation queries signify that the searcher has the intention to buy. However, they have yet to decide which product or service they are going to choose.
What does search intent have to do with keyword targeting?
When conducting keyword research, search intent is the most critical factor. The search engines choose which sites to rank based on which web page will best solve the user’s query. This means you need to produce content that matches the searcher’s intentions.
The chart shown below will help you identify buzzwords that align themselves with one of the four intent categories. If your keyword contains one of these features, make sure your page is targeting the right audience.
There is no point targeting a keyword that clearly shows informational intent with a web page suited for commercial investigation. You will not rank. This is another reason I recommend targeting long-tail keywords. The more specific the search term, the more obvious the search intent.
By targeting the right keywords for your business, you can build landing pages with the perfect user experience. And, if you didn’t know already, user experience is about to get a lot more critical for your SEO strategy.
Google and the other search engines want to deliver a great user experience (UX). To do that they intend to show the most user-friendly pages. Why am I telling you this in a guide to keyword targeting?
Because Google has told us that in the next algorithm update, we can expect an even bigger focus on UX. Targeting the right keywords for your business is a great start. But every web page you build must deliver a better user experience than your competitors.
An excellent way to see if your site is delivering a great UX is to check your bounce rate. The metric shows you what percentage of people leave your site after only visiting one page.
A high bounce rate suggests your web page isn’t delivering the best user experience. All of your keyword research is pointless because your web page won’t rank. Read this article to find out how you can improve your bounce rate and user experience.
Pop quiz before you go:
If you answered those questions with ease, then you’re ready to target the right keywords for your business.
Remember the key learning points from this article. Target long-tail keywords that have fewer monthly searches. It is easier to gage search intent and create the perfect content to rank in SERP’s. Stop keyword stuffing as part of your SEO strategy. Focus on user experience.
Please go through all of the content on your site and make sure it is delivering an excellent user experience. Is the load time okay? Is the text easy to read and engaging? Are there any broken links?
Many things can affect the user experience. That guide to improving your bounce rate that I linked to earlier will help you get started, and you’re good to go. Now you will see your organic traffic soar - this is what content marketing, and keyword targeting, is all about!
About the author
Natalka Antoniuk is an SEO Content Writer at Quadrant2Design in Poole. She uses industry expertise to teach business owners the benefits of face-to-face marketing and encourage them to step up their content marketing strategy.