SEO Keywords: A Beginners Guide

The keyword is the heart and soul of any SEO campaign. Without good SEO keyword research and implementation, your time and effort won’t amount to much. 

That’s why it’s so important to understand how keywords work in relation to SEO. We’re going to discuss SEO keywords today, giving you some key insights into these crucial marketing tools. 

We’ll look at how to carry out keyword research, SEO keyword rankings, as well as some examples of what happens when you use bad research. Hopefully, the information below can help guide your SEO campaign toward a better future for your business.

Let’s get started. 

Why Are SEO Keywords so Important?

The first thing to note about keywords is that they sit at the center of Google’s entire process. Without keywords, there wouldn’t be any searches, and there would be no rankings to compete for. 

The keyword is the thing that queues Google into what the user wants. All of the technology in the search engine algorithm is geared toward matching sites with keywords. The better that Google can do this, the more they’ll stand out against the other search engines that exist on the internet. 

It makes sense, then, that keywords are at the center of search engine optimization. 

In our case, though, we’re trying to find the accurate keyword to meet our purposes. That means finding search phrases that align with your customer base, your target demographic, and the kind of products and services that your business provides. 

When you hit the nail on the head with keyword choice, you can establish authority and trust in your niche. Take a look at “How To Build Brand Trust With Google” to learn more about the full process. 

It wouldn’t make much sense to optimize for keywords that have nothing to do with your business. You might get good rankings, but the people you would reach wouldn’t have much interest in your site. 

On the other hand, when we choose the right keyword, we can get visibility to interested customers who will engage with our sites. There’s an art to finding those terms, though, and it can be tricky to figure out. 

The Challenges of Keyword Research

The tough part about finding the right keyword is the fact that there are so many potential keywords to work with. 

When you think about any niche on the internet, you have to imagine that there are a few dominant keywords. Those are the terms that are searched the most, and they naturally offer the most exposure to anyone who ranks for them. 

While it would be great to rank for those terms, trying to do so would be almost pointless. Google rewards sites that have a lot of traffic because they assume that the traffic indicates user value. 

So, the dominant corporations and businesses in your niche will hog the top spots for those terms. A small business trying to compete with Nike, for example, would not succeed barring some miracle. 

Below the dominant keywords, we find an ocean of secondary ones. In a lot of cases, these are slight variations on the dominant terms, so they draw the same demographics. ‘

For example, “buy shoes” might be a dominant keyword, but “buy shoes near me” could offer some potential to a small business. In finding the right terms to use, we have to consider a few things. 

1. Choosing an SEO Keyword Tool

You can’t understand how keywords are doing if you don’t have a way of examining them. The most rudimentary way to see popular keywords is to type a word into the search bar and see what suggestions come up. 

That method doesn’t give you an insight into the popularity of the term, who’s searching it, or any of the alternatives, though. 

Instead, you have to work with some form of technology that gives you keyword insight. Keyword research tools allow you to see how any particular keyword is doing in terms of audience, traffic, competition, and more. 

This way you can know that the keyword you choose reaches your target audience and offers a fair amount of traffic. You’ll also know that people are interested in what you’re doing. 

When you create content in response to a keyword, you do it knowing that there’s a market value to the information you’re putting out there. That’s a massive advantage, considering that you invest time and money into the SEO strategies you use. 

Putting out random content would be an unwise way to spend that time and money. 

2. Selecting for Traffic and Competition

We touched on this point before, but it’s important to specify the optimal way to choose a keyword. 

You want to make sure that the keyword phrase you choose is popular. You also want to make sure that the sites that rank for that term aren’t too far out of your bracket. 

There’s a sort of “Goldilocks Zone” of high traffic and low competition. The trouble is finding terms that meet those characteristics. When you’re weighing the pros and cons, you have to remember that a low-traffic keyword phrase will draw more traffic than a high-traffic, high-competition one. 

If you try for the hail mary and fail, you won’t get any traffic at all. At best, you’ll be on the 8th page where you might get a single click per year. Alternatively, a keyword within your niche that gets a quarter of the traffic will allow you to rank. 

You might see ten new paying customers per month on that piece of content. While you’d like to see a life-changing amount of traffic, you can’t always get there right away. 

3. Expanding Your Niche

Once your SEO campaign is underway and you start to rank well, you can think about expanding your reach. 

Keywords fall into particular niches. Niches sit adjacent to each other and span the entire internet. For example, the clothing niche might nest itself in a thousand other niches that involve clothing. 

Sports clothing and summer clothing probably have a lot of overlap but they’re separate niches. It’s a gradient, so there will always be search phrases that full just outside of your sphere of influence. 

Keyword research tools can queue you into terms that are closely related to you and what you do. You might be wondering why you would try to rank for those terms if you don’t offer products outside of your niche, though. 

In this case, it’s not about getting traffic so that you can sell products. It’s about gaining traffic so that your domain authority and engagement rates increase. 

Domain authority is just the amount of pull you have in a particular niche. It refers to the quality that your site is perceived to have by Google. When you get more traffic, those metrics go up. 

Further, Google rewards you when people engage with your site. So, when one page does well, the rest of your pages do better. Over time, you’ll see a snowball effect on all of your rankings. 

A wide-ranging and successful website allows your primary product pages to rank well and start building business. When those sites succeed, you can start breaking into the more competitive keyword phrases with success. You can start to rise up and compete with the big companies in your niche. 

That leads to more visibility, more success, and you can get to a place where you’re dominating your niche. 

4. Create Content in Response to Keywords

One thing to note is that keyword research should lead you toward very relevant content. Your content shouldn’t just include the keyword phrase you’re optimizing for, it should be about that keyword. 

Almost all keyword phrases imply some sort of question. They suggest what the user is thinking when they make that search. Your goal is to create content that answers that question. 

Additionally, you have to make sure the content is engaging and informative. Google’s algorithm is very good at noticing which sites are useful to users. Even though they don’t have a human vetting all of the sites, their artificial intelligence can pretty well gather what’s good and what isn’t. 

So, keep quality in mind throughout the whole process. It’s very easy to get caught up in the fine details of optimization. When you do that, you can over-optimize. 

That reduces quality, Google knows this, and you lose rankings as a result. Create content that you would enjoy, or would help you if you had the question that you’re answering. Always defer to quality and your rankings will be better than they would otherwise. 

Remember, Google’s goal is to offer the most useful search results to users. Their goal isn’t to offer the best-optimized content to their users. The user doesn’t know what optimization or keyword research is, so they won’t be impressed by all of the optimizations you do. 

Instead, they’ll enjoy the quality content you make. When they engage, your metrics improve, and your rankings follow. 

Want More Insight on Digital Marketing?

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what SEO keywords offer in terms of your digital marketing campaign. There are a lot more elements of digital marketing and SEO that go into a great campaign, though.

We’re here to help you through that process. 

Explore our site for more insight into keyword research, content creation, optimization, and more.


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