Keyword research is the bedrock of any successful search engine optimisation strategy.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to improving your ability to get found in search results, the opposite is true.
Search engines are primarily interested in the written content of your website, and they are only getting more sophisticated in their ability to interpret and index the written word.
Google, having introduced the Hummingbird algorithm (a way of better assessing the meaning behind your words and content) have moved on to develop RankBrain, accelerating this work through machine-learning.
What does this mean for websites and SEO? Today, we need to think about optimising for topics, not just for keywords. We still want to know which keywords are popular, and to consider optimising for these, but we now need to better identify the wider variety of ways that users construct their search queries.
If you want your website to rank when people look for the products, services or information you offer, use the words they use.
It sounds obvious, yet this is the most common mistake I see websites making:
– They use in-house terminology that no-one outside of the business uses.
– Or they use industry jargon to communicate with users who don’t understand that jargon (a common issue for business-to-consumer websites).
– Or they over-use one single keyword or phrase and ignore the many different words and ways people search.
The solution is two-fold. Thoroughly research the keyword phrases your customers are using, and then map those to individual pages on your website (creating new pages where they don’t exist).
I’m simplifying a hugely important activity here, and it needs time and careful attention to get this right. But done well this activity is the absolute bedrock of SEO success.
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