I hear a lot of different opinions on keywords and how relevant they are. I even had someone tell me that Google says there is not published keyword density and if Google says it we know it’s the truth. While it is true there is no published keyword density, the density of the keyword presence is still relevant and needs to be considered.
Gone are the days of just adding words to a page with no consideration of what the user intended to get in results. And we now also have to understand what Google thinks a word is about rather than what the word actually. So it has become a much larger job than just ranking terms.
I suppose if I think about Keywords and how they are now, traffic for traffic sake is useless now. The days of the comment is just a numbers game although still somewhat true, is fraught with a lot of pitfalls. I can think of numerous terms that if I ranked on them would garner me traffic but would not add one cent to my bottom line and that is really the name of the game.
ROI is something that has always been used against organic search. And that opinion is because most SEOs talk about Keywords without any acknowledgment of the value of those words and how you intend to convert that traffic. So as we talk through picking keywords, and how best to accomplish that, the intent of the user always has to be considered, or you end up with traffic for traffics’ sake.
Long Tail Keyword and User Intent
Other things to consider, when looking at keywords and with a nod to the evolution of keywords would be the sophistication of the end-user. What I mean is as search has evolved, end-users have learned how to better quantify their results. So they understand the more keywords they add to the root the more targeted the result will be to answer what they are looking for.
Considering the long-tail search is essential because the longer the tail the more unique the search but also the more likely someone will be to buy.
One essential thing in selecting keywords it to understand how many people are searching for the word. When you select a word that no one searches for, it is a pointless exercise in my opinion.
Google of course provides a baseline to help guide this and with the Chrome plugin of Keywords Everywhere. It is designed to help you select the right keyword. The cost is cheap at a penny a search and it is well worth every dime you spend on it.
Some of the metrics it will cover is how many people search for a word. This is a great delimiter to help determine success. If the number is small, under a hundred, that word may not be a very effective keyword in driving sales. Conversely, a high number may equally be limited in the sense that it is so broad, there maybe is not a lot of competition on the word because it may not drive sales. By not being able to discern user intent, it may make a highly trafficked key term a bad key term.
Keywords everywhere also give the cost-per-click information. Although we are working with organic SEO, paid search terms are useful gauges of the value of the term. So when I review how worth a term is, if the word has low search volume but a $15 PPC bid, I am going to look to optimize for that word.
This tool is invaluable to selecting the right keywords for your site. But today, I had someone ask me where to start to find a keyword and the answer is simple. Google your competitors, find the biggest one, and then use a tool like SEMRush. This will help you find all the keywords associated with your business if you can’t figure them all out without some guidance. So when I put these tools together, I can make an informed decision about my website and how I interact with it. This allows you one set of tools to make the proper decision on how a page should rank.
Another overlooked tactic is often to consider your location. Locations, need to be appended to your search term when a term is deemed local by Google. How you determine how google defines a word is as simple as googling the term and reviewing the results. If there is a map on the page, that means include a location in your keyword for the page. Or decide if the term is for you.
Let’s look at the term Houston Attorney. The thing is with that term, Google returns 3 pages of legal directories with only a few attorneys listed. So, the psychology of this is either, try to be one of the few that are listed. Now the fact that Google lists pages of directories in the SERPs but also has a map is a direct signal for you that the right place to put your effort on that keyword is local SEO. In other words, get listed on the map and forget the organic search. If you get it a bonus, but overall the organic search results are basically irrelevant. I suppose Google is doing this because they know most people put in what type of attorney they need. Business or a personal injury attorney.
I do know some will rebuff this because Google sometimes devalues the use of keywords to help guide organic search. I pity them because they are believing the hype. Or, maybe they have set a course of link acquisition, which is usually against the Google guidelines. Or maybe they just aren’t very good. But if you are careful in your selections, strive to figure out the user intent and understand your competition. The use of Keywords in your text is a vital part of success and leaving them out and having the wrong density is a sure-fire way to have an SEO fail.