If you hope to be successful online, one of the most important skills to master is how to find keywords for a website. For those just starting to get their feet wet in the online marketing pool, you’ve heard the term “keywords” bandied about repeatedly. Initially, the term can be confusing, or at least it was for me. Today, we’re going to clear up that confusion.
How to Find Keywords for a Website
We’ll start with a clear and simple definition of keywords, including some examples, and discuss why they are so important. We’ll then identify the 4 key characteristics of an effective keyword. Finally, we’ll conclude with tools and techniques for finding effective keywords for your website. Let’s get started, shall we?
What are Keywords for a Website?
Very simply, keywords are the words and phrases that Internet users type into search engines when they want to find information. It all starts with that little search box! Search queries can range from single words to more complex sentences. If we look at possible searches around the topic of this post, we might see examples like the following:
- keyword research
- What are keywords?
- What is a keyword?
- How to do keyword research
- How to find keywords
- How to find keywords for a website
Vast numbers of Internet users find the idea of making money online with a website to be fascinating. Consequently, keywords are an extremely popular topic. This popularity means multiple users conduct all of these searches on a routine basis. How can I state that with certainty? Because the major search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing keep track of all queries and store the queries in searchable databases.
Why Are Keywords Important?
I can’t resist answering that question by posing another question. If you write an article and publish it on your website, do you want someone to read it? Of course, you do, right? Keywords are critical because they draw readers to your website. You can write an epic article with fabulously helpful content, but if that article doesn’t contain any keywords that users are searching for, no one will ever find it! OK, maybe a few Facebook friends or other social media followers, but your organic traffic will be non-existent.
I suspect we can all safely agree; that’s not the result we’re striving to achieve. When Internet users type their queries into a Google search box, we all want our article to stand out prominently in the SERPs (search engine results pages). The ultimate goal is page 1 and position 1 because the lion’s share of traffic will click on the top ranking SERP results.
Page 1 ranking can only occur if we craft our posts around effective keywords. Naturally, there are additional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques we must apply, but effective keywords are an essential element of success.
4 Key Characteristics of an Effective Keyword
Every page and post on a website will incorporate one main keyword. Your focal keyword should appear in the title of your blog, somewhere within the first 140 characters you write, and perhaps once more at the very end of your post. That’s sufficient and including this targeted phrase any more than that is not desirable. An effective keyword choice will always have all four of the following attributes.
1 – Relevance
The targeted keyword must be highly relevant to both the specific post you are currently writing and your niche, in general. Remember, readers are searching for answers to their questions. If your article promises answers but then doesn’t really deliver, visitors will leave your website immediately. It’s possible to tease readers with a keyword, and your traffic may increase dramatically. But if they don’t stay to read the article, browse your site and consider the products you’re promoting, what’s the point?
You will tailor your site, as a whole, to the needs of a targeted group of people. All keywords used should be consistent with the interests of this market. The idea is to draw people in by meeting their needs for information. If visitors to your site find the answers they are seeking, they will return. It’s really just as simple as that!
2 – Low Competition
Small niche website owners, like myself, search for keywords that have a very low competition rate. I prefer a keyword where there are less than 100 direct competitors already targeting that keyword. Low competition makes it much easier to rank for that keyword. Invariably, I will select a long tail keyword as the focus of my blog post. A long tail keyword is a phrase that contains 4 or more words. In general, long tail keywords are more specific in nature and will typically have far less competition.
What else should you consider?
Even if the volume of competition is low, you will probably want to check out who the competition is for the phrase you have chosen. Before I make my final selection and write a blog post, I always perform a Google search. If Page 1 of the SERPs is populated by large authority sites like Forbes, I will probably go back to the drawing board. It’s highly unlikely that a niche site will ever outrank an authority site. But if the first few results for the keyword are blogs like my own, I’m happy.
3 – Monthly Traffic (Searches)
This one is fairly obvious, but we’ll cover all the bases. We want a keyword that attracts some traffic every month. I look for at least 50 searches per month. Additionally, I want to see monthly traffic that is more than the number of competing sites. This type of search term is often referred to as low-hanging fruit because it is easier to get your page ranked in the search engines. You will not see a lot of traffic for each post, but if you publish frequently, the cumulative traffic will add up nicely.
4 – A Grammatically Correct Phrase
We’ll look at the results of a keyword search in a moment. You will then understand why I include this trait. Searchers often take shortcuts when typing queries into search engines. As a result, many queries in the database will not make grammatical sense. When composing your blog article, you will be including your exact keyword in your text. Obviously, a phrase with poor grammar is not going to impress either your readers or Google with the quality of your article.
So, How Do We Find These Keyword Gems?
Let’s start with the first attribute on our list, relevance. I think of this as the cornerstone or pillar attribute from which everything else will flow. Our search will begin broadly with a general topic that is intrinsic to our chosen niche. As an example, my niche is comprised of individuals who are interested in making money online.
They are at or near retirement age and are exploring options for supplementing retirement income. Secondarily, they may be seeking something of substance to occupy a portion of their time and ensure they remain mentally active. What better path than the Internet? This goal of earning money online is definitely achievable. Realistically, it can’t be achieved without a website. Hence, my site is devoted to topics such as making money with affiliate marketing, building a website, and developing that new website.
How I Find Relevant Niche Topics
These steps will work for any chosen niche. First, check out your competition. Isn’t that what any new business owner does? You wouldn’t open a brick and mortar store without visiting similar stores in the same locale. Similarly, if you want to develop a website in a chosen field, you need to browse competing websites to get a sense of their content.
There are also forums on the Internet devoted to the topic of your choice. I find Quora to be an invaluable question and answer site that is essentially a global forum. Sites like e-how can be very enlightening. Additionally, I use Google Trends and subscribe to Google Alerts to get a sense of new products and issues on the horizon. I follow established, award-winning blogs like ProBlogger and SmartBlogger and happily take advantage of all of the free tips and resources they share. In short, there is no shortage of inspiration.
I also derive a wealth of information from the online community called Wealthy Affiliate (pun intended ) that I participate in as a premium member. I joined Wealthy Affiliate with a free Starter Membership, as most folks do, and then went on to upgrade my membership because I knew that building a website and making money online was the right direction for me. My Getting Started Online page will give you more information about this free learning opportunity. Or, you can click the blue button now.
So, based on my knowledge of my niche, I’m comfortable that keywords and keyword research are relevant topics. But they’re also very comprehensive, and I know that with the enormous number of websites in the make money online arena that the competition for these terms will be intense. I have to narrow my focus, and that’s when I use a keyword search tool to accomplish some brainstorming.
Keyword Search Tools
In a nutshell, a keyword that contains all 4 of the characteristics above will serve us well. We’re on a mission to find some gold nuggets. There are many search tools, both free and premium, to choose from. You can search in Google to quickly find an extensive list.
Jaaxy is my tool of choice. Jaaxy is an incredibly powerful tool and represents one of the best niche keyword tools on the market. This research tool collects data from the three major engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and displays the results in a simplified manner. So that’s what I’m going to use to show you some search results and discuss the relative merits of keywords we will uncover through this process. Maybe you can use this tool to convert some gold nuggets into a profit-making blog.
My starting Point
I’m going to begin with my broad subject of interest – keywords for a website. I’ve entered this into Jaaxy’s search box as a seed term knowing that I will see multiple variations and similar terms. This represents a long tail search term. Here is a screenshot of my results (with the most relevant data). The full list was far more extensive, but this is sufficient for our discussion.
The column labeled keyword represents actual search terms that Internet users type into search engine text boxes. The two columns I’m principally interested in are the column labeled Avg and the column labeled QSR.
Avg is the average monthly traffic for this search term or, the average number of times per month the keyword was typed into a Search Engine.
QSR stands for Quoted Search Results which is the number of competing websites ranked in Google for this exact word.
I tend to ignore the column labeled Traffic. In theory, this is the estimated number of visits you could expect to see if your site was ranked on Google page 1. But this is an assumption. I prefer to use true search engine data.
The KQI – Keyword Quality Indicator – Gives us a quick visual image of which terms might be good choices and also those we probably want to pass on.
Let’s Analyze These Choices Based on Our 4 Criteria
1 – Relevance
All terms meet this criterion.
2 – Low Competition
The first term, keywords for a website, fails this test because the competition is too high. It would be too difficult to rank for. All of the others have low competition.
3 – Monthly Traffic (Searches)
The term “finding keywords for a website” is slightly below but all other terms meet our criteria of at least 50 monthly searches.
4 – A Grammatically Correct Phrase
Several of these terms fail this 4th test. For example, “find best keywords for a website” would need a “the” inserted between find and best to be grammatically correct.
My Pick From the List
While several choices are acceptable, here is why I feel the best choice on this list is “how to find keywords for a website”:
- It meets all 4 criteria
- It receives the largest number of searches per month
- Numerous studies have shown “how to” to be a power word. It seems most of us cannot resist “how to” articles.
Notice that the term “find keywords for a website” is embedded within our final choice. Therefore, anyone searching on that term would see our page in their search results.
Do you have a keyword search you’d love to try? Why not click the search button for Jaaxy below. You can take advantage of 30 free keyword searches.
I sincerely hope this post on how to find more effective keywords has shed some light on this phenomenally important topic. My advice is to research your niche thoroughly, find a major subject area that your niche members are keenly interested in, invest some effort in honing your keyword, and then let the words flow. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun with it!
Please Join the Conversation
I’m truly interested in any and all questions you have on this subject. If you ask your question in the comment section below, I promise to respond. I would also love to read comments about any experiences you may have with keyword research.
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To your success!