Keywords and How to Use them on Your Website
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Keywords and How to Use them on Your Website

by
Lucy O'Reilly

We all know that SEO can be a bit of a dark art, what with search engine algorithms changing regularly, the millions being spend on paid search results and so on.

That said, there are some basic steps that all website owners can take to ensure their site is optimised for search engines, to increase the chances of a visitor landing on their site. The first of these is keywords and this is what I will cover in this blogpost.

KEYWORDS
Keywords are words and phrases, used on their own or grouped together and make up the different elements of your website:  web pages, blog posts, image descriptions, etc.  They play a big part in determining whether your site will be found by the search engines. As the search spiders crawl around the internet, they group content by key word, or topic. This means that Google, for example, has hundreds of millions of databases organised by key words, sentences and phrases. This enables Google to find the information that the searcher is looking for much more quickly than if everything was stored in one big, jumbled-up database.

There are two types of keywords - Head keywords, which are often single words or short terms but with a very large search volume. For example '“runners” or “hotel” or “doctor”. It is hard to rank well for these words as they are so generic and can be found in so many places on the internet.

The second type of keywords are longtail keywords. These are descriptive phrases or sentences and are much more target specific. For example “family lawyer in Dun Laoghaire” or "website designer for architects in Dublin”. Given that these keywords are more specific, they are usually easier to rank well for.

If you want to dominate the search results for certain keywords, you’ll have to get really specific in how you use them on your site. Also, most people searching on the internet now know that if they type in a specific search request, they are more likely to get a search result that matches what they are looking for.

HOW TO PLAN YOUR KEYWORDS
When you think about which keywords you want to include on your site, it is important to research what kinds of words people use on their online searches. It is the wording of these searches that you want to match as much as possible in your site content. Think about the words people type into Google in order to find digital content (like what’s on your website!) and that’s basically what keywords are.  

STEPS TO KEYWORD PLANNING:
Before starting anything, think about your mission. Think about questions like: Who are you? What is your website about? What makes you special? Who are you trying to reach? And what promises do you make on your website?

The second step of keyword research is creating a list of your keywords. With your mission in mind, try to get into the heads of your potential buyers. What will these people be looking for? What kind of search terms could they be using while looking for your amazing service or product? Ask yourself these questions and write down as many answers as possible.

If your mission is clear, you will have a pretty clear image of your niche and your USP. These are the terms you want to be found for.

SEARCH INTENT
Today’s SEO strategies should for the most part revolve around answering the questions people have. Whenever someone enters a search query into a search engine, they are on a quest for something. Every type of question needs a specific answer.

When planning your content, always ask yourself these questions. There are four types of intents:

Informational intent: Just like it says, people are trying to find information on a specific topic.

Navigational intent: People want to access a specific website by entering the term in a search engine.

Commercial intent: People want to buy something sometime soon and are doing research before making a purchase.

Transactional intent: People are looking to buy something after doing their commercial intent searches.

Find out which kinds of intent apply to you and try to match these search intents, literally giving people what they want.

TOOLS FOR RESEARCHING THE KEYWORDS YOU NEED TO USE
There are several tools for doing keyword research. The most obvious one is Google itself.

There’s the “autosuggest” feature for generating an almost infinite number of keyword ideas. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using Google for keyword research.

For starters, take notice of the “People also ask” box that shows up for some searches. These are questions that Google knows searchers are asking and want to know the answers to.

And here’s a quick trick: Click on any of these questions, and Google will load more.

It’s important to know what keywords make sense for your website and business because you’re going to use them extensively. Once you’ve got your list of keywords sorted out, the next step is figuring out where to put them on your website. That will have to be in another blog as I have run out of space here!

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