You may already know about keyword searches, and what tools to use. But there is a lot more ground to cover when it comes to working with this part of SEO. In fact, so much has been written about this, that you may find yourself flooded with ideas and how to interact with optimization cycles. If you are lost or perhaps overwhelmed, don’t panic. There are a few tips and tricks that you can utilize to ensure that you’re working with the best keywords for your business.
It’s important to understand that keyword research is just part of the bigger picture of SEO. Search engine optimization as a whole is something that takes on a lot of different branches. Imagine it to be a tree with several branches bearing fruit. If you do everything correctly, you will find that your branches will all produce and you’ll have a great deal of traffic. Keyword elements help fertilize the tree of SEO, and done right, it can grow your website to all new heights. Done wrong, and you could snuff out the optimization you’re doing and see diminished ROI.
The following tips and tricks are going to help you make sense of keywords research, placement and usage. They factor in what works most often, and filters out what doesn’t work at all. Done properly, as stated above, you’ll find a deluge of traffic is going to follow, simple as that.
More Characters Help Search Results
One of the hardest things to rank for today is that of 3 character acronyms and phrases. Even the popular acronym SEO is hard to rank for. It’s been stated that anything that is less than 4 characters in length will not get indexed very easily. That’s a half truth. You may get indexed, but you won’t be at the top of any search engine, without some serious content marketing skills. Even if you do rise to the top, you won’t be there long because the whole world will fight you for that spot. Any keyword phrase that only has 3 characters is going to cause you a great deal of struggle, so don’t worry about it.
Simple Structures Get Omitted
It’s important that you don’t fall for keyword phrases that involve conjunctions and simple “noise” elements. These include words like, “and”, “it”, or “up”. There’s nothing wrong with having keyword phrases that are 3 words in length or perhaps 4 or 5 words, but if you have a 2-word keyword set and one of those words is “and, “or”, and even “it”, you’re going to have a hard time. In fact, many search engines don’t pick that up as a first sweep, so Google may leave your site out in the cold if you’re trying to rank for something with those words. There are exceptions, for instance, a name brand could get indexed and ranked for higher within that framework, but it’s not likely without strong branding and recognition.
Numbers Work Sometimes (But Not Always)
An overused tip that you are going to see people talk about is in regards to numbered titles. Things like, “10 tips”, or “top 5”, even odd numbers and placements seem to be something that gets recommended. There’s nothing wrong with using numbers in titles and within content marketing. However, specific number sets should be coupled with additional phrases, even if you want to rank for items like a patent. Patent numbers alone can’t rank very well, which means you’ll need to have 2 or 3 words that come with the conjunction of that number. A number that has 3 to 5 digits and the word “patent” alongside it, will definitely rank higher than just throwing out the number and not clarifying what it is or which them you’re going for. There’s a fine line here, so be careful.
Symbols Don’t Rank Like They Used To
There was a time when you could rank symbols alongside a keyword. In fact, many people tried and succeeded to stuff keywords with hyphens, at signs, and more. These don’t work, and now break up the indexing cycle. So if you were to add an asterisk to one of your keywords and you repeat it often throughout content, you will not get indexed like you’d hoped. You would have to do a lot more to make that happen, and unfortunately, it’s not easy to stay on top if you’re doing that. These are sometimes referred to as wildcard offerings, which don’t work at all.
Test Multiple Variations of Content Across Different Domains
To dominate with keyword usage, write more content. Don’t spin. Don’t copy. Instead, write content with two varying keyword elements, and then post them across different domains. For every 1 piece of content marketing that you create with a keyword phrase, create a second option, and place them at odds against each other. Then monitor which one works better. You may be surprised to know that most marketers don’t do this. Many marketers just work on 1 keyword list, and that’s it. Use that list as a stepping stone and create a secondary list that competes against your main list. Done right, you’ll have a competition between the keywords you find, and will find which works best for your ROI. You’ll be surprised by how well this can help you identify a master list of keywords that work best for your business, even if you’re told otherwise.
Clearly Define All Meta Data (On Page SEO Keywords)
There are two camps in SEO. One that says header, title, and other keywords don’t matter, and those that say that they still matter. You could try either option and get results, but wouldn’t you want to be safe than sorry? If that’s the case, then you’ll want to clearly define all of your on-page SEO placements. Use keywords in your title, your metadata, in tags, and throughout your page. Use bread crumbs, navigation, comments and more to highlight keywords that you want to rank for, and you will no doubt garner attention overall.
Do Not Just Use One Search Engine As Your Guide
It’s tempting to just utilize Google Analytics and call it a day. Many people do this. But even though Google dominates the majority of searches, they don’t dominate 100% of them. This may be an unpopular tip, but it’s one that could garner you a great deal of success. You could spend a lot of time working on Google’s search engine rankings, ignoring Bing and others. But what if you could rank #1 for Bing search? What if you were ranked #1 on other search engines? You may not get the same traffic as if you were ranked #1 in Google, but your toiling towards one end, could leave you out of the other. With that in mind, make sure that you don’t put all of your SEO in one basket, mix it up, and see how far you can go with all of the search engines. If you rank #1 in anything other than Google, look at the raw numbers, you may be surprised by the success that you get with that.
Don’t Use Redundant Keywords Too Often
Here is a trick of the trade that you may not know about. It’s in regards to coupling keyword phrasing based on solitary keyword placements. For instance, if you want to rank for the word “cat”, don’t over saturate your content and keywords with variations of “cat”. For instance, “Cat collar” isn’t going to rank because you use it in conjunction with the primary keyword over and over again. Redundant keyword placements are not going to help you rank. You’re going to want to limit your usage of the secondary term and try to find longer tail solutions. You can have a primary, but make sure that your secondary and other keywords are longer than the initial option. Balancing short and long tail keyword placements will garner more traffic in the long run, simple as that.
Name All Image Files Properly
Millions of images on the internet are not named properly. Even SEO professionals miss the mark here. You will find that if your images aren’t named, but rather have numbers, you’re losing out on the power of keyword placement. You should not have images that have long strings of numbers, and they shouldn’t look like they are placed in your site by a robot. You want to ensure that your keywords are in the images that you use. This is tedious, no doubt, but the SEO benefits of doing this is going to help you gain serious momentum. Have an SEO keyword list, and use the words on every image you go through, cycling through the best options to see which returns the best ROI.
Be Specific About Whom You’re Targeting
It’s easy to look into keywords and just pick options that are popular or have high or medium competition. That’s the wrong way to go about things. Instead of paying attention to the competitive edge or monthly search count, focus on specific customer targeting. Think like the consumer, think like the person that is going to be searching for your items. If you can do this, your keyword list is going to change up a lot. You may be investing in keywords that have very low competition and low global monthly searches. But think of things in terms of targeting. Let’s say you’re #1 for a low competition keyword that only gets 1,000 hits a month. But you’re #1 and you get 900 of those hits. Out of those 900 hits, what if 500 people buy what you’re selling. Wouldn’t that be worth it? Opposed to getting 100,000 hits, and only 10 people buying, which is a real stat to consider when facing off against SEO competition.
Update Your List Often
Marketers fail to capitalize on what works with their keywords. The reason why many fail is because they don’t update their list often. Once you find a list of keywords that you want to use, work with them for at least 30 days, but change them up every month. In 30 days, assuming you’re publishing content of at least 1 page a day, you’ll have 30 pages of content with multiple keyword mentions. Change that up for month #2, and go forward across 12 months. At the end of 12 months, you’ll have amassed a keyword collection that only gets tighter and tighter in terms of focus. By month 12, your keyword list will have changed to only the most effective keywords for your industry, and by year #2 of SEO, you’ll have the #1 spot across all the keywords on your list, guaranteed.
Delete Words That Don’t Return Hits
For all the hard work that you’ll do selecting keywords, make sure that you also look at the metrics. Focus on analytics, and see whether or not your content is pulling people from specific keyword lists. If they are not, then it’s time to delete and change them. Check in often, so that you’re making subtle changes and tweaks to your content. If you don’t do this, your content may sit around the internet, without readership, and slowly plunge into the abyss of the greater web. There’s nothing worse than working hard on content, and seeing it fall away because your keywords don’t have impact. Delete keywords that don’t work, and always look at various analytics.
At this point, with the tips and tricks mentioned above, you should have a powerhouse strategy for keyword placements. If you remember nothing else, remember that keyword and SEO management is a living, breathing thing. There is no “set” standard to get to the top of rankings. You have to work through a cycle of options, check to see if they work, and then adjust your strategy as you move along in the years of running your website. Done right, you can conquer any industry, but it takes time. That is one thing you can’t run away from when it comes to SEO, time.
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