The learning curve blog

Helpful advice for online course creators, businesses, and entrepreneurs

Keywords 101

by | Jun 11, 2019 | Marketing

You may not think keywords influence your business, but the reality is they make your online business. To gain traffic to your site and sell your online courses, it is necessary to understand these powerful bite-sized bits that should be sprinkled throughout content. Let’s start at a beginner level for those who do not understand keywords in relation to marketing.

Google Keyword Search

What are Keywords?

Keywords are ideas or topics that define a piece of content. Keywords can be a string of phrases that an individual (your target audience) would be searching for on a search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

There are two types of keywords:

  • Long-tail keywords (primary): A longer phrase describing your content. For example, “marketing agency in (location).”
  • Short-tail keywords (secondary): One or two words describing your piece of content. For example, “marketing strategy” is a short-tail keyword.

NOTE: Long-tail keywords are better for your overall marketing strategy because of the decrease in competition. The more specific you can be, the better the audience and relevancy of content to them.

Where You Can Find Keywords

  • Websites: Keywords can be found in meta descriptions, ALT text attributes, H1 (Header Text), title tags, URLs and in the content copy.
  • Blogs: Blogs are written with keywords in mind. Content should be relevant to the target audience and what they are searching for.
    • Tip: If you’ve got old content on your website, like blogs – update it. A simple update could increase organic traffic 402% month-over-month, according to SnapApp.
  • Social Media: Keywords should be used in social media copy & advertisements, as well as any video/ picture captions.
    • Utilizing keywords in social media is called off-page SEO. Using social media in your content strategy can help you. Eighty-one percent of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as six hours per week invested in social media, according to SnapApp.
    • Hashtag Research: If you are using hashtags on social media, you should use related, local, event, holiday and branded hashtags. You can use Google Trends to execute keyword research, which will also show related hashtags.
      • For example, #lipgloss was the primary keyword, the related keyword is #lipbalm
      • Also, you can search Instagram for hashtags as you are posting and keep a running spreadsheet of hashtags you are using the most.

How to Establish Keywords

When establishing keywords, you should think about a few things:

  • Who is your competition and what are they searching for? You want to know this because you will want to rank on those keywords.
  • What is your geographic location? Is it the entire state? Are you a national company? The larger you are, the harder it will be to rank on page one.
  • What will your target audience be searching for?

For example:

  • Personal injury lawyer in Springfield, Massachusetts: This keyword turns up 4,330,000 results
  • Personal injury lawyer Massachusetts: Turns up 56,200,000 results

*If you offer multiple services, you need to have those as keywords such as:

  • Medical malpractice lawyer (location)
  • Nursing home abuse lawyer (location)
  • Types of nursing home abuse

How to Do Keyword Research

You can execute keyword research two ways: by hand or through an online program.

If your keyword list is about ten keywords, no need to pay for a service; however, if you’ve gathered a list of 50+ keywords (because of circumstances such as having multiple locations or service lines) then you will need to enlist the help of a service.

If obtaining keywords by hand:

If you are executing keyword research by hand, develop an excel spreadsheet (that has tabs for each month because you’ll want to do this at the end of every month) with the list of keywords, a rank column, a notes column, and a competition column.

KeywordRank (Page #, and space)NotesCompetition
Keyword #11 #2*space is a blogMurray & Murray SW, Highland Ave & Friends
Keyword #22 #2*space is a blogMurray & Murray SW
Keyword #31 #1
Highland Ave & Friends
Keyword #41 #1

When listing competition, list anyone before you. Only search to the bottom of the second page.

According to a 2014 study from Advanced Web Rankings, more than 67% of all clicks on SERPs go to the top five listings. I recommend looking at page two because ranking on page two is different than not ranking at all. Ranking on page two means there is a bit more work involved such as developing social media advertisements to gain more traffic to that page.

If obtaining keywords online:

Google Ads can be used for a few things: keyword planning, keyword strategy and search engine marketing. With Google Ads, this can be effective when you want to start buying spaces to rank.

  1. Create an account through Google
  2. Add your website URL
  3. Select a budget
  4. Choose a target audience, networks and keywords
  5. Write the copy of the advertisement (utilizing your keywords)

Using Google Ads and search engine marketing can help you see where your keywords are at while also gaining consumer awareness on Google.

There are also free software platforms for keyword research such as Ant Rank, SERPs, and MOZ (30-day free trial). If you do your own Google search, there are many others as well.

Keyword research may seem daunting, but there are simple things you can do to get started. The important thing is to get started. Keywords are the building blocks of your content marketing strategy and without them, you’re building on shaky ground.

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