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6 Tips for Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Content

Last Updated On April 15, 2019
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Choosing the right keywords for your content is half the battle when it comes to attracting organic traffic to your website. (The other half of the battle is creating killer content!) But don’t be daunted! We’ve divided the task into six easy-to-follow steps.

Ready to begin? Here’s how you can choose the right keywords for your content in six easy steps.

  1. Start with Keyword Research
  2. Think About Search Intent
  3. Plan Your Buyer’s Journey
  4. Analyse The Level of Competition
  5. Think About the Correct Content Format for Your Keyword
  6. Map Each Keyword to a Specific Page on Your Website

Start with Keyword Research

Any keyword-related task starts with one fundamental activity: keyword research. Before we get stuck into the nitty-gritty, let’s have a quick refresher on what we mean by keyword.

What Is a Keyword?

“In terms of SEO, [keywords are] the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines” (Moz).

For those with a sizable marketing budget, it makes sense to commission an SEO agency to carry out your keyword research. SEO professionals do keyword research day in day out and will have bought expensive software licenses to get more technical information. SEMRush, Ahrefs and Majestic are all great tools for conducting keyword research, but they can be expensive. Any agency worth its salt will start each campaign with a dedicated keyword research phase.

For those with smaller budgets, you could use a site such as Upwork to find a freelance SEO specialist. This is cheaper than using an agency, but the quality of work will be varied and you’ll have to put some time into finding and managing a suitable freelancer.

Struggling to find two pennies to rub together or just plain curious about how the whole thing works? You can do your own keyword research by following any reputable online guide. We’ve written a guide on how to do keyword research and analysis with free tools, as have the team over at Moz.

Think about Search Intent

While doing your keyword research, it’s important to think about the search intent behind each query. SEOs sometimes divide keywords into different categories with navigational, informational and transactional being three common examples.

  • A navigational keyword is when a searcher uses Google or another search engine to navigate to a webpage. For example, they might type “Facebook” into Google in order to reach facebook.com.
  • An informational keyword is when a searcher uses Google to find a specific piece of information. They might type “who owns Facebook?” into Google if they’ve somehow never heard of Mark Zuckerberg before.
  • Lastly, a transactional or commercial keyword is one which suggests that the searcher wants to make a purchase. Words like “buy” are strong indicators of commercial intent. For example, a searcher who types “buy gold-plated iPhone X” into Google is pretty clearly thinking about spending too much money on a phone.

Search intent is an important part of keyword research because it enables you to plan your content in such a way that it meets your users’ needs. If we go back to the previous example, our “buy gold-plated iPhone X” searcher most likely doesn’t want to read a blog post at this point! They want to be directed to a product page which includes everything that they need to know about making a purchase, including prices, specs and shipping information.

Screenshot of buy gold plated iphone x on Google

Plan Your Buyer’s Journey

Think about the typical journey that takes a potential customer from hearing about your product to making their first purchase. For many businesses, especially those that sell high-ticket items, most people won’t make a purchase the first time they hear about your website. Instead, they might go through a number of different stages, such as awareness, consideration and decision. In marketing jargon, this is known as the buyer’s journey.

Awareness is when a potential customer realises they have a problem. Potential customers in the awareness stage may not even have a name for their problem — they are just aware that their problem exists. For example, an office worker might experience wrist pain at work — but not necessarily have diagnosed the exact issue.

During the consideration stage, the potential customer starts to give their problem a name and research possible solutions. To stick with our unfortunate office worker, they might see a doctor for their wrist pain and discover that they have RSI.

The final stage is the decision stage. This is when a potential customer takes a long list of possible solutions and decides on a course of action. As marketers, we hope that the customer chooses to buy our product rather than one of our competitor’s products! Our office worker might decide to buy a gel mouse mat and an ergonomic keyword. They’ll also have to decide which brand to choose and where to make the purchase.

When planning content, it’s useful to think about your target reader and their stage in the buyer’s journey. A manufacturer of ergonomic keyboards might decide to write a blog post about RSI that is targeted at potential buyers in the awareness stage. That blog post might end by asking readers to signup for a newsletter which includes special offers aimed at those in the decision phase.

Graphic showing the AIDA Funnel

Analyse the Level of Competition

When doing keyword research, it’s important to pay attention to the competition for your target keyword phrase. The simplest way to analyse the competition for a given keyword is to put your keyword into Google or another search engine and see what comes up.

The first thing to look for is ads. In Google, these are marked with either the “Ad” tag or the “Sponsored” tag. Google will always display paid-for ads above other results, so it’s worth assessing the ad landscape before you commit to creating a big piece of content.

The second thing to look at is the websites that are organically appearing on the first page of Google for your target keyword. Is this page dominated by brands with enormous marketing budgets? If so, it’s unlikely you’ll take the top spot with your very first blog post.

Lastly, take a look at the results themselves. Is the content beatable? In other words, can you create content that the average searcher will find more useful than the content currently in the top spot? Weak content is often short, poorly formatted and lacking in key details. You can claim the top positions by meeting the searcher’s needs more thoroughly than the competition.

Google search result screenshot for buy gold iphone x

Think about the Correct Content Format for Your Keyword

One of the writers at Exposure Ninja recently confessed that she was having trouble getting her blogs to rank for a particular client. To make matters worse, someone else had also written a couple of blogs for the same client’s site and their content had started ranking! The first writer — let’s call her Alex — was distraught.

I promised to take a look for Alex and I soon discovered the problem. While her written content was excellent, as always, she simply hadn’t included enough images in each blog. The client sold clothes and in that particular industry, a picture outranks a thousand words. For searchers trying to learn about fashion, excellently written content without supporting images just doesn’t meet their needs.

This might seem obvious from a distance, but it illustrates the importance of identifying the correct content format for your target keyword. And it goes beyond choosing either text, video or sound. Consider whether your content is best expressed with graphs, lists, tables, charts, maps, infographics, lots of images — or very few. You can use a tool like Buzzsumo to help you identify the best performing content formats in a given industry.

Buzzsumo table for gold iPhone content screenshot

Map Each Keyword to a Specific Page on Your Website

The final step in the process is mapping each target keyword to a specific page on your website. The best way to keep your ideas organised is via a simple content schedule. You can view and copy Exposure’s Ninja’s free content schedule by using this link.

A content schedule is useful for two main reasons:

  1. A content schedule keeps you organised throughout a long campaign
  2. A content schedule can stop you from targeting the same keyword on two different pages on your website

On point two, it’s important to remember that websites don’t rank — web pages do.

In general, it’s a good idea to make sure that your web pages each target different keywords. Usually, you’ll want your products and services pages to target keywords with a lot of commercial intent. Your blog posts, on the other hand, can target informational keywords. Try to avoid targeting the same keyword in two (or more) different places on your website.

Ready to get started? We’ve written a guide to choosing the best keywords for your blogs. If you’re a business owner and you’re unsure what to do next, you might like to request a free marketing review from one of our experts. It’s a no-obligation service that’s available to all businesses.

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