- Business and Employment
Keyword Help: The Basics
Keywords, the right ones, strategically placed can go a long way in helping you achieve success online. Some may malign keywords, saying they merely want to write about their passions, their interest, or something similar. This is wonderful of course, but by using a few keywords you can assure you get an audience for all of that great content, those wonderful services, or outstanding products.
If you are a complete novice, the keyword help you find here can get you started. This material is not intended for those who already have a good grasp of the concepts surrounding keywords as it is merely an introduction.
What Are Keywords?
For a true beginner looking for keyword help, a definition of sorts is in order. In the most simple terms, a keyword merely describes the primary topic you are writing about. If you write a Squidoo lens about making soy candles, then soy candles would likely be one of your keyword phrases.
You can choose one keyword or phrase for each page of content you write. If you like, you can even target two or three keywords per page, but each page or article will have it's own keywords.
If I write about how to make vegetable soup, I might select "homemade vegetable soup" and "best vegetable soup recipe" or perhaps "old fashioned vegetable soup" and "easy vegetable soup recipe" for keywords on that page. Of course, the phrase "how to make vegetable soup" might also be a keyword phrase I want to target. I would do some research to determine which ones people search for most often and which have the most competition.
Why Use Keywords?
Generally speaking, a keyword can help search engines categorize your site and determine when to have it show up in search results. Certainly, all of the content on your lens or webpage helps with this but keywords play a big role. If someone searches for "how to cure acne", my "Homemade Vegetable Soup" lens will not show up. However, if they search on "How to Make Vegetable Soup" then my lens should appear somewhere in the search, especially if I've included that phrase in my keywords on my lens and in links pointing back to it.
Sometimes it pays to let keywords determine what we write about online. As you research keywords you may find some that have a high payout per click. Meaning that if someone clicks on that keyword, you may make more money. Or perhaps you choose to write about topics for which there are many searches but little competition.
However for most of us, it makes more sense to write about our niche or what we simply wish to write about; thereby using keywords to help us decide how to "carve up" our writing or determine how to phrase things so that the people we want to find our work, can find it.
As an example: I may specialize in language development. If I do keyword research it will indicate what specific areas of interest exist within this broader topic. It may show me that topics such as:
- preschool language development
- toddler language development
- infant language stimulation and
- childhood language development
receive a lot of search volume each month. If I dig deeper, I might find that "language development in early childhood" gets more search volume or less competition than "toddler language development".
With this information, I now know several topics to write about which would be useful to those who come online to do their research. I also know which specific keyword is more likely to capture that audience. In this last case, I would probably write an article about "language development in early childhood" versus giving my lens the title "toddler language development". It hasn't really changed what I write about, but it's helped me decide how to divide up my broader topic and how to get my work noticed by wording things the way searchers will be looking for it.
If I continue my research, I will find additional keyword help, more topics and keywords to guide my writing. I may work my way into language development milestones, bilingual language development, and so forth a bit later.
How to Choose Keywords
Choosing keywords can be tricky at times but the following tips should help you get started:Keywords should match the content on the page.Remember there are real people searching for real things and real information. They don't want to come upon a page that is unrelated to what they are looking for online.In most cases, you'll want your keywords or phrases to be specific.Thus, you also want your content to be very specific. The more specific your keywords, then the more likely the people who land on your page will be satisfied.If someone searches on Homemade Vegetable Soup, they don't want chicken noodle soup or homemade vegetable casseroles. If they land on my "Homemade Vegetable Soup" page they will get satisfaction, the information they want, or the products they want to buy. In addition, they won't have to wade through a great deal of information they aren't interested in reading in order to find what they want.A more specific keyword is also likely to be less competitive. For instance, a keyword like "digital camera" may show 5,000,000 searches monthly but the competition is fierce. A search on this keyword may return over 275,000,000 pages of results. It would be tough to show up on the first few pages of results no matter how good your content. Perhaps a more specific keyword such as "low light digital camera", "tough digital camera", or even the name of a specific camera model might be more successful as your page will be likely to show up on one of the first few pages of a search.Consider search volumeUsing the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool you can easily see how many searches are performed using the keyword you are considering. If there are very few or no searches using that term, then it's probably not a good choice as a keyword. The topic may be fine, but you'll want to find a keyword that people search for online. At this point you want to find synonyms or closely related topics. Browsing through the results of your keyword search results can help with this.For instance, perhaps I want to write about normal language development in children, but I see that there is really no search volume for this. Perhaps I would choose to use keywords like language development milestones instead since it does get several hundred searches each month. Certainly it would be easy enough to weave this into my original topic.Consider competitionOf course identifying a keyword that receives a lot of search volume each month is important, but as noted above if competition is too steep you will have an easier time gaining traffic if you make use of keywords with a bit less search volume and much less competition. When there are hundreds of thousands of pages devoted to a particular topic, it may take you more than a year (or perhaps never) to work your page up to the first few in search results.
How to Research Keywords
If you are looking for keyword help, the first place to start is with some of the free programs that are available to you. There are several options, but Google provides some of the most readily accessible tools.
I have used Google Wonder Wheel at times to merely find more keywords when I'm stuck. Wonder Wheel won't show me search volume but it will provide a number of related keywords for each one I submit.
Let's say that I want to write about wainscoting but I'm not sure what keywords to use or exactly where I want to go with the topic. In this instance, Wonder Wheel can really help.
1. I simply go to the Google main search page.
2. Enter my topic and search.
3. Once I get the search results, look to the left hand column. Click on More Search Tools, and then Wonder Wheel.
It provides a diagram with related terms, more specific keyword phrases that are frequently sought online. In this case, "wainscoting" resulted in "beadboard wainscoting", "wainscoting ideas", "panel wainscoting", "bathroom wainscoting", and several others. If I want more, I simply click on one of these and find additional keywords and phrases.
As indicated above, Wonder Wheel won't tell me search volume specifically, but it will show search results for the keyword or phrase I used. Those search results will give me an idea of the competition for that term. The number of items returned for the search shows directly under the search box and the specific pages returned show in the column to the right of the Wonder Wheel. You can catch a glimpse of Wonder Wheel below in a screen shot and video.
If I want to learn more about the monthly search volume, paid ad competition for the term, or the CPC (cost per click), then I would refer to Google AdWords Keyword Tool. You can sign up for a free account and get full functionality.
Google's Keyword Tool was recently updated although the old tool is still available. In the new tool you can look at overall search volume, mobile search volume, competition, cost per click data, and more. The tool also allows you to sort your keyword results easily. For instance, you can find keywords with less competition versus those with more competition. You can see an example in the screen shots and video provided below.
Google Wonder Wheel
A Look at Wonder Wheel in Use
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
A Look at the Latest Version of the Google Keyword Tool
Once I Find Keywords What Do I Do With Them?
So now you know in the most basic terms what keywords are and how to choose them, but now what do you do with them? Keywords are good to use in the URL of the page you create. They are also good to use in the title of the page, perhaps some of the subtitles, and even sprinkled throughout the content of that page. You don't want to over do it or search engines will assume you are using "keyword stuffing", which can get you ignored altogether.
You want your content to sound natural. Afterall, you want your writing to be useful or enjoyable for readers more than anything. The keywords should aid them in finding your content, not detract from it's usefulness or appeal.
I also use these keywords when I write content elsewhere and link back to my original page. For instance, let's say I create a lens about "Best Fantasy Books for Children" and use that phrase as a keyword phrase. Then let's say I later write a blog or an article elsewhere about the book "Fog Magic". In that blog or article, I will include something like "Fog Magic is considered by some as one of the best fantasy books for children written prior to 1965." I would then make "best fantasy books for children" my link back to my original lens. Search engines will recognize your lens for some authority related to that very topic and visitors who read that blog or article will end up on a page that they are interested in reading if they choose to click on that link.
Get More Keyword Help
More Pages For Keyword Help and Other Internet Marketing Lessons
- Search Engine Guide
Find more keyword research tools.
- Self Starters Weekly Tips
More detail about choosing keywords.
- Advanced Keyword Research
More advanced information about keyword research.
- Keyword Strategies: The Long Tail
All about long tail or very specific keywords.
- Google Keyword Research Tips
More details about using the Google Keyword Tool.
- Important Internet Marketing Lessons
Three critical lessons for those new to working online.
- Increase AdSense Revenue
Tips beginners need to get more AdSense Revenue share.
- Blog Promotion: The Basics
Get an overview of how to successfully promote your blog online.