Today, let’s talk keywords!
Let’s look at keywords the way an SEO looks at keywords. And let’s start from keyword research.
What is the point of keyword research?
Think about this…!
Keyword research allows you to discover the terms that people are using to find things via search engines.
And in the majority of cases, SEOs focus their efforts on non-branded keywords.
Well, if you’re spending tons of money on branding in order to build, and maintain a brand online, why would you care about terms that are non-branded?
Let’s explore this…
Keywords are typically grouped in two ways: branded, and non-branded.
Keywords that include your brand are considered branded terms.
Keywords that do not include your brand are considered non-branded, or ‘generic’ – as it’s commonly known.
Both groups – and bear in mind there could be several categories within each group – but both groups play a part in the way your website is shaped for success in the SERPs.
Branded keywords, for example, presents a quick-win opportunity to own the vast majority of the market share for the branded keywords group.
Generic keywords, on the other hand, presents the opportunity to attract (or convince) an audience that most likely do not have your brand forefront of their minds.
Now, what does this actually mean?
You see, behind keywords, are people. Real, actual people that you’ll want to attract to your website.
When people search with your brand it means they have your brand in mind of what they seek – what they are searching for.
Searching for your brand means there is a high probability that they will click on your website and visit your website from the search results.
Now, there are many, many other variables to consider but generally, a person searching for your brand will be interested in your website.
And, conversely, your website is highly likely to rank for your brand-related keywords.
When people search with generic keywords (keywords that are related to your business) there is less of a chance that they will visit your website because they do not have your brand in mind during their search.
Remember, behind keywords are real people. If someone sought your brand they would search with your brand name.
Searching without your brand name suggests they are open (at the time of their search) to any, and all, brands that have what they seek.
What this means to you is that the competitor to win the searcher’s attention is a lot stronger.
Now, SEO tends to be an acquisition-based channel.
Having the majority of the market share for branded terms is important but considered a low hanging fruit – a quick-win, if you like.
Your website by default targets your brand (or brands) so you’d expect that the site is considered by search engines to be the best, most appropriate result when your brand is queried.
There are exceptions, and perhaps I’ll go through these on another episode. But generally, the majority of times, your site will have the biggest market share for brand-related searches.
Winning the majority of the market share for generic terms, on the other hand, is a way of convincing people, at the point of their search, to visit your website.
This is significantly more difficult! These types of keywords are more challenging to rank for.
However, they have an unlimited variety of keywords.
What does this mean – unlimited variety of keywords?
It means you have the ability to attract people to your website, at every point, whenever they search with a keyword that does not include your brand, as long as you deem the keyword to be relevant to your business, and therefore, target it on your website.
Now, how do you suppose you begin to find keywords to target that are relevant to your website?
You have keyword research carried out.
This is the point of keyword research.
It’s a process of discovering the terms people search for that are relevant to your business so that you can target them, and thereby, attract people who search for them, to your website.
Branded keywords are a given.
Assuming your brand is well known, people will be searching for it.
But there will be people who search for what your business offers that may not be familiar with your brand.
You would want to go after this set of audience because it’s a way of targeting who you acquire to your website.
This is why SEOs carry out keyword research – to discover relevant keywords that can be targeted.
Keywords aren’t a bunch of terms organised onto a spreadsheet.
There is critical thinking that goes into keyword research, into finding relevant keywords to target.
Critical thinking that’s aligned with the SEO strategy, the digital strategy, the brand strategy.
You see, with keyword research, you get to see what people are searching for, along with the volume of the searches, i.e. the search demand.
The critical thinking comes in the understanding of the search intent behind the keywords.
And simply put, the search intent is a way of understanding what a searcher expects when they search with a keyword.
Why do you think this matters…?
Why do you think, being aware of what people expect is a part of the critical thinking aspect of keyword research…?
Put yourself in the mindset of a searcher – someone who searches for ‘pots and pans’, for example. You can reasonably suggest that they seek cooking equipment.
Do you think they would want to read a 1,000-word article on the history of pots and pans…?
Quite likely not!
On the other hand, a search for ‘pots and pans history’ would suggest that a 1,000-word article is appropriate.
This right here is an illustration of how the keyword research data can be used to form, and/or inform the creation of content – an area I can’t wait to delve into in upcoming episodes.