Every online business needs a coherent SEO strategy – but you can’t optimise your website for search engines unless you’ve chosen the keywords you wish to target. Keyword research is an incredibly important part of SEO – it really can’t be overstated how vital it is to conduct the appropriate research and choose the right keywords. Here are our top tips to help you carry out this research and select the right keywords for your business.

Choose relevant keywords

Relevancy is essential to choosing the right keywords. Many people fall into the trap of choosing broad, vaguely relevant keywords, thinking it will bring more traffic to the site. The big problem here is that the traffic you’re bringing won’t necessarily be high-quality. If you choose a very specific, relevant keyword, you’re more likely to attract engaged prospects and quality leads. One high-quality prospect visiting your site with a view to purchasing is far better than 100 visits from users that have stumbled across your site by accident because of your vague keyword strategy.

Let’s say you run a wedding photography business in Sheffield. You’ll attract much better enquiries and leads if your SEO strategy focuses on keywords like ‘wedding photographers Sheffield’ rather than simply ‘wedding photos’. The term ‘wedding photos’ might have a higher number of searchers, but the audience you’d attract would not necessarily be beneficial for your site or your business.

Choose long-tail keywords

Google’s semantic search efforts have had a big impact on the keywords that rank on its search engine. We’re now encouraged to use Google in a conversational way, asking the search engine questions rather than simply typing in the keywords we think will bring us the best results.

Long-tail keywords dovetail perfectly with semantic search – and conveniently, they’re also much less competitive than the broader keywords, so they’ll be easier to rank for. So as well as using your relevant keywords like ‘wedding photographers Sheffield’, try dropping in keywords like ‘best wedding photographers in Sheffield’ or ‘vintage wedding photography near Sheffield’.

Take a look at your competition

Type in your own target keywords and get a good look at the competition. The metadata displayed in the search engine result will give you an insight into which other keywords your competitors are targeting – and by extension, which ones you should be looking at, too. You might discover some new keywords that are less competitive which you can add to your SEO strategy.

Use tools to boost your SEO Strategy

There are a multitude of tools out there which you can use to help you choose your keywords for SEO. Google’s Keyword Planner is obviously the king – it allows you to analyse real search engine data to find the most competitive or highest searched keywords, which can be invaluable when selecting your own keywords. But there are other tools available which can offer different insights:

  • Market Samurai – this tool is similar to Google Keyword Planner, but it offers some excellent new features that are more advanced.
  • Long Tail Pro – if you’re having trouble coming up with long-tail keywords, this tool can help you out.
  • Moz’s Open Site Explorer – this free tool lets you explore competitors’ websites in greater detail, so you can pick up on any keywords you might have missed and analyse the highest-ranked businesses’ SEO efforts.