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How do you do a DIY SEO keyword research?
This is part of the DIY SEO series where we look at search engine optimization you can do without hiring an expert.
Search engines have become essential for any organization or individual wishing to make themselves visible on the Internet. It is essential to appear on search engines to be easily found. That process can be tricky. The first thing you should do is find the right (key) words. Keyword research is one of the pillars of organic SEO. People find you online by typing and searching for keywords related to your museum. Google and other search engines identify the web pages that best match a person's query and rank them in order of relevance.
If you get a good handle on the intent behind the keywords used to find your site, you will get ahead of the competition. Why? Well, it's literally what Google does as a company. If you help make their job easier with content that's easily flagged as pertinent and useful, your SEO should improve. Ultimately though, we recommend to always keep in mind that the user comes first, not the search engine. Humans impact your bottom line, not search engines. The more useful and attractive your content is to people, the better it will perform in the long run.
The majority of keywords that will bring you traffic and sales will be niche or long tail keywords. You need to find and optimize for long tail keywords. The head (general) terms are usually shorter, most of the time from 0 to 26 characters. These broad keywords often consist of one to three words. For example, "queen bed" could be a head term. These queries are high-volume keywords that attract a lot of organic traffic, but not necessarily qualified traffic that converts. They are very competitive keywords and cover very broad topics. Long tail keywords are longer (26 to 40 characters) and are a more specific version of the main term with a stronger commercial intent. For example, "white wood queen bed". These terms get more conversions but attract less traffic. These are the keywords we want in keywords strategies.
We run a two-person marketing agency in Montreal. Ideally, we need to showcase our expertise and get visibility on a term like "Montreal SEO agency" or "SEO professionals". So we'll try to sprinkle this term in our priority page for this query in the spots that search engines value a bit more than the rest. These spots are : meta title, meta description, H tags (your titles) and the beginning of sentences. Do we do this everywhere? No. That keyword could be a secondary keyword for some of our website pages, but the one page we will optimize for it will be our SEO Services page specifically. We want to talk about SEO with folks that are looking for SEO services. Imagine how surprised you'd be if you are looking for a very specific term and end up on a broad landing page telling you ALL about web marketing but not much about how to improve your search engine performance.
Beware of keyword cannibalization when you DIY
The goal is to optimize a page for a certain search intent that's unique to it and different from your other pages. You want to compete with other sites, not with yourself, because in these cases Google will just highlight the competition and leave you to struggle on your own.
You must have the Google Search Console installed to see your keywords. Once you have access, you have to look at what you are positioning yourself on right now, especially keywords on the second page or in position 8 to 10. Often, you just have to include this keyword in your meta title tag to go from page #2 to page #1.
Log in and click on the URL of your site
- In the menu, click on "Performances", Click on "Prints" in the graph and then "Pages" in the table below.
- Click on the URL of the page with the highest number of impressions
- Finally, set "Dates" to 16 months, then click on "Requests" in the table below, and select "Click", "Print", "CTR", and "Position" at the top of the page.
- Don't forget to sort the "Impressions" column from the largest to the smallest.
- What you see now are all the keywords that were used to get to your page via Google search. The higher the keyword has a high "impressions" number, the more popular it is.
Different factors must be taken into account when choosing your keywords. Keyword search volume alone is not enough. There are several free and paid keyword search tools available, such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, SERPStat, etc. The metrics are often the same. Ideally, you should choose keywords that :
- Have a good search volume
- Are very relevant to your page
- Demonstrate a research intention or customer need
- Are not one already prioritized in another page of your website
Relevance of the query for content optimization
You have to consider the relevance of keywords. 10 qualified prospects are worth more than 1000 unqualified visitors…who will never become museum visitors.
Use the tool of your choice to determine the search volume. It is usually expressed as a monthly average over the last 12 months (except in Google Search Console). A high search volume means that there are a lot of people using this query. High volume searches often have a lot of competition. Aim for the exact high-volume words for products. A basic rule of thumb for choosing keywords is that anything above 20 searches per month is at least worth considering for SEO. For Google Ad Grants, you can select a keyword from 10 monthly searches.
CPC cost per click in Google Ads
In the absence of a difficulty score, use this metric to get an idea of the competition. One way to identify the intent of keywords is the cost per click (CPC). More specific keywords tend to cost more, but are an indicator of high search intent. You can alternatively also choose to use the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool.
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