Content marketing has a popular marketing strategy in recent years, with both big and small businesses. By “content marketing,” I mean creating fun or informative content to attract new customers and keep them coming back.
Do you get e-newsletters from your physiotherapist with exercise tips? How about reading a designer’s blog to get ideas for your kitchen reno? Both of these are examples of content marketing.
(In fact, this article itself is an example of content marketing!)
Writing your own content is a great way to connect with new people and show off your expertise. In particular, blogging on your business’s website is effective because it can also help your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re making the effort to blog or write articles on your website, you’re already way ahead of the game. But there’s one extra step you could be taking to really boost your SEO: researching keywords.
In this article, we’re going to talk about keywords—what they are and how to use them. I’ll also let you in on some free SEO tools and tricks you can use.
What are SEO keywords? Why are they important for websites and content marketing?
Keywords are the words on a website that “signal” the topic of the page or blog post to search engines. This lets search engines include that page or post in search results for that particular topic.
For example, let’s say you’re a Toronto physiotherapist with a website. If you’ve done a good job with the copywriting, Google should be able to tell from scanning your website that you are a physiotherapist in Toronto. When people search “Physiotherapist in Toronto,” Google should know to rank your website in the search results (even if it’s not on the first page).
But it’s not enough just to mention the keywords “physiotherapist” and “Toronto” once in a paragraph on the website.
Where to include main keywords on your website pages
- The main title of the page or blog post (ideally marked with an h1 html tag)
- The first paragraph of text
- One or two subheadings
- In the alt text of one or more images on the page
- In the page’s metadata
What keywords should I use in content marketing?
Choosing keywords for content like a blog post is a bit different than choosing them for the main pages of your website. If your website only has a few main pages, you probably want the keywords for those pages to be more general (like “Toronto Physiotherapist”).
Blog posts, on the other hand, give you an opportunity to choose keywords for a more specific topic. For example, a physiotherapy blog might target keywords like “tennis elbow treatment” or “pelvic floor pain.”
As you write your blog post, make sure you include these keywords in the same places you would on a website page.
What free SEO tools can I use for researching keywords?
Sometimes, when you’re choosing the keywords for an article, you need to decide between two similar terms.
For example: should I write an article about online marketing or digital marketing?
It might not seem like there would be a big difference between those terms for SEO, but in fact there is:
In an average month, people search for “digital marketing” more than four times more often than they search for “online marketing.” That’s a big difference!
Or what about doughnut versus donut?
The “donut” spelling is more than three times more popular in searches!
Since small variations in terms can produce wildly different results, it makes sense to invest in a little research time. Fortunately, there are some free tools that can help.
Google Trends is a great resource for bloggers looking for newly popular topics (and keywords).
The front page of Google Trends gives you an overview of general topics that are trending in searches.
You can also see which topics are most popular in different parts of the world.
If you want to write on a specific topic, you can use Google Trends to narrow down your scope based on popular search terms. For example, if I was a Toronto lifestyle blogger, I could search “Toronto” within Canada and filter to the past day.
I might try to write an article based on one of the Related Queries. Maybe a foodie post suggesting five other amazing Indian restaurants in Toronto to try now that Dhaba is closed.
Google Trends is also useful for researching seasonal trends and when to publish your seasonal content. A costume shop could use Google Trends to help gage how early their customers are thinking about Halloween costume ideas.
Based on this data, the costume shop might publish their first article with costume ideas in late September, when searches start to pick up.
Keywords Everywhere Chrome Browser Extension
Keywords Everywhere is a free browser extension you can add to Chrome. Once it’s installed, you’ll see a wealth of data and keyword suggestions every time you search.
For every term you search, Keywords Everywhere tells you the:
- Volume: how often this term gets searched for over the course of the average month
- CPC or Cost-Per-Click: the average amount advertisers are paying for this search term in Google adwords
- Competition: this represents the number of advertisers using this term in Google adwords (1 is very high and 0.01 is very low)
You can use this information when choosing your keywords for an article. You want to choose keywords that have a high volume of people searching for them. However, if the competition is high, your content is less likely to show up on the first page of search results.
Ideally, you want to choose keywords with a high volume and low competition.
A tattoo parlour, for example, might choose to write a blog post on “tattoo care” or “tattoo aftercare.” Both have a fairly high volume, but not a lot of paid competition.
Keywords Everywhere also suggests related terms that you can use to help you choose topics.
By using the advice and free tools in this article, you can create your own optimized content. It’s a cost-effective way to market your business and engage with the community.