Categories
Home-based Business

Questions to Ask, and Key Aspects to Keep in Mind while doing Keyword Research

When I started out writing blogs, keyword research was the last thing on my mind. Admittedly, even now I continue to mainly write about things that interest me.

It is quite different when you are preparing advert content. This has a commercial interest to be in front of your target market.

I, like many others, understand the importance of keyword research. It is the bridge between a searcher and the words they type into the search engine, and how the search engine will apply those words to relevant content within the web.

The way I see it, the principle of keyword research is the technological equivalent of the Dewey Decimal System.

I write about pilgrimages, and the amazing experiences that I have enjoyed. I also write about my new-found passion, which is online business and digital skills.

I continue to learn, and while I write and research aspects of the content, I also learn.

It’s a win-win. I write, I learn.

So, back to the reason I write this article.

I really struggled with keyword research. The whole aspect of it is so technical. Technical for me anyhow.

I have written down countless notes on keyword research, having read many articles and watching just as many videos.

From these notes, I have established my own basic process to keyword research and hopefully, this article will assist other entrepreneurs to highlight some important aspects of this type of research.

Let’s start with a definition of the words:

I include this because it references that search engine optimization professionals use this type of research.

I wonder whether this one in Wikipedia needs an update? I use a process to determine keywords, and I am by no means a “search engine optimization professional”

Customer Avatar Exercise

I start here.

  • Who am I writing for?
  • What are this person’s goals and value?
  • What are this person’s challenges and pain-point’s
  • Where are their sources of information? What books are they reading? Do they read magazines, blogs, certain websites?
  • What key information do I need to consider about my customer avatar? Their age, gender, marital status, where they live, family, children. What do they do for a living?

Quite often my customer avatar is me. My story. My challenges. My hopes and dreams, but sometimes they are someone completely different.

It’s this fundamental difference in who you are writing for, that makes the use of keyword research so beneficial to your creation of content.

What is your personal mission statement, and that of my business?

For example, I have a desire to help others.

To help them with information around pilgrimages:

Where their walks might start. What they need in their backpack, perhaps a packing list.

Perhaps to help them explore the deeper meaning of the pilgrimage. Often to simply inspire people to walk a pilgrimage.

In addition, I have a desire to help people find the skills they need to pursue their online entrepreneurial dreams.

When you think about these two people, the one going on pilgrimage, and the other going online for the first time, they might be two different people. They could also be the same people, or perhaps like me they just have common interests in both pilgrimages and online business.

This is the importance of knowing and understanding your own mission statement. It helps you on your way to authentically provide value to your customer, by drafting and producing relevant content.

Make a list of keywords

With your customer avatar in mind, and the keywords that came out of that exercise, together with your mission make a list. I use a simple Exel spreadsheet.

I find that my best lists come from the goals and values of my customer, and their challenges and pain points.

Research Keywords

In Google I enter the keywords that I have listed.

From this I can determine what is being searched, how the search terms are formatted and from those search words, the related search results.

I like to use long-tail keyword research. The downside is that they generally get less search traffic, but the upside is less competition.

What about your competitors?

Understanding your own, and your product’s unique characteristics and how they weigh up against others in your arena, help with the way in which you create content.

I like to think of those people out there, doing what I am doing as my allies as opposed to my enemies. It follows then that this part of the research isn’t, for me at least, getting a dig into my competitors.

Maybe I am naïve in my thought process?

Searching the “benefits”, “features” “versus” keywords to compare one product with yours can highlight important aspects of where your focus should be in drafting your content.

What is the search intent of your customer avatar?

Now that you understand your customer avatar and your own mission and have a list and have conducted some research, what is the intention of your customer?

  • Are they looking for information?
  • Are they on a purchase mission?
  • Are they looking for additional skills?
  • Are they navigating to a specific website?

Have a look at Google’s Mission Statement:

This is what makes understanding the intention of your customer important too. Knowing this helps you answer questions, providing the right product and designing your website to make it as easy as possible to find.

I use answerthepublic.com to help understand the intention of my customer. It helps me focus on what is being asked, the searchers intention and creating the content around those questions.

Summary

Keyword research is an ongoing process.

A piece of content might have different keywords from others you prepare, even if the topic is similar.

Following the key aspects might assist you with your own keyword strategy, as it has helped my own.

  1. Customer Avatar Exercise
  2. Mission Statement
  3. Create List
  4. Research List
  5. Competition

What are your lessons learnt from doing keyword research?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Categories
Home-based Business

Top 4 SEO Tips for Beginners

There is so much information available on the subject of Search Engine Optimization, and if you are new to the idea, the words can become quite overwhelming.

You are probably feeling slightly pressured to have your website in front of more people, so you delve into the deluge with great hope, and perhaps you emerge less confident.

I did some research so fear not!

These top tips can help you get on your way, with some renewed belief in your abilities.

Top Tip 1 — Make your images SEO friendly

The words “a picture says a thousand words” is so true, and it goes without saying that an image helps your article or blog post immensely. Using your own images is first prize, but there are resources where you can download free images.

That being said, those images must be SEO friendly. Although Google has become increasingly aware of what the image might represent, search engines cannot “read” images. It is a recommendation, therefore, that every image should have “Alternative Text” and “Title” identifying the image.

I post a bit on my walks to the ancient city of Santiago de Compostela, and I always refer to the images that I use, referencing what the image describes. “Arriving-in-santiago-de-compostela” is my all-time favorite image description so far.

Top Tip 2 — Using your meta description effectively

This, in a nutshell, tells the search engine what your website is all about. It should be naturally worded, and be no more than 155 words.

Throughout your post, and also in the meta description, the use of keywords must be “natural” and not overused to the extent that it is seen as “stuffing”.

If I used the keywords “Camino de Santiago” in a sentence, for example, I would use it as naturally as I would use it, if I were speaking to a fellow pilgrim. Giving the benefit of the doubt to the listener or reader that since I used it once in a sentence, that it would be sufficient enough for them to understand what I was referring to.

Short, sweet, to the point, and obviously relevant to your webpage is the recommendation here. But make it pop with some action words!

Dreaming of…Get motivated about…Make sure to…Be the person you want… for example.

Top Tip 3 — SEO Plugins

For a new user, and a user that doesn’t know the intricate code of developing, the SEO plugin can help with functionality on your website. While robots crawl search engines, people actually have to read the search result, so a plugin can make a real difference to your site’s user-friendliness too.

Generally speaking, your web host will have these as standard to your new website. It is really a “plug and play” install, with your plugin optimizing your website according to it’s features.

There are so many varieties of SEO plugins too, all of which will do a great job to provide you with a framework to optimize your website. Like a fill-in form guiding you through the complexities of optimization.

Top Tip 4 — Keyword Placement

Definitely use your keywords in your post’s title or heading, subheadings, and first and last paragraphs of your content. Overuse is not recommended, and doing so could actually have the opposite effect to what you were looking to achieve.

Content is important, and quality content is paramount. The focus must always be on your reader and aimed at adding value or solving a problem that they might be having.

As search engines progress into daily use and the user’s become more refined, search engines are prone to understanding the intent of the user’s question, and so will direct their question to the most appropriate website.