SEO Strategy: Optimizing Your Keywords

Ginny Grimsley, Sep 14, 2021 3:00:00 PM

Your customers have specific words called keywords (or a keyword phrase) that they use to find you and your competitors. 

Optimizing your website so that your business shows up in Google rankings before your competitors require using the keywords your customers type when they’re looking for the kind of help your website content should provide. 

The keyword section of the dictionary with the word “keyword” and its definition highlighted with the word “serve” circled in green

Here are some basics of keyword optimization and how to get it done.

Start With Keyword Research 

Keyword research is the act of gathering the keywords in your ideal customer’s query on Google. These words should reflect user intent as it relates to your brand, products, or services. 

Keyword planner tools can do this research for you to help narrow the relevant keywords for your business. 

Here are a few of the best free online tools for helping you determine the best keywords for your website: 

  • Google Keyword Planner - Google Ads helps you plan out your keywords for advertising for active campaigns, but you can use it to find the best keywords even if you’re not setting up an ad right this minute.  
  • Google Search Console  - With a little reverse engineering and this tool, you can see which search terms are leading people to visit your website. There might be search terms you didn’t expect that are proving useful to you.
  • Google Trends - Search and compare multiple keywords, filter by location, search history, and category: this tool will show you how much web interest there is around a particular keyword, what caused the interest, and where the traffic is coming from. It generates colorful, interactive graphs for downloading and embedding on your website (we used it in a graph below, in fact).
  • Keyword - This basic tool is pretty helpful when you’re looking for metrics on long-tail keyword suggestions (phrases) that you may already have in mind, and you don’t have to create an account to use it. It uses Google Autocomplete to create a list for you that’s based on how often people searched for a term in the past.  

It’s hard not to get distracted by trying to rank for specific keywords when you’re doing keyword research, but it’s equally important to focus on the search intent—keyword relevance—behind keywords. Let’s take a look at that. 

Keyword Relevance

If a page on your website doesn’t provide an answer to a customer question, it won’t rank as well on Google because it probably lacks relevance to what your business does or provides. When you’re trying to determine the relevance of a specific keyword, ask yourself: 

  • What are the typical keywords my customers use to find me (according to my keyword research)?
  • How can I create content that best speaks to those keywords?

Website keywords should direct users to the valuable information on your website and vice versa. 

Big Takeaway: If you create valuable, relevant content for your website that your ideal customers are looking for and need, you’re going to be using the right keywords in your copy. Don’t lose track of that in your process. 

A wooden cutout image of a lightbulb on a bed of green ivy

To find the relevance of a specific keyword, invest in an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to do more in-depth research. These tools also analyze keyword difficulty: how hard it will be to compete with your competitor’s websites for the same keyword. 

Or you could call us. We do this work in our sleep.  

At the end of the day, the better your webpage answers a question, the better it will rank for a specific keyword.

Keyword Search Volume

Standing out from your competition is a real trick if thousands of people are vying for the top seat on Google’s rankings for your specific keywords. 

Understanding this metric can help you understand that and adjust your strategy. 

Keyword search volume tells you how many users were searching for a specific keyword or phrase over the past month. 

If the search volume is high for your keyword, you’ll be competing with a lot of other websites for Google ranking, so you might use long-tail keywords rather than simple ones. 

Long-tail keywords are 3-5 word phrases and add details that might be more relevant to your website content anyway. 

An example of this strategy can be shown through a simple, free Google Trends query: 

Simple Keyword with a high KSV: “plants


Long-tail keyword: “houseplants”  or “houseplant propagation

A screenshot of a graph from Google Trends comparing keyword search volume of three keywords performed by Growth Marketing Firm

In May of 2021, people in the US were super interested in plants. If you have a small business that sells cuttings of popular houseplants for propagation, you would do best to choose long-tail keywords for your website so you don’t have to compete with large companies like Amazon and Walmart—and your real customers can find you more easily as well. 

Keywords that are Already Working

Don’t forget to generate a list of keywords already driving traffic to your site because they represent the information your customers are looking for. 

This list can give you the topics you need to create your blog or your web copy to boost your SEO significantly and further leverage your search success. 

Our DevTeam at Growth has decades of experience with keyword research and optimization as evidenced by the fact that you’re reading this right this minute. Intrigued? Contact us to talk about it. 

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