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Keywords: The difference between right and wrong — quite literally

Powerful keywords are the secret to your site's success. Picking the right ones is critical, the most important step and the foundation for your campaign and your SEO efforts. But how do you find the right ones? And how can keywords possibly be wrong?

Let's put it this way: Right means relevant. Relevant to your product, your service, your mission and your target audience.

You know everything about your business, all the industry-specific terms, the acronyms, the commonly used expressions. But do your potential customers? Do you speak their language?

Does the average user know in which context to use either car, auto or vehicle? Sure, these words mean the same, but are they identical?

How to get started

When researching keywords, you should always start by identifying the obvious ones first:

  • Think about at least 20 keywords that are most relevant to your business and write them down.
  • Now think about 10 more (If it is already getting difficult, you might be getting an idea of what you're in for).
  • Next, try to find synonyms for at least 10 of them (think about the above example: car/auto/vehicle or insurance/protection/warranty).

Take a close look at your list:

  • Are your keywords all single words? (car, loan, insurance)
  • What about singulars and plurals? (toy/toys, coffee mug/coffee mugs)
  • Hyphens or dashes? (Ecommerce/E-Commerce)
  • Is there a possibility one or more words are homographs? (A homograph is a word with the same spelling but more than one meaning: "golf" - a game and "golf" - a car by a German car manufacturer or "lead" - to conduct, to guide and "lead" - a metal)
  • Does your list include phrases (two or more words) as well? ("car insurance", "e-commerce software")

Why we chase long tails

If your list already includes phrases, you are on the right track. If not, the list needs to be expanded by adding combinations: by digging deeper and being more creative, often referred to as the long tail approach. This is the tricky part: The more defined, the more accurate your phrases are the more targeted they become, thus eliminating false positives. But how do you know if anyone will ever be looking for them?

Keyword Research Tools are invaluable tools to assist you in this process. First, they suggest variations of any search term you enter, providing you with a list of related phrases. Professional versions usually also include the relevancy or popularity of these search terms by telling you how many people actually search for those exact phrases within a certain timeframe. While to the untrained eye some of the suggestions might not seem relevant at first, quite often they leverage huge potential.

Aggregating the right keywords is a lengthy and tedious process: it requires time, dedication and professional tools. But in the end you have a powerful list of words, expressions and phrases that will prove priceless during the process of developing your (new) content (see website optimization).

Talk to us and find out how powerful keywords can make all the difference.

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