In the age of digital marketing, keywords play an integral part in optimizing the search engine. Through rankings and strategies, keyword search results can be improved.
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Company websites and blogs alike compete to capture the attention of prospects. Most consumers only look at the first search engine results page (SERP). In fact, 75% of people don’t even go past the first page.
Regardless of where the results are located, they can be divided into two distinct types of search engine results: sponsored and organic.
Sponsored search engine results
Sponsored results are paid to automatically be at the top of SERP. They are usually labeled with some kind of visual indicator, such as a text that states “ad,” or “sponsored,” before the organic results.
Organic search engine results
Organic results are the ones that the search engine determines to be the most fitting answer.
Given that most prospects only look at the first SERP, search engines display the most relevant answers upfront through displaying text excerpts or product listings.
No matter the form, search engines do this to increase positive user experience and engagement.
Ranking relates to the page order when searched, such as if it appears at the top. More specifically, ranking is defined by how the results are chronologically ordered on a SERP. Many factors contribute to the final sets of search results; one of the most common factors being keywords.
Keywords can be defined as the ideal phrases and terms that users would associate with a topic. In most prospective inquiries, keywords are common descriptors of a product or a piece of content.
A combination of these keywords can generally be put into the following structural elements: head, modifier, and tail keywords.
- Head: Acting as the base, the “head” portion of a keyword is essentially the main idea.It can also be referred to as the primary keyword.
- Modifier: Also known as the secondary keyword, it fundamentally alters the qualities associated with the “head.” For example, “digital” would modify the head “marketing”, as would the term “traditional.” However, the meaning of “marketing” would stay the same. In other words, the “modifiers” change the meaning of the “head.”
- Tail: Adds a clarifying detail to the overall “head” and “modifier.” For example, in the phrase “Chicago-based digital marketing,” the keyword geographically narrows down the search results for digital marketing. Long-tailed keywords, in a nutshell, refer to really specific searched terms.
As long as the elements are present, the order of it doesn’t matter; the keywords ultimately help improve search engine optimization.
Types of keywords
With the understanding of keyword elements, there are also different categories they can fall into.
- Broad match: Essentially, a broad match is the most general of the categories. It’s similar to a “head” keyword at its core. Broad matches reach a much wider audience.
- Modified broad match: Using the previously mentioned modifiers, more keywords can slightly narrow down the broadness. The usage of negative keywords also prevent the content or product from appearing in the search results that companies want to lean away from.
- Phrase match: Search engines interpret the words more loosely. Instead, the focus on the meaning and integrity of the imputed keywords. Phrase matches are less restricting than modified broad matches.
- Exact match: Aside from spelling and grammar, the keywords are word for word with what users input in their search bar. While it might seem counterintuitive at first, exact matches are perfect for reaching a small niche audience.
Google keyword ranking
Google’s algorithm changes on a daily basis. Marketers should strive to adapt to the algorithm accordingly, by improving their keywords. Fortunately, there are some tools that provide inferences on keyword rankings.
The Ahrefs Keyword Rank Checker
Users are allowed to see the rankings for any given keyword in 228 countries through Ahrefs Keyword Rank Checker. Simply put in the keyword, domain name, and country and check the rankings.
In some cases, there might not be a current organic ranking for the imputed website. However, Ahrefs then displays current top-ranking pages for the keyword. They rank competitor websites’ backlink profiles in two different categories, in accordance with their own database. Ahrefs also provides quantitative measures for the backlinks, domains, traffic and keywords.
The AccuRanker SERP Checker
AccuRanker allows for five daily searches. Using a keyword a location based on city, state, and country, their checker shows the top search engine results; not influenced or skewed by any pre-existing cookies.
The Mangools SERPWatcher
The Mangools SERPWatcher tracks daily website rankings and performances of over 45,000 established domains. They provide timely email updates and include shareable digital reports through a link. While their monthly subscriptions start at $30, they also offer a 10-day free trial to use their tool.
Keyword position in search engines
Measure your rankings
To better meet a business’s goals, it is important to measure how your keywords are currently performing. Based on its ever-evolving database, Google offers built-in search engine result tools to help with improving keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
Based on its own search engine data, the Google Keyword Planner tool provides a list of keywords with performance insights.
- Average monthly searches
- Bids that budget for maximum pay-per-click and daily spendings
- Competition that is measured via a low, medium, and high system. Google ranks how in demand a keyword is, based on other competitors.
Google Keyword planner also provides a statistical analysis on the given keyword’s projected forecast and volume, based on previous performances.
- Clicks: How many times a prospect would click through
- Impressions: How many prospects would come across and look in an ad
- Costs: While there’s many factors that go into keyword costs, Google ads provide a recommended daily budget with the total monthly costs.
- Click-through rate
- Average cost-per-click
- Average position: How the keyword racks up against other keywords
While it’s not necessarily a formalized keyword tool, Google Trends provides timely statistical inferences on the latest trending keyword searches. Inquiries be narrowed down on a state-by-state basis and compared with other keywords. A graph is also provided to display the interest overtime, with dates marked on all surges and dips.
In any given ad campaign or blog post, Google Analytics keeps track of how keywords ended up performing. Using company-specific data, next steps can be better formed to meet specific goals.
Keyword ranking strategy
Types of search queries
In contrast to the concept of keywords, search queries are the verbatim terms and phrases that prospects input in the search bar. While keywords are based on search queries, it would be helpful to understand user intent through search queries. From there, evaluate and adjust modifiers and tails accordingly.
- Navigational: Navigational search terms are only prevalent within the scope of a given brand. The results help users get to a specific section of a website, such as a menu or about page.
- Informational: Users are seeking for more information to either clarify or elaborate on a topic. These types of search queries are most relevant to content marketing. Content mediums, such as blogs and guides, can pull users onto their website, based on what they would already be interested in.
- Transactional: Prospects are attempting to buy an item or a service. Users might use more keywords in relation to a quality of a product such as the materials used. For example, in addition to searching “t-shirt,” consumers can put “cotton,” and “on sale.”
Keyword mapping is defined as organizing the layout of keywords throughout the whole website. Through arranging and segmenting words, companies can keep track of optimization efforts. As a result, search engines can also better pick up the purpose of a website or webpage.
Depending on the analytical performance, the foundation of the keywords may have to be completely restructured. Using the previously mentioned tools can help fact-check the keywords already in place.
The keywords should be directly aligned with the business model. Sometimes long-tailed keywords can stray away from the outline, encouraging traffic that isn’t really in the targeted audience pool.
Determine a target for keyword
For organization purposes, it’d be helpful to have a purpose for a keyword. What audience is it geared towards? What is the goal? Lastly, what category would it fall into? With an understanding of the target for every keyword, companies can start seeing how they could overlap with one another. From there, they can choose the best terms for each intended purpose.
A common SEO practice is to use relevant keywords all over the website. Apart from inserting relevant keywords in content marketing, they should also be in:
- Pages: Both in title and content
- URLs: Main term
- Page copies: In all the headings of the text
- Meta tags
- Image alternative text or image file paths
- Anchor text
- Internal links
Consistently updating and adjusting keywords
Because the market changes throughout the year, keywords should be adjusted accordingly. For example, the holidays may prompt other terms to be searched more, such as “Black Friday,” or “holiday discounts.” Similarly, as the weather changes, season-specific products are sought out more, and therefore the keywords should emphasize those more.