Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What is SEO and why does it matter for your online shop? 

SEO, the Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing technique that encompasses all the best practices, which will help you rank better than your competitors in the search engine results pages and get more organic traffic. And in the e-commerce field, SEO is what delivers the highest ROI (return on investment). So while you should in no way stop spending on social media and PPC ads, you should start thinking more about SEO, as its campaigns yield long-term results and gradual, but stable improvements. And in the e-commerce case, this could mean millions of dollars. 

Step 1: Research and Planning 

SEO as every other marketing initiative is all about research. And here you not only need to know your client but also his or her intent and behavior online. SEO may start with developing a buyer persona, but especially on the e-commerce scene, it ends with a sophisticated and detailed keyword and competitor research. And only then, you start planning. 

Keyword Research for E-commerce

When conducting keyword research, you are first looking for the keywords the users and prospective clients will use to find your shop and get to your homepage. However, for an e-commerce website, you need to go a step further and find pages, which you can map to each product category and section. Imagine you are drafting an SEO strategy for a clothing shop. Surely, you would like users to get to your site when looking for “trendy clothes”, but you would also want them to be redirected to you when their search is more detailed (“blue dress”, “high-waist jeans”, etc.). And lastly, before you think you’re done, you better focus on one more category of keywords and those are the keywords for blogging content. Here you can take advantage of the so-called “long-tail keywords”, which are searches with informational intent like “how to dress for a job interview” and “what are the biggest fashion trends this fall”. Employing those keywords undoubtedly will help you stand out from your competitors.

Competitor Research

Surely, keywords tell a lot about the users and the online environment you aim to fit in. They don’t tell the whole story though. That is why, once you’ve analyzed them, you better look at your competition. Look at the keywords your competitors rank for, the links they rely on, the topics they discuss, and the way they have structured their sites. If something works well for them, it will probably work well for you. So find out the best practices they follow and try to include them in your strategy.

Website Architecture

Once you are done with the keyword and competitor research, you better revisit your website architecture. And for e-commerce this is crucial. Creating the right navigation structure and choosing the appropriate product and category sections for the menus may make a huge difference and a very distinctive user experience. So, put yourself in the shoes of your prospective clients, arm yourself with the keywords you’ve discovered, and set up an easy to use architecture, which doesn’t bury pages more than 3 clicks away from the home one. 

Technical Analysis

While you are still on the planning stage, you need to conduct another analysis, a technical one. Here you are focusing on the overall quality of your site. Are all the pages working properly? Are the internal links active? Is your content unique? Are meta descriptions and titles present on each and every page? Is the loading speed okay? And what about the mobile user experience? Find the answers to all these questions and you will have a pretty good picture of the technical conditions of your site. And for an e-commerce shop, something as simple as a product page loading for more than 3 seconds may drive users to the competitor.   

Step 2: SEO Best Practices Implementation 

Research is done. You have a good perspective on where your site is and why and it’s time to start taking actionable steps.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization always starts with adding unique and high-quality titles, meta descriptions, headings, image names, etc. Those need to include the appropriate keywords you’ve found in the research, but not be overstuffed, as too many keywords will look unnatural. Another sections to optimize are the URLs and the content itself. Each page needs at least 200 words of unique content to be indexed. So make sure your pages are well-optimized and the positive results will for sure follow.

Internal Linking Structure 

Internal linking seems simple but unimportant. However, it turns out it could be more than beneficial, as you are the one choosing the anchor text and setting the authority. Still, you do not need to overdo this. Use internal linkage, but only when and where it looks and feels natural. When optimizing your e-commerce website, adding links to product pages from the blog articles is both natural and helpful. 

Step 3: Build Your Position 

Your website is now fit for the web and well-optimized, but SEO is a continuous effort and the only way to do better than your competitors is to keep on implementing good SEO initiatives and to build and sustain your positions. 

Content Marketing 

A key assumption many e-commerce site owners make is that their site needs product and category pages only. And here they go wrong. Of course, you need to focus on the product pages, as here is where conversion will happen, but if you want to affect people on the awareness and consideration stage, you will need other content. Content, which intrigues. Content, which adds value. And to extract the most you can with content marketing, you need to create a well-thought strategy and a calendar, which will translate everything into actionable steps, exact dates, and responsible assignees. 

Link Building 

Building links is among the most popular SEO practices, which may end up being extremely difficult in the e-commerce case, especially if your site lacks value-adding content and relies on the products to sell only. However, to rank well you do need some links. So start planning a regular link building campaign. Find a set of sites you want to get links from. Those could be sites linking to your competitors or sites with authority in your field. Offer them guest posts and invest in creating good material to contribute. This may take a lot more effort than the actions described above. But only a couple of links from authoritative sites may improve your ranking way more than everything else done together. 

Wrapping It All Up

The goal of your e-commerce site is clear: to generate sales and profit. The goal of your SEO campaign is also clear: to increase those sales and improve margins. And this all could happen through more conversions and satisfied customers, which enjoy using your site now and in the long-run. Investing in SEO is not a mere pursuit of quick results, but a journey to a more successful business. 

Long gone are the days of the yellow pages and your potential customers are now using search to find local services. If you own bricks and mortar business, or the location of your institution is important for your customers, you need to invest in your local search visibility. 

Understanding Local Search

Search engines are getting better and better in serving local type searches. For example, if you stand in downtown Houston Texas and search for a “dentist” from your smartphone, you are likely to see results for dentists located across the street from you. Search engines now deliver more and more local and personalized results and are getting better and better in anticipating the actual needs and intent of the searchers in relation to their location.

In order for you to improve your local search visibility, you can ensure that your business is listed in relevant local directories and databases from which search engines draw information. Here are a few specific things you can do:

Set Up a Google My Business Listing­ 

Provide Google with as much information about your business as you can.

Set Up a Bing Places Listing 

Provide Bing with as much information about your business.

Local Directories

Submit your site to local directories and listings mentioning your exact name, phone, and address! 

These are the local citations of your business. Ensure that you have your business name, phone, and address on each page of your site.­ As a general rule, you can place them in the footer of your site so this important information appears on each page. In essence, optimizing your site for local search is the process of ensuring that search engines have as much information about your local business as possible and can verify it from multiple local resources.

Factors Which Affect Local Search

There are three important factors which influence listings on local search results:

Relevance 

How relevant is the search query to what your business offers? To improve your relevance your need to provide the search engines with as much information as possible about your business.

Distance

Local searches are by definition geographical. When listing your business consider how locals search for your it, maybe you need to list your business with the specific name of your neighborhood.

Prominence

How well known is your business on the web? To boost your prominence try to list your business in as many links, reviews, articles, blogs, and local directories as possible.

It all comes down to putting out a lot of relevant information about your business, defining your exact location so engines know your distance to searchers, and building your brand awareness in the local community.

Optimizing Google My Business

By listing your business on Google My Business (formerly Google + Local or Google Places) you help your business appear in the local search results. Once you create your account you will be asked about your business name and address. If Google already has a listing of your business you will be able to claim it. When you create/optimize your Google My Business listing it is important that you avoid using keywords in the name of your business. Note that it is very important that you have consistency in your citations:­ your name, phone, and address must appear identical in all places on the web!

Once you are done with your My Business account you will be asked to create a Google + account. You will need to go through a verification process. Here you can provide more information about your exact location, hours of operation, delivery, etc. You can also add photos of your business. Provide as much information as possible, as this information may appear on search results as your business card. So showcase your business products/services in the best possible way.

Managing Citations

It is also very important that you have accurate information about your business on the web, placed on as many quality sites as possible. Because inaccurate citations can confuse both your customers and search engines, you need to have identical listings of your name, address, and phone online. If you already have some citations you can check their status with tools like Moz Local. The tool will provide you with information about the presence and accuracy of your citations online. Once you are done improving your existing citations you can find new opportunities for listing your business with Whitespark Local Citations Finder. The tool will allow you to search and manage all your local citations in one place, as well as find amazing popular citation sources. Having a large number of citations on quality websites and directories is essential for establishing your prominence in the local community and to search engines.

How To Get More Reviews For Your Business

Positive online reviews can be a great asset to your business. Reviews are a great way to build your online reputation and boost your popularity among customers and search engines. Reviews can be found on local review sites, blogs, and search engines. In general, users can provide reviews of your business in three ways:

On-Site Reviews 

Web Site customers can leave reviews on your site or other relevant sites. Since you cannot control the reviews on third party sites, it is a good idea to provide customers with the opportunity to leave reviews right on your product/service pages.

Email

You can ask customers to leave reviews after they have completed a purchase.

Offline

You can ask customers for their experience during your communication with them over offline channels, like personal contact or phone calls.

To get more reviews simply ask your customers! Additionally, you should make it easy for them to submit reviews on your own site. Collecting reviews is a great way to build references for your business, which in turn makes it easier for both people and search engines to find you online.

Optimizing Your Site For Local Search

By improving some elements on your site you can gain better exposure on local search. For a start, you need to follow the guidelines for Content Optimization and Organization and Technical SEO. As mentioned previously your contact information (Name, Address, Phone) are very important for your local SEO. Here are some specific guidelines you need to consider:

  • Use local microdata from Schema.org to mark up your contact information and all elements specific to your type of business.
  • Include your business information in the footer of all pages of your site. Generally, users expect to find it on the bottom right corner.
  • Make it easier for visitors to get in touch with you by phone, email, contact forms, and social media widgets.
  • Provide driving directions and a map.
  • Optimize your site for mobile users.

Conclusion

Improving your local search visibility may be challenging but it can be very rewarding, as well, as it can bring a lot of customers to your doorsteps. In order to rank well in local search results, you need to understand how engines try to anticipate the need and intent of users and position your site as the most relevant and prominent result in the local community. However, as local SEO is a continuous and often complex process, never hesitate to get a consultation and make sure you are on the right track. 

 

What is SEO and why you need it? 

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing the “organic” or “natural” traffic to your website through different digital marketing practices. 

The reasons why you need SEO are multiple, starting with the fact that people are increasingly relying on search engines to find information, purchase products, book vacations, learn, communicate, etc. This means that a bunch of old school advertisement methodologies are becoming obsolete, as they are simply ignored by the modern customer. As people are predominantly online, brands and companies need to make sure they will appeal to this audience in the best manner possible. 

Another behavioral factor is also contributing to the surging need for SEO and this is the trend of people no longer trusting ads. As Seth Godin, a famous marketing guru, puts it, “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”. And about the value you deliver, we will add. Popping up in the prime time commercials was a guarantee for an increase in sales once, but is a last resort now. People will go to your website only if you offer them something superior and will trust you only if you prove to be better than the competition. PPC could create awareness, but won’t establish you as a thought leader. But an optimized site and a good content strategy could get you there. 

How does SEO work?

An average person searches Google at least 3-4 times per day and we all know that this is a grand underestimation for an average millenial. However, rarely do people think about why does the search engine result page looks like this and how does Google decide on what to show first. 

The truth is that search engines rely on sophisticated algorithms, which allow them to “crawl” each and every site on the web and obtain information about it. All the collected details are stored and analyzed by the engine, which sums them up into an index. Of course, content is key, but other factors have a major contribution, as well, and those are the domain and page authority, the backlink profile, the social metrics, the structure of the site, etc. Optimizing all these would give you much higher chances to rank well and make it worth your while. 

Learn SEO: Step-By-Step Guide

Learning SEO just like “doing” SEO is a continuous process. Neither taking an SEO course once, nor optimizing your site for the search engine once will be sufficient. With digital marketing transforming each and every day and search engines modifying their algorithms, you need to keep on reading and learning, so as to adapt your SEO strategies and techniques and continue achieving good results. 

Step 1: Understand the logic behind SEO 

The now famous “three pillars of SEO” are a good representation of the basic logic behind the entire process as well as of Google’s algorithm. The three words that define SEO are authority, relevance, and trust

Authority could be neither bought nor sold, nor achieved overnight. However, it is what users are looking for when searching for a fix to their issue or an answer to their question. They want tips, advice, information, and stories from the best out there. And to evaluate who’s the best, search engines focus on the quality of the content and the links it has attracted to the site. Google is now capable of analyzing the on-page content, format, and organization and to add this to the page rank developed by summarizing the link structure.  

The second pillar behind the SEO logic is relevance and it is pretty straight forward. If you aim at ranking for “how to make the best chocolate ice cream”, you better offer a resource about exactly the same recipe. If your content is not relevant to your target audience searches, even if you are authoritative and trustworthy you won’t have good positions on the search engine result pages (SERPs). 

The third pillar sounds simple, but encompasses a wide range of factors to evaluate the trustfulness of the site. Starting with the length of your content (Google will rarely index pages with text content below 200 words) and its type (pages with images, videos, and infographics will have an advantage over purely textual pages), search engines will check whether you have external links to authoritative sources, what the speed of your site is, how much time people spend on each page, etc. While improving the authority and relevance may sound easy, increasing the trust factor is a continuous process and requires patience and attention to the detail. 

Step 2: Learn about the different types of SEO 

Once you’ve understood the basic SEO logic, you need to learn more about the different types and SEO activities. If you aim at improving your overall ranking and to gain more traffic and exposure, you’ll have to act upon all three pillar, which in practice is achieved through technical and on-page optimization and link building campaign. 

The technical SEO focuses on solving the backend issues, which may hinder the user experience. It is also known as website and server optimization and solves the problems of privacy, speed, sitemaps and structure, mobile friendliness, etc. The technically fit website will achieve a higher trust factor. 

The on-page efforts summarize a wide range of page elements and how optimized in respect to basic SEO rules and Google’s algorithm they are. Those are URLs, titles, meta descriptions, headings, alt tags, file names, and many more. 

Assuming that you’ve created a website with great content, structure, and technical background, it will still attract no traffic and users, unless the world and the web learn about its existence. And they will learn about it through an improved authority. To achieve this you need to design and deploy well-thought link building campaigns and promote your website to other website owners. 

Step 3: Case Studies: Theory meets Practice

Theory is all good, but you will only learn to optimize your site for the search engines, if you dive deep into the practical part. The web is flooded with SEO case studies and success stories which also include good illustrations and explanations. Analyze them and find out how businesses actually made it to the top of the SERPs and increased their sales and conversion through SEO efforts. At the end, work on your first SEO strategy and try to adapt everything learned to the needs of your business and the desires of your audience. 

The Best SEO Resources that would help you advance 

David Booth’s “SEO Foundations”

This 4-hour course for absolute beginners delves deeper into the SEO fundamentals and teaches you the basics of keyword research, content planning and optimization, link building, measurement of the final results as well as mobile and local SEO. With more than a decade experience in the digital marketing and transformation field, David Booth explains everything with simple terms and welcomes you to the SEO world. 

Google Webmasters Videos and Google Webmasters Official Blog

Learning directly from the people who draft Google’s algorithms is always a good idea. Browse their youtube channel and find variety of useful resources or go to their blog and find all the updates about crawling, indexing, and ranking. 

Moz and Ahrefs SEO Blogs

Those two are the leading providers of SEO software as well as the renowned thought leaders in the field. And not only are their toolsets extremely useful and beneficial to your SEO efforts, but their resources answer all the question that could pop up into your mind, while you are making your way into the SEO environment. 

Conclusion 

SEO is a field for the brave and for those, unafraid to never stop learning. It is neither static, nor boring, but a rigorous field that requires an agile approach and a strong motivation. Start learning it now and observe the miracles it could bring to you. 

So you have invested a lot of time and resources in your site SEO, now it is time to measure whether your efforts and money were worth it. By now you should understand that results in SEO take time, and that apart from specific metrics you can look at, good SEO should be judged against your overall business objectives.

Why Measuring SEO Performance is Important?

Since SEO is one of many digital marketing channels you will probably use, it is very important that you do measure your SEO performance. This will allow you to carefully plan how you allocate your future marketing budget in order to direct your resources to what works best for your specific business.

Some Tools You Can Use To Measure Performance

The most obvious step in measuring your SEO and other channels performance is to have a good analytics solution installed on your site. Here are some of the most popular analytics solutions:

  • Google Analytics: free with a Google account.
  • Webtrends Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics

It is important that you properly configure your web analytics to track goals and business objectives. Also, you need to establish SEO objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). Monthly organic search traffic is one example of SEO KPIs. Another example might be non­branded keyword searches.

Furthermore, you can measure how your search engine ranking change in relation to your SEO activities by using tools like Moz Rank Tracker and Ahrefs Rank Tracker.

Analyzing Keyword Performance

Since keywords are the foundation of your SEO efforts you need to be tracking how your target keywords are performing. Tracking keyword performance used to be very easy as this data used to be available in your analytics software. Unfortunately recently Google stopped passing any keyword data to organic traffic referrals. This means that you only see “Not Provided” in your analytics software organic traffic referrals. Analyzing the performance of keywords is a challenging task, and it requires that we look at multiple tools and sources of information and try to anticipate the actual performance of keywords.

​Unfortunately, it is not an exact science!

To analyze the performance of your pages in relation to the target keywords you may:

  • Look at which landing pages have the most organic traffic referral in the context of the keywords for which they are ranking.
  • Link your Google Analytics with Google Search Console. This will allow you to view some limited query reports data. This includes data on the number of impressions, average rank positions, clicks, and click-through rate. Keep in mind that this method offers relative accuracy!

Analyzing Link Performance

Since links can be considered votes of trust on the internet you need to track the performance and effect of your link ­building and outreach effort. To do this you need to track the effect your efforts have over your domain name and pages authority. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools out there to help you out. Here are a few of the most popular:

To track the performance of your efforts you need to pay attention to the number and quality of backlinks you get, as well as how your domain name and page name authority change over time.

You can even automate the monitoring process by using tools like the MOZ Campaign Tracking function. Additionally, you can look at your Google and Bing Webmaster Tools backlinks reports. When using all those tools it is important to identify any low quality and unwanted links because they can hurt your rankings, and may even result in a penalty.

What to do with unwanted links?

If you do find unwanted backlinks coming from low quality/spammy sites there are a few things you can do:

  • Request the site owners to take those links down.
  • Disavow those URLs through the search engines webmaster tools. To do that follow the instructions from Google and Bing.
  • You can hire a professional agency to remove bad links and help you recover from penalties like Google Panda and Penguin.

There are hundreds if not thousands of SEO tools which can help you measure the performance of your efforts. The bottom line is to always consider these results in relation to your business objectives. In other words, look for ways to check how your SEO and other marketing channels drive revenue.

SEO is an ongoing process, you need to measure the results, learn from them and take action based on what you have learned, then repeat the process!

 

How to Optimize Your Site for Mobile Searches in 3 Easy Steps

Wherever you look today mobile devices are an essential part of people’s lives. Together with the use of mobile devices, mobile search has also seen tremendous growth. Today almost half of all searches globally are done through a mobile device. Mobile is set to be the new leader and to be competitive you must ensure that your website offers mobile users a good experience!

Understanding Mobile Users

It is important to understand that users behavior on mobile devices is unique and it generally falls into two categories:

  1. Focused Search

Mobile users are usually on the go and most often look for things like locations, working hours, and phone numbers. Because mobile users are on the go, they require this information fast. The last thing you need when you are looking for a place on a mobile device is to drill through layers of menu items and content, accessibility is thus extremely important.

  1. Casual Browsing

In contrast, mobile usage may be relaxed. People often casually browse their mobile devices in their leisure time, often at home during the boring parts of movies or during commercials.

To accommodate both of those behavior types you need to ensure that your site offers a mobile-friendly user interface, good internal search functionality, swipeable photos, and filters.

Developing Mobile-Friendly Content

The most important aspect of developing a mobile-friendly site is the technical configuration you choose to deliver your content to mobile users. Here are the three types of configuration:

1. Responsive Web Design

This is a very common configuration because it allows you to build one site, serving the same content from the same URL to both desktop and mobile users. Through CSS queries, sites with responsive design automatically change how the content is rendered in order for it to be properly displayed on the screen size of the device. Here is an example of how this same page rearranges itself for smaller screens. It is important to note that Google has expressed a preference for responsive websites.

2. Dynamic Device Detection

This option is preferable when you want to alter the mobile experience. Sometimes you may need to do that to match the different behavior and intent people have when browsing on mobile devices. With this option, your web server identifies users who are on a mobile device and dynamically serves appropriate content. This option can give you a lot of flexibility but the downside is that you need to maintain more content and pages.

3. Separate Site

With this option, you set up a separate site on which you serve content to mobile users. With this option, your server detects users from mobile devices and serves them a different URL. Usually, these are located on subdomains like m.domainname.com. The advantage of this configuration is that you have the ultimate flexibility to tailor the experience of your mobile users. The disadvantage is that with this option you will need a lot more resources to maintain an additional site.

From an SEO perspective, no matter which option you choose you must signal your configuration to search engines. To do this follow the guidelines offered by Google.

Optimizing Your Site Speed

To help mobile users have good experience on your site you need to provide the fastest possible performance. Here are a few techniques you can use to achieve this:

● Use Smaller Image Files

Lower the size of your image files as much as possible.

● Use Minified Code

Keep a clean code and compress your CSS files to reduce their size.

● Use Cashing

You can check your site speed performance and identify speed issues using the free Google Pagespeed Insights tool.

Offering a good user experience to your mobile visitors is essential for the success of your SEO objectives. It is important to understand the behavior of your mobile users and produce content that matches their expectations while at the same time deliver it with the fastest speed possible.

 

Keyword research is the first and fundamental step of search engine optimization and almost any digital marketing effort. Knowing the keywords that lead users to your website could be a powerful weapon, if you succeed in recognizing them.

What are keywords?

Before you can optimize your website you need to know what you are optimizing it for. Keywords are the words that users type into search engines when they are looking for something. It is through keywords that searchers communicate their intent to engines in search queries.

User Search Queries and Intent

Understanding what keywords your prospects and target customers use is essential for both good SEO and marketing research.  Learning what your target customers are looking for, what kind of language they use, and how they communicate their intent will help you plan what content, services and products you should produce. This ultimately leads to more traffic to your site and is essential for achieving your business objectives! While the algorithms that search engines use to determine intent are a closely guarded secret, it is important for us as marketers to understand that search queries generally fall into three categories.

­Transactional Queries

Users communicate intent they are looking for a transaction, they want to DO something, like buy a car or get a date.  These types of queries are often targeted with PPC campaigns(e.g. keywords like “Cheap”, “Affordable”, “Discount”).

Informational Queries

Users communicate they are looking for information, they want to LEARN something, like the name of a movie or what is the closest star (by the way it is Proxima Centauri). Through these queries, searchers learn about the authoritative sources of information and who they can trust. Informational keywords are often with the highest importance for SEO.

­Navigational Queries

Users communicate they want to find a place, they want to GO somewhere online, like someone’s blog or email provider. These queries are similar to brand keywords, they show how your brand is authoritative and therefore they are most often targeted through content marketing.

Understanding the actual intent behind your searchers’ queries is fundamental for an effective SEO strategy. Once you know how your target users communicate their intent you can optimize your content to match it. This process is called keywords research but before we explore tools you can use to conduct research, let us first look into some keyword characteristics.

How to Select the Right Keywords

To rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs) it is important that you select and target the right keywords. Think of it this way, if you target keywords which nobody uses in search queries you will be found by the same group ­ nobody! There are generally three characteristics you must consider when you search for keywords. Look for:

­Relevance

Does this keyword accurately reflect what you offer? It is pointless to use keywords which do not accurately represent your products, services, and content. If searchers do not find what they are looking for when they land on your pages, they will be quick to hit the “back” button.

­Search Volume

What is the number of searches per month/year on this particular keyword? High search volume indicates a potential for organic traffic, it means people are searching for this term.

­Competition

How difficult is it going to be to rank for this keyword? It might be hard to rank for a keyword with high competition even if they are relevant to your business and with high search volume.

Types of Keywords

In addition to these important characteristics you must also understand that keywords generally fall into three types:

Branded Keywords

They are very specific and relevant to your company or its unique products/services (e.g. “Nike”). The amount of traffic on these keywords is a strong indicator of how authoritative your brand name is.

Generic Keywords

Those keywords have much broader reach (e.g. “Shoes”). These keywords encompass many subtopics and are thus with high traffic and competition. Generic keywords are with low-level searcher awareness, in other words, the users’ intent is not clear yet! Generally, these keywords have very high competition and therefore it is not cost effective to target them.

Long­-tail Keywords

Those­ are longer and more specific keywords (e.g. “buy Nike running shoes size 8””). The users’ intent is clear, they are ready to convert/buy. These keywords are characterized by low competition, and though they tend to have lower search volume, they tend to be the most important for your SEO because of the clarity of the user intent. Research suggests that more than %70 of all searches are for long-­tail keywords. Additionally, long-­tail keywords have a better conversion rate than generic and branded terms. This makes sense as people tend to use longer and more specific search queries when they have narrowed their choices and are ready to commit.

When conducting keyword research it is important that you not only create a list of potential keywords, but a targeted mix of branded, organic, and long­-tail keywords. Over time and with proper analytics you must track which keywords are driving the most traffic and conversions for your specific business.

Keyword Research Sources

When researching keywords it is important that you get to understand the language of your users. There are many tools that can help you conduct proper keyword research. There are both free and paid tools, all with different functionality. Here are some popular tools which we find easy to use:

­Google Adwords

Google Adwords Keyword Planner is free with an Adwords account and though it is designed for PPC, it lets you see all three attributes.­

Google Trends

Google Trends is free, lets you see seasonality of keyword usage.­

Ahrefs

Ahrefs 9offers a paid keyword research tool but is among the best currently available. It allows you to discover thousands of keywords, to see what your competitors are ranking for, and to explore suitable content.

Ubersuggest

Another free resource, great for keyword ideas and suggestions since it scrapes the Google autosuggest function.

­Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool

While Moz’s tool is paid, it is great for competitive analysis.

­Google Related Searches

Of course, Google is­ free. Just experiment with search queries on google and google trends and look for what suggestions come out.

You may also use internal data from your analytics software (e.g. Google Analytics), and search query data available in your Google Webmaster Tools. To better understand the language of your users you can tap into channels they may be using. For example, you can read forums which they use to discuss and learn about similar products/services. Regardless of the tools and methods you prefer, always keep in mind the types of keywords characteristics we discussed above. Think of all this in context of the intent of your searchers and you will form a solid foundation for your site content optimization.

Understanding Keywords Mapping

Once you have done thorough research you can proceed to plan your keyword mapping. Plane simple, this means creating a plan assigning keywords you want to target to specific pages of your site. You need to align your content to match your keyword plan. To do this we strongly recommend the use of a spreadsheet which can serve as a future reference on which pages are optimized for which keywords. It also helps keep things organized! To start you need to list all pages of your site and the keywords you want to target. Doing this will help you better understand your site structure. Once you are done with the list you need to:

  • Look for duplicate pages and content you might have. Since search engines want to see unique information on each page, be careful to avoid duplicate content!
  • Look at your keywords and find the most appropriate keyword for each page you have. You may need to create new pages if you do not have suitable existing pages for all your targeted keywords! This is a great opportunity to think of new and exciting content you can have on your site.

Your keyword research and mapping is not a single event. Based on your pages performance and analytics data you need to revisit your plan and update it if needed. In a year time, people may change the keywords they use to communicate their intent, or you may discover that you have misunderstood their intent in your initial research.