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June 1, 2022 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
What makes a good keyword? For anyone in content marketing, this is a big question. Sometimes it’s the big question when you’re trying to pick topics for your pieces. Do you ever feel pressure to get the choice just right? That way you can rank high in search and snag the important organic traffic that leads to conversions and sales.
But keyword choice doesn’t have to be daunting or scary. Once you know what to look for, the process becomes natural. Today, we’re demystifying the keyword choice process with seven factors to look for to find the right topics for your business’s content.
Whether you have the help of keyword research tools, or you’re working from scratch with knowledge and know-how, here are seven things to consider when picking the right keywords for your content:
Search volume is the number of queries a specific keyword gets on search engines. It matters when picking keywords because you don’t want to create content around a topic nobody searches for. What would be the point? Sure, you’d rank in the top spot. But the top result with zero viewers still doesn’t bring you any traffic.
Search volume also works in the opposite direction, especially for small businesses and startups. There are some keywords where the search volume and competition are both so high that targeting the keyword is a waste of time. Your content won’t ever rise to the top. Look at the term “SEO marketing,” in the above example. That term gets a lot of searches, and there’s a lot of potential organic traffic at stake, but it’s super hard to grab it without a vast backlink network and domain authority.
Both paid and free keyword research tools help you find the search volume for any term. We’ve used screenshots throughout this article from one of those tools, Ahrefs, to explain just why picking the right keywords is so important. When using these tools, look for ones with high search volume and low competition, as you can see in the screenshot above. The key phrase is “why does my search engine keep changing to Yahoo?” It has a high search rate, as seen in the second box, and the potential to bring a lot of traffic, which you see in the third box. But look at the first. You only need about 23 backlinks to rank in Google’s top 10 for this term. Brands in technology or search marketing may find this a worthwhile keyword if it relates to their products and services.
So when we say “high search volume and low competition,” we mean many people are looking for that content, but few other sources are talking about it. This makes it easier to get your piece to the top of the search engine results page (SERP), grab traffic, and position your brand as a thought leader on your topics.
Related: What Is Search Engine Positioning and Why Does It Matter?
When picking keywords, think about what topics best represent your brand, products, and services. You want to draw in your target audience with your content marketing. It’s not aimed at any old person on the web. Enormous volumes of traffic don’t matter if they’re not bringing you qualified leads you can convert into customers.
For example, CopyPress doesn’t create content about stop-animation video production. It’s not a service we offer. Sure, some brands use it for content marketing or advertising. If we stretched the idea pretty far, we could probably tie it into what we do. But if you have to stretch the topic to make it seem relevant, it’s not for your audience. Pick something better that suits the kinds of leads and clients you want to draw to your brand. Quality is always better than quantity, especially when it brings more sales.
In keyword selection, you need to know more than what your target audience is looking for online. You need to know why they’re searching. Marketers call this search intent. Understanding the “why” helps you create content that better fits your audience’s needs and ultimately helps you pick better focus topics.
For example, look at the search term “content marketing” and the Ahrefs keyword ideas. People may use the term “content marketing” to find information for different purposes. Do they want a term definition? Are they looking for a content marketing agency? Do they want to buy tools or services to help with content marketing? Knowing the reasoning behind a search helps you pick more targeted long-tail keywords that better match the information they’re trying to find. When you use your keyword research tools the right way, you can actually get more suggestions to better target search intent, using features like these questions and other topics to talk about that you have the potential to rank for.
Related: Search Intent: An Introduction for B2B Marketers
Similar to picking relevant keywords, you also want to choose ones that encourage conversions from your audience. A great way to find conversion-rich keywords is to look at every stage of your marketing funnel and determine what you want people to do when they get there.
Some content exists to make people aware of your brand. Others make more of a hard sell to get people to make a partnership or a purchase. The content you create for each one uses different keywords. If you know the segment of the marketing funnel that corresponds with each piece, that can drive your keyword research and choice. Target the actions you want people to take during or after completing interaction with your pieces.
Related: How To Create a Marketing Funnel With Examples
Competition is everywhere in marketing, and SERPs are no exception. SEO exists to help you put in the work to get the search engine stamp of approval and rank higher than your competitors when people ask a query. Like we talked about with search volume, there are certain keywords where the competition is just too high for you to rank.
Consider the keyword “SEO,” and the metrics pictured above. Everyone in marketing tries to rank for that term. Ahrefs estimates you’d need backlinks from over 2,000 other sources to rank on page one for this term. Your chances of rising through the ranks to get on page one, let alone in the top slot, are slim. Again, we encourage you to find high search volume and low competition keywords. They go together, just like the Grease song says, because they help you target what people are looking for but what not a lot of other companies are talking about.
Those keywords help you pare down the competition so you’re fighting fewer brands for the same SERP real estate.
Another great way to take out some of your potential competition is to look for gaps in your content marketing strategy. Content gaps are topics, areas, and keywords that you could cover in your pieces. They’re relevant and match your audience’s search intent, but you haven’t used them yet. Many of them are high search volume and low competition topics that make for good keywords.
It’s easier to find these content gaps than you may think. CopyPress has a tool to help. Request your free content marketing analysis report today. It helps you find these content gaps and shows how your content ranks against your top three competitors. This can help you narrow the SERP pool and give your audience exactly what they need from your content.
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We’ve talked about two different types of keywords throughout this piece, and you may not even know it: seed keywords and long-tail keywords. Seed keywords are short, foundational keywords. They’re the ones that represent your brand’s major topics or interests, like SEO or content marketing. Long-tail keywords target more specific segments of the seed keywords. For example, “what is mobile SEO” fits this category. You can see from the Ahrefs dashboard that it’s easier to rank for this keyword, even though it has a lower search volume and traffic potential. If mobile SEO is a keyword that applies to your business, it may be worth targeting.
While seed keywords often have more competition, it’s good to have a balance of both types to make sure you’re getting the most from your content marketing. This allows you to be in the conversation of broader topics with your pillar content, but also to reap as much organic traffic as possible with more refined long-tail keywords.
Related: What Are Pillar Posts in Content Marketing?
Keywords are only one part of your SEO strategy. There are other things on which to focus, along with keyword research, to make your SEO work to its maximum capacity. Technical aspects make it easy for search engine bots and crawlers to understand and index your website and content. If search engine bots can’t read your pieces, it doesn’t matter how great your keyword choice was because the piece will never make it to your target audience.
On-site SEO is necessary to make sure the user experience is high quality. Using features like headings and lists, along with things like images, makes it easier for the audience to understand the content. That keeps them on the page longer and signals to search engines that your content is relevant. Off-site SEO includes building your backlink profile to prove your authority on keyword topics with your content.
Related: All You Need To Know About Domain Authority for SEO
At CopyPress, we focus on SEO in everything we do. Whether you need engaging blog posts or are looking to make conversions with product descriptions, we weave SEO best practices right into the copy. You don’t have to think about how to get your content to the top of SERPs. It just happens naturally.
We use our proprietary tool, Thematical, to find the right keywords and gap content topics for your pieces so that you’re hitting all the important areas of SEO that make your content and website shine compared to the competition. To find out more about a content partnership with CopyPress, schedule your free introductory call with our team today.
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