Selecting the best SEO keyword phrase for any given page on your website can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
And let’s be honest (and realistic)…no matter how amazingly-skilled at SEO you are, it’s not feasible to expect to shoot to the top of Page 1 of search results for each and every page, blog post or product you optimize for search.
Not even for most of them.
You should always be conducting some degree of SEO keyword phrase research as you work to optimize your current website, a new blog post, or products in your online store.
(Hint #1: For an excellent and easy-to-understand primer on All Things SEO, click here.)
(Hint #2: If you already know the gist of what SEO is and how it works, and want to focus solely on learning more about title tags and meta descriptions, how many characters are in each, and how those title tags and meta descriptions you are working so hard on, render in search, go here.)
5 Tips for Choosing the Best SEO Keyword Phrase
Your selected keyword phrase will be used in (or as) your title tag, ALT tag (for images), in headings on the page, and throughout the page content (though repeating exact-match keyword phrases over and over throughout the text is not advised). So while it might feel like too much work, SEO keyword research is very important since that chosen keyword phrase is incorporated in multiple ways in the optimization of each page, blog post, or product listing on your site.
What you are essentially shooting for with the keyword phrase you choose is figuring out how someone would search for the content you are presenting on that page. I liken SEO to the game show, “Family Feud” because you are trying to determine what “the survey says” when you are working on your SEO research.
In no particular order…
- You do want to look at the count of searches for that phrase vs other keyword phrases you are considering. Remember: Highest count of searches also means the highest competition for that phrase, so bigger search numbers don’t necessarily mean that’s the best direction for your SEO.
- Keep it simple and timely: Use Google.com to conduct your keyword research and pay attention to auto-suggested options as you type the SEO keyword phrase that you have in mind to use. Those auto-suggestions often give you better ideas than what you had.
- Your title tag is one of the main elements of your SEO work. It maxes out at 60 characters (which means, Google is “looking at” only the first 60 characters that you put in the Title Tag field, so don’t “stuff” your title tag with a bunch of extra keywords just for the sake of keywords). Your chosen keyword phrase should be 60 characters or less, including spaces.
- The keyword phrase you select for your content should be “long-tailed”, meaning written as a phrase and containing more than a couple words. It also should be specific enough to properly represent what the content of your page is about. For example, if you own a doggie daycare business, the word “dogs” has almost 3 billion searches tied to it on Google. So, while extremely popular, simply trying to optimize for and rank in the search of “dogs” isn’t a good fit for you. What would be a better keyword phrase? Something like “dog daycare in [your town]”. There is a much lower count of searches for that phrase, but that keyword phrase is a much better choice or “fit” for the content.
- Once you think you’ve settled on the right keyword phrase for a page, type it into Google.com and see what other types of search results populate on Page 1. This is an important step to ensure the phrase you intend to use for your SEO is presenting similar content as yours, for that search phrase. To use an example from my industry, phrases that include “social media management” can render results for the tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social as well as firms like mine that offer this service for businesses. And the intent of a Googler looking for the tools is a very different intent of a Googler looking for a company to manage their social media on their behalf.
SEO is a learned skill. The more you practice it, the stronger you’ll get at it. Each page and post on your site is another chance to rank on a new keyword phrase, so get started with your home page and main product or services pages, and go from there!