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What are keywords? How to use keywords to do Google SEO?

What are keywords? How to use keywords to do Google SEO? How to Use Keywords for Google SEO [2022 Guide] SEO Keywords: How to use Keywords for SEO

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SEO Keywords: How to use Keywords for SEO on your website 

Keywords are words and phrases that people enter into search engines that help them find what they're looking for. 

For example, if you wanted to buy a new jacket, you could type "men's leather jacket" into Google. Even though the phrase consists of multiple words, it is still a keyword.

Of course, no one but the SEO industry uses this term. Most people would call it a "Google search" or "query". All you need to know is that keywords are the same thing as "Google search" or "query".

In this guide, you will learn:

How to Use Keywords for Google SEO [2022 Guide] 

Why are keywords important?

Keywords are very important. As long as others enter the corresponding keywords in the search engine, your website will be displayed on the search results page.

For example, if you search for "how to do SEO" on Google, we'll appear at the top of the SERPs:

Search "how to do SEO" in the Google browser, Ahrefs will appear in first place on the first page of the SERP.

Because this keyword has about 1,700 monthly searches in the US, appearing at the top of Google search results brings us a lot of visitors. In fact, this keyword has brought us over 900 visits in the past month.

How to get your website to show up on Google for keywords

Your website appears at the top of Google search results for a related keyword, which may bring you a lot of traffic, but what can you do to make it happen?

There are two ways.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
PPC refers to paying Google to have your own website appear on search results pages for specific keywords. For example, if you sell email marketing software, you can bid on that keyword so that when people search for email marketing software, your website can appear at the top of Google's search results.

That's what Campaign Monitor is doing.

Campaign Monitor is a company that provides email marketing services. When you search for "email marketing software", you can see paid advertisements for Campaign Monitor.

This is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. You can select keywords and bid on Google's platform. Your ad will then appear on Google's search results pages. Google charges you every time someone clicks on an ad and lands on your site.

You can differentiate between paid results and organic (non-paid) results because paid results are flagged as ads.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages to improve their ranking in Google's organic search results. And Google's job is to rank the best, most relevant results for every search query.

If Google thinks your page is the "best" result for that search query, your site will get a steady stream of "free" traffic.

For example, the Ahrefs blog gets about 383,000 monthly organic search traffic from Google.

Our number one keywords like “SEO audit”:

The overview of search results for the keyword "SEO audit" shows that the number one link is Ahrefs' website.

Keywords "Keyword research tools":

The overview of the search results for the keyword "Keyword research tools" shows that the number one link is Ahrefs' website.

and "local SEO":

The overview of the search results for the keyword "local SEO" shows that the number one link is Ahrefs' website.

Because we sell SEO tools, all of these keywords drive leads and contribute to our bottom line.

How to find keywords

Most people have some idea of what keywords they want to rank for in Google. But it's impossible to know everything people search for. That's why it's worth doing some research to find more keywords.

There are many ways to do this, but the easiest way is to use a keyword research tool. (Ahrefs and Semrush).

Most of these tools are used the same way. You enter some broad keywords related to your industry, which we call these seed keywords, and these tools will feed back some related keywords to you.

For example, let's say you sell headphones online. Your seed keywords might be "headphones", "earbuds", "earphones" and "beats".

We entered these seed keywords into Ahrefs' keyword analysis and looked at one of the keyword reports.

We now see over 2 million related keywords, including monthly search volume, average cost-per-click (CPC) for paid ads, and a ton of other SEO metrics.

How to choose keywords

No one can rank for all keywords, and no one can bid on all keywords. Therefore, it is important to choose your competitive range wisely. Let’s take a look at a few keyword metrics and attributes to help you choose the best keywords.
  • popularity
  • Search intent
  • value
  • Keyword Difficulty

  • popularity
Keyword popularity varies. For example, "how to post on Instagram" has about 35,000 monthly searches. But "how to get backlinks" only got 1,200 searches.

Does this mean that ranking "how to post on Instagram" is better than "how to get backlinks"? uncertain. If you sell SEO software like we do, it doesn't make sense to rank for the first keyword. It may bring in a lot of visitors, but no one will buy our product.

You need to find keywords that are relevant to your business and judge them accordingly.

For example, “SEO tips” has 2,200 monthly searches, while “image SEO” has 350 monthly searches.

Since these two keywords are meaningful for us to appear in Google search results, we should probably prioritize the first keyword. why? Because it has more search volume. We might get more traffic from ranking first for this keyword than for another keyword.

You can check the search volume for almost any keyword in Ahrefs' keyword analysis. Just enter your keywords, choose a country, and you'll see country-specific and global search volumes.

While search volume is a good predictor of traffic potential in general, it's not perfect.

Just look at these two keywords:

Judging by their search volume, you would think that the top few pages in the search results for "SEO tips" would get the most organic traffic. However, if we look at the current top-ranking pages for each keyword in Ahrefs' website analytics, we find the opposite is true.

Click through these two articles to learn more about why search volume is not necessarily a good way to predict traffic.

  • Search intent
Suppose you sell robot vacuums online. Looking at the search volume alone, using “robot vacuum” as a keyword to rank for product pages seems like a good choice.

After all, someone searching for a "robot vacuum" might be looking to buy one, and you're selling a "robot vacuum." So what's the problem with doing this?

The problem is that most people searching for this keyword aren't ready to make a purchase. They're just looking for product reviews and analysis of the best models available.

How do we know? Check out Google's search results.

Searching for "robot vacuum" in Google, we can see that the highlighted part is the copy contained in the top links: "Best robot vacuum".

As you can see, almost all of the search results are rankings of the best robot vacuums carefully ranked by consumer review sites. This is important because Google's job is to show users the most relevant search results. If these search results are rankings for the best robot vacuums, then we can assume that's what searchers want to see.

In SEO terms, this is called search intent.

If you want to get the best Google rankings for your keywords, you need to create content that aligns with search intent. In other words, don't choose the keywords that searchers use to find blog posts to rank for pages, and vice versa.

  • value
Many people are often obsessed with search volume and search intent without stopping to think about the value of keywords. This is wrong.

Let's say you sell pizza ovens online. You might see a keyword like "pizza dough" with 43,000 monthly searches and think it's easy to rank for that keyword.

But ask yourself, how many people searching for "pizza dough" might want to buy a pizza oven? The realistic answer is probably no. Most people are pretty much just looking for a quick recipe. It's unlikely they'll want to spend a few hundred dollars on a pizza oven anytime soon.

So how do you judge the value of a keyword?

If you use a keyword search tool, such as Ahrefs' Keyword Analysis, to analyze keywords in bulk, you can get a very rough "value" judgment by looking at cost-per-click (CPC). This represents how much an advertiser is willing to pay, on average, for a click on a keyword.

Bulk search keywords in Ahrefs' Keyword Analysis to visually compare the cost-per-click (CPC) of each keyword.

What this means here is that if advertisers are willing to pay a high price for clicks, then the traffic brought by the keyword must have a certain value.

However, things are not so simple. Just because a keyword is valuable to others doesn't necessarily mean it is valuable to you.

Take "link building service" as an example:

This keyword has a high CPC, and it’s easy to see why. Because providing link building services can make a lot of money, companies that provide link building services are also willing to pay high fees for this traffic.

However, since we do not provide link-building services, this keyword is of little value to us.

  • Keyword Difficulty
For example, you found the perfect keyword. This keyword has high search volume and the search intent matches your page content and looks very valuable. This keyword should be chosen to rank for the page, right?

uncertain. It depends on how difficult it is to rank for that keyword.

For example, take a look at the "mortgage payment calculator":

"mortgage payment calculator" has a Keyword Difficulty score of 84. Given that our rating is from 0 to 100, this is quite high. This means that many of the top-ranking pages have many links from other sites. Because backlinks are an important ranking factor, without a large number of high-quality backlinks, it will be difficult for your page to surpass other pages for a top-ranking position.

Having said that, ranking on Google is more than just getting backlinks. So while the Keyword Difficulty score can help you get an idea of ​​how difficult it is to rank, there are other factors you should consider.

Take a look and see what else factors into our complete guide to assessing keyword difficulty.

How to optimize keywords

Most guides say you need to do the following to optimize your keywords:
  • Include keywords in title tags
  • URL must contain keywords
  • Multiple mentions of keywords on the page
  • Include long-tail keywords in your copy
While it does make sense to do this work, it is not your primary way of optimizing your keywords.

The primary way to optimize your keywords is to match search intent.

We talked about matching search intent earlier, but it’s important to stress again how important this is. If you're trying to rank a "cast iron skillet" with a blog post, that's probably not realistic. Google knows that searchers are here to buy pans, not to learn about them. That's why the top five results are all product and product category pages for e-commerce sites.

An overview of the search results pages for “cast iron skillet” shows that the (highlighted) top 6 sites, such as Amazon, are pages of e-commerce sites for consumers to buy.

But matching search intent is more than just creating the right content type. You also need to output what the searcher wants to see.

For example, let's say you want to rank by "backlinks".

As you can see from the current top-ranking pages, searchers want a blog post, so your page needs to be a content type that looks like a “blog post.” But what exactly should your blog post be about? From what angle should your article be cut?

You can get inspiration by browsing the top-ranking pages.

In this case, almost all posts have the same angle of entry: "what are backlinks?"

In the overview of the search results for the keyword "backlinks", the highlighted part is what the top-ranked links contain: "what is a Backlink".

To get the best chance of ranking for this search query, you need to follow along.

But don't stop there. You should also check what else the top-ranking pages cover. For example, nearly every page ranked for "backlinks" covers three subtopics:
  • What is an external link?
  • Why are external links important?
  • What types of external links are there?
This goes to show that most searchers want to know the answers to these questions, so you should include them in your article.

What is a long-tail keyword?

If you've read anything about keyword research before, you've probably come across the term long-tail keywords. Most guides define it as a keyword consisting of many words, but that's not entirely accurate.

Long-tail keywords are search queries with a single low search volume. While it’s accurate to say that longer, more specific keywords tend to have lower search volume, phrases consisting of just one or two words can also be long-tail keywords.

In fact, there are over 350 million one- or two-word phrases in our database with fewer than 10 monthly searches.

In Ahrefs' database, there are more than 300 million keywords with a monthly search volume not exceeding 9 and the number of words not exceeding 2.

Others say that long-tail keywords are easier to rank for. This sometimes works, but not all the time. What we call "topical long-tail keywords" is more true to this statement than "affiliation long-tail keywords."

Are you confused? Let's take a brief look at these two sets of concepts.

What are "affiliation" long-tail keywords?

"Affiliate" long-tail keywords are less common expressions i.

For example, look at these keywords:

Monthly searches for each keyword are less than 50, but they're all just a less common way of searching for the topic "how to lose weight." The keyword "how to lose weight" has 89,000 monthly searches in the US.

Google knows this, which explains why the same page ranks first for all of these keywords.

In Ahrefs' website analysis, if you search for a link, you can see that this link ranks first in multiple different keyword rankings.

This is not uncommon, and our research shows that the top-ranking pages, on average, rank in the top 10 for about 1,000 other relevant keywords.

In Ahrefs' research, pages with higher rankings participate in more other related keywords, and the more keywords these pages are ranked for, the lower the ranking pages, the more keywords that can be ranked will be. less. And this table counts the average number of keywords that can rank in the top 10.

We can learn two things from this:
  • First, ranking for “affiliated” long-tail keywords, such as “how to lose weight”, is often not as easy as ranking for the most frequently used keywords in a search topic. You’ll see this if you compare the keyword difficulty score for “how to lose weight” with the other long-tail keywords above, all of which have high keyword difficulty scores.
  • Second, you shouldn't optimize your pages with "affiliate" keywords. You should optimize your pages to search for the most common expressions on a topic.

What is "topic" long-tail keywords

"Topic" long-tail keywords are the most commonly used expressions to search for a topic, but keywords with low individual search volume.

A good example of a "topic" long-tail keyword is "keyword cannibalization":

The monthly search volume for "keyword cannibalization" is only 250, but that's not because there are other, more commonly searched expressions for this topic. Rather, the monthly search volume for this keyword is low because few people care about this topic.

We can learn two things from this:
  • First, "topic" long-tail keywords are often easier to rank high for because these terms have less competition. People are reluctant to invest too much time and effort in ranking low-traffic topics.
  • Second, "topic" long-tail keywords can drive a lot of traffic to your website. You just need to use them heavily to rank.
You can find some "topic" long-tail keywords by searching for a topic in Ahrefs' keyword analysis, and then filter out keywords with low traffic and low difficulty. If the "parent topic" matches the keyword itself, the keyword is usually a "topic" long-tail keyword.

For example, the parent topic of "keto and migraines" is the same as the keyword itself.

If we look at the search results for this keyword, we will find that many pages have hundreds of visits per month, but very few backlinks.

This can be a fairly easy keyword to rank for, even on a relatively new site, as long as your content is well optimized.

The final summary of How to use keywords to do Google SEO?

Keywords are the foundation of SEO. You need to know what people are searching for and what they want to see in order to create or optimize your content for search engines.

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