The First Step
– Choosing Keywords

The First Step
– Choosing Keywords

John Luhr
August 15th, 2018

Issue 1 – The first step – Choosing keywords

Issue 2 – Planning your site – Making the structure

Issue 3 – Social Media – Building your brand

Issue 4 – Tell search engines where you are

Issue 5 – Link building – Get your votes

Issue 6 – Write your articles – Blogging

Issue 7 – Building your network – The social kind

Issue 8 – Spending money – Paid advertising

It’s time to clear the air. Recently I had a discussion with a client and was told that the company they used for their SEO was different to the company they used to manage their website. In this conversation, they told me the most annoying thing I had ever heard, that they had been working with this company for years and hadn’t learnt anything. I was appalled.

SEO is easy. It’s not magic (it is a bit magic) and I am sick to death of people having SEO companies that doesn’t share their “secrets”. The secrets are publicly available to everyone. Not only that, they’re easy to understand and so, I’m going to add another resource for people to the internet to show them just how easy it all is.

My 8 part series on how to do SEO is here. Starting with number one. The First Step – Choosing your keywords.

How do we pick keywords?

It’s a little bit of research, it’s a little bit of guess work. What you really want to do is pick 1 keyword per page on your website. This will be your main on-page keyword. It will go in the H1 tag (more on that later) and appear on the page multiple times. But you don’t just want to pick random nonsense. No no. What you need to do is select a keyword for each page based on how far in your sales funnel people who are reading it are. And how relevant it is to the page.

There are two types of keywords. Short tail and long tail (there’s actually more, but these are the only two you need to know for now).

Short tail keywords are 1-2 words that are searched at the beginning of a conversion cycle and usually are not that important to your page. You should have a bank of them to include all over your site, but forget about them on your individual pages.

A long tail keyword is a search term consisting of 4 or so words that are more specific, and have more chance in resulting in a conversion.

You need to think about your customer cycle. And to do this, you need to think of yourself as a customer and if you were buying your product, how you would find it and when you would buy it.

Let’s use an example. Recently I was looking for a headset for my 15 year old son’s birthday present. I knew I wanted a headset, and I knew I wanted one that worked on XboxOne, PS4 and PC. So, I typed into my old friend Google the following:

“Bluetooth headsets”

This was the start of my journey. See I wasn’t ready to buy yet, I was still in research mode.

I got a bunch of results like the below:

SEO Guide 1

ABSOLUTELY USELESS..  I needed to refine my search. So, I started to move down the funnel and extended to a longer search string “bluetooth headsets for gamers” and got this:

SEO Guide Issue 1

This is what I was looking for in my first step. Basically a list of new keywords that I was going to use. I went to the first article and read it to give myself 12 more keywords.

Then I went through keywords like this “steelseries Siberia 800 review”

SEO Guide Issue 1 Steelseries

I don’t watch videos, so I read the first few. Then added “corsair gaming h2100 review”

SEO Guide Issue Corsair

And so on and so forth.

Once I had found the one I liked best (the Turtle Beach Ear Force i60) I then went back to this: “Turtle beach earforce i60”

SEO Guide Issue earforce

I read some more reviews. Then typed “buy turtle beach ear force i60 sydney”

SEO Guide Issue beach

Notice something about the last couple of searches? The Google Shop gave me the same two links. I did end up buying from one of them. This is because of a few reasons:

  1. They appeared at least twice in my conversion cycle, meaning I had repetition
  2. It was the easiest place to find them
  3. JB HiFi didn’t have them!

So, what you can see here is a customer cycle for the purchase of a gaming headset. You need to think like this for your customers for each page or product you have. And choose your keywords based on that.

Your main page keyword is the one you think will make the highest level of conversion. This is the longtail keyword that is the main title on your page. On your page you can have one phrase in a H1 tag (you can have more than 1, but putting more than 1 means Search Engines will penalise you). So, in this case, the shop needs to get “Buy Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 Sydney” in their main H1 tag.

This is where longtail and short tail come in. Actually, you don’t need Buy and Sydney in there. In your title I mean. You’ll notice that the two recurring sites came up when I had “Turtle Beach Ear Force i60” and then again with the ‘Buy’ and ‘Sydney’ in there.

They’ve optimised for Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 as their main on page keyword. And then selected a few short tail keywords to sprinkle around their site. That way when people add those words in, attached to their main page keyword, they’ll come up as well.

So, this is how you pick keywords. A good formula to follow is below:

1 – For each page, 1 main keyword. This will be different for every page on your site. And DO NOT NEGLECT LOW CONVERTING PAGES. This is a common mistake people make. They do things like use “About Us” and their keyword. But, no one is ever searching the term “About Us”. This means they neglect the page which is really neglecting your site. What you want to do is something like “About Company Name”. This way you are optimising About Company Name, but also getting a sneaky little additional optimisation on your actual company name. (pages like Contact Us, About Us, Our Work, anything like that, change it the generic term to your company name).

2 – For each page, 4 secondary keywords. These are words that are relevant to the page and can be included properly, but are not as important in your cycle. These should also be long tail keywords like in our example, including things like “Bluetooth headsets for gamers” and other such ones. These will go into H2 tags, and be included in your content.

3 – For your site, 5-10 short tail keywords. Self explanatory, things like Sydney, Electronics, Headsets, Delivery, etc. These you are going to sprinkle around your site and not lay as much emphasis on

Once you have your keywords selected, you can then move on to the next step which is to research them. Punch them into Google (incognito) and see what is already coming up, then look at your competitors and see what sub keywords they are using.

Put them in the Google Keyword Research Tool to see how many people are searching for them. And whether or not they’ll be of value. Keep in mind, if not many people are searching, it doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable, it just means you’ll be found more when people are searching for those specific keywords, and you’ll be able to climb to the top faster.

This part is a little bit hard, but localise them. Seeing as Google is now big on mobile search and location based results, you want to make sure that your keywords are being targeted to the terms people use in not only your area, but target market. They might be headsets in Australia, but they could be headphones in America (they aren’t, but you know what I mean). A good example is the car “Trunk” in America is called the “Boot” in Australia and Britain.

After you’ve done all this, make the list, and move onto our next article Issue 2 – Planning your site – Making the structure.


The First Step - Choosing Keywords
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The First Step - Choosing Keywords
The First Step is the first issue in an 8 Part SEO Guide Series by John Luhr. Issue one focuses on how to choose the best keywords for your site.
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