What are keywords?
Keyword is any word or phrase that a user types into the search engine in order to find certain information on the internet. The keyword is a gateway that leads people to the organic search results and ultimately, to the website where they find what they’re looking for.
That is why finding the right keywords is so important in the search engine optimization. It helps you to find the phrases people use when looking for the information so that you can optimize your website to appear in the search results for the right keywords.
Copyblogger sums up the whole idea very well:
At the deepest level, keyword optimization has nothing to do with SEO. It’s about knowing your audience so well that you learn which words will grab their attention, earn their trust, and persuade them to buy your products or services in the future.
In other words, keyword optimization is about getting to know your audience so that you can offer the best possible user experience.
Once you start to examine the way people search on the internet, you’ll notice that they usually use longer, specific phrases to find what they need. These keywords are called long tail keywords and their usage is considered the best practice in the keyword optimization.
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keyword is a keyword that contains 3 or more words. However, the length as such is not that important. The significance of long tail keywords lies in the lower difficulty, high relevance and great conversion rates they have.
The biggest advantage of long tail keywords is that the competition for these terms is usually much lower than for the general terms. Of course, the search volume of “italian pizza dough recipe” is much lower than the search volume of “pizza dough”, but so is the difficulty.
A well-written comprehensive article on a certain topic can actually rank for more long tail keywords. Although the search volume is lower for each keyword separately, the number may become quite interesting if you sum them up.
Long-term keywords are actually the way people search. If you look at the graph of the keyword distribution by length, you can see that the whole “tail” has actually bigger volume than the head because it includes more keywords.
In other words, there is a good chance you’ll get more traffic from long-tail keywords than the general keywords since there are more people using them.
Another reason to pay attention to long tail keywords is the fact that they have better conversion rates than the general terms. They are more specific which usually implies that the user is much further on his buyer’s journey.
Who do you think is more ready to buy? A user searching for “coffee maker” or a user searching for “silver delonghi manual espresso machine”?
What is an ideal keyword?
There are several ways how to find the keywords. You can brainstorm and write down all the possible topics in your niche, spy on your competitors or use a keyword tool that will offer keyword ideas with other useful metrics.
The whole process of finding new keywords is called keyword research and it is an integral part of SEO.
An ideal keyword should have the right balance between popularity, difficulty and relevance.
1. Popularity of the keyword
One of the most obvious factors is the search volume of the keyword. The more searches a certain keyword gets, the more organic traffic will you get if you rank for this keyword.
Besides the monthly search volume, it is also good to look at the interest over time, especially when doing keyword research with the goal of finding the new niche for your website or blog.
2. Difficulty of the keyword
The popularity is an important factor but if you won’t be able to rank for a keyword with high search volume, it is useless for you. That’s why you should always consider the competition of the keyword and asses its difficulty.
3. Relevance of the keyword
Once you check the search volume and difficulty of the keyword and find the ideal ratio (high search volume, low difficulty), you should look at the SERP for a detailed analysis of the websites that rank for the keyword.
Each search has a search intent behind it and there are different types of content for different types of intent. SERP analysis will help you to choose the right type of content for your page.