What are Keywords?
From the earliest stages of your SEO campaign, you’ll be aware of keywords. These are single words or phrases which you want search engines to associate with your website, so that when those keywords are entered in search by a user, your site is visible.
These phrases should be central to your business, and highly relevant to the service and information provided by your website.
There are two crucial stages to pursuing keywords within an SEO campaign: Research and Optimisation. In this guide, we will introduce these processes to those of you who aren’t already familiar, and look more closely at the role and importance of keywords in digital marketing.
Choosing your keywords
When marketing agencies begin researching the keywords and phrases a website should be targeting, a lot of information about the site’s target audience is uncovered. Such insights are invaluable as the focus of a strong keyword strategy is not just to bring a high quantity of traffic to the site, but a high quality too.
Keyword research should be an ongoing process, which affords your digital marketing team and content writers the opportunity to adapt the website in response to changes in search behaviour, and new market trends.
The two main keyword categories
Every business should have a good grasp of the basic keywords they wish to appear for in search. Often, these are names of products or services you offer, and the industry and region you operate within. In targeting these keywords, businesses are able to attract users who are searching with intent to buy. Such keywords have transactional value, and the benefits of attracting traffic for such terms is high conversions.
Transactional Keywords: Search engines infer from these queries that the user wants to be shown a product or service. They can be broader phrases or very specific queries, depending on how close the user is to making a purchase. SEO strategists aim to catch users at every stage of the purchasing cycle, from early investigation to precise product hunting is crucial to increasing conversions.
Broad query at the start of a purchasing journey:
“Best coffee machines”
Specific query, close to conversion:
‘“Espresso compatible espresso coffee machine with 0.7 liter tank”
Digital marketers cannot afford to only target transactional keywords. In order to increase traffic to the site and boost visibility, digital marketers must target keywords which are indicative of a different, non-transactional user intent.
As users, the majority of searches we carry out are not related to a future purchase. More often than not, we are seeking information on a subject, which may or may not be related to a product or service. Studies into search query trends have consistently shown that informational queries are more common than transactional, one study from 2008 (we know, that’s really old, but there’s a surprising glut of new studies on this, so you got to take the data that is available!) showed that approximately 80% of queries were informational in nature.
Informational Keywords: Search engines infer from these queries that the user wants to be shown a resource from a respected, informed source. These queries tend to be made of up several words, and can often be a question. There are a number of search analytics tools which SEO agencies can use to determine which informational queries and questions appear most frequently in search, and should therefore be targeted in your onsite content.
Example: ‘What is a babyccino’ or ‘how much caffeine is in tea’.
By providing detailed answers to such queries, businesses have the opportunity to raise brand profile and introduce new users to their services. In order to target informational keywords successfully (attracting high quality traffic in the form of potential customers from your target audience), digital marketers must identify and investigate the behaviour of potential customers, especially those who may not yet be familiar with a business or the service they offer.