SEO: How Do I Choose The Best Keywords For My Website?

Keywords, or search phrases, are still very much important in website search engine optimization in 2019. Although not the most important aspect of SEO, having the right keyword strategy is essential for improving your site’s search engine visibility.

This is because search engines such as Google and Bing still require users to input a search term (as seen in the interface most of you are familiar with).

typical google search bar

The search engine then serves what it thinks to be the msot relevant web pages to the user, based on the provided keyword(s).

How does a search engine know what pages to serve for a particular search term?

Keywords is part of the answer.

Without going into the weeds, search engines need to be able to crawl the content on your webpages before it can even begin deciding what each page is about. Based on textual information found on your webapge, search engines will determine the topics and ideas expressed. Assuming that your webpage passes a series of crawlability and userability criteria, a search engine will then index the webpage into its library of search result pages.

Think of Google as an ever-expanding library where every single day, new books are being submitted and placed onto the shelves. Keywords are one of the ways that a search engine can efficiently categorise and organise your webpage within its catalog.

More on this later ..

What Are Keywords In SEO?

Every time you type in something into Google search, you are using keywords. Some keywords can be broad, for example, ‘tuna’ while some keywords can be very specific. Using the same example as before, ‘how to make a tuna melt sandwich’ can be another keyword consisting of six words altogether. Similarly, ‘what types of tuna are there’ represents yet another search intent based around the same topic of tuna. Each of these will yield very different search results.

Therefore, keywords are ideas or topics that relate to a particular search intent. And Google and other search engines rely on the use of keywords to help provide the right information to match a particular search intent.

As a business owner with a website, what does this mean for you?

For search engines to serve your webpages to its users, you must ensure that each page within your website serves a specific purpose.

Since keywords are ideas or topics that relate to a particular search intent, each webpage on your site should be paired with at least one relevant keyword.

But how can you find the best keywords for your webpages and business?

Read on to find out.

How Do I Find Keywords For My Website?

Now that you know that keywords are important to SEO, how do you go about finding what keywords your site is currently ranking for?

There are probably free ways to identify what keywords your website is ranking for but I prefer efficiency over frugaility. As such, I recommend using a premium tool called ahrefs.

ahrefs is a useful tool for doing various aspects of search engine optimization - with keyword identification and researching being one of them

To find out what keywords your website is currently ranking for, use the Site Explorer function. Simply plug in your domain name to find out what keywords your website has.

In the example above, I’ve entered my wedding photography webstie into Site Explorer.

Ahrefs will output a bunch of metrics.

To find out the keywords that your website has, click on Organic keywords on the left menu.

Welcome to ahref’s Site Explorer dashboard

If ahrefs has crawled your site, you will be presented with a list of keywords that are currently ranking for your website.

ahrefs has identified a number of keywords for site

However, if your website is relatively new, ahrefs may not have crawled your site – especially if your website doesn’t have regular visitors. There’s not much you can do at this time.

In this example, has no keywords associated with the domain as the site is relatively new

Now that you know how to use ahref’s Site Explorer function, you can use it to extract the best keywords for your business. And the best way to do this is by checking out your competitors.

How Do I Find The Best Keywords?

As I mentioned earlier, the easiest way to gather a list of keywords for your business is through putting in your competitor’s URLs into ahref’s Site Explorer.

Taking the wedding photography niche as an example, is one of the top search results for the keyword ‘sydney wedding photographer’. Given that this keyword has 800 monthly searches, must be doing something right to be ranking as the third result in Google SERP.

So let’s go have a peak inside using ahrefs.

Most websites will rank for its own brand terms. In this instance, “gemma clarke”. Filter the results by excluding brand terms (make sure you uncheck the URLs box though).

Use the exclude filter function to remove branded terms from the organic keyword list in ahrefs

Now you can see all the keywords that the site ranks for. You will want to export this list into a .csv file and review it carefully.

Using this information, you can begin your keyword research.

How Do I Choose The Best Keywords For My Website?

Keyword research is critical to SEO. I’m not going to cover keyword research as to do it properly goes way beyond the scope of this article. However this guide by MOZ is good one to study.

This video by ahrefs is also a good source of material.

The best keywords for your website will require you to understand your customer’s journey. That is, what is the solution that they are looking for?

For some products and services, a typical customer may require multiple touchpoints before they are ready to commit to buying (e.g., house, car). Therefore, your keyword research should be paired with your customer’s buying journey where some broad keywords help catch them at the informational stage while longer and specific keywords are targetted at attracting users who are ready to make a purchasing decision.

Heres’ a little framework to help you choose the best keywords for your intended goal:

  1. Map out your customer profile and get to know their buyer’s journey
  2. Identify their pain points so that you can focus on explaining the benefits of your product/service in your webpage content
  3. Use ahrefs Site Explorer to identify the exact keywords that your competitors are using to effectively rank well on Google

Once you have built out your list of relevant keywords for your business, you can pair them with target pages. And once you have the beginnings of a site silo structure, you can move onto the next stage of optimizing your website’s search engine visibility – content creation.

Did You Learn How To Choose The Best Keywords For Your Website?

Let me know in the comments section.

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask away.

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