It goes without saying that we all want to have more traffic for our websites and, regardless of the other sources and tactics that we may use, search engines like Google will always play a prominent role. Good search engine optimization requires dedication, a willingness to adapt, and the right set of tools. If you are looking to grow your web traffic in 2015, you’ll want to keep some of these quick keyword tips in mind.
1. Develop and Stick to Your Process
You really can’t approach SEO in a haphazard kind of way and simply hope for results. Your strategy needs to be consistent and you need to follow the same step-by-step process for your keyword research.
Before you get started with any of your search engine optimization work, you need to identify the target keywords that people may use to find your website. A tool like Rank Tracker can come in very handy, helping you pick seed keywords, develop a longer list of suggestions and evaluate which keywords you should be targeting. Once you have your systematic approach in place, replicating it for other content and other sites will feel like second nature.
2. Avoid Spamming Those Keyword Anchor Texts
We’ve all been told so many times before that having anchor text like “click here” for our links–both on our own sites and with inbound links from other sites–is far from ideal, because it doesn’t help Google figure out exactly what your content contains. From this, the old school of SEO thought recommended that the anchor text should be incredibly target and very keyword rich.
That approach no longer works, because Google is starting to recognize it as a spammy kind of approach. This isn’t to say that your anchor text shouldn’t be relevant, but just exercise far more restraint when including those keywords. Be natural and diverse.
3. Pay Attention to How Hummingbird Works
Each time that Google issues a new algorithm update, the Internet marketing and SEO community frantically and carefully scrutinizes the changes to see what are the best optimization tactics moving forward. In the case of Google’s Hummingbird update, there are several lessons to consider.
Your keyword strategy should now take conversational queries into account. More and more people are typing “real” phrases and questions into Google, like “where is the nearest starbucks.” Google determines the intent of the search rather than taking the search at face value. In this example, ranking for “Starbucks locations” would be quite viable and important.
With Hummingbird, a few other things to keep in mind are targeting more of the long-tail keywords, paying attention to synonyms and co-occurring terms, and working toward more co-citation. When Google sees your brand mentioned alongside your competitors, it indicates to Google that you are likely related.
4. Target the Middle Suggestions Too
You’ve likely noticed that when you start typing out your search query in Google that it comes up with a series of suggestions to complete your search query. Part of this is based on your own search history and a bigger part of it has to do with the aggregate search history of every other Google user. Google is filling in the blank for the end of the search term and this can help with some of your keyword ideas.
Interestingly, Google can offer search suggestions for the beginning or middle of a query. This won’t work with every search term, but inserting an underscore effectively acts as a wild card. When I started typing “how can I _ online” in Google, it suggested “how can I vote online” and “how can I watch online movies.” Try a similar tactic for your niche.
5. Check Your Existing Search Queries
Sometimes, the best source of information and inspiration is right under your nose. You likely already have a starting point for some of the keywords you’d like to target for your SEO campaign, but there are always going to be some that slip between the cracks. If you hop into your Google Analytics account (or a similar tool), you can carefully inspect the kinds of keywords that people are already using to find your site.
This can reveal some excellent opportunities. If someone is clicking through on the search engine results page when your site is listed in a later position, imagine how much more traffic you’ll get if you improve that ranking.