Did you know 95% of search traffic goes to the first page of Google search results? That means that if your site doesn’t rank in the top 10 results for your target keywords, not many people will find or visit it. Enter search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is designed to optimize your website for all the qualities Google rewards, promoting it to higher search result rankings. And at the crux of this process is keyword implementation. But just how can you get your chosen keywords to rank at the top of search results?
To start, you can follow the simple eight-step process below to make sure your keywords are really working for you. Once you’ve done that, you can also consider partnering with WebFX. We’ve boosted keyword rankings for hundreds of clients with our keyword research services, and we’d love to do the same for you!
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1. Start with keyword research
Once you’re ready to go, it’s time to find some keywords to use! There are a few different ways of approaching this. The simplest is to pick a term relevant to your industry and type it into the Google search bar without hitting enter.
Take a look at the Google Autocomplete results. This will give you a good idea of related keywords and phrases people search — and you can use the results to start building your list of target keywords. For a more in-depth look at good keyword options, though, there are numerous keyword tool options to choose from.
Some of these options are:
Each one can suggest a wide variety of keywords based on an initial phrase.
2. Narrow your keyword list
Once you have a good supply of results from your keyword research, start narrowing your keyword list. To rank for keywords, you want to choose phrases that are relevant to your business, relatively high in search volume, and relatively low in competition. If your business is a farmer’s market, you might begin your search with terms related to food products you sell, like “apple.” But you don’t want to use all the related keywords you find.
“Apple cider”? Sure. “Apple software update”?
Probably not. Likewise, you don’t want to target a keyword like “corn.” Broad, short-tail keywords have more competition, making it harder to rank at the top of search results. You’d have to be very authoritative to make it into those top rankings.
Aim instead for keywords that are a bit more specific or long-tail like “buy sweet corn near me.” Long-tail keywords usually have less competition, and it’s easier to decipher search intent for more specific phrases — which brings us to the next point.
3. Consider search intent for keywords
To truly understand how to rank for keywords, you have to understand something that so many companies miss — search intent. In other words, why are people searching for this keyword? When you’ve decided which keywords you’re going to target, think about why people are looking them up.
If you want to target “how to make apple cider,” don’t instinctively churn out a piece advertising the apples you sell. Consider: Are the people searching for this keyword going to be interested in an advertisement for pre-made cider? Probably not.
They want to know how they can make the cider. So instead of advertising your cider, provide a step-by-step article on how they can make their own. Then, you can add a call to action (CTA) that directs readers to buy your apples they’ll need to make the cider.
4. Research competitors’ keywords and content
As you complete your keyword research and start to plan out your content, you might create some excellent stuff, but don’t forget — having good content isn’t enough. You have to have better content than your competitors, or at least better-optimized content. To make sure your content ultimately comes out on top, go take a look at what’s currently ranking for your chosen keywords.
Go through some articles there and take a look at what your competitors are doing. Make sure you do all the good stuff they’re doing but do it even better. A great tool to use for this is CompetitorSpyFX, which analyzes your competitors’ sites for everything from content marketing to user experience.
5. Use good on-page SEO strategies
This post may be about keywords specifically, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the other aspects of on-page SEO. Understanding how to rank for keywords requires an understanding of SEO as a whole. As you write your content, apply as many SEO best practices as you can.
Use catchy, keyword-optimized title tags and meta descriptions. Structure content using headings and lists. Above all, make sure your content matches search intent and is helpful to users.
After all, Google wants to rank content that provides the best user experience (UX).
6. Develop a solid web design
Keyword integration primarily happens on your website, so make sure your site is built for SEO. You could have the most stellar keyword integration in the world, but it wouldn’t make much difference if your website were poorly designed. A lot goes into good web design, but a quick rule of thumb is to structure everything in a way that will attract users and make them want to stay.
Start by ensuring that you have fast loading speeds so that users won’t click away before the page has even pulled up. Likewise, make the page look as visually pleasing as possible. Having the elements to make a clean web design can go a long way for the overall look of your site.
7. Earn high-authority backlinks to your content
On-page SEO isn’t the only kind you need to make sure you get right to rank for keywords. Off-page SEO is just as important. This means establishing some connections with other sites and getting them to link to your content.
You can also promote content via social media. The more external links you have leading to your content, the more Google will trust your site, and you’ll rank for more keywords.
8. Analyze your keyword rankings
Once your content is published and ranking in search results, your job isn’t done. The final step is to go back and measure the results. See how successful your content is, so you know what’s working for you and what isn’t.
You have tools at your disposal for this task. Just as you can use Google Keyword Planner to find keywords, you can use Google Analytics to measure their effect on your website. When you set up your site with Analytics, you can track user traffic on your content pages to see how effective they are.
Rank higher for more keywords with WebFX
Now that you know how to rank for keywords in search results, you can bring your keyword game up to new heights. But there are plenty of nuances to keywords, and SEO as a whole, that are impossible to cover in this list alone. That’s why pairing with WebFX is such a valuable move.