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Creating great content is the most important step in finding an audience, but knowing how to target those users is even more so. Without good keywords, your WordPress content might never find its target audience, and all of your effort could be wasted.
In this tutorial, we'll explain why you might need to create better keywords, then we'll guide you through three simple steps to help you refine your strategy.
Why you might need to create better keywords
If you've been using your site for a while, chances are you already know the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). You probably have a good internal linking strategy, solid meta descriptions, and an acceptable keyword strategy. However, it's easy to get complacent when it comes to your choice of keywords, which can lead to your organic traffic stagnating.
Regarding complacency. This means choosing keywords at random, or opting for keywords that are more flexible than what you normally use. These are little oversights that can impact your search engine results in the long run, so you need to be on top of them. If you're not sure how good keywords can help you, let's explore this quickly:
- They can increase your organic traffic. You can still pay for clicks and views, but search engine traffic (also called organic) is the holy grail of sources. You just have to produce good content with strong keywords and wait for the results to arrive.
- You can use them to find untapped sources of visitors. The right keywords can allow you to tap into neglected niches, giving you an edge.
- Make your content more natural. Ideally, you want your keywords to appear in the background of your content. If you think you have to stuff them, the quality of your articles will suffer.
Let's take a minute to step back and review an example of what constitutes a suboptimal keyword strategy. Imagine that you are part of the BlogPasCher team and trying to find a good keyword for a set of WordPress themes. A bad example, in this case, would be something like the top wp themes - not only does the term have a low search volume (between 1-10), but it is also confusing due to the abbreviation. A better (but harder to break through) alternative would be top wordpress themes, ou premium wordpress themes if you want to be more specific.
To put it another way - even small changes in your keyword strategy can have a huge impact. This is why it is better to choose yours methodically.
How to create better keywords for your WordPress content (in 3 steps)
In this section, we'll walk you through three simple steps to fine-tune your keyword strategy. We'll keep it simple and explain why each step is necessary.
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Step 1: Do a thorough research on your options
The first phase of a good keyword strategy is not to choose the terms you use at random. If you have a strong eye for keywords, you might stumble upon a rare gem every now and then. However, you will also waste precious time and effort along the way. A basic strategy, in this case, would be to look at the most popular keywords for your niche and start from there.
This approach involves a bit of work, but you should start seeing results soon enough. If you choose your keywords based on your data, rather than your hunches, traffic will start flowing as your site builds up more authority. The process can (and often is) slow, but it works.
If you do not know how to approach your survey, here is a simple list of steps to follow:
- Use a keyword research tool, such as Google Keyword Planner, to identify the top search queries in your niche.
- Make a list of the keywords that you think are best for your site.
- Search for each keyword in your list and analyze the best results.
- Take note of the approaches your competitors are using and the items you could compete with by making your content longer and better.
This last step describes what is commonly called the "Skyscraper technique" . It just means you take a piece of content and create a better alternative. Your goal at this step is to select those keywords with content that you are sure you can beat. Put them on a final list, and work your way up in the order you want.
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Step 2: Add short and long tail keywords to your list
So far, we haven't talked about the difference between short and long-tail keywords. The first refers to terms made up of one or two words, such as wordpress themes. On the other hand, long tail keywords use a minimum of three words and are often quite long, like best free wordpress themes.
Technically, you can use any type of keyword you want for your content. Practically, it is often more difficult to rank for shorter keywords because they tend to be more competitive. If you are familiar with any of our themes, you will know that we often recommend long tail keywords. Not only are they easier to rank, but they are more important than ever nowadays due to the increase in mobile traffic.
To get the best possible results, you need to design a strategy involving individual, long-tail keywords. You can then cover all your bases, and like your site gain more authority, you should start to see better results from your individual keywords. Let's go through a few simple steps to get there, starting with the list you put together earlier:
- Divide your list of potential keywords into short and long-term options.
- Use Google's Keyword Planner to research each of your short keywords and look for long tail variations with correct volumes replacing.
- Replace any short keywords that you find too difficult to classify, but leave a few on your list.
- In general, you should make sure that most keywords in your list contain three or more words.
At this point, your keyword list can be a bit complicated. If you have too many options, it is a good idea to use Google Keyword Planner to find out their search volume and rank them from easy to difficult. You can browse it in order and create a new list if needed.
Step # 3: Review your search periodically
After the last two steps, you should have a fairly long list of keywords as a basis for your work. This is good news, but you should always take the time every two months to research new options, even if you still have keywords.
The reason is simple: the way people interact with search engines changes over time. Keywords evolve, and options that you may have already given up on due to a lack of competitiveness can suddenly look a lot more compelling. Take WordPress, for example - if you wanted to do a post on Christmas-related plugins in March, you probably ended up without an audience. Write the same article in November or December, and you'll see the difference.
This, of course, is an exaggerated example, but it gets the point across. The good news is, you don't have to throw all your previous research out the window. Here's how you should approach this task:
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- Look for variations in search volumes for any keywords on your list that you still haven't covered.
- Strike out any terms that you feel are no longer enough volume.
- Rearrange your remaining keywords based on the search volume.
- Look for other related terms that you haven't covered yet.
For this last point, just go back to the steps we covered in the first section. The only difference is, your website should be in a better position to compete this time around. This means you might be able to target more difficult terms, but your mileage may vary.
Keyword research may not be as fun as creating content, but it's important nonetheless. Targeting the right terms can get you more traffic, as long as you do your research.
Let's recap the three steps to create better keywords for your WordPress content:
- Look for your options completely.
- Add short and long term keyword variations to your list.
- Revisit your search periodically.