Successful search engine marketing campaigns are built upon strong keyword strategies. Brand keyword strategy should include the selection of high-performing keywords that will drive traffic to your website. Highly relevant keywords closely related to your business or industry are essential. Keywords used within advertising can make the difference between a winning and a losing campaign and will determine how well your advertisements rank with search engines.
The machine learning algorithms now used by search engines look beyond simple keywords in order to better cater to the individual searcher behind each query. The higher level of sophistication possessed by this artificial intelligence has further complicated the art of search engine optimization. The ever learning, ever-shifting algorithms require businesses to regularly reevaluate their keyword strategies in order to remain relevant and continue growing their brands.
PAST SEO KEYWORD STRATEGIES
Instead of investing the time and resources necessary to develop a new marketing strategy, many businesses continue to use outdated strategies and tactics when it comes to SEO keywords. In the past, optimization has focused on short tail keywords, site speed optimization, responsive sites for mobile, and backlinking. The situation is not that these tactics are no longer important, there are, simply, other things that need to be taken into consideration in addition to past practices.
KEYWORD TRENDS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
The most successful business will utilize historical data and projections to take into account changes to search and the related algorithms. Each year, brands should revisit their SEO keyword strategy and services as they revisit revenue goals, budget planning, and other aspects of their business. The following trends are likely to have a significant impact moving forward.
To clarify, voice search is when users speak into a device, such as a home assistant or mobile phone, and ask a question of a search engine or digital assistant. Artificial intelligence technology uses speech recognition to comprehend what a user is looking for and then to provide the best possible answer found in an online search. Mobile phones direct the user to a website while smart speakers usually read aloud the information.
As these technologies become more sophisticated, they will be better able to understand the nuances and semantics of voice search resulting in better accuracy in finding what searchers want. Because of the way we speak, keyword length will increase. In fact, voice searches are over 75% longer than text searches. For example, we’re more likely to verbally ask, “what is the best seafood restaurant in Chicago?” not simply say, “seafood restaurant.” This example also shows that we’ll see keywords more often expressed as questions instead of statements.
Long Tail Keywords
As we mentioned in the section above, the increased sophistication of artificial intelligence has changed the rules of the search game. Digital assistants, chatbots, and the like are now better able to simulate human conversation. In a traditional search, a user might type in “social media management software.” With other types of search options available, a user might, instead, craft his search query as “what is the most effective and affordable social media management software?”
Brands need to change their content strategy to work with this changing user behavior. Long tail keywords, keyword phrases made up of three or more individual words, will help businesses better match the search language of their target audience. These longer phrases are essential for a winning SEO strategy because they are specific and communicate clear search intent. They also typically have a higher conversion rate than less specific phrases.
Latent semantic indexing is how search engines sort out synonyms and deliver more accurate results. It is what helps search engines understand content and context. Latent semantic indexing also helps search engines better determine the intent behind a search based on specific keywords used. For example, a human reader would understand that a searcher using the phrase “grass cutting Chicago” is most likely looking for “lawn service” which would be a company’s primary keyword phrase. With latent semantic indexing, search engines are becoming better at understanding these connections, as well.
Your brand can help ensure that search engines rank your pages for all relevant searches by including semantic keywords on your site. Semantic keywords are nothing more than alternate phrasings of or synonyms for your established keywords. They might also be supplementary phrases that help search engines better understand the topic of each web page by providing some of the context humans would automatically pull from.
As you reevaluate your keywords, consider which phrases targeted users might use to find your products or services. Formulate questions they might ask and ascertain synonyms of the keywords that they might use. By identifying these semantic keywords, you will more effectively show search engines like Google that your content is relevant to the intent behind the searches made by your target audience. You’ll also help those search engines more accurately categorize and index the pages of your website so they are more appropriately ranked on a regular basis.
As Google and other search engines are learning to identify the intent of a search, brands will have to move past keywords and create target pillars, or topics, and related content clusters around those topics. Keyword grouping is the process of creating groups or clusters of related keywords. Brands can then use these groups to optimize content for multiple search terms by using different combinations of related terms in a post or on a web page.
Consider the topic “dogs” – a search engine won’t just spit out sites that rank with “dogs”, it will try to determine what, specifically, the searcher wants to know about dogs. Your content will need to include words concerning training, food, toys, leashes, collars, grooming, veterinarians, etc. to signal to search engines that you are a broader topic expert and should be included in search results.
This approach will benefit your site in a couple of ways. First, it leverages the fact that multiple search terms could have the same intent. Keyword grouping also helps avoid accidentally pitting your own content against itself, keyword cannibalization, by using the same keyword for multiple pieces of content. Your content will have more success in search rankings if not all of it is trying to rank for a single search term.
Catering to Mobile Search
Mobile search inquiries have become much more prominent in the past several years. Mobile optimization will ensure that visitors who access your site from mobile devices have an experience optimized for their particular device. Fortunately, there are only a few additional things to consider when optimizing for mobile devices and Google's move to mobile-first indexing.
The Google algorithm gives preference to responsive design but also supports sites that have dynamic serving or a mobile site configuration separate from the main site. Most website hosting platforms, such as Squarespace, offer responsive design templates. Even if it means converting to a new platform, your organization may want to consider moving an older site to a more modern option.
Page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. You’ll want to optimize images, minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce the number of redirects. Don't use Flash as the plugin might not be available on your all phones. Instead, use HTML5 to create special effects. Also, avoid pop-ups as they can be difficult to close on a mobile device, frustrating users to the point that they leave and your bounce rate increases.
It is too easy to accidentally click the wrong thing if the buttons on your site sit in the standard scroll path or are either too big or too small. Use plenty of white space to ensure your design is friendly towards “fat fingers.”
Optimize your site for local search. Create a free business page for your brand on Google My Business. This will help your business show up in the search results Google pushes out to Internet searchers, especially those doing local searches. Ensure all of the information is accurate and matches the information on your website and other Internet listings.
Organic search was one of the bigger buzz phrases as we moved into 2019. Organic searches and rankings are determined by your searchers versus your budget as is the case in paid search results like pay-per-click and so on. You will be able to increase your organic Google rankings by understanding which terms already are or are most likely to drive relevant traffic to your site. Revisiting your SEO keyword strategy will help you ensure you have identified the best opportunities for your brand to rank higher in search results.
Odds are good you look to your competitors from time to time not only to stay informed of what they are doing but also to understand which of their strategies are proving to be successful. As your brand reevaluations its SEO strategy, include some competitor research in the process. Identify the keywords that are working for other businesses in your niche and then add those keywords to your brand’s strategy. Any keywords ranking well for a competitor that are not targeted by a single page on your site should be a top priority for your SEO strategy.
If you don’t have a revamp of your SEO strategy planned, integrate one now. Educate yourself and your staff on the trends that and are continuing to gain traction and deserve your attention:
Long tail keywords
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing work hard to stay on top of the shifting world of SEO. We’re ready to meet you where you are and help you get to the next level. Whether you are in need of a new website or have an established site and want to reevaluate your SEO strategy, we’d love to help. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help you best optimize your online efforts for search engine rankings. Let’s get started!