To attract readers, you need to know what they want to read and how they search. Keyword and topic research will help you determine what you could rank for and therefore what to write about. Focus here is stop guessing and start learning the basics of keyword research.
Before we choose the keywords
- Who is my target audience?
- What are they looking for?
- To buy?
Content formats (besides text)
Images can be a real added value to the copy on your webpage if used correctly. They could enhance webpages, make things more clearly for the reader, and could end up in the image search from Google. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using images to build or optimize a webpage:
Try using images that are relevant to your products or services.
As for this example, the image doesn’t fit with the title and content of this page. It’s from a company blog that organizes group purchases (for example energy). On this page, they’re talking about how easy it is to compare offers. This has nothing to do with pants or jeans so a more fitting image would contain anything that has something to do with energy.
Use alt text on every image on your website. By using it, Google can indicate what the image is about and rank you higher in Google images, which can lead to more traffic. Besides that, people with a visual impairment can understand what the image is about when they visit the website. When using alt text, always use relevant keywords that describe your image in the most relevant way. For example: “Opberglade Compo oranje” is the alt text on the image below. This is already a good alt text and describes the product. You could just add which fabric the product is made of to be complete.
When uploading images, give them a logical file name. JPEG25645, for example, isn’t the best file name because it doesn’t tell anything about the image. It is possible that Google picks up your image and shows it in the image search, but a good file name is recommended. Preferably the file name is short and descriptive, hasn’t special characters in the naming and has no more than 3-4 words in the name. The filename for the example above could be opberglade-compo-oranje.jpg.
When using images, make sure that the scaled image is compressed so it is served in the smallest file size possible. Of course, you could just export the image and experiment with quality percentages, but we prefer to use 100% quality images, especially given the popularity of retina and similar screens. Tools like JPEGmini can drastically reduce image file sizes without artifacts. It’s recommended to use tools like ImageOptim or websites like JPEGmini, jpeg.io. Large file sizes could lead to slow page load times and will affect the speed of the whole website.
Videos could also add an important value to your webpage. It could be, for example, a variation for a long-read article or an explainer video on how to use or to assemble a product. Businesses that include video on their site generally see higher engagement rates, higher click-through rates, and higher conversion rates. The more engagement that Google sees your site having, the better you’ll rank.
Google is also is a fan of what’s called “dwell time” or how long a user spends on a site. If someone is spending a lot of time on a website, Google concludes that there must be quality content present. What better way to increase dwell time than to have a relevant and useful video for the audience to view?
Beterbed has a good example on how to use video on your website.
We have some tips to share when adding video to a webpage:
New video ideas
Starting from your keyword research you could easily look for new video ideas. These videos can empower your page SEO on any content topic. Look for topics with high search volume, or pages with high organic potential.
Use relevant keywords
In naming, descriptions, subtitles… always use relevant keywords for your video. Not only will this help to better your chance in SERP but also on YouTube itself.
Use a relevant name that is easy to understand. Use the most relevant keywords first, these have the biggest impact on SEO. Don’t use unnecessary figures and number, keep it simple but make it attractive so visitors have an urge to watch the video.
Use the description to get your most important and relevant keywords linked to the video. The first few words are the most important as they might be shown in SERP or on YouTube without clicking ‘more info’. When optimizing videos on YouTube, always link to the website.
Also, on YouTube, tags are used to give a small description or category to your video. These tags have no influence on your SEO, but they might be used in ‘videos who are also relevant’ on YouTube.
Playlists on YouTube
Get your videos organized in playlists. Doing this, users will watch more videos which betters your view rate and so your video ranking on YouTube.
Thumbnails encourage users to watch your video. These ‘images’ must be clear and try to give a ‘wow effect’. Also they should give a peak on the idea or content of the video.
When uploading subtitles, always use a separate transcript. YouTube will know what the video is about following your transcript. As said before, use relevant and high search volume keywords in your subtitles.
CTA in videos
A video should always have a CTA or Call To Action at the end. It encourages viewers to take action. Visit the website, download our whitepaper, sign in for more content, watch more videos, … all possible CTA’s for Euler Hermes videos.
Copy and position on the website
When a video is accompanied by a proper copy or an introduction, visitors tend to watch it more easily. Also, they know what to expect from your video.
The position is also important, the higher your video is placed, the more views you are able to score. So, if the video is an added value to the page, try to place it as high as possible.
Infographics can contain a great part of the information without being overwhelming. Compare a large block of text to an image filled with color, icons and small paragraphs.
When you are trying to keep your audience engaged on your website long enough for them to complete the user journey and make a purchase or subscription, an infographic is a great way to accomplish this.
While large paragraphs convey more information, much of it can be extraneous to a reader who only has time to skim the text. An infographic solves that problem by minimizing the text and making the information easy to absorb.
Visuals of any kind—pictures, videos, and infographics—are imminently more shareable than text. Because of their aesthetic appeal and how concise they are, visuals are shared large and wide across the internet, and none more so than infographics. Thus, by using infographics on your website, you open up the possibility of your image being shared with audiences you may not have been able to reach organically.
To add or optimize infographics on your website, the same recommendations as for images apply.
The infographic VRT NWS uses for the reporting on Covid-19 updates is a good example.
Audiocasts (or its most-known form: podcasts) are gaining more and more listeners and popularity. While doing sports, driving or just sitting at home people tend to listen more to audiocasts for different reasons. They want to learn something, follow topics that interests them or just want to hear good stories.
5. Social posts
To enrich your content, you could embed your social feeds on your website. To give your clients more inspiration on how to integrate your products in their homes, you could work with Pinterest or Instagram where you could post photos of your products in interiors. Another example is Zalando, they use people posing with their outfits and products on social media in their product feed (example framed in red).
Types of keywords (generic vs. long-tail)
Let’s explain the difference between generic and long-tail keywords with an example. Let’s say we want to buy a pair of new running shoes but since we are just beginners, we need a lot more information about which types of running shoes there are, what kind of material we need, … We don’t want to miss out on any good information so we’re going to google “shoes”. That will cover a wide range of what we’re looking for.
As you can see, two result pages think we are looking for women’s shoes (Asos & Urban Outfitters). Another website ranks for shoes from a specific brand (Zalando) and the last link goes to a generic page on the website about all kinds of shoes (Sacha).
So, in this phase we just want more information about running shoes. We thought it was a good idea to google for the keyword “shoes”, but that turned out differently because we can’t find a result page linking to running shoe information.
Let’s try for example “best women’s running shoes”. That is more specific but still wide enough to receive a lot of information:
As you can see, all the links are going to pages who will give us information about the best running shoes for women. There’s not a single website that wants us to buy running shoes, because we’re still not in that phase. We still don’t have a preference about which brand, which type, which material or which price. That identifies “best women’s running shoes” as long-tail. The only thing we want is information so we can eliminate prices and brands later on in our buying process.
This is the phase where you win it from your competitors with good content. Offer good answers to the questions people have when looking for a product. Show them variations, show the basic model but also the model with upgrades. Add links to the products you’re talking about in your content so they can visit those specific product pages find some more details about this specific product. When writing this kind of content for long-tail keywords, keep in mind that this is one of the most important phases to gain new customers. If people find a lot of answers on your page or website, they are likely to come back. And if you sell your products online, they even might buy their product on your website because they trust your brand and website. You’ve given them all this information, you’ve got good reviews so their trust grows.
In the first example where we were looking for “shoes”, we didn’t get the right answers we were looking for. That is because our search was too wide, too generic. We could have been looking for all kinds of shoes, no matter if they were shoes for men or women, for sports or for a wedding. As you can see, it is hard to write a content page just about shoes because it can or must contain all kinds of shoes. That’s why it’s better to focus on long-tail keywords, they’re more specific, but not specific enough to lead the potential visitor to a single product page.
You don’t always need to focus on just the high-volume keywords. The more descriptive a phrase is, the closer someone is to convert.
There are 3 main types of search intent:
- Informational Searches
- Navigational Searches
- Transactional Searches
The intention that keywords have is very important and different for each phase of the sales funnel, as you can see. People at the top of the funnel have questions about a product, don’t know which brand they want and just want to gain information. The people in the middle of the funnel know what they are looking for, are comparing brands are models and know how much they want to spend on the product. It’s possible that they visited your website already a few times and are now directly searching for your brand or website, navigational searches. The bottom of the funnel is the closest to a conversion or purchase, the transactional searches. To get them to buy your product, you can give them a special offer, free delivery, free return of the product.
Moz has a good visualization of this funnel, which will become more clear on the basis of the following situation we all recognize:
- You know what you are looking for, but don’t know the exact name
- You don’t know which sites sell this product
- You know what the product is or what it does, but don’t know the specifics
- You are comparing the options or products from different brands
- You are reading reviews of the product and maybe the websites
- You see ads about this product on almost every website you visit
- You know what you are going to buy
- You are looking across different sites to find the best offer or price
For this case, Moz also had an example themselves where someone is considering a new driveway:
We can conclude that every phase has its own keyword intent and that it even depends on which product the customer is looking for. In every phase of this sales funnel, SEO plays a big role. The message in each phase is different and must be completely adapted to the intent of the search.
How to find keywords?
Before we can tweak our message to the intention of the search, we must know what people are looking for. Luckily, there are some tools who can help us with that. We will highlight four of them and tell some more of how they can be used.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google keyword planner is the most used and most common to do keyword research. Since they have 92.42% of the search engine market share worldwide, we can say that they know better than any other search engine what people are looking for.
The Google Keyword Planner is accessible via any Google Ads account (the Google advertising platform). It is free to set up such an Ads account and also the keyword planner itself is completely free.
We will guide you in a few steps to your first keywords in the Keyword planner:
- Let’s find Google Ads in the search results, it’s in most cases the first result that leads to Ads:
- This is the landing page where you can start with Google Ads:
- If you clicked the “Nu starten”-button you will see this window:
You can select and Ads-account like in the blurred list. If you don’t have any, you can make a new one or login with another Google account.
- When you’re in the right Ads-account, you select in the top right corner “tools & instellingen”:
- When selecting “tools & instellingen”, a window will open. There you select on the left-hand side underneath “Planning” the “Zoekwoordplanner”:
- The following window will open where you can select “Nieuwe zoekwoorden ontdekken” and “Zoekvolume en prognoses bekijken”. For now, we select “Nieuwe zoekwoorden ontdekken”:
- You can add some keywords here. For example, we were looking for anything with “kleerkast”:
- And this is the result we get from Google about the volumes (how popular a keyword is) from the last year:
So we don’t only get the average monthly searches for our keywords, but also for relevant keywords. That was what we were looking for: relevant, new keywords with good average monthly searches. We can export this result into an Excel file to make it easier to filter the keywords and their monthly volume.
This is one of the youngest tools to search for new keywords. As its name might suggest, it has nothing to do with the famous car transport company. This tool is an invention of Neil Patel, a well-known expert in the SEO landscape who has an immensely popular blog. Very recently, they also added the possibility of searching for Dutch keywords in this tool. The French version was already longer available.
The tool itself is pretty straightforward in usage as you can see in the images below.
- At first, we enter our keyword and select the correct language and country:
- So for the keyword “wasmachine” in Dutch we first get the keyword overview with some interesting insights:
- A little lower we see the variations in volume over almost a year (notice the difference in mobile and desktop volume):
- Underneath that, we get the first keyword ideas and the option to view all the ideas:
- Followed by a few content ideas and the option to view them all:
- When looking for the keyword ideas, we have the option to export these to an Excel file which makes it easier for filtering. Some nice additional information is the keyword overview on the right. There you can go to the SERP’s of some websites who rank for the keyword “wasmachines”. It doesn’t hurt to look into their SERP’s for some inspiration for your own page about wasmachines.
If you click on the buttons to export to CSV, you will see that there will pop-up a message. The tool is free for only seven days, after those seven days you still can export your keywords, but it won’t be as many as when you get the paid version. Same goes for the content ideas.
It’s a good tool to use as something additional on the keyword research tool in Google Ads. It might give you some new and other ideas on keywords you were already looking for in Google Ads, but we don’t think the paid version will stand out that much.
Besides that, the principle of how closer to the source, the more accurate the results are, goes also for keyword research. If more than 92% of the search traffic on the web comes via Google, than we think that their results are still the most valuable.
Google Search Console
Another way to do some keyword research is via Google Search Console. At first, you need to add your property to Search Console.
As you can see, you can add a whole domain or only under a specific address. This is mostly used for subdomains.
This is the homepage or overview-page.
Under the tab “Performance” you can see how your website is doing it on the web on the basis of impressions, clicks, average clickthrough rate (CTR) and the average position on SERP’s.
Beneath this graph, you’ll see some other interesting performances for your website. The tab “Queries” is the one we’re going to investigate.
In the top right corner, you can set the date. The longer you set the date, the more keywords or queries you will get. These queries are the ones you rank for when people type them in in a search engine. These give a good impression of what you’re ranking for. If there are some very important keywords where you only have a few impressions on, it could be interesting to make your next content page about one of these keywords/topics. After a while, more traffic will organically come to this page so your impressions, clicks, CTR and position might rise.
Another reason to look into these keywords is to gain ideas for new content pages. If you see search terms with a good amount of impressions but almost no clicks and so a low CTR, it might be a good opportunity to look at the specific page to see why it gets impressions but no clicks. Often, this is a content problem so on that page you’ll see that the content isn’t specific for that keyword, or that the content on the page isn’t just enough.
Besides that, you could also bump into keywords from whom you didn’t know you were ranking for. These keywords don’t really belong to one specific content page, so it might be good to write specific content pages around these keywords. The keywords need to be relevant of course.
SEMrush’ Keyword Magic Tool
The Keyword Magic Tool gives you a powerful resource to analyze an entire search market, study niche subtopics, and groups, and save your research as you go.
The dashboard is the “homepage” of Semrush. From there, you could go to the Keyword Magic Tool in the menu on the left. Make sure that in the top left corner “SEO Toolkit” is selected.
To get started, simply enter a keyword you want to analyze into the search bar. The keyword entered in the search bar is your seed keyword, here you will select your database.
From your seed keyword, the tool will generate a complete listing of all the various related terms in the table below. Depending on the popularity of your seed keyword, the table could show millions of related keywords in the table. To the left of the main table are the groups generated by the Keyword Magic Tool.
There are a few modifiers that you can use to get more specific results from your seed keyword. As you query your seed keyword, you can choose Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match, or Related.
Broad Match is the default report and it will show all keyword ideas for the seed keyword in all found forms and without the exact order. This modifier returns the largest amount of keywords.
Phrase Match provides keywords in the exact same form as the seed keyword but in various orders. This will exclude variations of your seed keyword (-ing, -ed, -s, etc) from your results.
Exact Match shows all keyword ideas for the seed keyword in the exact same form as the seed keyword and in the exact order.
Related shows keywords that are determined to be related based on having similar search engine results.
Another way to modify your search is with the Questions button. Hit this button to only see keywords in the form of a question.
Question-based keywords can significantly help you build out a search marketing plan. Common questions can be a great way to find ideas for blog posts, campaigns, featured snippets to target and more. When you target a question-based keyword, you have something more specific to do: provide a direct answer.
Common question types that make for good content include “how-to’s”, “what is the difference between x and y,” and “where do I find x?” All of these types of questions are very common for search engine users and therefore, can be great sources of ideas for SEO-focused content. You could say that this is the AnswerThePublic of Semrush.
AnswerThePublic is a tool that scrapes and collects searches on Google. So, you weren’t the only one on earth looking for how to clean your dishwasher. This is something a lot of people are looking for so when we look for “vaatwasser” as a keyword in AnswerThePublic, it is likely to come up.
As you can see, you get a lot of ideas when looking for “vaatwasser” like cleaning it, the price and why to use salt. These are all questions asked by people with a certain problem or question and collected by AnswerThePublic to give marketers ideas when they are going to write a content or product page about a certain item.
Looking further into the results, we see some prepositions where we could get some ideas. Also, comparisons, they could be interesting to gain some ideas when you’re about to write a page about a certain product. Here you can see with what that product is often compared about.
The alphabeticals at the bottom of the page are an interesting feature too. It’s a bit easier to find what you’re looking for when the terms are alphabetically organized.
Looking for trending topics? Google News gives a clear summary of all news from different newspapers and news sites for your country, region, or the whole world. You can also look for news articles and trending topics for different categories. Business, Technology and Entertainment are some of them.
SEMrush’ Topic research tool (competitor analysis)
To gain some ideas to write about new topics on your website you can use the Topic research tool in SEMrush.
When looking for topics about “Koelkasten” you get a lot of suggestions. These topics are filtered as “koelkast + *keyword*” so you get a good overview of what each tab is about. They all have a certain volume and contain a lot of links to website about that specific keyword combination. You can gain some insights on those websites to write a content page about a certain keyword yourself. You can look for gaps, topics that aren’t talked about on other websites. If there are a lot of searches around a certain topic, but you can’t find a good webpage that handles this topic clearly, why not write a content page about it yourself? It can send a lot of traffic to your website if you provide the right answers to the searcher’s questions.
If you click on one of those cards, you can see all the links underneath it. The ones with the highest volume are at the top, the lowest volume at the bottom of the list.
By making use of all these tools learning how to do keyword or topic research, you are now able to start looking for it yourself. Use these tools with common sense. They are very helpful but are not the holy grail to make your website the most visited.