You can do all the good work to write captivating copy that connects with your readers (YAY!) but if you don’t know what keywords to use, odds are those blogs and pages of your website you worked so hard to write won’t bubble up on your good-ol’ search engines. In this SEO copywriting tutorial I am walking you through the 6 ways you can instantly nail your keyword research.
Raise your hand if those pesky 3 little letters—SEO— have ever been a source of stress in your creative business. Oh brother, me, too.
As much as I LOVE social media, ads, and word-of-mouth referrals—one of my favorite ways to see that we’ve connected with people in my business is when they tell us they found me through Google.
Now, I’m a copywriter for creatives, and odds are you’re reading this because you need to do some copywriting of your own, maybe even for your own creative business. SO—once again for the people in the back— SOOOO much of the writing you’re doing for your business is going to innately involve SEO and your keywords, which is why when my student Leah asked me point-blank recently, “How do I find my keywords?” my wheels got to spinning and I knew I needed to share this insight with “mah people.”
So let’s do this.
The short answer is this: we figure out what people are searching for that overlays with what you can offer them.
Read that back: we figure out WHAT people are searching for, and how it matches what we can OFFER them. Which means, when we talk about the products and services we offer our ideal clients, customers, and audiences, we have to use the words THEY USE to describe them—at least somewhere—to make sure Google connects us with them and them with us.
Having a good SEO strategy in place for your business kind of feels like investing in the stock market. (To me at least!) If you do the research—and do it right—and you figure out ways to bake these keywords into your content, there are parts of it you then only have to implement once, and you’ll continue to get results and traffic and clients from it. Heck yes.
In this week’s YouTube episode, I’m giving you an “over-the-shoulder” look at my keyword researching method—now a few weeks back, we walked through getting your website set up for SEO success, but in this week’s video, I’m talking about how to figure out your primary and secondary keywords in the first place. … and, we’re going to make sure you can actually RANK for them. The last thing I want you to do is get frustrated going for some keyword (short or long-tail) that you’ll never realistically rank for, so let’s go through these six steps for how to figure out your keywords.
STEP 1 | MAKE A LIST
In sum, keywords (or phrases) are the words you want your website to rank for—or in other words, come up in a Google search pretty high on the results list.
First up, brain dump all the different services and offers your business has (and the different words you might use to describe them.)
Now, I want you to put on your business owner hat AND your customer hat when you do this.
- What’s important to the business—this is EXACTLY what you do. Products, services, things you affiliate for or promote, and their proper names (i.e. Copywriting for Creatives for me!)
- What’s important to your customers/clients—This is valuable content. If your client or customer needs your services/products, what are they going to search on Google? If they need more help, how will they adjust their terms to keep looking? When do they need you? Don’t forget to try things as questions—for example: “How to create a wedding guest spreadsheet”
The big kicker is this: even if you THINK you know what your people are looking for, do this step first. I PROMISE you, you’ll find things you didn’t know you were looking for.
Go ahead and tell me in the comments below what’s one thing you think your customers are trying to figure out—I’ll give my 2 cents back!
STEP 2 | FLESH OUT THE LIST WITH RELATED KEYWORDS
So, what are people also searching for? Google will tell you. (Google keeps no secrets!)
You know your main keywords from the last step, but what other facets of the subject should you include to help rank for additional long-tail phrases? =
Let’s start looking for Google and see what people are already searching for. Open an “incognito window” in Chrome to do this. An easy tool I use for this phase of research is keywordtool.io.
Here’s how to find those long tails:
First, go to our Google Keyword Planner alternative and put in a seed (single) keyword.
Our tool will spit out a list of awesome long-tail keywords you can use throughout your article to rank for more phrases!
Make sure to include these variations while writing your content.
STEP 3 | SORT YOUR WORDS BY VOLUME
Now let’s check out the volume—the short way of seeing how many people are searching this word or phrase every month. You’ve probably heard someone say “that’s a really competitive keyword” before, but what are they talking about?
Maybe it’s only a small number of people searching, but it may be worth it to gobble up that market share. That’s still a group of people per month that you can easily make part of your audience.
In the YouTube episode, I show you on the screen exactly how I organize this with keyword difficulty sorting (At minute mark 6:50).
Next, go ahead and see what’s out there for keywords you’d LIKE to rank for. A good rule of thumb here? Long-tail keywords are usually easier to work on and rank for while you keep working on short-tail phrases.
STEP 4 | FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU’RE ALREADY RANKING FOR
Now, look to see what you’re already ranking for.
Check where you’re ranking in the 4-30 spots—It’s great to be in the Top 3, but what about all the keywords that you’re ranking for below that in positions 4-30? Google already “likes” you for these keywords and sees you as relevant, you just haven’t broken into the top positions—and that’s okay for now!
If you find these keywords that your site is already ranking for, and increase your usage for these keywords in other posts and pages, you could see a massive jump in traffic!
The HOTH has a tool that does this: Google Rankings Checker.
STEP 5 | NOTE WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE RANKING FOR
Finally, what do your competitors rank for? I put this near the end because I’ve found it helpful, but it hasn’t been like, the craziest thing ever … which may be similar for your business.
Honestly, for my market and the creative market in general, or if you’re in a market where people aren’t too obsessed with nailing their SEO, you’ll find you may not have a ton of competition.
In the Youtube episode, I show you exactly how I look this up using a tool called SEM rush.
Using this tool, you can look up a keyword phrase like “ceramic artist portland” and see your competition for that keyword.
I’d suggest paying closest attention to your primary keyword, and then stacking that with your secondary phrases. I like to use UberSuggest for this.
STEP 6 | KEEP YOUR WORDS SOMEWHERE
I don’t use these tools ALL day every day, but before I do something like write a blog post or tweak the copy on one of my services or product pages of my website, these are the kind of things I’m looking at, and I find it helpful to house these words somewhere—and have them on hand in something like a Copy Bank or spreadsheet I can easily reference while I work.
I show you exactly how I set up my Keywords spreadsheet throughout the—you guessed it—Youtube video, so I’d highly suggest watching that so you can steal my strategy if you’d like.
As we’ve gone through these steps, I hope your wheels have been turning and that you see how valuable it can be in your business for you to blog. I have students and clients that will ask me, is blogging dead? Nope. Should I keep doing it? Absolutely. Blogging helps me rank and show up on Google, and brings leads to my website all the time.
The good news is that Google has gotten so smart over the years so you don’t even have to use these keywords that we’ve talked about word for word in your copy—whether it’s blog content copy or any sales copy on your website. As long as you’re really helping provide valuable content that helps your reader figure out whatever it is that they were searching for, you’re on the right track.
And that is the foundation of your keyword research strategy.
Now, after you’ve done all this work to find your keywords, you want to make sure they’re in your title and meta descriptions on your site—and, honestly, anywhere else. To see exactly how to do things like upping your domain authority and trustworthiness of your website so it can rank, watch this video.