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Welcome to the GetNetSet SEO video series for tax and accounting professionals, where we talk about search engine optimization and marketing your business online. The conversation surrounding keywords is about as old as search engines themselves, but the way they were used before is dramatically different from how search engines treat keywords today. Before, it was very common for people to try and stuff as many keywords as possible onto a page so that they would rank for many different searches.
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But this tactic can actually be harmful in today’s SEO world. In this video, we’ll be discussing the nuances of what keywords are, how to do keyword research, and how to use keywords effectively for SEO. So what are keywords? A keyword is a word or phrase that searchers type into search engines. Whenever someone performs a search query, they’re typing keywords into the search field.
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This is how search engines figure out what someone is looking for. The words used by a searcher not only determine the topic that the search engine looks for, but also any qualifying factors that can affect relevancy. For example, if you included a geographic location in your search query, the search engine will try to present results for that specific location, even if you’re not physically located there.
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For example, if you search for New York CPA, you’re going to get New York CPA firms in your results, even if you’re not in New York. Any word or phrase could potentially become a keyword, and if you take into account different languages as well, you wind up with a near infinite number of potential search phrases. To highlight this,
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16 to 20% of all search queries performed are unique and have never been seen by a search engine before. The purpose of using keywords is to tell search engines what your website is about so the searchers using those same or similar words can find your site. So which words should you use? Before we get into that, we need to talk about different types of keywords.
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In the realm of SEO, not all keywords are created equal. Specifically there’s a correlation between the frequency of how often a term is searched for and how specific it is. Internet users search more often using broad keywords and these words typically generate very broad general results. On the other hand, more specific keywords or phrases are searched less often and tend to generate more specific results.
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Take, for example, the keyword “tax.” This is considered a short-head keyword that many tax preparers have said that they want to rank for. But what they’re forgetting is that their website isn’t about taxes, it’s about tax preparation. The word tax is too vague, and it’s part of many other searches like tax preparation, tax rates or tax help.
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The word tax is very highly searched, but it’s so vague that if someone were searching for tax services, they likely aren’t entering just the word tax. So let’s think of how a real person would search. They’d probably search for something like “tax preparation services Sacramento.” This search is much more specific, and because of that, it’s going to get less traffic.
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I’ll address why this is often a good thing in a moment, but basically, since there are more people who live outside of Sacramento than there are people who live in the city, fewer people will use this specific search phrase. This is a type of keyword called a long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are keywords, typically phrases, that are very specific.
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The reason they’re called long-tail is because of this inverse graph where the Y axis measures the number of searches and the X axis measures specificity. The word tax is very broad and can encompass any number of people, locations, and concepts, meaning there’s a higher population of searches looking at this term. Tax preparation is getting more specific, but since there are tax topics outside of preparation, there are fewer people searching for this phrase.
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Finally, tax preparation services Sacramento is very specific, but a lot fewer people are entering this phrase because more people live outside of the Sacramento area than live within it. So what’s the point of trying to rank for a long-tail keyword if fewer people are doing that search? The answer is twofold. One, long-tail keywords by nature of being less searched are also less competitive, meaning fewer people are trying to rank for that search term.
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In other words, fewer businesses are trying to rank for long-tail keywords, meaning you have a greater chance of ranking highly for those searches. And two, because long tail keywords are better at converting traffic into actual business. In other words, people doing searches with long-tail keywords are more likely to call or email you after finding your site.
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This is because more specific keywords provide more specific context to search engines, which helps the search engines understand the intent behind the search. Keywords focus on the intent of the searcher. And there are four major types of intent commercial navigational informational and transactional. Commercial intent is when you’re looking for business specific information like maps, reviews and hours of operation. Navigational intent is when you’re trying to get to a specific site like searching for Amazon and then going to Amazon.com.
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Informational intent is when you’re looking at the who, what, when, where, why and how- essentially doing research. And finally, transactional intent is when you’re looking to buy. Commercial and navigational searches are performed more often when a searcher already knows the business and is trying to find information specific to it, like if the business is open or not. Our focus is primarily on informational and transactional searches.
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Informational searches occur when people are looking to learn. This could be pricing service comparisons, research on a specific service they need or otherwise just trying to get some information. Transactional searches are typically performed after someone has done their research and are actively looking to purchase something. Now, if we look back at the previous examples, tax doesn’t really have an intent.
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It’s so broad that there’s no way to know what the searchers actually looking for. Tax preparation is more specific and shows some informational intent, searchers looking for information about tax preparation, while tax preparation services Sacramento shows transactional intent. Someone in Sacramento is looking for this service, so they’re probably looking to buy. Understanding the intent of searchers is important because it will determine what information you need to put on your website in order to rank for a specific keyword.
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So now that we have all that out of the way, let’s answer the question: what words do you use? The first thing you should do is to come up with a list of concepts that you want to rank for. We’re not thinking about specific keywords just yet, but the main ideas of the services that you offer to clients.
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Once you know what concepts you’re trying to get traffic for, come up with a list of every word or phrase you can think of related to those concepts. Start by asking yourself some questions. What words do your clients and potential clients use? What information are they looking for? What is the intent behind those questions? What led them to search in the first place?
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What words or phrases do your top competitors rank for? This can be very expansive, so don’t worry if you wind up with a really long list. There are several tools available to help with this. For example, Google Ads has a built in keyword tool, and Google Trends is a great way to see how people search these days. There are also other paid for tools that are designed specifically to help you come up with keywords.
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Once you have your long list of relevant keywords, go through that list and start picking out the keywords that you’d most want to rank for. You’re looking for long-tail keywords that show high informational and transactional intent for your services. Once you’ve identified the high intent keywords, now you need to find just one or two for each page in your website.
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Don’t go overboard here. Using too many keywords can be harmful. Keep a list of the others that you don’t use so you can experiment with them later. Since search engines are intelligent enough to understand synonyms, you’re looking to rank for concepts, not specific words. If you’re pages about tax preparation, then pick one or two of those keywords for that topic.
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Specifically, once you know which words and phrases you’d like to use, then it’s just a matter of incorporating them into your content. Remember that the goal is not to write content to highlight your keyword, but use your keyword to highlight the content. For example, the sentence “I’m a tax preparer, I’m the best at preparing taxes, call me to do your tax returns for cheap” is not a natural sounding sentence.
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It’s been artificially inflated with words related to taxes. Instead, you’d want to phrase it more naturally. “As one of the most experienced tax preparers in my area, I offer high value annual tax preparation services at affordable prices.” This phrasing offers much more value and flows more naturally while still covering the same concepts now our recommendation here at GetNetSet is that if this is your first website, experimenting with keywords should come after writing your content
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initially. When you’re just starting out, it’s better to have something live rather than nothing. You can always add more content later or edit your existing content. So getting initial information down is the most important thing. Some people also take the keywords conversation a little too far and focus too much on finding ways to incorporate their keyword as frequently as possible into their content.
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I cannot stress enough that that is not how keywords work. The concept of keyword density is irrelevant when what really matters is how valuable and useful your website’s information is in the first place. Keyword density is the percentage of content on the page that is your keyword. For example, if you have 100 words of content and ten of those words are your keyword, you have 10% keyword density.
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Matt Cutts, a Google representative released a video on the topic of keyword density titled, “What is the Ideal Keyword Density of a Page?” His response was that it doesn’t matter, and you should instead focus on providing valuable content instead. Writing content that informs people and provides valuable insights about your services often results in relevant keywords naturally flowing through your writing.
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We’ll talk about what types of content to add in another video. So to wrap up, today we talked about keywords, long tail keywords, searcher intent, and how to do keyword research. Keywords are the words used by searchers when performing search queries. Long tail keywords are keywords that have a specific intent while short head keywords are more broad in meaning and generate more general search results.
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Searcher intent refers to what the searcher is actually looking for. And has four types, commercial, navigational, transactional, and informational. Keyword research is about understanding how your potential clients search so you can match their language on your website focusing on providing valuable and relevant content in a way that’s understandable by your target audience. And before you worry about optimizing keywords, we recommend that you focus on getting something written and your site live in the first place.
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If you’d like to learn more about how GetNetSet can help with your SEO or you have questions about keywords, we encourage you to reach out to us here at GetNetSet.com. Thank you so much for watching and we look forward to seeing you in the next video.