If you’re a plumbing contractor looking to up your digital marketing game, understanding keywords is essential.
Keywords, which are short phrases users search in Google, play a vital role in your digital marketing strategy. These terms can lead new users to your website, improve your search engine rankings for relevant search terms, and bring new customers to your door — all of which can contribute to your growth and profitability.
While you don’t need to be an expert writer to use keywords to your advantage, understanding the ins and outs of these terms can take a bit of time. However, we’re here to teach you all about how to use keywords for SEO effectively.
Read on to learn what keywords are, how they contribute to search engine optimization, and how to use them to boost your business.
What Are Keywords?
Think back to the last time you completed a Google search. (Perhaps it was the search that led to this article.) Instead of typing an entire sentence or paragraph into the search engine, you probably typed a few words and hit “enter.” If you stumbled upon this article, you might have typed “How to Use Keywords for SEO” — that’s our primary keyword, which you’ll learn more about later.
The phrase you typed into Google is a keyword, which is a word or phrase that sums up the type of web page you’re looking for. In layman’s terms, keywords are simply the search engine queries you complete to find a specific article, web page, or website.
Let’s say you own a plumbing business in Boston, and you’re looking for new customers. As a result, you probably want potential customers to find your website when they search for terms like “Boston plumber” or “plumbing company Boston.” You may also want users in your geographical area to find your site when they search “plumber near me.”
Leading those potential customers to your website is not as simple as including the keyword “Boston plumber” on your site. Think about how many other hundreds of plumbers practice in the Boston area and have a website. If they already have an established SEO strategy, they’ll probably rank ahead of your website on the search engine results.
Instead, you’ll need to use those SEO keywords strategically and combine them with other words and phrases to improve your rankings.
Types of Keywords for SEO
Knowing the different types of keywords is essential to optimizing your keyword strategy. The three main types of keywords you should become familiar with are primary, secondary, and related or additional keywords.
Also known as the target or main keyword, the primary keyword is the most important word or phrase to use within your content. When you write a new blog post, service page, or article on your website, you should always determine the primary keyword in advance, then center your content around that term.
Primary keywords typically have high search volumes, meaning that people search those words more than other terms when completing Google queries. These terms are also usually succinct, with most consisting of five words or fewer.
You can have a maximum of two or three primary keywords on each website page, but we recommend beginning your SEO process by using one main keyword in each article.
Secondary keywords are terms related to the primary keyword that you should also use throughout the piece. These terms typically include a few “long-tail keywords” (formerly known as LSI keywords), which are phrases consisting of three to five words. Generally, using each secondary keyword once or twice is good enough to increase your search engine rankings.
Search engines like Google and Safari use secondary keywords to understand the context of web pages. That way, when users search for “Boston plumber,” they don’t land on the page of a 1980s rock band called The Boston Plumbers. Instead, they find websites for plumbing companies in Boston, MA, that contain secondary keywords like “plumbing and HVAC,” “plumbing services,” and “plumber near me.”
Related or semantic keywords are variants or synonyms of the primary keyword that you should attempt to use in your writing. While these terms are not as essential to SEO as your primary and secondary keywords, they can help boost the number of keywords your article or blog post ranks for.
Generally, the more keywords your page ranks for, the higher your topical authority. Google and other search engines can use your keyword rankings to understand your content better and suggest it to the right types of people.
With so many website pages in search results, ranking for one target keyword is no longer enough to maximize your website’s visibility. Instead, using a strategy that includes primary, secondary, and relevant keywords is essential to reaching the largest audience with your website.
Other Keyword Terms to Know
Familiarizing yourself with the world of keyword optimization also necessitates learning related terms that could come up during your SEO keyword research or strategizing. Here are a few other terms you should know as you learn to use keywords effectively.
Some keywords are easier to rank for than others. Keyword difficulty is a metric that examines how difficult it would be for your website to rank for a specific keyword in organic search results.
Researching ranking difficulty for several keyword phrases can help you choose the best keywords for SEO and use your time more wisely.
Search volume is a metric that indicates how many people are searching for specific keywords. Considering search volumes for keyword ideas is an essential aspect of the SEO process. You want to choose keywords that people are regularly searching that have a low keyword difficulty or rate of search competition.
Analyzing search volume can also help you understand how a keyword’s search frequency fluctuates throughout the year. For example, users may search long-tail keywords like “are frozen pipes bad” or “how to handle burst pipes” more in the winter than in the summer.
Anchor text is the text portion of a link that you include in your article or blog post. Users can click this anchor text to visit the internal links within the text.
Google examines anchor text to understand the context of a website page, assisting its ranking strategy. As a result, when you include links in your content, you should use anchor text relevant to the page the text links to.
How Do Search Engines Rank Websites With Keywords?
When you search for a long-tail keyword phrase, Google and other search engines show you search results in a specific order. However, you may be wondering: how does Google determine which order to display websites for each keyword?
While Google certainly ranks pages with those exact keywords higher than other pages, it also uses a range of other variables to determine a page’s ranking. Search engines use complicated algorithms to decide which web results to display to users in what order. While these algorithms constantly change, at their core, they follow this process to rank pages for search terms:
- Classify: First, Google classifies the search term by grouping it into broad categories, such as “adult,” “question,” or “local.”
- Assign context: Next, Google assigns context to the query by reviewing the user’s search history. If the user has searched similar terms before, Google will consider the previous search data to identify the user’s search intent.
- Weigh signals: Then, Google considers signals surrounding the query to adjust its rankings. For example, it determines whether recently posted articles may be more relevant than historical ones.
- Determine layout: Google also uses algorithms and relevant keyword data to determine the layout in which to display the results.
- Rank: After analyzing the above factors and numerous other variables, Google displays the keyword search results.
A page’s keywords play a significant role in its rankings, but so do factors like its layout, images, domain name, title tag, and user-friendliness. However, optimizing keywords is an excellent place to start your content marketing strategy.
How to Find Keywords to Use in Your Website
Now that you know what keywords are and how they impact SEO rankings, you may be wondering how to determine which keywords to use in your content strategy. This process, known as keyword research, is essential in making the most of your SEO strategy.
You can find keywords to use in your content in a few different ways. Here, we’ll explain two methods: brainstorming keywords and using SEO tools.
If using SEO software to strategize your keyword usage sounds intimidating, we recommend beginning by simply brainstorming keywords that relate to your website and business.
If you own a plumbing business, consider what search terms users will search for when looking for a company like yours. We’ve already provided the examples of “Boston plumber” and “plumber near me” above, but these are only a few of the dozens or hundreds of SEO keywords you could try to rank for.
A few other examples we’ve thought of include:
- Emergency plumber
- Affordable plumber
- Reliable plumbing company
- Toilet repair
Be sure to choose keywords relevant to your business and your website. You want the terms you rank for to be related to users’ search intent. For example, if you decide to rank for “emergency plumber” but do not offer emergency plumbing services, you’ll waste your time and potential customers’ time.
Once you have a few keyword ideas, your next step is to find related terms with Google. Simply enter your search term in the Google search bar and hit “enter.” Then, scroll to the bottom of the page. Google will show you a box with “Searches related to (your keyword).” You can examine these keywords to see what other terms people are searching for that may be relevant to your business.
Keyword Research Tools
Once you become more comfortable understanding and identifying keywords, you can utilize a keyword research tool to enhance your strategy. One of the most popular research tools is Google Search Console.
Google Search Console is a web service that allows you to measure your website’s organic traffic and make changes to enhance your performance. Signing up for this free service can help you identify which search queries and keywords currently show your site.
If you currently rank for any obscure or unexpected keywords, you can work on re-optimizing your content to target those terms, capitalizing on your existing success. You can also enter any new keywords you have brainstormed into this search tool to see if your website currently ranks for them.
Google Analytics is another keyword research tool you can use to track your website’s performance. This platform allows you to understand the demographics of users landing on your website, allowing you to tailor your content to specific audiences. You can also use Google Analytics to view how well your website ranks for specific keywords.
Finally, Google AdWords Keyword Planner is also a popular keyword research tool you may consider using.
At Relentless Digital, we use the best SEO software to help our clients use keywords effectively and purposefully. Check out our SEO services for plumbing companies by Relentless Digital for more information.
Where to Use Keywords for SEO
Knowing what keywords to use in your content is only half the battle. You also need to understand where to place those keywords to optimize your content and get the most out of your SEO efforts.
Here are a few places you should plan to use primary and secondary keywords within your website.
Your page title or article title is the title header that will appear above your article. For example, the page title for this article is “How to Use Keywords for SEO Effectively: Guide For Contractors.”
You should try to incorporate your primary keyword into your page title naturally. However, if you can’t work the exact keyword in naturally, you can instead use a variation of it. Your page title should not only assist your rankings but also show users the theme or central idea behind your article.
A title tag is an HTML element that you need to include in each page on your website. This title appears in the browser title bar and the search results page that links back to your website. Users will be able to click the title on their search result page and land on your website.
The SEO title tag should be short and sweet, between 50 and 60 characters at most. As a result, depending on the size of your primary keyword, you may need to limit your title tag to simply your keyword and your company name. Keeping your title tag short with the keyword as the central term can assist your keyword optimization efforts.
Meta Descriptions / Meta Tags
A meta description is a 160-character description of your website page that appears in search results. Your meta description allows users to see a glimpse of your content and determine whether your website meets their search needs.
You should plan to use your primary keyword phrase only once within your meta description. Doing so shows the Google algorithm that your website page meets the user’s search needs. It also shows users that the keyword they searched for appears in your website page, leading them to click on your page.
If you can also include one of your secondary keywords in your meta description, you may be able to improve your rankings a bit more.
You may have noticed that instead of writing a long wall of text in this article, we’ve broken up the content into sections using subheadings. Subheadings make your text more readable and allow users to skim to find the area that answers their search query. Additionally, subheadings are an excellent location to include keywords.
You should try to use a few secondary keywords in your subheadings to improve your rankings for those keywords.
Including images in your articles is another important way to break up the content and make your page more visually pleasing. However, choosing relevant images and placing keywords in the image titles can also improve your SEO.
URLs are the site links that you could type into your search bar to land on specific pages on the internet. Including keywords in your URLs is another effective way to enhance your search rankings.
You should keep your URLs short and include only one or two keywords.
Finally, you should include your SEO keywords in your written content. Generally, you should aim to use your primary keyword in the first 100 to 200 words of the blog post, in the last 200 words of the post, and once every 100 to 150 words throughout the piece.
While the exact number of times to use your keyword depends on your article length and the types of keywords you’re using, you should try to use the primary keyword more often than the secondary keywords and the secondary keywords more often than the additional keywords.
Tips for How to Use Keywords for SEO Effectively
Here are a few SEO tips to help you optimize your keyword usage.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
You may be wondering: if keywords are so crucial to your search traffic, why not just create a page filled with all the keywords you need to rank highly? Unfortunately, simply filling up a page with keywords is not a practical way to increase your rankings.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of filling or saturating a website page with the same long-tail keyword to trick Google into ranking that page higher. This practice is a “black hat SEO technique,” which Google views as going against its guidelines. When you use keyword stuffing and other unethical techniques, Google may wipe your website from search engines altogether, hurting your SEO.
Write Quality Content
Not only should you use keywords effectively and purposefully in your content, but you should ensure that the rest of your written content is high-quality and readable. Google ranks quality articles and pages higher than low-quality ones.
High-quality written content is:
- Free from spelling errors
- Grammatically correct
- Split up with subheadings and bullet points
- Written well
Quality content is not only important for your search rankings but also your reputation. Publishing high-quality writing on your website is an effective way to reflect your plumbing business’s practices and services. When users read a website page full of spelling mistakes and other errors, they may believe that the company behind the website is low-quality as well.
Improve Existing Content
If you’re having trouble ranking for new long-tail keywords, you can also work on improving your existing content. Now that you know a few tried-and-true keyword strategies, you can edit the content you have already written on your site and use these strategies to your advantage.
We recommend starting by reviewing your website page data with Google Analytics or Search Console. Once you see the keywords that have led users to your site in the past, you can edit your existing pages to optimize those keywords.
Vary Your Website Pages
Your plumbing website should not only consist of blog posts that use long-tail keywords. Instead, you should balance your website by including the following pages:
- Home page
- Category pages
- Service pages
- Location pages
- Landing pages
Using keywords throughout these pages can increase your rankings and diversify your website, giving you a better chance of more users visiting your site.
Hire a Digital Marketing Agency
Even if you put your best efforts toward using keywords for SEO effectively, increasing your rankings can be challenging. If you’re looking for a powerful way to increase your rankings and web traffic, hiring a digital marketing agency can give you the best chance of using keywords effectively.
At Relentless Digital, we have helped numerous plumbing contractors like you improve their website performance and gain new customers. We can put our SEO skills and expertise to work to optimize your website, increase your rankings, and enhance your web traffic.
We offer a range of SEO services, including content marketing with keywords for SEO. Contact our Relentless Digital team today to schedule a free marketing evaluation, then check out the SEO trends for plumbing companies we can use to market your business.