Writing a blog without using targeted keywords is like trying to kick a ball between the goalpost without taking aim. Keywords are the words that searchers type into search engines to find information. The general idea is to use keywords with high search numbers and the least competition from other websites. This will help your content to show up on one of the first few pages of the search results. If you ignore keywords, that content you slaved over may remain forever hidden from the audience you want to reach. Once you have found your keywords and published your post, it is exciting to your check keyword ranking in Google.
Selecting your keyword
Ranking for the right keywords can make all the difference between failure or success for your site. If you’re just starting out, read this great guide to keyword research. It will help you to understand how to judge the value of a keyword. It also explains long tail keywords and why they convert best.
Placing keywords correctly
One you have selected your keyword, you need to make sure it appears in all the right places:
- meta description
- first paragraph of content
- image alt tag
Apart from using keywords, there are a number of other SEO practices to consider such as using internal and external links and embedding videos. There are many blogs with informative content on exactly how to increase your google rankings but that is not the purpose of this post.
Is my keyword ranking?
Once you have hit publish, it goes without saying that you want to find out whether your post is ranking or not. Going to the search engine and typing in your keyword is NOT the way to do it. This will give you inaccurate information and you may think you are ranking when results are being skewed to suit your browsing history. You must switch to private browsing mode for accurate results. In Firefox you open the menu and go to a New Private Window. In Google Chrome, look for New Incognito Window. However, there are far easier ways than manually scrolling through all the search results. Here are some great free tools that make finding how your keywords are doing an easy exercise.
This handy free tool is very easy to use. Simply enter your URL and the keyword you want to check, click submit and you will soon find out exactly where it is ranking.
With this tool you can check up to five keywords at a time. It gives you a neat little report showing their position.
Serplab allows you to submit numerous keywords used for a project and performs regular searches to check on their positions. Unfortunately, free accounts no longer show search volume data due to recent google updates and users abusing the system. Knowing the volume of searches for a keyword is important – you want to rank highly for keywords with a large volume of searches. A keyword with hardly any searches may rank highly but will not bring you many visitors. This tool does help you to organize your keywords and keep track of them as well as see how many keywords for a specific project are ranking in the top 3, top 10, top 30 and top 100. As seen below, 13 of my keywords have improved their position, 7 are now in the top 3 and 17 in the top 10.
SEMrush allows you to do far more than just keyword research. It enables you to track your keyword ranking, check backlinks and even to see how your competitors are ranking. It also allows you to do a complete SEO audit of your blog. With all the features it offers, the cheapest package costs $69.90 a month.
The bottom line
It is possible to find out where a particular keyword is ranking quite easily. However, doing keyword research, monitoring keyword performance and making adjustments is far more complex. An idea for one keyword may inspire another, especially if it is ranking well. There are many free tools you can use when you are first starting out that will give you some idea about how your keywords are performing. However, at some point it is obviously worth investing in a tool that offers more insight into the overall performance of your website.