If someone asked you what keywords are, how would you explain it? What could you tell them about the ins and outs of keyword searches on a website, or copywriting in online content? Before we delve into keyword analysis and the keyword finders your business needs, it's important to recognise that today, SEO is almost an essential in any digital marketing strategy. No SEO, no party.
And there's more: Does SEO work by geographic segmentation, too? Finding keywords to suit different markets is another layer to consider in your multilingual website (and something that could propel you across more than a few borders).
The SEO chain all starts with users' interests; when you plan a keyword search that ties in with your services, the rest will follow. This search is the foundation for you to build a relevant and authentic digital presence. Now it's time to find out the secrets!
The key is in choosing the right keywords! Find out how:
The role keywords play in SEO
How to use keywords - and how they come into search engine ranking - can often seem shrouded in mystery. Ultimately, keyword analysis attempts to analyse search terms, researching which ones are the most relevant to the audience you want to reach with your SEO campaign.
Maybe it doesn't seem so complicated in theory - but that couldn't be further from the truth: keyword searches and ranking take effort, patience and perseverance; Plus, you need to draft your content to include the keywords, then publish it. This all needs to take into account SEO strategies like on-page SEO, link building and some elements of off-page SEO to boost your authority on search engines. And then you need to check monthly search results for your website, your competition on the search results page (SERP) and your conversion potential. Maybe it's not so simple after all.
What are keywords and why are they important?
Keywords are like padlocks: with the right key, you can open them up and achieve a better ranking position online. This is why it's so important to search for keywords that are relevant to your business, offering and business objectives.
When you're analysing keywords, you should think about ones that can serve various purposes. This might include improving your ranking (whether it's currently poor, or non-existent), attracting traffic to your website, monthly searches and, of course, generating a positive ROI (otherwise your SEO efforts could be in vane).
Keywords are often used when drafting content to optimise web pages, as part of the SEO included in copywriting services. That's why it's seen as a specialist task - a lot of essential marketing strategies come into play. There's a lot to think about!
Are they still relevant, even after the latest Google People First Content updates?
Of course. Let's take it from the top.
On 25 August 2022, Google launched an update of its Google Search's helpful content system for websites, containing guidelines on how content is governed. But when you also take into account recent advances in SEO, it can feel at times as though it's all used indiscriminately. Google noticed this, and created an algorithm that could distinguish content targeted to people rather than content that solely prioritised SEO; in other words, it honed in on search engines ranking content highly that was actually rather poor quality content (that didn't meet the audience's needs).
To meet these new standards, it puts quality and originality of content first, as well as its usefulness for readers, and polished, well-organised writing. This means you can really benefit from an SEO strategy (this isn't something Google has prohibited, it's simply regulated it). It means you can find an audience you're compatible with in a much more organic way.
Are keywords also used for Google Ads campaigns?
Again, you could think of keywords as hinges - they're the intermediaries that enable you to get results related to your website ranking, as well as give you the opportunity to capture an audience relevant to your company.
Did you know Google Ads has its own integrated keyword planner? That tool is in charge of making sure the keywords you choose for commercial gain in your ad will be shown to potential customers according to their searches.
Keyword analysis for multilingual SEO
We've talked non-stop about how useful SEO and keywords are, and we haven't even got to multilingual SEO yet. And for good reason: you need to know the foundations first, and then build on it.
We've covered how important it is to do exhaustive keyword research for your local or national market; now imagine how important it is to markets you're starting in from scratch - markets you don't share a common culture or language with. Maybe it sounds almost impossible... It's not, but you need to think about the following:
- Keyword search - your multilingual key: if and when you want to internationalise your company, keyword analysis is your foundation for success. Keyword tools can be a huge help when you're working in markets with different needs; you can use them to make sure you get your offering right, covering the needs of your target customers. You could even do a keyword analysis of the competition - knowing more about companies that are already established in your target market is no bad thing.
- Cultural and content localisation, driving you to new territories: given that we're talking about websites in different languages, it's extremely important to get your keywords right, include them in metadescriptions and metatitles, and tailor your online content to specific markets, taking the culture into account and adapting content as required. Do you need to spell out the advantages of creating an immersive user experience for potential customers?
- ROI, the guardian of your results: once you've reached your goals, don't let pride come before a fall. You need to keep working away and keep updating content to make sure your company continues to reap the rewards of SEO. Measuring your return on investment is a good way of keeping an eye on things.
Localise content to suit your target audience
Localisation is a vital component of adapting a website to another language. No doubt you're aware that Google is the most widely used search engine in Europe; but is this trend the same in other areas, specifically the ones you want to reach and sell to? You could start searching for keyword finders that will help you understand the algorithms that could determine your level of presence online.
If you want to get the best results, you should also enlist the support of a good website translation service. The content should be translated with cultural adaptation in mind, avoiding any misunderstandings, offensive language and/or, perhaps worst of all: your customers moving from the 'conversion' to 'dissatisfied customer' category before they've even tried out your services. This is why it's so important to build a polished brand image.
Then it's over to you to choose other, user-experience functions to add to the localisation: for example opting for a website that detects a user's IP address and automatically changes to the other language version, or a dropdown menu with language options.
The 7 best keyword research tools
We've put together a shortlist of seven keyword search finders with different features and uses. We're making it easier for you - these are the best in our humble opinion, and there are a lot of options out there. Let the presentations begin!
Google Ads keyword planner
First of all, we have the Google Ads keyword planner. This keyword tool enables you to quickly whip up a plan if you're expanding into international areas.
It's incredibly easy to use: Just click on the Google Ads keyword planner and create a plan for a new keyword search (or upload any you already have). Further down the line, it'll show you the number of conversions to your website and keyword impressions, and you can use your plan to create campaigns (whether in parallel with international SEO or international SEM, that is, Google Ads). No stone left unturned!
Keyword Magic Tool by SemRush
Keyword Magic Tool by SEMrush (Google and Bing keyword gathering platform) is another tool. It's been updated recently to improve its performance, and works on similar tasks.
On the one hand, it offers endless results compared to others, and five times more than its previous algorithm; and it also now include natural language processing, which is really useful for defining popularity according to topics; and lastly, it has an algorithm that can detect anomalies, validating the data it gets from its repositories.
And here's an important point: the terms used can change depending on the keyword tool you use: this one uses KD%. Don't get in a muddle!
AnswerThePublic: keyword finding tool
What is AnswerThePublic, first and foremost? A tool that analyses autocomplete data on search engines. It then uses the results to generate phrases and questions related to keywords. This is what makes it different to other keyword tools (as well as its roulette wheel of results); it 'listens' to the keywords being used in search engines, giving it incredible potential. According to the website, more than twenty thousand companies invest in it - a figure not to be sniffed at.
You can use it to get an idea of potential keywords, and a whole lot more: to create the content for your website, and/or discover terms you'd never even thought about for your services, or things that would be hard to find through organic searching.
Looking for a tool for keywords based on marketing, not just SEO? It's possible - we're not going to lie.
SmallSEO Tools gives you that power in just a few simple steps: enter a keyword then choose a country, and you'll be shown a list of up to one hundred suggested keywords in line with your objectives. And that's it!
Next, it tells you the popularity based on Google Trends, giving you a better perspective of actual impact on searches; and it goes beyond simple associations, showing position as well as long-tail keywords. We should point out this tool comes in a paid version with more functions if you need them, but the free version has you pretty much covered in terms of copywriting and SEO basics.
Another relatively well-known keyword tool that gives good results is Ubersuggest. You can sign up for a seven-day free trial on this one - that should give you time to familiarise yourself with the functions and work out whether you want to invest in it. As soon as you get to the website, it'll ask you five questions to personalise your experience, then offer a seven-day plan to improve traffic to your website. An absolute goldmine for SEO professionals!
Once your project has been generated (you can upload a CSV file with your keywords), you'll get daily updates on your progress, an SEO health check and improved organisation of searches and content, among a host of other features. Watch out! This tool ranks keyword difficulty with the acronym SD.
Keyword Tool gives you first-hand results of keywords based on Google's autocomplete tool. Keyword Tool extracts the data and shows it in an understandable format, helping kickstart your SEO action plan.
For example, one of the values it looks at is keyword search trends (past and present). After all, knowledge is power. It gives you a much broader market vision, because it looks at different priorities. Its complete reliability and comparison of statistics make it a must for search engine ranking and web content optimisation.
Keyword Discovery by SISTRIX
The objective behind SISTRIX is to allow any company to take advantage of the accessibility the internet offers, giving everyone visibility, not just the main players.
Keyword Discovery is a keyword research tool you can use to analyse millions of queries in a couple of seconds. And again, it's easy to use. You just enter the keyword (or several if you're feeling generous) and you'll receive new ones, along with relevant data (such as the Google Ads cost per click). They're also grouped by subject, so you won't end up with a load of word soup.
Step-by-step keyword analysis
Keyword analysis is the first step on your climb to the top - and it comes way before your keyword searches. You should analyse words associated with your brand, business, services or objectives. You could even include distinguishing features of your buyer persona to get even more relevant leads.
The second stretch of steps to climb for your search engine ranking involves drafting your list of keywords, selected from your previous brainstorming session. Don't leave anything out - no matter how big or small. This is exactly what keyword research tools are for: you can limit and personalise your searches for yourself, but don't limit yourself unnecessarily.
List the main words that define your business
Finding the right words to define your service isn't a simple task, so make sure you spend time on it. Carrying out an initial search within your market will help you create a realistic perspective, and it helps to break down your products according to their features, too. And because we're talking specifically about multilingual SEO, you should gather together as much geographical and marketing information as possible, so you can build a good picture of other markets.
The languages spoken in these markets will play a crucial role in determining your keyword research. An English language term used as a keyword in Spain will have a very different impact to the same word used in Germany, where English is more commonly used.
If you've done your keyword list, and you think it represents your brand image well and targets the right audience, it's time to go to the next step.
Search for keywords based on your main words
This list is the start of your keyword search mission. We recommend using keyword finder tools; it streamlines the process and gives you the quickest results.
You should be open to keywords or long-tails that show up on your website content. Prevention is better than cure: rather than focus on very consolidated keywords, you can get conversions through other, less common but just as effective keywords.
Filtering and organising keywords
So how do you find the perfect keywords for you? Good question, because even though you can measure it in values and metrics, search engine ranking is far from an exact science. It fluctuates with supply and demand, the needs of specific markets and even the development of your business, but there are some factors you can use as a starting point.
You would think that the higher the search volume of a keyword, the greater the relevance, right? These are the ones that direct more traffic to your little corner of the internet, and help to capture customers.
It's actually something of a double-edge sword: just because these keywords attract a lot of traffic compared with other keywords, it doesn't make them commercially viable, or in line with your buyer persona. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck if you ignore this metric. Sometimes less is more.
When you're using keyword research tools, the difficulty rating is a supremely important factor, giving you one of the most important pieces of data: how difficult it is to rank on that word. It tends to be indicated as a percentage, with 100 being the most difficult.
This number is influenced by the competition: if there's too much competition, you won't get a good ranking no matter how great the keyword, and you could get frustrated when all your hard work appears to have little impact.
CPC (cost per click)
The CPC tells you how much advertisers pay for the keywords they're pushing. If you're not sure how profitable the words will be, this is super useful.
A much higher CPC represents a higher probability of conversions. Having said that, there are keywords that can be really useful, without having a high CPC; they're often called informational keywords (because they relate to your website content) and whilst they may not lead to instant conversions, they can form part of an international SEO strategy.
Your users' search intention has everything to do with current trends and needs.
Let's be clear. Not everyone who searches on your keywords will become an instant conversion, no matter how much the words are trending in different regions. And lots of other elements come into play - like the quality and originality of your content. Plus, search intent will vary depending on the geographical area, so it's essential to understand why your potential customers are using particular keywords.
Selecting the most relevant keywords
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how to choose the keywords that will help your business stand out. SEO is something you need to do on an ongoing basis; trends change, and you need to keep everything up to date if you want to appear on that hallowed first page of the search results - even once you're established.
- make choices that chime with your business;
- amend and adjust as necessary;
- monitor your keywords;
- analyse SEO metrics for a ranking health check.
Best of luck with it all!
"We've sailed the SEO seas, and we've looked at a lot of ways of choosing the right keywords; and from our experience, we've seen how much weight is placed on keyword search volume, ranking difficulty, and costs per click.
But at the heart of it all is knowing how to choose the right words. And this is about you knowing your business, your target audience, and what they're looking for. So at ATLS, we think it's best to cross-reference search volume data, keyword difficulty and CPC with what really matters to your target audience, choosing the words most relevant to them. Sometimes you need to choose a word with a low search hit rate but that is better suited to your audience".
How can SEO help localise your website?
Have you heard of SEO translation? If you have, great! If not, it's time you did.
It combines translation and multilingual SEO strategies with the goal of reaching different users or markets. Without it, you might struggle to fully internationalise your business. As well as cultural and idiomatic factors, localisation involves the parts of your website related to SEO, like metatitles and metadescriptions (the snippets of text shown on search results, normally with a powerful call to action), the title tags (with keywords, unique to each language), alt tags (for accessibility as well as international SEO), the URL and a good distribution of keywords throughout the web content.
If you think of localisation as giving users a warm welcome to your home, SEO is all the cosy finishing touches.
We help improve your visibility
One thing's certain - without keywords, we'd all be lost in the vast sea of the internet; it wouldn't be nearly as easy to find products and services. As for companies, it would be impossible for them to reach their chosen target markets.
Searching for keywords is more of an art than a science, but you can use metrics and plans to help you do it. And two SEO campaigns for two different companies can work in very different ways. That's the magic of ranking.
At ATLS, we're backed by years of experience and strong results in web services and can give you a winning plan: you work out your idea and your needs, and at ATLS we'll take charge of ranking your website on international markets.
If you want your SEO to be top-notch, think big; we'll get you where you need to be.
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