SEO-Savvy Design Blogging I: How to Find the Best Keywords for Your Target Client
If you’ve ever researched SEO on your own, you know there’s an overwhelming amount of information online... and much of it is either highly technical or as unwelcomely dry as an overbaked Thanksgiving turkey.
This makes SEO seem much more difficult (and scary) than it actually is!
You can stop avoiding SEO like the plague. Instead, we’re going to deep-dive into the basic concepts you need to know and the simple steps you can take to improve your search rankings.
In this 3-post series, you’ll learn:
I. How to find the best SEO keywords to appeal to your target client
II. Where you should use these SEO keywords within your blog for maximum impact
III. How to structure your design blog, use tags and links, and label images
So grab some coffee and your laptop, and let’s get started!
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, can be more simply stated as your business’s likelihood to appear in search results (on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). To improve SEO is to improve your on-page ranking when people search terms that are relevant to you.
However! SEO strategies are what we call a “long game.” It takes time. Using the tips I suggest will certainly help your business, but they will not FedEx overnight you to the top of Google’s search results. Many businesses find that it takes 6 months to a year to see noticeable results.
Don’t let this deter you — just start now!
How to Please the SEO Gods
No human sacrifices required here. Just a little time and strategy. But before we can cover all the features of your blog that can help SEO, you need to know which words your target clients will be searching.
After all, would you rather appear in 100 search results for people just skimming the web... or 5 people who are ready to hire someone with your exact skills?
These client-specific terms are called keywords.
Psst… notice how everything seems to come back to your ideal client? Make sure you know who your target client is!
How to Find the Best Keywords to Appeal to Your Target Client
It is very important that you, or someone who knows and understands your business/clients, follow these steps. The more specific you can get, the more you’ll be attracting the right people.
Step 1: Generate Some Keyword Topics
You know your business better than anyone else. You’re not just “interior design firm in City, State.” You have unique offerings for your clients. You solve unique problems for them. Jot down some terms that are relevant to your company, including some that are a little off-the-beaten-path.
Here are some ideas to help get you started:
What questions do your clients ask you a lot?
What specific areas of the home are your unique skill?
Is there a design aesthetic that you do better than anyone else?
What regional effects (such as weather or holidays) impact your clientele?
Is there any design or art event that your clients like to attend OR wish they could attend?
What materials or spaces do your clients frequently ask you about?
Step 2: Register For & Check Google Console for SEO-Worthy Keywords
Google Console is a great resource for looking at your website’s analytics and the search terms that your website is already ranking for. (Plus, it helps Google know that you’re a legitimate business!) This does not mean you have to use these keywords — maybe they’re not specific to your ideal client — but perhaps you’ll stumble across a few that you like and haven’t considered yet.
Click on your website, and you’ll see a toolbar on the left side of your screen… click Search Traffic and then Search Analytics (in red below).
Once there, you’ll be able to filter the data by impressions, clicks, click-through-ratio, and position. If you’ve just registered your site, you probably won’t have any data aggregated yet. That’s okay. Just set yourself a calendar reminder to go back into the dashboard in a week or two to look at the results.
Of the other filters, I find the Pages option to be the next most helpful. You can see which of your content is appearing in search results.
Step 3: Test Your SEO Keywords in Google Search
This is where you pretend you are your ideal client and start typing away into Google Search.
Let’s say I’m an interior designer whose clients mostly live in apartments. Chances are, my clients are trying to maximize every inch of their space. If I lived in an apartment (which I do!), I might search something like this...
Start typing some of Google’s suggestions and see where it takes you. From the example above, let’s pick “living room”...
The more words you add, the more niche your ideas are becoming. You can play with this all day to see which topics are of highest interest — and relevant to your services.
Some other things to look for:
How many search results are your keywords returning? Higher results (and a greater number of ads) indicates a more popular topic. Although it will be more difficult to rank for, this means there’s likely to be higher interest and need for your content.
Which competing terms are used more often? To take the Googled example “small living,” the word “design” appears to be more popular than “decor” when combined. More on this in Step 4.
Look at the bottom of the search page for each of your queries. Are there any related searches that apply to your business? Click a few to see which ones are getting the most buzz or which seem the most niche. Choose niche over buzz, but high buzz is good too.
Step 4: Check Your SEO Keywords' Value Using a Couple Free Online Tools
You want your keywords to be a combination of niche, popular, and interesting. Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite keywords, here are a couple free tools you can use to gauge their value.
If you’ve created a Google Ad before, you’ve probably seen Keyword Planner. It lets you type in your keywords and see how big of a reach they’ll have in search results.
If you’ve never created a Google Ad before, you can still sign up. They’ll ask you for your payment info, but unless you create an ad campaign, you can use Keyword Planner without being charged.
Full transparency: I have not used Keyword Planner myself. I personally don’t like the idea of Google having my credit card number, though frankly, they probably already do… sigh.
Maybe I’m weird, but I have just a little too much fun with this tool. It lets you see the popularity of your keywords and compare words side-by-side. Case in point, I compared “ideal client” with “target client” for this post...
Looks like “target client” is more popular than “ideal client,” which is why I used that option in the title of this post.
Looks like fun, no?? 😂
Step 5: Repeat SEO Keyword Research Quarterly
At this point, you’re pretty much done with the research part! Check back on your Google Console analytics every few weeks or so, and do another keyword trend check every quarter to make sure you’re staying on top of the game.
Next Up in SEO Advice: How & Where to Use Your Keywords to Raise Your Search Rankings