Keyword research is about the foundation of your online presence. It’s common knowledge that this practice determines your rankings and visibility in the organic search. However, the way keyword research is done has changed over time. These days, effective keyword research is an increasingly important skill for digital marketers. Not only do they need to know how to develop a good keyword list for PPC and SEO, but smart content marketers use keyword research to find out what topics they should write about and what phrases they should use while writing While Google keeps us on our toes with all the calculation refreshes they continue turning' out, one thing has remained truly reliable for inbound advertisers hoping to enhance their sites for search: keyword research. To rank higher, you have to concentrate on improving client encounters and understanding the goal behind their searches. Most importantly, you need to create quality content around those keywords. These practices will not only improve your online exposure but also help you drive relevant traffic to your site and convert it into leads and sales.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process by which you research popular search terms people type into search engines like Google, and include them strategically in your content so that your content appears higher on a search engine results page (SERP). Keyword research is a fundamental practice in search engine optimization (SEO). Keyword research is a core SEO task that involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines -make in an attempt to figure out what to rank for. Researching keywords gives marketers a better understanding of how high the demand is for certain keywords and how hard it would be to compete for those terms in the organic search results, offering some direction to optimization efforts.
Keywords are usually broken up and grouped based on the number of words within the query phrases. The more words in a keyword phrase usually the easier it is to rank for the term since usually there is less relative compete it. Keyword research is a critical component for search engine optimization because when used correctly it provides a road map for both the design and execution of building websites and developing content. The keyword research process involves choosing a topic for your content that is focused on a set of targeted keywords that you want your content to rank for.
How to do Keyword Research
- Make a list of topics based on what you know about your business
The first step towards identifying your keywords is to create a detailed list of topics relevant to your industry and business. For example, if you’re running a sports blog, you will write about different types of sports and these are your topics. To kick off this process, think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. You'll come up with about 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then you'll use those topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.
- Identify niche topics
To attract quality traffic, you need to use the same words and phrases as your target audience. This requires determining what kinds of topics they search for that are related to your products, services, and industry. One of the best ways to do this is to check out the related searches feature at the bottom of Google’s search results. First, simply search for one of your main target keywords, or a phrase you think your target audience might search.
- Analyze Keyword in terms of your business
Now that you’ve created a list of keywords, it’s time to analyze their relevance and effectiveness. There are three fundamental criteria to consider during the process of analysis:
You could start by analyzing the data from the Google Keyword Planner, where you can easily see the search volume for each keyword. Google Trends is also a great tool to use, as it lets you see how the popularity of the keyword is changing over time.
A higher keyword difficulty means that it would be harder for your site to rank for a certain phrase. This is where the quality and number of backlinks play an immensely important role. There are many keyword research tools that will calculate the keyword difficulty for you. When tracking this metric, keep one thing in mind. Namely, it is only a guide that provides generic insights. If you're struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, go to Google.com, and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug in a keyword. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google's results, you'll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.
Optimizing your Pages for Keywords
When optimizing your site for keywords, start by choosing focus keywords. These keywords illustrate your topic and appear in different elements of a page. These are usually exact-match keywords and you should insert them into your title tag, Meta tag, headings, subheadings, and text content. However, don’t stuff your pages with keywords. Always strive to add them organically, where it makes sense. Most importantly, note that targeting the right keywords is pointless if you don’t create high-quality content around them. For example, when optimizing your blog, make sure your posts are informative, insightful, and authentic.
- Use the Google Ad Words Keyword Planner to cut down your keyword list
In Keyword Planner, formerly known as the Keyword Tool, you can get search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you're considering. Unfortunately, when Google transitioned from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner, they stripped out a lot of the more interesting functionality. This is certainly the first (and the most popular) choice of online marketers. Even though keyword research has become more complex and many advanced keyword research tools have been created, you could use GKP as the foundation of your keyword research. To use GKP, you need to have a Google Ads account. Next, click Tools and go to the Keyword Planner tab. You have an option to “Find New Keywords,” where you should enter your seed keyword to get relevant keyword suggestions.
- See how competitors are ranking for these keywords
If your competitor is ranking for certain keywords that are on your list, too, it definitely makes sense to work on improving your ranking for those. However, don’t ignore the ones your competitors don’t seem to care about. This could be a great opportunity for you to own market share on important terms, too.
Understanding the balance of terms that might be a little more difficult due to competition, versus those terms that are a little more realistic, will help you maintain a similar balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms allow. Remember, the goal is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some quick wins but also helps you make progress toward bigger, more challenging SEO goals.
- Know what keywords you’re Currently Ranking For
One of the first steps to take during your keyword research is to see what keywords you’re already ranking for. This lets you see what keywords work or don’t work for you and, in this way, improve your rankings.
Sure, you can also augment keyword tracking by automating your data tracking efforts. There are many reporting tools that let you create customized dashboards, where you would combine the features of the tools you’re already using to gain better results. However, to get relevant results, you need to track your data strategically. The Guide to Making High-Quality Marketing Reports emphasizes that understanding audiences, setting straightforward goals, and aligning them with the right KPIs and metrics is key to creating functional dashboards.
- Create a list
As you research potential keywords, you’ll want to keep a master list of all of your options, as well as key data about each and how you’re using them on your site. While it may seem like an unnecessary step, in the beginning, you’ll likely accumulate a few hundred (or thousand) keywords, and this list will become a valuable resource for you and your team. Fortunately, with tools like Keyword Planner, you can easily export your research into spreadsheets, then copy and paste your data into a master tracking document
- Use keyword tools to see the competitors
Chances are high that your competitors are already using SEO. And while this means that it may be challenging to achieve the rankings you want, it also means that you don’t need to start from scratch when it comes to finding keywords. You can enter a competitor’s domain name, then see a report with all of the keywords they’re currently ranking for, as well as the search volume and competition level of each one.
- Reach searchers at every stage of the buying process
When you think of the ways that users search for your products, you might focus primarily on transaction-based words, like “buy” or “sign up.” And while these can attract qualified traffic, most users often don’t use them until later in the buying process. Keyword research can help you uncover the words and phrases that will help you reach them at all stages of the buying process.
- Google Search
The basic Google search can serve as an outstanding source of relevant and long-tail keywords. Its major benefit lies in the fact that it displays the keywords your audiences really search for. There are three features you could use:
- Attract qualified traffic
Your keywords determine not only the amount of traffic your site can attract but also the quality of that traffic. Visitors who aren’t part of your target audience and are unlikely to become customers or clients are considered low-quality traffic. That’s because they won’t have an impact on your business’s most important goals, like sales and revenue. High-quality traffic, then, is made up of visitors who are part of your target audience and have a high chance of converting.
- Address your audience’s questions and needs in everyday basis
Many of the keywords you discover during the research process will be information-based. These keywords will help you learn more about what your target audience wants to know about your industry, and what information they need before making a buying decision. The most immediate benefit of this is that these keywords will help you create content for the top and middle of your sales funnel. But beyond that, these keywords will help you more effectively address your audience’s needs.
- Consider search volume, keyword difficulty, and other metrics
Once you’ve put together a list of potential keywords, you can use metrics like search volume and competition level to evaluate their value for your business. You can access this data using tools like the Keywords Everywhere extension. Copy and paste a list of keywords into the Bulk Upload feature, and you’ll see each keyword’s monthly search volume, as well as its competition level on a scale from 0 to 1.
- Refer to YouTube Suggestions
YouTube is one of the largest world’s search engines. Therefore, ignoring it during your keyword research means missing out on numerous awesome keyword opportunities. There are numerous searches behind each seed keyword you could type in. For example, if you search “hair mask,” you will see a bunch of potential keywords, such as “DIY-hair mask,” “hair mask ideas,” etc.