Keyword research is one of the most important things that you can do to boost search engine optimization (SEO). SEO changes drastically and frequently; which means you would need to spend ample time to research and study the topic in order to build an effective strategy. While this may sound overwhelming, there’s no need to worry. We’re here to teach you how to choose keywords, how to pinpoint what your audience is searching for, and more.
What Is Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process of finding possible keywords or phrases that may be relevant to your business, content, and customers. This will allow you to know how popular your keyword is, what its ranking difficulty is, and such. Here are some questions to guide you:
- What are people searching for?
- How many people are searching for this keyword?
- What format is your audience looking for?
- What kind of content can you create to answer the intent of the query?
One thing to keep in mind is that keywords affect optimization. Over time, SEO is no longer about the keywords themselves. Rather, it focuses on the intent behind the keyword. Research is crucial to know what you need to do in order to increase your website’s ranking.
Related: SEO For Small Business: 7 Smart Tips
What Is Intent?
So what do we mean by intent? Effective keyword research gives you insight into why people are searching what they’re searching for. This guides you into tailor-fitting your content that can speak to your customers on a more personal level—increasing the likelihood that they’ll become your long-term clients.
How To Come Up With Keywords
Make A List
To start the keyword research process, make a list of keywords or phrases your ideal client is likely to use. Ideally, you’ll want to come up with 5-10 topics that are important to your business, which will lead to using specific keywords.
Your initial list is not your final list, so don’t be afraid to get creative and make it lengthy. The more options you have, the easier it will be to narrow it down once the time comes. Our piece of advice is to think like your customer, not as the business owner.
Research Your Competition
Looking at what your competitors rank for is one of the easiest ways to add keyword/s to your list. You need to know who your competitors are; which you can easily do by running a Google search on one of your keywords and see what companies and businesses appear.
Though there is a high chance you will come across bigger brands such as Amazon or Huffington Post, try to focus on sites that are similar to yours (in terms of scale and the products/services you offer). This will help you narrow down your keyword research to highlight words/phrases that will directly help you gain a competitive advantage.
Use A Keyword Research Tool
We can’t recommend using a keyword research tool enough as it simplifies the process. All you need to do is input your seed keyword, and it’ll generate other keyword ideas you can look into. Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs are some of the most popular and straightforward to use.
The Most Important Aspects of Keyword Research
Once you’ve narrowed your keywords down, it’s time to analyze which ones are the best for your business based on different criteria. These include:
- Search volume – Search volume tells you how many times that keyword is searched in a month. This number shows how many times it is searched, not how many people have searched it. Bear in mind that even if you rank for it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re generating high traffic.
- Clicks – Although people may be searching a keyword, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re clicking on the results. That’s why using the clicks metric will give you a better understanding of how often people are browsing through the search results.
- Traffic potential – Using a site like Ahref, you can see traffic is driven to a top-ranking site based on the keyword. More often than not, search volume correlates with its traffic potential, but paying attention to this will help you nail down keywords that are more likely to make you successful.
- Keyword difficulty – SEO professionals spend their time ranking the difficulty of keywords manually. They take backlinks, domain rating, content length and freshness, search intent, and more to determine just how easy or hard it will be to rank for a specific keyword.
One of the last steps to take in keyword research is prioritization. As you begin to study your selected keywords, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this keyword have a lot of estimated traffic potential?
- Is there a lot of competition for this keyword? Would it be hard to rank for?
- Do you already have content written about this keyword?
- Do you already rank for the keyword? If so, are there some things you could do to boost your ranking?
- Will the bump in traffic convert into leads and sales?
We recommend keeping an Excel spreadsheet and ranking them as you go through these questions. This can help you narrow down 3-4 keywords that you can focus your attention on.
Final Thoughts on Keyword Research
Keyword research is a complex process, but these simple tips can help you curate a plan that will generate relevant content and boost lead-generation and conversions.
Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your keyword list every few months as you progress in your business. As you begin to build domain authority, you’ll find that you’ll be able to add more keywords to your list–especially those that are harder to rank for.
It’s a slow process, but with ample time and patience, you will see the fruits of your efforts. For more information on keyword research, get in touch with us!