Behold a golden rule: ‘Doing proper keyword research is the backbone of SEO’. How so?
Let’s just think for a moment.
Just imagine spending your time writing high-quality articles nobody is searching for. This will leave you with no traffic. And no traffic means no prospects, and no prospects means no sales. Not long after, your business could declare doomsday.
The conclusion is - the stakes are just too high. Choosing the right keywords will climb you up the ladder in no time while sticking to the inappropriate ones will lead you to throwing away your time and resources. That’s why brushing up on your keyword strategy is crucial for your SEO.
To be clear, learning to do keyword research is not nuclear physics. Approximately, you will need only half an hour to acquire most of the related knowledge, but, if your goal is to make smarter SEO decisions, there are some important details to be aware of.
In this article, we’ll run through the keyword research definition, its importance for your business, how to properly conduct it, and how to stick to the right keywords that will appropriately represent your website.
Let’s dive in.
Keyword Research refers to a process of finding and dissecting terms that people look for in search engines in order to use that information when planning certain actions, usually search engine optimization or digital marketing strategy.
It implies getting an extensive list of keywords you would want to rank your website for, and this means understanding your audience and their activity on search engines pretty well. What you would be looking for are the terms people type in Google or other search engines when looking for desired businesses, organizations, or products and services, together with their expectations of what they will find.
The modern keyword research process implies search intent, which refers to an aim a user has when looking for a keyword in search engines. It’s not the same if users are just trying to get informed or they are closer to their purchasing decision.
By understanding the keywords research process you would be able to come up with high-quality content that will attract relevant traffic your way.
Keywords and SEO go hand in hand. When done properly, keyword research will tell you what your target audience is searching for, and what precise terms they use. And when you hold this kind of information you can focus your content around the specific topics that will actually bring traffic your way. In other words, you will write about the topics your audience needs and wants to read.
Moreover, learning about keywords that are relevant to your business will help marketers organize your business’s marketing strategy since they will better understand what words are high in demand and how difficult it would be to race against concurrence in organic searches. It can also help you when creating ideas for your next blog post. The best part is that properly done keyword research can level your business rank when you pitch your company against the big names.
In other words, with good and relevant keywords used in quality content, you will be more successful in getting in front of your target audience. This way, you will gain more traffic and, in the end, more sales.
It all starts with an idea, a topic, or something called a “seed keyword”, which is your starting point in the keyword research journey. The seed keyword can refer to your products and services, it can come from the industry you are working in, or it can come from taking an active role in related forums and groups, but most of all, you would want to put yourself in the customers’ shoes - think of terms and words they could potentially use to find solutions to their issues.
For example, if you own a pet grooming salon, your seed keyword could be ‘pet grooming’, ‘dog grooming’, ‘dog grooming near me’, ‘poodle haircut’, ‘dog baths’, ‘dog nail trimming near me’, to name a few.
The list will, of course, depend on the services you offer, but having some way to write all of the ideas down will come in handy. Especially since your keyword journey will take you through the maze of social media and websites.
The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t mean that the seed keywords you choose would be worth writing separate topics about. They could only serve as seeds for the next steps in the keyword research process, meaning you should only spend a few moments to spot them, and then proceed to the next steps.
The best way to speed up your keyword research is to check what your competition is doing. In other words, you should check what relevant keywords already send traffic to your competition.
But before you start, you should first identify your competing companies. That’s where your seed keyword list jumps in. Just type one of your seed keyword ideas in search engines and look at what companies rank on the first page. Look for any resemblance with your website. If the results on the main page are similar to your page, then you are going in the right direction, but if they are not, then you should try searching for something more specific.
For example, if your pet grooming salon actually covers only dog grooming services, you may find more relevant competitors for the ‘dog grooming’ keyword rather than ‘pet grooming’.
When you find your competition, the best way is to use tools like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, SEMrush, SE Ranking, Majestic, or similar, in order to check the pages that bring the most traffic and what their relevant keywords are.
The next thing you would like to consider is keyword research tools. They can help you cover the keywords you couldn’t find just by checking your competition.
They all work the same way - you type in your seed keyword and they give you the list of the keyword ideas based on your seed word. This is kind of similar to what you would get when you use hashtag tools in social networks.
Some of the well-known keyword research tools are Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, Jaaxy, Keyword Surfer, and Google Keyword Planner.
Here are some of the keyword ideas you could get by typing dog grooming into Google Keyword Planner:
The good thing about tools like these is that you could also get keywords that are not so obviously related to the seed word you provided, which can take your research in some new and interesting directions.
Generating lists of keyword ideas is a great strategy, but sometimes to get the best results, the process will require you to think outside of the box.
One way to do this is by studying your target audience and visiting the places where they hang out such as online forums, groups, O&A websites, social media, and similar. Studying their conversations and public chats can provide you with great insights when broadening your keyword list.
The other way is to carefully listen to your real customers. Pay attention to their questions, typical issues and uncertainties, the language they use, and the ideas they come up with when talking to you. All of this may inspire you with some unique and novel keyword ideas worth covering on your website.
Okay, so you have found an unlimited source of keyword ideas? Great. What next? How to know which words on the list would work best for you? In the end, you are aware that studying and analyzing all of them word by word would last an eternity and would probably bring you nowhere.
Believe it or not, the solution is fairly simple: SEO metrics.
This refers to studying the:
This step actually falls in the post-keyword research part, however, creating optimized landing pages for your keyword is essential if you want to gain traffic. And this can as well be a long-term project - you don’t have to use all of the keywords on your list immediately. Making a proper strategy will help you prioritize and build meaningful topics that would cover logical chunks of words and provide value to your readers.
You will want to create the best content for your most important keywords and phrases since these would be the pages you would want the higher rank for in the search engines. All of the next related long-tail articles on your website should be linked to your cornerstone pages. This way you will build an effective internal linking strategy and boost your website metrics organically.
To close this article, it is fair to mention that keyword research isn’t just a one-time task. This is something you would want to repeat frequently, as your whole website is dependent on the words you use.
As you know, language is a living thing, it shifts, changes, and develops constantly, and the same goes for your target audience. Consequently, keyword research is something that requires constant updates and revisits, and it goes without saying that it’s worth doing it anytime when you are thinking of making updates to your content or creating something new from scratch.
Of course, this process won’t always be too extensive and your posts won’t always be a part of a flawless strategy, as we don’t live in the perfect world, but doing proper keyword research frequently will get you far. Good luck!