Keyword research has become a fundamental part of SEO. The process of finding search terms that are relevant to your business, having the data to back them up, and then taking action on those insights is an essential way to grow your brand and increase revenue. But keyword research can be intimidating for businesses looking to get into it for the first time. In this guide, we’ll walk through exactly what keyword research is, why it matters and how you can use it effectively in your own content marketing strategy.
What is keyword research and why is it important??
Keyword research is the process of finding the most relevant words related to your business, which are then likely to be the search terms used in search engines such as Google.
The idea of keyword research is to understand which keywords your target audience are most likely to type into a search engine, so you can then include these in your content, which will then help your SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is process of improving a website’s search engine ranking so that people are more likely to find the website. Keyword research is a key part of SEO, as it identifies which queries to target, how popular these queries are, their ranking difficulty and various other useful bits of information to help determine an effective SEO strategy.
How to conduct keyword research for SEO?
There are several ways to conduct keyword research for SEO, using the various powerful keyword research tools out there. But before you even use these tools, there’s a lot of thought that needs to go into the whole process.
The three most important things to remember about keyword research is relevance, authority and volume. i.e. how relevant your content is to the keyword, just how important Google deems your site and how many people visit it.
We thought we’d share with you exactly how we do keyword research for ourselves and for our clients.
Identify the most relevant topics for your brand, product, or service.
To be able to do this step, you need to know your business inside out and a decent idea of your ideal buyer’s persona and what they are looking for.
Think about the type of keywords that you think are most relevant to your business and then think about any phrases that you consider to be important to rank for within those keywords. This is by no means the final list of keywords at this phase but just a good brain dump of ideas.
Understand search intent with searcher profiles
Search intent is the term used in SEO to describe the intention of a searcher. In short, search intent can be broken down into three main categories:
Informational: when a user wants to find out more about a topic or get directions to something they want to do (like go on vacation)
Navigational: when someone wants to access an existing website or resource that already exists online.
Transactional: often tied into purchases and other actions that involve money (like getting insurance).
Research related keywords, topic clusters and long-tail keywords to expand your content strategy.
This is a great little step to gather even more information about what people are looking for.
Using your original list of keywords, type each one into Google, scroll to the bottom of the page and take a look at the related search terms that appear. You can even go as far as to search the related keywords for these related keywords!
This is a great way to come up with other keyword ideas you hadn’t already thought of.
Get the insights you need to drive growth with keyword research tools.
Keyword research tools can provide detailed insights into search volume, keyword difficulty and keyword opportunities.
There are so many tools out there now to help you with your keyword research. Here are some examples that we recommend:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner (why not use the tool built by the engine you’re trying to rank for!)
There’s a lot more information out there than what we’ve suggested above. To get the most out of your research efforts, we recommend working with multiple sources so that you can find all available data points on any given topic or query.
Use these tools to create a detailed list of keywords you want to rank for for your business and prioritise the ones you want to use for your content strategy.
How to implement keyword research results into your SEO strategy
Now that you have a decent list of keywords that you want to rank for, the next step is working out how to use these keywords in your content marketing and SEO strategy.
Prioritize high volume, low difficulty search terms in your content strategy
These terms are considered to be low-hanging fruit – they are the ones you stand the most chance of ranking for. Many companies do their research and go after the terms that have the highest traffic. But the top spots for these terms are usually held by larger, well-established companies because they’ve been around for a long time and generating a lot of traffic to their site already. Therefore, Google considers them to be of high authority.
A better idea is to perhaps consider the keywords that have little competition. You can then rank highest for those keywords and start to establish a presence.
Use a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords
Head terms are the keywords that are much shorter and generic, compared to that of long-tail keywords which are usually more descriptive containing three or more words.
To ensure that you have a balanced SEO strategy, you need to have a healthy mix of head terms and long-tailed keywords. This is because the head terms are searched a lot more and so it’s still good to include keywords that you know gets a lot of traffic, but they will also be difficult to rank for… but it doesn’t mean you can’t be! The long-tailed keywords are less competitive and will give you a chance to get ranked.
Improve your page authority by optimising current pages vs. creating new ones.
The best way to improve your page authority is by optimising current pages vs. creating new ones. This is because content creation takes time, and if you’re working on a new website that’s not yet ranking, there’s no guarantee that it ever will.
For example, let’s say you write an article about how to make tomato soup from scratch, but it doesn’t rank for any keywords related to said soup. That means you’ll need to write another article about the same topic—and then another one after that! Soon enough, your entire site will consist of tomato soup recipes and nothing else (unless you decide to expand into other types of soup).
It’s a better use of your time and efforts to optimise the content that you already have and update blog posts to the latest content. Google will then see you as being up to date, and you can bring any new keywords from your research into these older posts.
Keyword research is a crucial part of any SEO strategy. By understanding what people are searching for, you can create content that appeals to your target audience and drive more traffic to your site. As we’ve seen in this post, keyword research isn’t just about finding the right words; it’s also about knowing how people use them and why they search for them in the first place.