What is keyword research?
Keyword research, or collecting lists of keywords to make your site visible, is one of the first steps in promoting your business website. In short, to improve website visibility, you need to analyze search queries related to your site and select the best ones to target.
Keyword research and the subsequent creation of a list of target keywords involve collecting all possible options that people use in search engines when searching for a specific niche, dividing them into clusters, and filtering out useless keywords.
A strong list of target keywords helps you better understand potential customers, create an optimal site structure, and develop an effective strategy for SEO, Google advertising, and other marketing channels.
So, we will focus on collecting search queries and using them to drive targeted traffic to your site.
Why do you need to do keyword research?
Keyword research plays an important role in SEO, Google advertising, social media marketing, and other digital marketing channels where the system aims to find and promote relevant products, services, or information in response to user demand.
Studying the psychology behind each niche search and expanding the list of target keywords for your site allows you to create a site with optimized content that, in turn, sells and provides value.
Here is a list of cases where you can use search queries collected during keyword research:
1. Creating and improving the site structure
2. Understanding the interests of the target audience (user intent)
3. Finding useful content ideas
4. Creating titles, descriptions, H1-H6 headings
5. Image optimization
6. Selecting anchor text for internal and external links
7. Creating a list of keywords for SERP ranking tracking
8. Contextual and banner advertising targeting
9. Setting up chatbots to provide answers to user questions
But if you want the collection of keywords for your site to give good results, you must:
1. Find relevant keywords
2. Organize them in a certain way (make a cluster)
3. Put them to work.
Here are some common problems related to the improper use of search queries in the site’s keyword list:
1. There are a large number of unexplored keywords that lead traffic to competitor pages.
2. Other pages on the site appear in the search instead of an optimized keyword page.
3. Keyword cannibalization sees different pages of the same site competing when there is only one search query.
So, don’t think you can simply and blindly target all the keywords in your niche and get the desired results. You need to target the appropriate keywords accurately.
How to conduct a good keyword list
Now that we’ve established the importance of keyword research and are familiar with some key terms and concepts, let’s get down to keyword research.
Here are the steps to identify the keywords you should be targeting to attract your target audience and create a flawless keyword-building strategy.
1. Create a list of major themes relevant to your business
During this first step, create a spreadsheet with general categories or “baskets” for the keywords you want to rank for. These could correspond to product categories or anything that might interest your target audience.
If you occasionally blog, you may already be addressing certain topics regularly. Write a short list, with 5-10 topics.
2. Expand each topic with a list of phrases your customers might use
Once you have these general categories, you need to identify the terms and phrases your target customer might enter into the search bar to find information, products, or services.
If you already have data from website analytics software like Google Analytics, review your organic search traffic basket to identify keywords that consumers have already used to find your website.
3. Find related search terms
Add terms to your keyword lists using many creative ways.
Search for a keyword phrase in Google and scroll down the page. You will see a list of related search phrases with bolded words. For a more in-depth method, click on one of the related searches and review the list suggested by Google at the very bottom of this second page.
You can also enter your keyword phrase into Google’s Keyword Planner tool or one of the paid SEO tools, and discover other relevant words used by Internet users.
4. Analyze the strength of your keywords
The simplest way to accomplish the next step is to use the Keyword Planner tool or a paid SEO or keyword research tool. Ahrefs, Semrush, Wordtracker, and Ubersuggest are among the most popular.
Here’s what you’ll need to look for when analyzing your keywords:
1. Make sure the keyword phrase matches the exact search term used by Internet users.
2. What is the search volume? If no one is using this keyword phrase, it won’t be useful to design a strategy around it. Look for the highest search volume available.
3. Paid tools differentiate between competition for paid ads and competition for organic searches. What you need is a high search volume with low organic search competition. This is the ideal point.
4. Search for associated terms you may have missed that could present a high search volume and low organic search competition.
5. Define your position in your industry
If you are competing with large brands that already occupy the first page of Google for most of the terms you have identified, you will need to modify your strategy to find less popular long-tail keywords. Check the SERP for the search terms that interest you the most. If it includes many large brands that have more influence and market share than your company (at the moment), start over and refine your list with long-tail keywords.
The only exception to this strategy would be if your competitors had not published quality content. If you know you can outdo their content in terms of length, quality, and layout, then you may have a better ranking than them, even if they spend more money promoting their brand.
6. Check the search intent
When a consumer enters a query on Google, they are looking for something and every question requires an appropriate answer. Make sure to understand the intent of your customers by entering your keywords in the search engine. Which pages are already ranking for this phase and what do they offer?
If a buyer is searching for information and you are trying to sell them your product or service instead, you may get a click, but they will quickly redirect elsewhere, resulting in a bounce, which will affect your ranking. However, if a visitor is ready to buy and you offer them a product page, they will gladly make a purchase.
Add a note to your spreadsheet regarding the buyer’s intent for each keyword phrase, or make it a habit (you or your team) to check the intent of keywords before creating content that uses them.
Perform keyword research to determine trends and weaknesses, understand user expectations, and find the most relevant keywords for your content. However, remember that keyword research is only the foundation of your SEO strategy.
If you want to stand out, you have to provide more accessible and comprehensive information for users than your competitors. Also, be mindful of your layout and on-page SEO for each piece of content, and make sure your website is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly.
Also, keep in mind that organic SEO is a long-term effort. While it’s possible to quickly rank for specific terms or phrases, most businesses gradually move up the search engine results pages. Improve your SEO strategy and grow your audience with SEO tools and expert advice.