Keyword Research 101: A Comprehensive Guide
Are you tired of trying to guess what keywords your potential customers are using to find your business online? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you exactly how to conduct keyword research so you can attract more qualified traffic to your website and boost your search engine rankings.
But why is keyword research so important, you ask? Well, think about it this way: when someone searches for a specific product or service, they type in a series of words that best describe what they’re looking for. If those words match the keywords on your website, congratulations! You’re more likely to show up in the search results and get that coveted click.
So let’s dive in and learn about the different types of keywords, how to understand user intent, and which tools to use to find the best keywords for your business. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to conduct keyword research and start attracting more organic traffic to your website.
What Are keywords?
Keywords are terms and phrases that are used to establish and develop online content. From a potential customer’s perspective, they are words entered into the search bar that best describe the products or services they are looking for or the question they wish to find the answer to. For a marketer, the keywords you carefully choose to include in your content directly inform search engines about the information contained on your web pages, providing a way to rank and suggest your website.
But what makes a keyword different from any other word? Well, keywords provide a variety of insights into the minds of your target audience, revealing vital information such as what they want and why they want it. By carefully selecting and incorporating the right keywords into your content, you can dramatically improve the success of your business. The goal is to have a customer’s keywords match the keywords on your website.
There are two main types of keywords: focus keywords and long-tail keywords. Focus keywords, as the name suggests, are the primary keywords that you focus your strategy on. They are the main words or phrases that you purposely include in the title, URL, meta description, and text of your website, hoping that search engines will pick up on them. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, contain three or more words and are more specific phrases that shoppers are likely to use when they are further along in the buying cycle and have a clearer idea of what they want. These long-tail keywords can be particularly valuable for websites that are trying to set themselves apart in a crowded market. Just think about the difference between the search terms “toaster” and “4-slice chrome toaster.” It’s easy to see how the second phrase would produce more precise results.
Understanding Keyword Intent
One of the most important concepts in keyword research is understanding keyword intent. Essentially, this means figuring out what the person searching for a particular keyword is trying to accomplish. Are they looking for information? Are they ready to buy a product? Understanding the intent behind a search query can help you tailor your content to better meet the needs of your audience.
There are several different types of consumer intent to consider when conducting keyword research. For example, someone who is just starting to research a topic might be using more general, informative keywords. On the other hand, someone who is ready to make a purchase might use more transactional or commercial keywords, like “buy” or “compare.” By understanding the intent behind different keywords, you can create content that is more likely to satisfy the needs of your audience and improve your chances of ranking highly on search engine results pages.
One way to determine keyword intent is to simply type the keyword into a search engine and see what types of results come up. Are the top results informational articles or product pages? This can give you a good idea of the intent behind that particular keyword. You can also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or paid keyword research tools like Ahrefs to get a sense of the intent behind different keywords.
Ultimately, matching the intent of your keywords to the content on your website is crucial for successful SEO. If you can provide the information or products that your audience is looking for, you’ll be more likely to keep them on your site and improve your search rankings.
Analyzing The Strength of Keywords
In this section of the article, it is important to delve into the process of analyzing the strength of your chosen keywords. This involves looking at a variety of factors such as monthly search volume (MSV) and competition level, to determine which keywords are most likely to drive traffic to your website and improve your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
One tool that can be particularly helpful for this task is Google Keyword Planner, which allows you to see the MSV of a keyword and how it has trended over time. By looking at the MSV of a keyword, you can get a sense of how much demand there is for that term and whether it is worth targeting in your content.
It is also important to consider the competition level for each keyword, as this will impact your ability to rank for that term. Some paid keyword research tools, such as Ahrefs and Semrush, offer data on the competition level for both paid and organic searches. By choosing keywords with high MSV and low competition, you can increase your chances of ranking well for those terms and driving more traffic to your website.
It is worth noting that while high MSV and low competition are generally desirable qualities in a keyword, it is also important to ensure that the keyword aligns with user intent. If a keyword has a high MSV but does not match the purpose of your content, it may not be a good fit for your website. By carefully analyzing the strength of your keywords and considering a range of factors, you can create a keyword strategy that is effective and aligned with the needs of your target audience.
Conducting Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is a crucial first step to developing a solid SEO strategy. It helps you understand the terms and phrases your target audience is using to search for information, products, or services related to your business. By conducting keyword research, you can identify trends and blind spots in your industry, understand user intent and find the optimal keywords to build your content around. There are several steps you can follow to conduct keyword research effectively.
Step 1: Make a List of Broad Topics Relevant to Your Website or Business
Start by creating a spreadsheet with general categories or “buckets” for the keywords you want to rank for. These might correspond to product categories or anything you believe your target audience would be interested in.
Step 2: Expand Each Topic With a List of Phrases You Think Your Customers Might Use
With these general categories in hand, it’s time to identify the terms and phrases your target customer might type into the search bar to locate information, products, or services. You can also use data from website analytics software like Google Analytics to see which keywords consumers already use to arrive at your website.
Step 3: Find Related Search Terms
There are many creative ways to add to your keyword lists. You can search a keyword phrase in Google and scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of related search phrases in bold. You can also use a tool like AnswerThePublic to see a chart of phrases people are searching for related to your topic. Alternatively, you can type your keyword phrase into Google’s Keyword Planner or a paid tool like Ahrefs, Semrush, Wordtracker, or Ubersuggest to see what other relevant terms people use.
Step 4: Analyze the Strength of Your Keywords
Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner or a paid keyword research or SEO tool to see how high the search volume is for a particular keyword, and how steep the competition is. You want a high search volume with low organic search competition.
Step 5: Determine Your Website’s Ranking in Your Industry
Check the search engine results page (SERP) for your most desired search terms. If it’s filled with solid brand names that have more influence and market share than your company does (at the moment), you may want to alter your strategy and focus on less competitive long-tail keywords.
Step 6: Verify Search Intent for Each Keyword
When a consumer enters a search query into Google, they are on a quest for something and every question needs a matching answer. Make sure you understand your customers’ intent by typing your keywords into the search engine and seeing what pages already rank for that phrase and what they offer. If you try to sell a product to someone who is looking for information, they may bounce quickly from your website, which will hurt your ranking. However, if a shopper is ready to buy and you deliver a product page, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.
Keyword Research Tools
There are many other keyword research tools available, each with its unique features and pricing plans. It’s important to try out a few different options and see which one works best for your needs and budget. Some Keyword Research Tools are –
This free tool allows you to input a keyword and see a list of related keywords, along with their search volume and difficulty level. It also allows you to export the data for further analysis.
- SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool:
This paid tool offers a wide range of features for keyword research, including keyword suggestions, search volume data, and competition analysis. It also allows you to filter keywords by language, location, and other criteria.
This is a free tool that can generate a visual map of common search results related to a specific keyword. This can provide a wealth of ideas for long-tail keywords and content ideas.
- Google Trends:
This is another free tool that allows users to see how popular a specific keyword has been over time. It also allows for comparison of the trend of multiple keywords.
Keyword Research Best Practices
When it comes to the most effective practices for keyword research, it’s important to clearly understand your target customers and the type of content they look for. This will help you to identify the most relevant and effective keywords to target audiences.
Another effective way is to focus on long-tail keywords, rather than just short keywords, broad terms. These longer statements are more specific and targeted, which means they tend to convert into traffic or leads. So, it’s a practical idea to regularly review and check your keyword list to ensure that it is always up-to-date.
Also, do not forget about the significance of keyword placement. Once you find out the keywords you want to target, include them in your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and throughout content itself. This will help search engines understand the relevance of your content and better your rankings on the Search Engine Platforms.
In conclusion, keyword research is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. By understanding the words and statements that your target customers are using to search for products and services, you can tailor your content to match their requirements and increase your chances of ranking highly on SERPs. By following the ways outlined in this blog, you can conduct comprehensive keyword research to find the best focus keywords and long-tail keywords to use in your content. Additionally, using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs can help you find out the strength of your keywords and find high-volume, low-competition words to target.
In the end, by understanding keyword intent and developing your website’s topical authority, you can create content that matches the requirements and interests of your target audience and establishes your brand as a trusted source of information. Follow these best practices to better your keyword research skills and boost your SEO efforts.