While Google’s constant algorithm tweaks have inbound marketers on their toes, one aspect has been relatively consistent for inbound marketers aiming to optimize their websites for search: keyword research.
We’ll discuss keyword research, why it’s essential, how to do keyword research for your SEO strategy, and how to find the ideal keywords for the website in this post.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is a process of locating and evaluating search phrases that people enter into search engines with the intention of utilizing the information for a specific purpose, such as SEO or general marketing. Keyword research can reveal queries to target, as well as their popularity, ranking difficulty, and more.
Why is keyword research very important?
Keyword research can provide you a lot of information about what your target audience is looking for on Google. The knowledge you gain from these genuine search phrases can inform both your content strategy and your overall marketing plan.
When conducting internet research, people employ keywords to identify solutions. You stand to get more traffic if your content is successful in getting in front of our audience as they conduct searches. As a result, you should concentrate your efforts on such queries.
Furthermore, we should design content around what people want to discover, rather than what we want to teach them, according to the inbound methodology. To put it another way, our audience has come to us.
The first step is to conduct keyword research.
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There are numerous advantages to conducting keyword research, the most common of which are:
Insight into Marketing Trends:
Effective keyword research may give you insights into current marketing trends and help you focus your content on themes and phrases that your target audience is looking for.
The higher you rank in search engine results for the keywords that best fit the content you post, the more traffic you’ll draw to your website.
If your company has material that other business professionals are looking for, you can fill that need and create a call to action that will guide them through the buyer journey from awareness to purchase.
You may address the questions that the majority of your audience wants answered by studying keywords for their popularity, search volume, and general intent. Keywords, on the other hand, have evolved beyond Google’s exact-match algorithms.
Keywords vs topics:
We’re hearing more and more about how much SEO has changed in the last ten years, and how unimportant keywords have become to our ability to rank highly for the searches consumers conduct on a daily basis.
While this is accurate to some extent, it is a distinct approach in the eyes of an SEO specialist. Rather, it’s about the keyword’s intent and whether or not a piece of content fulfills that intent.
However, this does not imply that keyword research is no longer relevant.
Keyword research reveals what topics people are interested in and, provided you use the correct SEO tool, how popular those topics are with your target audience. Topics are the crucial word here; by analyzing keywords with a high amount of monthly searches, you can select and categorize your content into topics on which you want to write. Then, based on these subjects, you may decide which keywords to search for and target.
Elements of keyword research:
When conducting keyword research, there are three essential aspects to consider.
Google assigns a value to material based on its relevance. This is when the term “search intent” comes into play. Only if your content matches the needs of the searchers will it rank for that term. Furthermore, your material must be the most relevant resource for the inquiry. After all, why would Google give your content a higher ranking if it is less valuable than other stuff on the internet?
Sources that Google considers authoritative will be given more weight. That means you must do everything you can to establish yourself as an authoritative source by adding helpful, informational material to your site and promoting it to gain social signals and backlinks. Unless your material is extraordinary, you have a decreased chance of ranking if you’re not viewed as an authority in the industry, or if a keyword’s SERPs are stacked with heavy sources you can’t compete with (like Forbes or The Mayo Clinic).
You might rank on the first page for a term, but if no one ever searches for it, your site will not receive any traffic. It’s a little like opening a store in a deserted town.
MSV (monthly search volume) is a metric that measures the number of times a keyword is searched per month across all audiences.
How to research keywords for your SEO strategy?
I’m going to walk you through a keyword research method that will help you come up with a list of terms to target. That way, you’ll be able to develop and implement a solid keyword strategy that will help you rank for the search terms that matter to you.
Step1:Make a list of significant and relevant subjects based on your knowledge of your industry.
Consider the topics you want to rank for in terms of general buckets to begin this approach. You’ll come up with roughly 5-10 topic buckets that are relevant to your business, and you’ll use those topic buckets to assist you come up with specific keywords later on.
These are presumably the topics you blog about the most if you’re a regular blogger. Or perhaps they’re the most frequently discussed issues in sales meetings. Put yourself in your buyer personas’ shoes: what topics would your target audience search for that you’d like your company to be found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, which sells marketing tools (which also happens to have some), for example,
- inbound marketing(21K)
- email marketing (30K)
- lead generation (17K)
- SEO (214K)
- social media marketing (71K)
- marketing analytics (6.2K)
- marketing automation (8.5K)
See those numbers to the right of each keyword in parentheses? That is the number of searches they conduct each month. This information will help you determine how significant these topics are to your target audience, as well as how many different sub-topics you’ll need to cover to be successful with that keyword. We’ll go on to step 2 to learn more about these sub-topics…
Step2:Fill in the blanks with keywords for each of the topic buckets.
Now that you’ve decided on a few topic buckets to focus on, it’s time to find some keywords that fit into those categories. These are keyword phrases that you believe are vital to rank for in SERPs (search engine results pages) since your target consumer is likely searching for them.
For example, if I were working for an inbound marketing software firm and the last topic bucket was “marketing automation,” I’d come up with a list of keyword phrases that I think people would use to search for that topic. These could include the following:
- marketing automation tools
- how to use marketing automation software
- What is marketing automation?
- how to tell if I need marketing automation software
- lead nurturing
- email marketing automation
- top automation tools
The list goes on and on. The goal of this phase isn’t to create your ultimate keyword phrase list. You just want to come up with a list of terms that you believe potential consumers could use to find content relating to that certain topic bucket. Later on in the process, we’ll trim down the lists so you don’t end up with something too cumbersome.
Despite the fact that Google is encrypting more and more terms every day, another clever technique to come up with keyword ideas is to see which keywords your website is already being found for. You’ll need website analytics software, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot’s Sources report in the Traffic Analytics tool, to perform this. Drill down into your website’s traffic sources and comb through your organic search traffic bucket to find the keywords that people are using to find you.
As many topic bins as you have, repeat this practice. Remember that if you’re having trouble coming up with relevant search terms, you can always ask your customer-facing classmates in Sales or Service what terms their prospects and customers use, or what questions they frequently have. These are frequently excellent places to begin your keyword research.
Step3:Understand the impact of intent on keyword research and analyze the results accordingly.
User intent is now one of the most important variables in your ability to rank effectively on search engines like Google, as I said in the last section. Today, it’s more crucial that your web page solves the problem that a searcher was looking for rather than simply containing the searcher’s term. So, how does this influence your keyword research?
It’s all too easy to take keywords at face value, yet they might have a lot of distinct meanings behind the surface. Because the intent of a search is so critical to your ranking potential, you must be extra cautious when interpreting the keywords you target.
Let’s imagine you’re writing an article and you’re looking for keywords like “how to start a blog.” The keyword “blog” can refer to a blog post or the blog website itself, and the purpose of the searcher will influence the path of your content. Do you want to learn how to start a blog post from scratch? Or do they want to know how to set up a website domain specifically for blogging? If you’re just targeting folks who are interested in the latter, you’ll want to double-check the keyword’s intent before using it.
It’s a great idea to type a keyword into a search engine manually to check what kinds of results are coming up to verify what a user’s intent is in a keyword. Make sure the type of content Google is displaying is closely relevant to the type of content you intend to develop for the keyword.
Step4: Keyword research related search terms:
When conducting keyword research, you might well have previously considered this step. If not, it’s a wonderful method to get those lists filled up.
If you’re having trouble coming up with more keywords for a given topic, look at the related search terms that display when you type in a keyword into Google. You’ll get some suggestions for searches related to your original input if you key in your phrase then scroll to the bottom of Google’s results. These keywords might give you some suggestions for other keywords to consider.
Step5:Utilize the keyword research tools
Based on the keyword ideas you’ve generated so far, keyword research and SEO tools can help you come up with more keyword ideas based on exact match keywords and phrase match keywords. The following are a some of the most well-known:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Keywords Everywhere
How to find and choose keywords for your website?
Now that you have a general concept of the keywords you want to rank for, it’s important to narrow down your list to the ones that would work best for your plan. Here’s how to do it:
Step1:Using the google keyword planner in order to cut down the keywords list
You could acquire search volume and traffic predictions for phrases you’re considering using Google’s Keyword Planner. Then, using the data you’ve gathered from Keyword Planner, utilize Google Trends to fill in the gaps.
Just use Keyword Planner to highlight any terms on your list that have far too little search traffic and don’t contribute to the healthy mix we discussed before. But, if you delete anything, go to Google Trends and look at their trend history and projections. You can evaluate if, for example, some low-volume terms are something you should invest in now and reap the advantages later.
Or maybe you’re just looking at a long list of terms and need to condense it somehow… Google Trends could assist you figure out which terms are growing upward and thus deserve more attention.
Step2: Pritoritze the low hanging keywords
Prioritizing low-hanging fruit means focusing on keywords for which you have a good possibility of ranking based on your website’s authority.
Large corporations often target high-volume keywords, and because these brands are already well-known, Google tends to reward them with authority across a wide range of topics.
You might also think about keywords with low competition. If there are no other articles vying for the top spot, keywords that don’t already have numerous articles vying for the top slot can afford you the top spot by default.
Step3: Checking the monthly search volumes for the keywords you selected
Checking MSV can assist you in writing material which revolves on what people desire to learn.
The amount of times a search query or phrase is entered into search engines each month is referred to as monthly search volume. Free tools such as searchvolume.io and Google Trends can assist you in determining the most sought keywords across comparable keyword clusters.
Step4:Consider SERP features when selecting keywords
If applied correctly, Google will highlight many SERP feature snippets. A simple method to learn more about them is to look up the keywords you want and see what comes up as the first result. However, for a fast review of the several types of SERP featured snippets, we’ll list them here.
Image packs are search results that appear as a horizontal row of images in a natural order. If there is an image pack, you should compose a post with a lot of images to get into it.
Featured snippets, also known as paragraph snippets, are short text snippets that display at the top of Google search results to provide quick solutions to frequently asked questions. Understanding the searcher’s goal and responding with brief, concise responses can help you land the spot.
List snippets, also known as listicles, are snippets created for posts that outline how to accomplish anything from beginning to end – frequently for “How To” searches. Making postings with clear, concise instructions and formatting can help you land this position.
Video snippets are brief videos that Google will display in place of written featured snippets at the top of a search query page. If tagged with the targeted keywords people are searching for, posting a video on both YouTube and your website can help you win this spot.
Step5:In each bucket, look for a mix of head phrases and long-tail keywords.
Head terms are keyword phrases which are normally shorter and much more generic, ranging from one to three words in length based on who you speak with. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are keyword phrases that are three or more words long.
You need to check whether it is a mixture of head terms and long tail terms so as to deliver a well balanced keyword strategy. Because head terms are searched more frequently, they are often (but not always) much more competitive and difficult to rank for than long-tail terms. Consider this: Which of the following terms do you think would be more difficult to rank for without even looking into search volume or difficulty?
Step6:Check how the competitors are ranking for those keywords
You don’t have to do anything just because your opponent is. Keywords are the same way. It doesn’t mean a keyword is significant to you just because it is to your opponent. Understanding what keywords your competitors are attempting to rank for, on the other hand, is a terrific approach to help you re-evaluate your keyword list.
If your competition is ranking for the same keywords you are, it makes sense to work on raising your ranking for those as well. However, don’t overlook the ones that your competitors appear to be unconcerned about. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to gain market share on key terms as well.
Understanding the difference between terms that are more challenging due to competition and terms that are more realistic will help you maintain the same balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms permits. Remember, the idea is to come up with a list of keywords that can help you achieve some early victories while simultaneously progressing toward larger, more difficult SEO goals.
You may wonder how you may find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Arel=”noopener” target=” blank” hrefs allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you input, in addition to manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what places your competitors are in. This is an easy method to see what kinds of terms your competitors are ranking for.
Best keywords for your SEO:
Understand that there are no “best” keywords; only ones that your target audience uses frequently. With this in mind, it’s up to you to devise a plan that will aid in page ranking and traffic generation.
Relevance, authority, and traffic will all be factors in determining the optimum keywords for your SEO campaign. You wish to uncover highly searched terms that you may compete for based on the following criteria:
- You’re up against a lot of competitiveness.
- Your capacity to produce content that is of higher quality than what is already ranked.
You’ve also picked the right keywords for your website’s SEO.You now have a list of keywords to help you to achieve the proper topics for your company and earn short- and long-term benefits.
Make sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months once a quarter is a good starting point, but some companies prefer to do it even more frequently. As your authority in the SERPs grows, you’ll be able to add more and more keywords to your keyword listings to handle as you focus on sustaining your existing presence and afterwards expanding into new areas.