Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How to Conduct Keyword Research Like a Pro

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Let’s start with the basics. We should understand what the concept of keyword research is. Before you can conduct keyword research, you need to understand what it actually is and why it is important to you and the success of your website. Keyword research is quite simply the process of identifying the exact words and phrases people use to find information on a specific topic. This is the foundation of your site optimization and the key to driving qualified traffic to your website. Remember, you may come up with what you think is the best descriptive term for your business or service, however, it may not be something that people actually search for. Similarly, you may find a term that generates a ton of traffic, but it’s not the right kind of traffic for you. This is why it’s important to create a relevant list of keywords.

The ultimate goal of this essay is to enable you to know the right method to conduct keyword research for a blog post or other content. This will also help you to find the right keywords to target, which can help increase your chances of ranking/traffic and decrease your probability of failure. By following the method and guidelines, it will also help in better understanding and also help you to think like your customers, which will attract and drive a lot of traffic to your website.

What is keyword research?

A query can be a single word or a phrase. As an internet marketer when we perform keyword research, we need to keep in mind that the point of search engine optimization is to promote a site, so it’s our job to try to understand which search queries will drive traffic to our site. A key phrase is a sequence of words and words are the way in which most people come to an understanding of something, so we select words. Nowadays, search engines know the semantics of words, they use a thesaurus or a dictionary and they’ve acquired this knowledge in many ways but one way is by logging the actual searches that people make, it tells a search engine what a keyword means. This process is important to an SEO. In order to achieve this understanding we need to think like the user and target the language that he/she would use while looking for our site, product, or service. Keyword analysis and selection is an ongoing task, not a one-time event. Selecting the right keywords is crucial to the success of the site.

When you type any keyword into a search box in any search engine, thousands of results appear. Have you ever wondered why a particular website appears in the top 10 or why one website appears at the top of the first page? The reason is the keyword used in the website which ranks it at the top. Keyword research is the first and most important step in any SEO service. It’s a process used to discover and find out which search queries people are entering in search engines for. We need to know the queries people are making in the search engines during the “retrieval stage” in order to provide an adequate answer, solution, or piece of content. This can be achieved with quality and by matching our content to what our targeted viewers are looking for.

Importance of keyword research for SEO

Step one for keyword research is to brainstorm a list of relevant keywords. Now let us say that you have a brand new product in the market, doing a keyword research can let you know if anyone is interested in that product and give you an estimate on what the demand for products similar to yours is.

When a user types a keyword query that is very relevant to a specific keyword, it is more likely that they are looking for something very specific. Research has shown that up to 60 to 70 percent of users will click on the organic search results compared to the sponsored search results. So what this means is that there is a high probability that a user will click on your website if you have a higher organic search result. Now, doing a keyword research to use a more specific keyword will have higher chances of it being clicked, making it very attractive to website owners. Keyword research can also help to find the right target for your products.

After understanding what keyword research is, it is important to understand how we can use them and which keywords to use. Even if you managed to get the top position in the search engine result pages, there is no guarantee that users will click on your website. In the world today, the internet has become a huge market available for everyone who has something to sell. As the usage of search engines increases, so does the competitiveness in utilizing search engines as a marketing tool.

Benefits of conducting keyword research like a pro

One of the biggest mistakes people make is targeting broad terms in the beginning. Broad terms are very competitive to rank for, and the conversion rate for general traffic is much lower. It can take months, or even years to see any significant results from a broad key term. It is best to start with specific, targeted key phrases. For example, I would rather target “Toronto SEO” than just “SEO”. Offering a more specific service or product will immediately convert to higher quality traffic. A quality keyword research can help identify a key term like “Toronto SEO” as well as suggest some others that you may not have even thought of.

The most important reason for conducting keyword research is to save yourself time in the long run. As stated previously, a proper keyword research will provide you with a direction and help you narrow down specific key terms you want to rank for. By knowing exactly what your target market is looking for, you can specifically tailor your website to be found by your prospects. You can also find the niche in the market and work on ranking for terms that are more attainable.

It is very important to conduct keyword research, and even more so if it is conducted like a professional. Here are some of the benefits:

Research Tools and Techniques

Overall relevance of the keyword to the website is the most important factor to consider when selecting which keywords to target. How important the keyword is compared to other keywords being considered within the campaign and how much search engine traffic can be expected are also very important factors. Remember that it is ok to target keywords that have a lot of competition. This is a learning process and if you select only long-tailed keywords with very little competition, you may not learn much at all. Which keywords you decide to target and how you intend to increase search engine rankings will probably change as you become more experienced in search engine marketing.

Analyzing competitor keywords will allow you to see which keywords your competitors are targeting. This is important information when selecting which keywords to use for a newer website, as targeting the same keywords as an established site in your niche will make it very difficult to increase search engine rankings.

Using Google’s keyword tool is essential for website owners who are trying to increase their search engine rankings. Google provides an array of tools for webmasters to use and most of them are free. What better way for Google to showcase their search engine marketing tactics than showing you how to use their tools?

Popular keyword research tools include Wordtracker, KeyCompete, Keyword Discovery, and the ever popular Google Keyword Tool. When looking for a keyword tool, it is wise to try a variety of tools out and not just settle for the first one you encounter. Most of the keyword research tools are either offered for free, or require you to register an account. In many cases a user can get by with a free account and never have to upgrade to a paid version.

Popular keyword research tools

If you are working to a tight budget, the Google Keyword Planner is a good place to start. While it may not be as comprehensive as some of the other tools, it is free to use to anyone with a Google AdWords account (you can set this up for free) and gives a good indication of search volume and keyword relevance. To use simply enter a base keyword for your product or service, then click ‘get ideas’. The tool will then return a list of keywords based on your product or service which can then be narrowed down by category. By exporting a CSV of these results you can then apply filters to remove irrelevant keywords based on search volume.

You can use a variety of different tools to research keywords, and some of them will be more suitable than others depending on your business and budget. The best place to start is with a brainstorm. It is likely that you already have a good idea of which keywords are most relevant to your business, but it can be useful to get a second opinion. Ask friends, family, employees or existing customers for keyword ideas to get the ball rolling.

Using Google Keyword Planner effectively

After signing in to your Google AdWords account, you can find the Keyword Planner under the Tools option in the top menu. When selecting the initial option of “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category” and entering keywords, URL, or category, the Keyword Planner will return a variety of suggestions. With setting options to filter through includes locations and languages, customers can look for suggestions tailored to a specific area or market. The suggestions generated are said to be based on the idea of improving targeting to help create more of an ideal set of keywords. When entering a competitor’s URL, it will give a similar result, but meant to help generate ideas to compete directly with a known competitor. Finally, the category option is meant for those who may not be developers themselves, but looking to do SEO for a client or company in a specific field. This method will find keywords based on a general idea of the category entered and may be particularly useful for those who are unfamiliar with a field and are looking to get general suggestions on it.

The Google Keyword Planner is meant to help harness the power of Google’s search data. As this is mainly a tool meant for advertisers looking to start a campaign, many of the answers to your queries will be framed with the intent of generating more advertisement. This is an important distinction to remember when using the planner to generate keywords, as many of the keywords and group ideas will be accompanied with a bid for the keyword as Google will think of it in terms of an advertisement campaign. This is not a bad thing and can be used to our advantage, but it does mean that planning for keyword ideas will require sifting through a lot of unrelated information to find what may actually be useful in search and SEO.

Analyzing competitor keywords

Instead of reinventing the wheel, your competitor’s keyword research can give you a leg up. Target the same keywords – Assuming your competitor has done his or her research, targeting the same keywords can be beneficial and save you lots of trial and error time. If you can get the data for what is and isn’t working for your competitor, you can improve on that for your own site. If there’s evidence a keyword is bringing them traffic, it’s likely you can also rank for that keyword and pull some traffic. On the flip side, if a keyword isn’t bringing them much traffic, it’s evidence that you should probably avoid that keyword.

Before doing any keyword research, it’s usually a good idea to get a lay of the land first and see what your competitors are doing. There are a number of benefits to this.

Keyword Selection and Analysis

Once you’ve amassed a good list of keywords, it’s time to identify which ones have the right combination of search volume and competitiveness. Your goal is to identify keywords that have a high search volume (which represents a good opportunity to attract traffic to your website) and high relevance to your business, but are not so competitive that ranking for them is unlikely. It’s natural to assume that the keywords which bring in the most traffic are the best ones. Many SEOs define “the most” as a specific number. For instance, you might find certain keywords that bring in 1,000 visitors a month and others that bring in only 100. By this rule of thumb, the 1,000-visitor keywords are 10 times better, essentially ignoring anything with less than 1000 searches. While this approach makes sense on the surface, it’s not the best way to gauge the value of a keyword to your specific business. Think about it in terms of a brick-and-mortar business. If you ran a specialty shop that sold candy from Iceland, a general candy store bringing in 1,000 visitors from around the globe is not a great source of new business. But if you could get 100 Icelanders to find your shop, that would be a huge deal, despite the far lower traffic. High search volume is only a positive result if the traffic is actually relevant to your business. Keep this in mind as we determine the relevance of each keyword. The next step is to determine how competitive each keyword is. An easy way to do this is to use the Google Keyword Tool (use the “exact match” setting) and check the “estimated average CPC”. While determining AdWords competition is not the same as determining SEO competition, the more advertisers are willing to pay for a click, the more valuable the traffic is, and the more competitive it will be to rank organically for that keyword. This gives us a good idea of the competitiveness of each keyword; however, it’s wise to also perform some manual checks on the organic competitiveness. This will involve installing the SEOmoz toolbar and using the ‘keyword difficulty’ tool, or simply performing searches for the keywords in Google and analyzing the strength of the competition for the organic listings. All of this information should be documented in a way that it is easy to compare the competitiveness and search volume of different keywords. Create a spreadsheet with separate tabs for high volume and low volume keywords. In each tab, filter the results and document the CPC and estimated volume of each keyword. In a separate column, rate the keyword as either high, moderate, or low competition based on the CPC and your judgment of the organic competition. Finally, assign each keyword a 1-10 point scale, with 10 being the most desirable keywords, ranking them by expected ROI.

Identifying high-volume and low-competition keywords

With a wide variety of products and services offered online, the realm of keyword research becomes cumbersome. In an attempt to just start the process, many find themselves employing the most basic keywords and peppering them throughout their website to ensure they achieve the best possible results. Unfortunately, should these words be highly competitive, the likelihood of a small business pulling in a high flow of traffic is quite low. These high-volume keywords are far too generic, and your page will find itself buried among millions of others.

High-volume, low-competition keywords are your best opportunity for bringing traffic to your website. This is because these are the keywords people use when they are very specific on what they are looking for. Usually, there is a target audience for a specific product or information, and more often than not, they will be using search engines to find what they want. For example, instead of someone typing “cell phones” and getting millions of results, they may type “buy Nokia N95 online”. Always put yourself in the mindset of the visitor to your website. What are they searching for when they find your website and how can I get my website to the top of search results? Phrase the questions and formulate keywords.

Keywords are not just words in a sentence. They are smart, practical, and powerful tools that help identify and move traffic from search engines to your website. Keywords are the forefront of your website SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When people enter a phrase or a word into a search engine, the results will be displayed based on the keywords or phrases used. Keywords are what people formulate within their minds when seeking information.

Long-tail vs. short-tail keywords

When attempting to break ground in a new content marketing campaign, a common tactic is to start creating content and try to figure out the keywords later. If you’ve taken this approach, I’m sure you’ve found out that you can run into a significant amount of trouble when it comes to ranking and seeing results from your efforts. In this column, we often talk about the importance of identifying the right keywords for your content strategy. Usually, we focus on how to do effective keyword research. But today, I’m going to pull back a few steps and talk about something that I believe is often overlooked – the difference between “head keywords” and “long-tail keywords”, and what it means to build a content strategy around each. Most people that are familiar with SEO and the concept of keyword research have heard the terms “head keywords” and “long-tail keywords”. This refers to the length of the search query that you are targeting. Head keywords are usually just one or two words, while long-tail keywords are three, four, or more words and are much more specific. The main differentiator between the two is not just the number of words, but the specific audience intent that is tied to the search. Think of it this way: someone searching for the term “shoes” is very early in the research process, just browsing, and probably not likely to convert into a sale. A search like “best running shoes” is much more specific, and is likely to be higher converting.

Analyzing keyword relevance and intent

The next thing you want to look at is the intent of the keyword. This is important because a lot of times the wording of a keyword can have a significant impact on the type of traffic it brings to your site. Consider the following two examples. Let’s say that your website is devoted to people who are learning to play guitar. Would you rather target a keyword like “learn to play guitar” or “guitar hero”? The first keyword is much more focused on your niche and will bring in visitors who are likely looking for information. The second keyword is much more broad and would bring in a much different type of visitor. This keyword is not a bad thing, but it would not be the type of traffic you are looking for. Another example would be if you had a health-related website. Would you rather target a keyword like “healthy recipes” or “fast food”?

Once you’ve compiled a list of keywords, you need to determine whether or not they will be effective for your website in the long term. The first thing you want to look at is relevance. Typically, the more relevant a keyword is, the easier it will be to rank well for the keyword with a search engine. Ideally, you’re looking for the keywords that accurately describe what your website is about, but also have a reasonable amount of traffic. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential visitor. What would they search for to get to your site? Do you provide content or products/services related to that keyword? How many searches would the keyword get? Would that amount of traffic be enough? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself when assessing the relevance of the keywords you have compiled.

Implementing Keywords for SEO Success

4.1 On-page optimization techniques

The Meta-Keywords tag is used by some search engines to rank the web page. This tag should list keywords separated by commas. A good approach is to add this and the Meta-Description tag to the home page and on very important subpages. But without comments, as using comments in the script can have a reverse effect by increasing the number of words in the script compared to actual content. Using server-side scripts such as ASP and PHP, it is possible to change the site-wide content of the meta tags. This can be done by using a template with a variable in place of the meta tag content. This method has proved very useful for websites with thousands of pages. It also makes it easy to change the tags at a later date.

If you repeat keywords with every other word on every line, then your site will probably be rejected as an artificial site or spam site. Cloaking is a controversial technique. It provides content to the search engine spider that is different from what the user sees. The purpose is to deceive search engines so they display the page for a particular keyword search. This will mislead users to access the page but doesn’t provide what they were looking for. Spamming the meta tags with keywords will get a page banned from a search engine.

On-page optimization is about implementing keywords in the actual body text and meta tags of the site. Keyword usage should appear in the title, description, h1, content, and ALT attribute of the website. A higher frequency of keywords on the site will have greater importance to the search engine spiders. Keyword density is an indicator of the number of times the selected keyword appears on the web page. But mind you, keywords shouldn’t be overused but should be just sufficient enough to appear at important places.

Incorporating keywords in meta tags and headers

If you haven’t already, make a list of landing pages which you will use later when you start link building. Now customize unique keyword/landing page-centric descriptions for each different page. This will be time-consuming but will bring about increased click-through rates from search engine users. A higher click-through rate will increase the perceived popularity of your page and result in a higher search engine rating.

Meta description tags are used to summarize the page’s content and are often used by search engines to display in search results to let users know what a particular page is about. They are generally no longer than 155 characters, and we can use this to our advantage. Start by taking a list of potential keywords and look at them in the context of your target audience. Brainstorm with colleagues and try to predict what the user would search to find a page like yours. Come up with a few catchy descriptions that will entice readers to click your link and try to integrate some of your keywords.

Google meta tags are a very important part of on-page optimization because they can help increase your search engine rating and tell the search engine what your website is about and which keywords to use when displaying your website in search results. There are four different types of meta tags, but the ones we are most interested in are meta description tags and meta keywords tags.

Creating keyword-rich content

Make sure that the content is heavily focused around your keywords but still makes sense and is readable. Your website is there to inform your visitors so there is no point getting them there to read senseless content; it will turn them away. If you have trouble writing content that includes a keyword, consider writing the content without the keyword and then inserting it later where it fits. This will make the content flow better and often be more concise.

Your keyword-rich content should be based around the specific keywords that you have researched for your site. The keywords and key phrases should be used in your content but not overused. An optimal keyword density often varies from search engine to search engine and I would advise around 5% for Google. This means that the keyword should be used 5 times for every 100 words of content. This is a guideline only and if your content starts to look like it doesn’t flow or looks spammy then reign in your keyword usage.

To create keyword-rich content, you need to know what key phrases people are using to search for your products and services. These key phrases will be your keywords.

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