Keyword research is the cornerstone of all SEO efforts you will make for your website. No SEO discussion would be complete without talking about keyword research. Without keyword research, you will not be able to rank in SERPs.
Keyword research shapes the content strategy. It helps you attract the right audience for your website by delivering content that matches what people search for. The right content revolves around the right keywords. You can find the right keywords by keyword research.
What is keyword research? How do you do it? How do you find the right keywords? In this step by step guide, we will explore keyword research and how you can do it right. Here you will find the best tips and tactics to get the keyword research right with ease and insight.
What is keyword research?
Keywords are the words that people use when they search for something online using search engines. These can be single words or a combination of multiple words or phrases. When your content contains these keywords, it is most likely to be displayed in the search results. We said ‘most likely’ because there are other factors as well that contribute to ranking a page. That said, keywords are the key to your content being seen and ranked by search engines.
Your goal is to find out what users type in the search box when they want to reach out to your website or websites similar to yours. Once you have the list of these keywords, you can write the content accordingly.
The process of finding the right keywords is called keyword research.
We will now explore a step by step approach to keyword research.
Step 1: Find Keywords
Before you can decide the right keywords, you will need to have as many keywords as possible. Creating a list of keywords will benefit you the most.
After all, it is from this keyword collection that you would choose the right keywords that work for your website.
For example, use Google Keyword Planner (it’s free to use) for SEO keyword research. It will provide you with a list of bountiful keywords related to your niche or industry.
All you need to do is enter a few related keywords about your product or industry. Google then fetches the keywords related to that particular product or business or search query.
You can have multiple related keywords when you discover the keywords that relate to your business. Make a list of these keywords. Use a spreadsheet to record these keywords.
Try to have a broad spectrum of keywords that are related to your business or niche.
Step 2: Study the keywords your competitors target
The best way to get ahead in keyword research is to study your competitors. Look at their websites and observe what keywords they are focusing on.
Make a list of these keywords and compare them with the list you made in the beginning. Your keyword list will have new entries that you missed. By studying your competitors, you will not only gain new perspectives but also broaden your efforts.
Study the keywords they are targeting. Look at paid keywords and organic keywords. Studying your competitors will save you crucial time, and you may benefit from learning what works for them.
Step 3: Look for Search Volume
One important metric to consider is the search volume for a particular keyword. From Google Keyword Planner, you will get an estimated search volume per month for each keyword.
Now, what search volume is good for you, and what should you aim for? There is no one size fits all type of answer here. Search volume varies with industry. So the search volume that is good for one industry can be trivial for another.
To choose the right keywords, select the keywords with a relatively higher search volume for your particular industry. Higher search volume means more demand for that keyword. In this case, high volume keywords are the right keywords as they bring the maximum benefit.
Step 4: Understand how much the keyword is worth
It is completely possible to be overwhelmed by the number of keywords. You might be uncertain how to prioritze the keywords.
There is one thing you should ask yourself during this process: Will the keyword make you money?
If the answer is yes, it makes sense to invest in that keyword.
Using the Google keyword planner, you can get an idea about this. Look at the ‘Top of page bid’ tabs in the results. There are two tabs; one for the low range and the other for the high range.
‘Top of page bid’ is an estimate of how much money an advertiser spends for a single click. You can get an idea of how much your keyword is worth just by looking at the top of page bid. Higher the number, the more valuable your keyword becomes.
There is another way of estimating the worth of a keyword. Is your keyword close to the product you are selling? For example, ‘fashion tips’ is a general keyword that does not directly associate with any product. On the other hand, a keyword like ‘beauty cream’ is a product keyword because it emphasizes a specific product. Product keywords tend to convert customers into sales.
Although product keywords are worth, this does not mean other keywords should not be used. You can create SEO optimized content around the keywords that are not directly related to your product. Instead, these keywords target your audience in some other way.
You can target a broader spectrum of keywords where users are looking. As you address these keywords through your content, you will reach out to more customers. You will benefit from such content as you will reach your target audience as well as potential leads.
Step 5: Find which keywords are trending
Now that you have the list of keywords, it is time to find out which keywords are trending online. Trending keywords are what users search most during a period of time. Trends can last from a few minutes to a decade. You need to tap into the keywords that are trending recently. Trending keywords show what users prefer to search over other topics.
It is a competitive place where everyone is trying their best to benefit from trending keywords and target traffic for these keywords. Still, it is worth to put your efforts into trending keywords.
That being said, you must be excited to find out trending keywords in your niche or business category.
How do you find which keywords are trending?
Here comes another Google tool that helps: Google Trends
Google Trends shows which keywords are trending all over the world.
You can also decide the time period for which you want to see the trend. You can have data for the last week, month, year, 5 years, or as long back as early 2004.
There are several categories you can choose to search for trending keywords. Categories include Auto, Arts, Computers, Entertainment, Fitness, Beauty, Literature, Business, finance, health, games, etc.
You can also see region-wise data. You can choose a country for which you want to see the trending keywords. The tool can provide both worldwide and region-specific data.
Trending keywords have more gravity compared to other keywords. Trending keywords usually have the highest search volume. That’s why you should consider trending keywords in your content strategy.
In your quest to find the right keywords for your website, trending keywords are definitely the preferred candidates.
Step 6: Decide Topics for Content
Keywords give you an idea of what you should write about. However, it is not possible to create content around each keyword separately. The better approach is to create clusters of keywords and see the topics they fit in.
Once you can identify and relate keywords with topics, you will understand which other keywords are possible. Creating topics is a useful exercise in organizing the content on your website. As you group keywords into topics, you will have the opportunity to explore keywords that were not identified before. Dealing with topics has another advantage from SEO perspective: you get to use internal linking to connect content pieces. In case, you are wondering what internal linking is and how to do it, you may find this complete guide to internal linking useful.
The right keywords show the way to the right content. As you write about topics, keywords find a place organically. You can use multiple keywords to rank with a single topic. Which is the right keyword in this case?
The right keyword is the one that is relevant to the topic.
Step 7: Use “Search Intent” behind keywords to your advantage
Whenever a user enters a keyword, he or she has a reason to do so. This is called the “search intent” – the intention behind the search. Search intent varies from individual to individual.
However, on a broad spectrum, search intent can be classified as informational, commercial, and navigational.
Informational search intent means the customer wants information about the thing he is looking for. For example, if “fancy sunglasses in trend” is the search term, the user would most likely love to read an article that describes the latest trend in sunglasses. Here, the intent is information because the user wants to know more about fancy sunglasses in trend. If you fulfil this search intent through your content, users will find it worth to stay at your page and interact with your site.
Commercial search intent means the user wants to buy a particular product. If someone is searching for “Adidas red shoes,” he is probably looking to buy those shoes. Here, a post on “top 20 best sports shoes” won’t add any value as the user is not asking for information. Instead, a shop page link where this product is located will be more relevant and helpful.
Commercial search intents are strong motivators for sales and purchases. You can generate a lot of revenue if you address these keywords correctly.
Step 8: Think about the buyer’s journey
What is the buyer’s journey? It is a journey a typical buyer goes through before making a purchase. The purchasing process involves stages, and when the buyer reaches the final stage, the purchase is made. Therefore, you understand the buyer’s journey for your customers.
Suppose you are selling leather boots. Think about where the buyer’s journey would begin for someone like you? Why are you searching for leather boots? Is it because they are trendy? Do you want leather boots because they are comfortable? In both cases, you can present different informational content (read blog articles) to your audience.
The right content can help customers relate to the product. They can then move toward the next stage – consideration.
Once the customers have clarity about what they are looking for, they tend to explore where they will get what they want. As per our example, at this stage, the customer will like to know which kinds of leather boots they can get from your website.
After going through lots of back and forth and different decision making stages, they will reach the final stage – purchasing.
Suppose you could target keywords that correspond to the particular stage in the buyer’s journey. In that case, your content will do magic for your business. Your conversion rate will boost, and user engagement on your website will increase.
Keywords that relate to a buyer’s journey are the right keywords!
Step 9: Focus on body keywords and long-tail keywords
It is not realistic to aim to rank for one-word keywords (also known as “head keywords”). These are single words and are naturally have a very high search volume. The massive search volume makes them insanely competitive.
Instead, you can opt for “Body keywords.”.These are the keywords that are three to four words in length. Body keywords are more specific. An example would be “red strappy shoes.”. You can create content around body keywords, and with the right efforts, it can rank well in search engine result pages (SERPs).
There is a special category of keywords called “long-tail keywords.” This category is special because the behavior of long term keyword is very different than other keywords. Long tail keywords have low search volume. These are phrases or collection of words the user uses to search specific content or product. These are very long, mostly more than 4 words and up to 10-15 words on average. Because of this, they are very specific. The search volume and competition are low. So you can rightly claim your spot with the right content.
For this reason, long-term keywords are among the right keywords you will find for your content strategy.
With all the steps we covered so far, you must be feeling a little more relieved and confident.
The nervousness of where to start with keyword research is now replaced with some clarity and a hope that you can do this.
We do want to encourage you to put effort into keyword research. We assure you there is more to keyword research. However, you can make a great beginning with the steps we discussed above.
Now that you understand the underlying framework for finding the right keywords, you can take keyword research to the next step. We hope the tips we discussed help you to look for the right keywords and utilize them in the best way possible.
Keyword research is critical in SEO efforts, and we tried to help you with an easy to follow guideline for finding the right keywords for your business. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section. We can clear your doubts and answer as best as we can. You can discuss any WordPress related issue with us. We are here to help.