Keyword research is the most important task in your SEO strategy. It is an essential skill that digital marketers must have.
Apart from creating a targeted list for SEO and PPC, smart digital marketers also use keyword research to determine the topics and phrases they should create content about.
This article will reveal how to do keyword research like a pro to find the right keywords to help you reach your ideal audience, increase your website traffic, and improve your ranks in organic search results.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research refers to the process of finding search terms that people use when searching for things online. The data obtained from the research is used for SEO and general marketing purposes. Keyword research helps you know the search terms you should target in your content, how popular the search terms are, and how difficult it is to rank for them.
Why Is Keyword Research Important?
Keyword research helps you understand the terms that your ideal audience uses to find solutions to their problems. It is vital to find and analyze these keywords to eliminate any assumptions you have about your audience’s needs.
Keyword research also guides every step of your content optimization and helps your content perform well in search engines. This increases your brand visibility and boosts targeted traffic to your website.
Keyword Research Steps To Follow
1. List the important topics that are relevant to your business
To start the process of researching keywords, list the topics that you want to rank for. You can list about 5 to 10 topics that are relevant to your business. You will use these topics to create the keywords you need later in the process.
You need to understand your buyer personas to know the type of topics your ideal audience would search for. If you run a digital marketing agency, you can come up with topics like:
- Lead generation
- Inbound marketing
- Marketing automation
- Email marketing
When you enter each of these keywords into Google Keyword Planner, you will know their monthly search volumes. You can use this data to determine how important the topics are and the number of related topics you can write articles on.
2. Fill the topics with keywords
This step involves figuring out some keywords that align with the topics we listed in the previous step. These phrases are the ones that you believe will make you rank on the search engine results page because your customers are probably searching for them.
For example, if I use the last topic in step 1 for a digital marketing company- “email marketing,” I can come up with the following keyword phrases:
- Email marketing platforms
- How to use email marketing software
- What is email marketing?
- How do I use email marketing?
- Email marketing automation
- Top email marketing software
- And lots more
The essence of this step is to brainstorm your final list of keyword phrases. You want to list as many phrases (that your prospects are using to search for content related to the topic) as possible. We will narrow down the lists later in the steps.
3. Understand the effect of intent on keyword research and analyze appropriately
User intent is fundamental in determining how well you rank on Google and other search engines. Your website page needs to provide a solution to the problem that your prospects are struggling with.
So, how does search intent affect keyword research?
You need to be careful with how you interpret the keywords you target in your content because the keyword you’re targeting may have a meaning that is different from what the user means. For instance, let’s assume you’re conducting keyword research on ‘how to start a blog.’ ‘Blog’ may refer to a blog post or a blog website. The intent of the searcher will determine the direction of your article.
You need to ask yourself these questions to determine the type of content to create:
- Is the searcher interested in learning how to start a blog post?
- Does the searcher want to learn how to launch a website domain for blogging?
If you focus on targeting only those interested in the second question, you will need to be sure of the keyword’s intent before you start creating content in that direction.
To determine a user’s intent for a keyword, enter the keyword phrase into a search engine, and go through the types of results that come up. Ensure that the results you see are closely related to your intention for the keyword.
4. Find related search terms
If you find it challenging to come up with more keywords that people can use when searching for a particular topic, look at the related search terms that appear when searching for that keyword in Google.
When you type in your phrase, scroll down to the bottom of the search results. You will find the suggestions that are related to your original keyword. These keyword suggestions can help you come up with more ideas for other keywords you may want to consider.
For instance, when I searched for ‘marketing automation,’ the following suggestions came up:
If I want more keywords, I can use those suggestions. Also, those suggestions have given me an idea of what the people interested in ‘marketing automation’ are searching for. Creating content on those suggestions will help me reach my ideal audience.
5. Use keyword research tools
You can come up with more keywords that are based on exact match keywords (or exact match phrases) based on the ideas that you have generated by using keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest. These tools will help you find more keyword alternatives that you might not have thought of.
6. Cut down your keyword list with Google’s Keyword planner
Now that you have a list of the right keywords, you need to narrow them down using some quantitative data. You can use many tools for this purpose; highly recommended you can use Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends.
The Keyword Planner will help you know the search volume and traffic estimates for the keywords you’re interested in. you can then take the information you got from Keyword Planner and use Google Trends to analyze it.
While using the Keyword Planner, remove any search term with too much or too little search volume. However, before you remove any keyword from your list, check the trend history and projections of the keyword in Google Trends. The keyword’s trend history and projections will help you know if the low volume is something you can take advantage of and enjoy the benefits later.
Google Trends will help you know the search terms trending upward, thereby revealing the search terms you should focus on.
The steps that we have discussed in this article will help you understand what keyword research is so that you can have a more focused content strategy.
It’s most likely that you will spend most of your time on keyword research when you are just starting your website; however, it is a process that should be ongoing. Irrespective of your niche, you need effective keyword research before you start your content and marketing strategies.
Changes in the marketplace, fluctuations in competition, updates in Google algorithm, and changes in your business can make you carry out more research and prioritize your keywords.