Keyword research is a process that helps you determine the words and phrases people use to search for information on topics or products. It’s important because it can help you optimize your content so that it ranks higher on search engines like Google. This article breaks down the basics of keyword research and how using them can help improve your site’s rankings.
What is Keyword Research
Keyword research is a process used to determine the keywords and phrases people type into search engines. In other words, if you include keywords in your content, it will be easier for other people to find what they are looking for when searching online. If you’re using specific keyword research tools it will also tell you how popular these topics are among your audience.
However, it’s not just about finding the most popular topics and putting them into your content. It’s about the intent behind those words, and whether or not a piece of content solves for that intent (more on this later).
Why is Keyword Research Important For SEO?
Keywords give you a compass for your search engine optimization strategy and it should help you determine the best way to advance. Keywords can help you identify customer searching queries by showing you what they are looking for. In reality, keyword research is market research in the 21st century.
Steps on How To Do Keyword Research
- Make a list of generic and relevant topics
- Select your keywords
- Understand intent keywords
- Research related search terms
- Put keywords into your content
1. Make a List of Generic and Relevant Topics
First, you’ll want to think of the broad, overarching topics that you want to rank for. Come up with as many as you can. This will help you set the basis and help determine more specific keywords later.
For example, if you own a blog about soccer, you might list out topics like “sports” and “fitness”. They can also be the most frequent topics that come up during sales calls. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, what kind of topics are they searching for that leads them to find you.
Doing this will determine how popular these keywords are. However, it’s a double-edged sword. The more popular the keyword the harder it will be to rank high in search rankings. This can become especially difficult if you’re a brand new website with no domain authority or established content. Don’t be discouraged, as you start pumping out content and gaining website traffic you’ll start to see your rankings increase.
If you have a brand new website, read our blog to find out how to increase your website traffic
2. Select Your Keywords
You have your overarching topic, it’s time to get into the specifics. These keywords are what your customers are typing into Google and the keywords you think are important to rank for.
For example, if you’re root keyword was “online insurance quotes”, then some of the ‘long tailed’ keyword phrases could look like this
- how to get online insurance quotes
- online insurance quotes for individuals
- group online insurance quotes
- how to compare online insurance quotes
Come up with as many as you can. You can also use tools such as Google Search Console which will tell you what keywords your website is being found with.
We highly suggest everybody set up Google Search Console. If you’ve already done this, read this blog to find out the 5 key reports you need to know about below.
3. Understand Intent Behind Those Keywords
Intent will be the deciding factor behind whether you think it’s important to rank for specific keywords. It’s more important that your webpage is able to provide a solution to the problem the searcher intended to solve then it is to simply have the keyword scattered throughout the webpage. The value or solution that your content provides is what will attract and keep the reader on the page, prioritize this!
Different keywords have different levels of intent.
|Type of Keyword||Example|
|Curious and Learning||mountain bike for beginner, mountain bike review|
|Shopping Around||best beginner mountain bikes|
|Clear Buyer Intent||mountain bike shop near me, cannondale bad habit mountain bike|
As you can see the keywords go from general to fairly specific and you can tell how likely a customer is to purchase. You want to be ranking for those keywords with clear intent as much as possible.
There is still use in the other keywords especially when it comes to blogging. With blogging, most people will use keywords that fall into the curious and learning/shopping around category. On the other hand, when setting up an ad campaign you’ll want to use the keywords that fall into the buyer intent category as much as possible.
4. Research Related Search Terms
Once you’ve gotten your main keywords you’ll also want to think about different variations of your keywords. That way you can add those, secondary keywords, into your content.
An easy way to do this is to go to Google, type in your keyword, scroll to the bottom (if you’re on desktop), and see the suggestions that Google provides.
For example, if you do a general search for mountain bikes. These are the suggestions that Google gives.
5. Put Keywords Into Your Content
The last step is to start creating content that revolves around your keywords.
We’ll do another example with Mountain Bikes. Say there was an article about how to choose your first mountain bike; it could start out like this:
“Mountain biking, also known as all-mountain riding or off-road cycling, is a sport that anyone can try for a lifetime of enjoyment. Mountain bikes are designed to handle many different types of surfaces and terrains. Being able to mountain bike opens up a whole world of outdoor activities.”
As you can see, fitting in keywords isn’t difficult. We were able to fit in the general keyword “mountain biking”. Along with other secondary keywords like “all mountain riding” and “off-road cycling”. You just need to know what keywords to target and where they fit in your content.
Some Keyword Jargon
Lastly, when doing keyword research for the first time the jargon can be confusing. Here are some words you might come across.
Seed Keywords aka. Short-Tail Keywords
Seed keywords are usually one or three words. They tend to have a lot of traffic. “Mountain bikes” is an example of a short-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords are usually phrases that are three to four words long. They are often more specific. A few examples of long-tail keywords are “where to buy mountain bike tires” or “how to ride a mountain bike”.
SERP is an acronym for search engine results page. It’s the results that Google will give you based on the keyword.
A meta description is a brief summary that appears below the title of a webpage in search engine results pages. This summary should be succinct and provide enough information to pique the interest of potential visitors.
Meta Title Tag
This is the title of your webpage. It should include your keyword.
Keyword research is essential for not only ranking highly but also driving organic conversions for your service or product. To rank well, it’s important to understand why keywords matter and how they can be incorporated into your content.