One of the most crucial aspects of SEO is keyword research. By targeting the right search terms, you can improve your website’s ranking in the search results and get more traffic to your site.
But keyword research isn’t just for SEO purposes. It can also help you understand your audience’s needs and desires, which can better your content and marketing strategies.
In this guide, you’ll discover the following:
- The importance of keyword research
- How to find the proper keywords for your website
- How to use keyword research to improve your SEO
- And more!
So why is keyword research important? And how can you do it effectively? Read on to find out.
What Is Keyword Research?
So, what exactly is a keyword? A keyword (search term) is, in the context of search engine optimization (SEO), a word or phrase that accurately describes the contents of a document.
Keywords are used to help determine the relevance of a document to a particular search query and improve the ranking of pages that contain relevant information for users.
So, keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing people’s words and phrases when searching for information on the internet.
This process can help you understand what people look for on the internet and how they find it.
This information is essential because it helps you improve your content and marketing strategies.
Why Is Keyword Research Important For SEO?
There are a few reasons why keyword research is vital for SEO:
1) Drive More Traffic To Your Website
One of the main objectives of SEO is to drive traffic to your website.
The more people that visit your site, the more opportunities you have to convert them into customers or clients.
And one of the best methods to drive traffic to your website is by optimizing your content for the right keywords.
When you target keywords that people are actually searching for, you have a better chance of ranking in the search results and getting seen by your target audience.
2) Better Understand Your Competition
The keyword research process can also help you understand your competition.
By analyzing the keywords your competitors are targeting, you can better understand their SEO strategy and how they are trying to rank for specific keywords.
This information can help you adjust your SEO strategy to compete better against competitors.
For instance, you can analyze the length of their content, the frequency of their keyword usage, and other important factors. Once you know this, you can optimize your content to outrank your competition.
3) Understand Your Audience’s Search Intent
One of the most important parts to understand when doing keyword research is your user’s intent.
Search intent refers to the reason someone is searching for something on the internet.
Are they looking to buy something? Are they looking for information? Or are they trying to find a specific website?
Understanding your audience’s search intent is essential because it can help you determine which keywords to target.
If you’re trying to sell a product, for example, you’ll want to target keywords related to buying or purchasing.
But if you’re trying to drive traffic to a blog post, you’ll want to target keywords related to information or education.
By understanding your audience’s search intent, you can better optimize your content to meet their needs.
4) Find New Keyword Opportunities
Keyword research can also help you find new keyword opportunities you may not have considered.
By analyzing the search results for your target keywords, you can identify new keywords related to your business or website. You can also use SEO tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Semrush to search for new keyword ideas.
You can then optimize your web page or create a new one for those keywords to help you rank higher in the search results and get more traffic.
Comparison Between Long Tail And Short Tail Keywords
When doing keyword research, you’ll come across two different types of keywords: long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are phrases containing multiple words used when searching for something specific.
They usually contain three or more words and are often very targeted towards a particular product, service, or location.
Example of long-tail keywords:
- SEO tips for small businesses
- Best keyword research tools for YouTube
- How to know the search volume of a keyword
Short-tail keywords, on the other hand, are shorter, less specific phrases. They usually contain 1 or 2 words and are more general. Often people search for short-tail keywords when they are just beginning their research on a topic.
Example of short-tail keywords:
- Digital Marketing
- Google AdWords
Both long-tail and short-tail keywords are essential for SEO. However, long-tail keywords often are more effective in converting traffic to customers or leads.
Which Type of Keyword Should You Target?
It depends on your business and your goals. When starting a website, targeting long-tail keywords is usually best because they’re more specific and easier to rank for.
As you get more established, you can also start targeting shorter-tail keywords. These keywords are usually more competitive but can also bring in more traffic.
You should consider a few things when choosing your target keywords:
- The monthly search volume
- The competition
- Your website authority
- Your goals
I recommend targeting longer-tail keywords with lower competition if you’re starting a website.
What Are Good Keyword Research Tools That You Can Use?
You should use keyword research tools to improve your website’s ranking to discover high-volume, low-competition search terms.
Some of these tools are free, and others are paid. These tools provide meaningful metrics to consider when doing keyword research.
Here are some good tools that you can use to help you figure out what keywords to use:
1) Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that you can use to find new keyword ideas. It’s a great tool for beginners because it’s easy to use and provides valuable data.
I mostly use this tool to find relevant keywords for my blog. It also provides an average monthly search volume for each keyword, which helps determine which keywords to target.
MozBar is a free toolbar that allows you to see SEO data for any website. It’s easy to determine how well a website is optimized for specific keywords.
Not only can you view a website’s domain, but you can also assess the website’s page authority- indicators of how high the site will rank on search engine results pages.
I often use MozBar when researching on Google. It helps me understand the difficulty of a particular keyword and how well a website is optimized for it.
SEMrush is a paid keyword research tool that provides valuable data. It’s one of the most popular tools among SEOs because it’s so comprehensive.
Here are some powerful things you can do with SEMrush:
- Find out which keywords your website ranks for
- See the estimated monthly search volume for each keyword
- Analyze your competition to see how challenging it would be to rank for specific keywords
- Research your competitor’s backlinks to find new link-building opportunities
- And much more!
SEMrush is an excellent tool for advanced keyword research. However, it can be expensive. If you’re starting, I recommend using some free tools first. Once you get more experience, you can upgrade to SEMrush.
Best SEO Keyword Research Strategy
I spent hours conducting keyword research until I started using this simple 5-step process. Now keyword research is one of my favorite parts of SEO.
The thing is, why do all the work when someone else has already done it for you? So, the idea is to grab the best keywords from your competitors and use them to get rankings and traffic.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1) Find 3-5 Of Your Competitor’s Websites
You want to find three to five similar websites in your industry ranking well in the search results.
An easy way to see this is by checking these websites’ domain authority. You can visit these sites and use MozBar to see their domain authority. With Semrush, you can add the URL, and domain authority will be displayed in the overview.
Although, the metrics Semrush uses to show authority are a bit different. For this reason, you have different values presented in both tools.
So, these websites should have a higher domain authority than yours.
If you have a new website, you want to find competitors with a domain authority between 30 to 50. You don’t want to analyze the keywords from websites with a domain authority too high.
This is because these sites can rank for keywords that are too difficult for you. On the other hand, if the domain authority is too low, these websites are not ranking well. And analyzing their keywords will only help you a little.
Step 2) Use Google Search Operators
You want to use Google search operators to determine what keywords these websites rank for. These operators allow you to see all the keywords for which your competitor’s websites rank.
Go to Google’s search box and type in the following:
- site:[competitor URL] intitle:how to
This operator will show you all the pages from that website that have “how to” in the title. This is a good indicator that these are keyword-rich articles. Often the first web pages listed are the most popular and get the most traffic.
For informational posts:
- site:[competitor URL] intitle:how to (will list all the how-to guides)
- site:[competitor URL] intitle:tips (will list all the tips articles)
For transactional posts:
- site:[competitor URL] intitle:best (will list all the X Best Products)
- site:[competitor URL] intitle:review (will list all the product review posts)
- site:[competitor URL] intitle:vs (will list all the product comparison articles)
Use this strategy and write down all the keywords you find. I like to use Google spreadsheet because it’s easy to organize all the keywords I discover.
Step 3) Analyze The Keywords
Next, you want to analyze these search terms. You want to find keywords with decent search volume but low or average competition. Once again, what you can rank for depends on your domain authority.
But if you have a new website, you should be able to rank for keywords with difficulty of easy to possible. You can easily see this data using Semrush. Just type in your keyword, and you’ll see the overview.
Also, you can see other vital metrics, such as the number of searches per month, search intent, and SERP analysis. This data will give you a better idea of how much traffic this keyword can bring to your website.
If you don’t have Semrush, you can also use MozBar. It isn’t as effective as Semrush, but you can still get valuable data.
A) Type in one of the keywords you found on Google. Then check domain and page authority for websites ranking on the first page.
B) Find a keyword where the websites that rank have a lower, similar, or slightly higher authority than you. This is a good indication that you can rank for this keyword.
If all the pages have a domain authority way higher than yours, you won’t be able to rank for this keyword. So, it’s best to avoid these keywords.
C) Use Google Keyword Planner to get an idea of the monthly search volume for these keywords. This will show how many people will visit your website if you rank for that keyword.
Keep in mind that these are estimates. The actual traffic you get might be higher or lower than what’s shown in Google Keyword Planner.
Step 4) Prioritize The Keywords
The fourth step is prioritizing the keywords. I like to use a simple system that prioritizes the keywords based on three factors:
- Number of Monthly Searches
- Keyword Difficulty
- Search intent
I value keywords with a higher search volume that aren’t too competitive and have transactional intent. However, the search intent depends on your website and what you’re trying to achieve.
To build more audience, focus on keywords with informational intent. These are keywords that people use when they are looking for information but aren’t ready to buy yet.
However, concentrate on keywords with transactional intent if you’re looking to sell items. These are search terms that people use when they are ready to buy.
You can use this system to prioritize all the keywords you’ve found. This will give you a good idea of which keywords to target first.
I usually write three transactional posts and two informational for every five articles. This strategy helps me balance things. I have content that helps me make money online while other builds more traffic to my blog.
Step 5) Create Content
The final step is to create content for the keywords you’ve prioritized. Remember to include the main keyword in the title, meta description, and throughout the article.
But avoid stuffing your keywords, or Google may penalize you. Just use it enough so that it’s clear what the article is about. Also, you should use artificial intelligence software to help you produce higher-quality content that readers love. This includes Grammarly and other helpful tools.
You should also include images, videos, and infographics to make your content more engaging. This will help you get a higher ranking on Google, and more people will visit your site.
You should also include IndexCheckr in your SEO toolkit. It can take some time for new pages to be indexed. This means that the pages will not be searchable until they are indexed. Use IndexCheckr to know when your new pages have been indexed and are searchable.
Click Here to try IndexCheckr with 50 Free Credits.
Keyword research is a crucial part of any SEO or marketing strategy. It helps you find the right keywords to target and provides valuable insights into the queries that your target audience is searching for on Google.
You need to research the words people use when searching for a website like yours if you want more traffic on your site. Then you can use those same words on your website and in your content. This will help your website show up higher in Google searches and get more traffic.
Jordan Alexo is a digital marketer who’s been making money online since 2011. He specializes in self-publishing, content creation and teaching others how to do the same thing he does best! He inspires you on his website with strategies that have worked for him and product reviews that help you grow your online business.