For businesses to reach their target market online, their website needs to be optimized for search engine results. One of the ways they can do this is by doing thorough keyword research.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a fundamental practice used in search engine optimization (SEO) to discover key terms that users input in search engines when looking for a particular product, service, or content. It gives you specific data, like popular search terms and formats, that can help shape your SEO strategy.
The purpose of keyword research is to ensure that your web content appears at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
The Importance of Keyword Research
The process of keyword research has evolved over the years, along with the developments in SEO. Before, keyword density, or the number of times a search term appears in your content, affected SERP rankings. Nowadays, search engines prioritize content that are well-written and aligned with the search intent.
Because keywords are the foundation of SEO, it’s essential to use the right ones so that people will find your website. Keyword research helps you discover not only which search terms people are using but also how difficult or easy it is to rank when using certain keywords as well as the amount of traffic you’re likely to get.
Keyword research helps lay down the foundation of your SEO strategy. It should ideally be done at the early stages of your campaign. The results from your research can be used to formulate ideas for web content and even the naming of your products or services.
How to Conduct Keyword Research
The process involves selecting a particular topic your content is focused on and determining the set of targeted keywords that people often use when searching for that topic. Once the keywords are identified, you would then need to analyze and compare them until you can determine the best keyword opportunities.
- Defining your target audience
Before anything else, you first need to take a step back and start with the basics by defining what your business is about and who your target market is. While you may already have some keywords in mind, take note that your audience may be thinking of something else.
- Discovering keywords
After you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll now have a clearer idea of what keywords to use. Jot these down on a spreadsheet and populate it with related keywords. At this stage, you’re not only looking at keywords per se but also their search volume.
- Analyzing and comparing keywords
Once you have populated your spreadsheet with keywords, the next step is to compare and analyze them to find the ones that can yield the best results for your web pages. You can use the data you’ve collected to examine the following:
- Keywords that your competitors use and don’t use
- Seasons or months when specific search terms spike
- Keywords that are popular in your local area
- Choosing the best keywords
When making your final choice of the keywords to use, try to align the search terms with your intent. For instance, if your intent is informational, then go for informational keywords. Also, remember that general terms tend to have a higher level of keyword competition, so you need to find the right balance of relevance and discoverability.
How to Improve Keyword Research
Being strategic in your keyword research can go a long way to establishing a sound content and marketing strategy. This increases the chances of a successful campaign, alongside strategies such as hiring branding agencies or effectively segmenting your audience.
- Identify your buyer personas before listing down keywords.
Having a clear picture of your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey will help you find out the range of keywords they may use at different stages of their journey.
- Invest in reliable keyword discovery and analysis tools.
The best ones offer a breakdown, such as search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, and cost per click. This makes the job of parsing and analyzing data more convenient and much smoother.
- Diversify the keywords in your web pages.
Because it’s the individual pages that actually rank in SERP and not your website as a whole, it’s important to diversify your keywords and use ones that are most relevant to the content of each page.