If you know at least the basics of digital marketing, there seems to be no need to apprise you about keywords’ importance in any SEO strategy. Be it off-page or on-page optimization for search engines; keywords make an SEO strategy go around.
Therefore, keyword research is the initiating task in an SEO campaign to find the right keywords for your campaign.
Again, there is a connection between right and wrong keywords. While the right keywords can make your campaign, the wrong ones can break it. So, ensure that you choose the best keywords for your SEO strategy through the proper keyword research technique.
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The process of finding and analyzing search items that people type into search engines to find their desired information is called keyword research.
You can discover a lot of aspects from keywords, such as their popularity, rankings, etc. And what is more, keywords specifying a user’s search are no longer the most crucial factor for an SEO professional. Instead, the intent behind keywords has become more critical in today’s SEO circuit.
When you find the right keywords through research, you can figure out the important topics that people care about. And you can determine the right content for your SEO campaign. As a result, you can get a high volume of traffic to your website.
As you can find highly searched keywords, you can get insights into your audience’s queries on Google. These insights can help you to formulate your content and marketing campaigns strategically. Moreover, you can answer the questions of your audience if you know the right keywords.
Researching keywords is a sequence of steps. You can progress through the following stages in your keyword research process:
To begin with, determine the topics you want to rank in terms of generic buckets. Next, finalize 8 to 10 topic buckets that you regard as crucial to your business. Finally, think about some specific keywords based on the topic buckets.
A good trick is to impersonate your buyer personas and figure out what types of topics they are likely to search. It will help you to identify keywords that will help search engines to find your website. For example, suppose you are a digital marketing company. In that case, you can have general topic buckets like–inbound marketing, blogging, email marketing, lead generation, SEO, social media marketing, marketing analytics, marketing automation, etc.
After you have your topic buckets, you need to identify some keywords corresponding to the buckets.
The importance of the keywords arises from the probability of users using them in their searches. So they are helpful to rank your web page in search engine results pages(SERPs).
For example, if you choose “marketing automation” from the topic bucket. You can brainstorm some keyword phrases that users are likely to type. You might come up with keyword phrases, such as marketing automation tools, how to use marketing automation software, what is marketing automation, if I need marketing automation software, lead nurturing, email marketing automation, top automation tools, etc.
The hidden intent behind a keyword has become a crucial factor in Google ranking websites in search results. Therefore, it will help if your web page addresses a solution to the problem a user intended instead of carrying the keyword on your web page.
Do not mistake taking it for face value because there can be many intended meanings behind the keyword.
You should carefully interpret the possible meanings of keywords to figure out the underlying intent, which is crucial for search engine rankings.
There is a good trick for you to implement. First, type the keyword on Google and see the types of results that come up. Then, if you examine the results, you can figure out the intent behind the keyword.
Users might use more keywords to search for a particular topic. So, look at the related search terms that appear along with the search results against a keyword on Google. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the Google search result page. You will see some suggestions against searches related to the keyword.
The suggestions can act as a catalyst to generate ideas for other keywords you may want to consider.
There are also some tools for researching keywords, such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest.
The tools can help you to find more keyword ideas based on exact and phase-based keywords.
Once you ideate the types of keywords for your SEO strategy, you need to refine them. Here are how to go about it:
Before you finalize your keywords, you should refine them based on the following parameters to actuate a strong keyword strategy.
Ensure that the keywords you choose meet the searcher’s intent. So, they will be relevant, which is essential as Google ranks content based on relevance.
Your content will rank for a keyword only if it meets the searchers’ intent.
Moreover, your content should be the best resource for the query for Google to rank the page higher in search engine results.
Google will not rank your page higher if it provides lesser value than other pages.
Ensure that your content is authoritative because Google rewards sites with authority. As such, you should become an authoritative source by adding informative, valuable, and promotional content to get social signals and backlinks.
If Google does not see your web page as an authoritative source, it will not consider your page for ranking.
Make sure that the keywords you finalize have a high monthly search volume(MSV). The probability of searches is more for keywords with high MSV. For example, if your website ranks on the first page of Google for a specific keyword, but one searches for it, you will not get traffic to your website.
It will help if we understand the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords. While the former is shorter and more generic keywords, the latter are longer phrases with three or more words.
In your SEO strategy, you should check whether there is a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords. With such a mixture of keywords, you can have a balanced keyword strategy.
What usually happens is that users search the head terms more frequently. So, it becomes challenging to rank them compared to long-term keywords. Therefore, it makes sense to include long-term keywords in your SEO strategy.
To understand the concept better, let us consider an example. Say you have two keywords–how to write better code and coding.
Which of these keywords can be challenging to rank? The second one, is because there is more search volume. On the other hand, it will be easier to rank the first keyword, a long tail one.
The user looking for the second keyword is likely to be a more qualified searcher than someone looking for something generic. And since long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it helps to figure out what the user is looking for in the search query.
Therefore, check your keyword list and ensure a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords.
You don’t need to use the keywords your competitor is using. But, if you understand what keywords your competitors are using, you can assess your keywords better.
If you find some of your keywords your competitor is ranking, try to improve the ranking of those keywords.
At the same time, work on your keywords to rank them better. But how will you know what keywords your competitors are using?
The best way is to use a tool, like Ahrefs, that generates free reports that top keywords for the domain you enter.
Google’s Keyword Planner shows the search volume and traffic estimates for the keywords you are considering for your SEO strategy. Then, use Google Trends to see their historical trends and projections.
It will help if you use some low-volume keywords that can help you to reap benefits in the long term.
You cannot escape incorporating keywords in your content to run a successful SEO campaign. But you should ensure that you select the right keywords so that your campaign elicits desired results. It is where a prudent keyword research exercise assumes importance. We believe that this article has sufficient substance to guide you in your keyword research exercise.