Effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies need a strong keyword foundation on which to stand. Think about it, if there aren’t people out there searching for the content you are creating and publishing, you simply aren’t going to get valuable organic traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs). You will be, in effect, wasting your time.
But how should you approach keyword research? It is a complex topic with many nuances to get your head around. We have put together this comprehensive but easy to follow guide that will help you to create a robust framework and increase your traffic.
Keyword Research 101
In its simplest form, keyword research refers to the process of determining and understanding the precise language your target audience is already using when they’re searching for the kinds of content, products and services your business provides online.
Keyword research is the only way to accurately determine which keywords and phrases consumers are entering into search engines. Research indicates that a staggering 90% of websites aren’t getting any organic traffic from search engines. Why? Because they are creating and sharing content that people just aren’t looking for.
In addition to helping you to find keywords that will drive qualified traffic to your site, keyword research will also help you to determine:
1.) The volume of traffic a keyword or phrase could drive to your site 2. How difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword or phrase 3. The types of content that will best help you to rank well for a keyword or phrase
Finding Those All-Important Keywords
We’ve covered why keyword research is important, so now it’s time to start thinking about making those first steps.
1.) Start By Planting The Seed
It is often beneficial to start by putting together a list of seed keywords. These should help you to identify your competitors and define the specific niche you are working within. So, let’s look at an example.
Imagine that you are a retailer specialising in artisanal coffee machines. Some of your seed keywords are likely to include ‘cappuccino’, ‘espresso’, ‘Americano’, ‘French press’, and even simply, ‘coffee’. Now, generally targeting these keywords alone won’t be worth your while, however, they will help you during the next phases of the process.
2.) Keep An Eye On Your Competitors
Outright copying what your competitors are doing is never a good strategy, however your keyword research process can be informed by understanding which keywords are directing traffic to your competition. To do this, simply search for a seed keyword and make a note of the businesses that are ranking on the first SERP.
3.) Use Tools!
Your competitors clearly aren’t already targeting all the possible keywords relating to your business. So, you’re going to need some tools to uncover new opportunities. Google Keyword Planner is an excellent free tool and all you’ll need to get started is your list of seed keywords. Google Keyword Planner is really quite valuable and has the ability to provide relevant suggestions that don’t contain any of your seed keywords.
4.) Know Your Niche
As you progress through each of the above steps, you’ll notice that you aren’t exactly short of keyword suggestions. However, it is important to also focus on identifying keywords that your competition and keyword tools haven’t already highlighted. Understanding your niche is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you’re covering everything your audience are searching for, which can sometimes appear to be a bit outside of the box. From industry-specific sites and forums to Q&A sites, there are numerous avenues to explore here.
How To Effectively Analyse Keywords
So, you’ve compiled an extensive list of potential keywords. Great! Now you need to identify those that have the most value to your business. Here are a few metrics that will help you to refine your list.
1.) Search Volume
This metric will provide you with an understanding of the number of times a particular keyword has been searched for on average each month.
Not every search results in a click, largely because Google often provides answers to questions directly on the SERP itself.
3.) Cost Per Click (CPC)
This metric shows the figure advertisers are happy to pay every time an ad is clicked. While this metric is often more relevant for advertising professionals, it can help to give a general idea of the overall value of a specific keyword.
How To Successfully Target Keywords
When you have successfully narrowed down your list of target keywords, it is important to think about the content that will best address the topic.
Stage 1: Parent Topic Identification
Your first task is to identify the keywords on your list that share a parent topic. Then, you will need to determine whether Google views those keywords as individual topics or as part of the same topic. The easiest way to determine this is to search for those keywords. If the SERPs display the same results, it is fairly safe to assume that Google views them as a component of the same topic.
Stage 2: Consider Searcher Intent
It can be tricky to determine which keywords should be incorporated into a product or service page and which should be targeted with a blog post, video or article. Remember, Google has worked hard to understand the intent behind each search, so if you want to maintain a competitive SERP position it is a wise move to incorporate your target keyword the type of content that is already ranking well.
As you progress through each step in the keyword research process, it is important to think about which are likely to drive the best possible outcomes for your business.
One facet of this process is determining whether each keyword will help you to move towards your short, medium or long-term SERP ranking objectives. Yes, making fast gains with short-term goals can deliver excellent results, however you must also look towards the longer term to ensure you are on-track to successfully rank for some of your trickier or more lucrative keywords.
For information or help on conducting keyword research your own website or business get in touch today.
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