Keywords are a major part of how your audience finds you. Search engines are one of the first points of contact for your audience to find the products and services they need. For business growth, you need to ensure your website is optimized for their right keywords to ensure your target users can locate your business when they’re searching for your products/services.
Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy, and if you are wondering “What is keyword research?” then you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about keyword research to help come up with a lot of keyword ideas for your digital marketing growth plan.
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words and parts of phrases internet users type into search engines. They are also known as search queries, and they help people find what they are looking for online. When you type a keyword such as “content marketing” into a search engine like Google, it will give you a broad range of results on anything related to content marketing that it felt were relevant to your search.
The search results are ranked based on what Google feels would provide you with the best value to make your browsing experience worthwhile.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of finding appropriate keywords that you’d like your website to rank for. Your potential customers use specific keywords when looking for your products or services online, and keyword research is all about identifying these keywords to ensure your website is optimized correctly.
Website owners should dig deep into their target audience and explore search engines to find the popular search terms and understand what their users expect to see after performing their search queries. With these keywords, site owners can proceed to create awesome content that will attract high-quality traffic to their websites. Keyword research never stops, and repeating it regularly is essential to stay up-to-date!
Why do you need to do it?
Here are the reasons why you need to do keyword research:
Figure 1: Organic search traffic from Google. Source: ahrefs
A recent study found that 90.63 percent of web pages don’t get organic search traffic from Google. The main reason for this is the lack of proper optimization that makes it difficult for Google to index and rank them on SERPs. Search engine optimization services start with identifying the important terms your audience uses for search queries.
Upon identifying these keywords, you will incorporate them into your website structure and content to ensure your website appears on top of SERPs and accessible to your potential clients. You will also know the target keywords for link building, which is an effective tactic for improving your online reputation.
Helps you create content plans
Keyword research will give you great ideas for your website content pieces. Identifying the keywords your target audience uses online will help you know the topics that are important to them. This will inform your content marketing strategy since you will know what type of content to produce to solve your users’ problems.
People are usually on a quest to find something when they query certain keywords, and embarking on keyword research will help you find your target users’ search intent. Do they have transactional intent (looking to purchase something immediately) or informational intent (looking for information on a particular topic)? This information will help you decide the type of content to create to meet your audience’s needs effectively.
Assists your team
Keyword research highlights the popular search terms by your target audience. The search terms indicate your audience’s wants and needs, and the hope that search engines will point them to the best companies to solve their problems. This knowledge will help your team develop effective growth marketing strategies focused on solving your customers’ problems. By knowing what your customers are looking for, you will know how to stand out in terms of quality and provide effective solutions for your customers’ pain points.
Your step by step guide to undertaking keyword research
Now that you know the importance of keyword research, this is how to do market research to boost your organic and paid search marketing campaigns.
Understand your audience and create buyer personas
Understating your audience is a critical step if you want to succeed with keyword research. Knowing who your buyers are will help you figure out their needs and pain points. This knowledge will help you identify the search terms they’d query when they are using search engines.
Create buyer personas for your ideal users, mapping out their demographic, values, interests, and other important personal details. The finer you define your ideal audience, the better since it’ll help you understand the topics they would search that you’d want your website to get ranked for.
Identify topics relevant to your business and audience
Think of the different topics concerning your business that might be of interest to your audience. Start with a broad topic as you narrow down to the specific issues that are important in your industry.
For example, run a digital marketing company. You could break down your topics by the digital marketing services brands need to grow their businesses, such as social media marketing, influencer marketing, SEO, email marketing and more. Create a spreadsheet for all the topics you have thought of.
Find the questions people are asking about your industry
Research question keywords to identify the issues your target audience needs resolved. Targeting question keywords will help you position your company as the problem-solver in chief for your client’s problems, and this will help you persuade them to choose you over the competition. Providing high-quality solutions to customer problems will see your online credibility rise, and you will be rewarded with a higher ranking on SERPs. Work with a growth marketing agency to find the questions your audience is asking and use the questions as informative keywords for your content strategy.
Find keywords that are niche or suit your brand
Keywords that are not aligned with your brand goals are useless. They will not bring you any qualified traffic, and you will be wasting your time if you use them to optimize your content or site structure. For this reason, you should ensure the keywords you are using are in your niche and suitable for your brand.
Research the popular topics in your niche to know the keywords you need to look for and target. Finding these niche keywords will help you tackle the issues your audience members need solutions for.
Know your types
You shouldn’t just concentrate on positive keyword research for your PPC campaigns. It would help if you also did negative keyword research to ensure you don’t waste your marketing dollars on irrelevant clicks. If you have a business that sells cakes, you wouldn’t want to appear for any recipe queries since this would mean paying for low-intent clicks. A negative keyword search will help you identify the terms users are querying to reach your ads, and from here, you can exclude all the irrelevant words.
Figure 2: Competition vs. keyword specificity. Source: Yoast
You should also not forget about long-tail keywords when conducting your keyword research. Head keywords are very competitive and difficult to rank for. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are less competitive and easier to rank for with the right strategy. Such keywords also have a higher conversion value since the longer and more specific a keyword is, the closer the visitor is to the point of purchase.
Test your keywords
After identifying the best keywords for your SEO strategy, it’s now time to evaluate where you rank for a specific term. Create an amazing article, optimize it accordingly, and publish it on your website. Share it in your newsletter and social media to get more people to view it. After a while, search the terms you optimized the article for to determine its SERPs ranking. Is it on the first page of the results pages, or is the article hidden on pages 2 or 3?
If it didn’t hit the first page, write another article focused on a long-tail keyword to make it more niche and specific. Evaluate again to see where you rank on SERPs.
Use Google Search Console to track your progress
Use Google Search Console to monitor your site’s presence in search results. Search Console is easy to use, and it’ll help you understand how Google sees your website and what you need to do to improve your performance on search. It offers tools that will help you confirm if Google can locate and index your site. It also gives reports showing your site’s search traffic data, how often you appear in search results, which queries bring up your site and how often searchers use those terms.
Focus on both the short and long term
SEO takes time, and it could be a while before you achieve that top spot you’ve always desired. You should be prepared to put in the hard work, refining your website, and creating great content that will make you a trusted source of information in your industry.
Take the easy opportunities too, but keep it white hat. Your site will be penalized when it violates Google’s ranking factors, making it even harder for your audience to find you through search. You can use paid search tactics to rank faster as you work on your organic search strategy.
We have shared the best practices to improve your rank on search in our blog How to Boost Your Ranking on SERPs.
Making your mark with SEO
SEO is crucial to the long term success of your business. Luckily, we’ve gathered all the very best tips for you here: The Definitive SEO Guide to Grow Your Business.
We have explained what is keyword research and how it contributes to your SEO and content strategy. Keyword research can be exhaustive, and if you don’t have the right team doing it, you’ll end up with keywords that your audience doesn’t even use. Your search engine optimization will be a disaster, making it difficult for your audience to find your business through search queries.
The team at Growth Marketing Genie can help avoid this predicament. We are search engine optimization specialists that can help you find the keywords your audience uses on search engines when looking for your products. Get in touch and let us hook you up with a sustainable SEO strategy powered by the right keywords.
Are you looking for tips on how to optimize your site SEO, usability, and conversion? Take a look at our SEO page to get started.
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