How to do Keyword Research
Why is “Keyword Research” important for your business?
Keyword research is important as it tells you what terms people are actively searching for, how competitive those keywords are, and guides you with your content marketing plan to increase organic search visibility, rankings, and therefore traffic.
With keyword research you will be able to understand what your potential clients search for to solve their problem.
It is important to research keywords to avoid any misunderstandings or to make assumptions about your users’ needs and the language they use, as this might be different to the language you use yourself.
How to start your keyword research?
We would like to point out that there is a process you should follow to do your keyword research. That also means that this is an ongoing process and not a one-off activity.
Here are some reasons why you need to keep updating your keywords and revisit the following steps of the keyword research process:
- Your target customer might have changed
- Changes in offers that affect the keywords you want to rank for
- Competitors that you haven’t taken into consideration
- Changes to Google search engine algorithms
- ….but there are more.
Keep up with those changes and update your keyword lists regularly. This will ensure that your SEO will be up to date and your business can grow online.
There are many ways to approach keyword research, but we will follow the next 6 steps:
- Analyze your current keywords
- Identify and formulate your business goals
- Build your keyword list.
- Assess your competitors
- Expand your keywords and try different variations and new options
- Prioritize by opportunities vs. investment
1st Step: Your current keywords
If you already have a website and a few keywords in mind that you want to rank for, then it is a good idea to start and check if you rank for them.
In order to start the analysis you should check out the free trial on Seobility or UberSuggest. Both tools give you a free trial period and before you decide to spend money on anything, it is a great idea to test them out first.
Seobility offers you the following:
- Website Crawling and Site Auditor
- Google Rank Tracker with Daily Updates
- Backlink Checker and Link Building Tools
- Continuous Monitoring and Whitelabel Reporting
Check it out on seobility.net.
Another option is Ubersuggest by Neil Patel.
If you need more keyword ideas, e.g. head terms to long-tail phrases you’ll get hundreds of suggestions from this free keyword tool. You’ll also see volume, the competition, and even seasonal trends for each keyword.
And to make things a bit easier Ubersuggest generates a list of keywords for you based on what is working for your competitors and based on what people are typing into Google.
Check it out on neilpatel.com/ubersuggest.
Next, you should go on Google Search Console and check what keywords you are currently ranking for. You’ll see the keywords and the traffic you get from it.
The new keywords you’ll discover in your research become the guide for all your SEO work (at least in regards to things like content optimisation).
Your goal here is to establish a list of basic keywords and their performance that you can use for growing your keyword lists and rankings in the other steps below.
2nd Step: Formulate Your Marketing Goals
Do you know what goals you want to achieve with all your marketing activities?
This is a very important question as during your keyword research you might come across keywords that you could easily rank for but don’t bring you the desired results. You don’t want to waste your time and efforts on keywords that just increase traffic to your website but don’t lead to actual sales.
To get to know the best keywords you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is our buyer persona? Who needs what we have to offer?
- What do we offer, and what is our unique value proposition?
- What are the main pain points of people who become our customers?
- What makes our potential customers comfortable to buy from us and what makes us stand out as industry experts.
Once you have answered these questions, it will make it easier to define the real important keywords for your business.
3rd Step: Check on your competitors
The best way to find keywords you should be ranking for is to check up on your competitors.
They might already rank for the same keywords you want to rank for. They even might have found keywords that your potential clients actually look for.
With Ubersuggest’s top SEO pages report, you can discover which of your competitor’s pages are ranking for popular organic keyword phrases. You no longer will waste time writing content that people don’t want to read.
But there are other ways to find out what your competitors are ranking for.
Use Google to find relevant keywords:
Type into Google the keyword that you want to rank for and have a look at the search results. For this article, we will be using the keyword “Boat Sales”. If you skip the ads, you will find your competition that ranks for this keyword. It would be a great opportunity to create a list of the names of your competitors and use this later in Ubersuggest again.
Then check the different names and words your competitors use and rank for. We typed into Google the keyword and then site:domain.com.
Here the results and the different keywords:
Write down all those keywords and add them to your list as variations.
You can also discover keywords both you and your competitor rank for and keywords they rank for, but you don’t.
4th Step: Expand Your Keyword List
There are a number of free tools to find and discover related topics for any keyword.
Some of them are:
If you now go through your now expanded keyword list, you need to pick out the high-level topics, then group the remaining keywords under those according to their relevance.
You can use this list later to guide you in creating content that will give you a greater relevance with search engines.
6th Step: Prioritize your keywords
Some keywords may have a high traffic potential, but if you will have to spend too much time trying to win a good rank for it or you won’t be able to convert that traffic into one of your goals, then it isn’t worth the time and money spent on it.
Put all the keywords you’ve found into a spreadsheet and create columns for key indicators of value, e.g:
- Average search volume
Google Trends can even give you an idea of search interest in a topic over time. Even though those metrics are important, you shouldn’t forget which ones are most likely to contribute in achieving your business goals?
Now it is time to check which keywords from your list relate to content you already have.
Now evaluate whether each piece of content is well optimised for the keyword and if that content also fits the search intent of the keyword.
If it doesn’t, then either improve that piece of content or create something better.
Keyword research is a process that should never end.
New competitors, changes to Google algorithms, changes in your services and products and more can make it important to further research and prioritize your focus on new keywords.
Ongoing keyword research is one of the best ways never to lose your competitive edge.
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