All About Keyword Research [Key Strategies to Improve Your Rankings]

Keyword research is the control panel of how you set up your SEO plan, design, and development of your site and it’s content. Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines with the goal of using that data for a specific purpose, often for search engine optimization (SEO).

Keyword research is designed to help increase traffic and convert visitors optimally as you have chosen the most important keywords that your ideal consumer is searching for, meaning, your site and the keywords you choose is your greatest marketing tool.

Keyword research gives you insight to what topics your consumers care about and, if you use the right SEO tool, how often these topics are actually getting searched among your audience. By researching keywords that are getting a high volume of searches per month, it will help you better sort your content into topics that you want to create content on. Then, you can use these topics to dictate which keywords you look for and target.

By researching keywords for their popularity, search volume, and general intent, you can tackle the questions that the most people in your audience want answers to.

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How To Research Keywords For Your SEO Strategy

Here is a breakdown of the keyword research process that is easy to follow and can help you come up with a list of terms you should be targeting. By following this guide, you will be able to find keywords that help you rank for the search terms that will benefit your company.

1.) Make a list of relevant topics based on your business

To start your research, think about the generic topics you want to rank for. You’ll come up with about 3 – 8 topics you think are important to your business, and then you’ll use those topics to help come up with some specific keywords. The monthly search volume for these generic terms will most likely be pretty high.

However, knowing this data allows you to judge the importance of these topics to your audience, and what sub-topics you may want to create content for to be successful with that keyword.

2.) Match keywords to these topics

With topics picked out to focus on, next is to identify some keywords that would fall in these topics. These are keyword phrases you think are important to rank for in a results page for a search engine, your target customer might be searching for those specific terms.

The easy way to come up with keyword ideas is to figure out which keywords your website is already getting found for. To do this, you’ll need website analytics software like Google Analytics or the Hoth Search Engine Ranking tool. Look into your website’s traffic sources, and sift through your organic search traffic to identify the keywords people are using to arrive at your site.

3.) Research related search terms

Another resource to utilize for when you are struggling to come up with more keywords is to use the related search terms that show up when you search for a keyword in Google. These related search terms show up at the bottom of the search results page in Google and can be used as suggestions to your original keyword.

These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.

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Breaking it Down: How to Find and Choose Keywords for Your Website

Before you can even start to write, you need to decide which keywords you want to focus on. Target specific keywords help you to rank for these search queries. SEO is about having a set strategy, so choosing your terms before writing is essential.

Before choosing keywords and expecting your content to rank for them, you must curate keywords for three things:

  • Relevance: Google ranks content for content relevance and user search intent. Your content will only rank for a keyword if it meets the searchers’ needs.
  • Authority: Google will rank the site that appears to be more authoritative. You should put considerable effort into becoming an authoritative source by enriching your site with helpful, information content and promoting that content to earn social signals and backlinks.
  • Volume: Volume is measured by the number of times the keyword is searched per month. Even if you end up ranking on the first page for a specific keyword, if it has no search volume, it will not result in traffic to your site.

Have A Mix Of Short-tail And Long-tail Keywords!

Short-tail keywords are phrases that are generally shorter and more generic and are typically just one to three words in length. Meanwhile, long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.

For good SEO content strategy, it is important that you have both short-tail terms and long-tail terms because it’ll give you long-term goals and short-term wins.

  • Generally, the short-tail keywords are searched more often than long-tail keywords, making them often much more competitive and harder to rank for.
  • Long-tail phrases are typically more specific, it’s usually easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. When someone is looking for something that specific, most of the time they are a more qualified searcher for your product or service than someone looking for something really generic.

Check Out The Competition

It’s always a good idea to check out what keywords your competitors are targeting, although just because they are going for a certain keyword does not necessarily mean it is wise for you to as well. Understanding the keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a great way to help you give your list of keywords another evaluation.

The keywords that your competitors are trying to target that happen to also be on your list of keywords too, it is a good idea to try to work on improving your ranking for those keywords.

However, it is not wise to only go after the keywords that your competitors are going for. Going for separate keywords is also a great opportunity to rank well on important terms and have the market share for that term.

One way to check competitors keywords is by manually searching for each keyword and finding out which keywords your competitor ranks for. Or the easier option is to use Ahrefs to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter.

Utilize Google’s Keyword Planner

Once you have compiled a list of keywords, use Google’s Keyword Planner to narrow this list down. With Keyword Planner, you can get search volume and traffic estimates for each keyword. Use the Keyword Planner to flag any terms on your list that have way too little search volume, and don’t help you maintain a healthy mix like we talked about above. This will help you identify if a keyword is worth going for or if it has too little traffic for it to be worthwhile.

Disclaimer: WebCitz, LLC does not warrant or make representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the information found on this page or any websites linked to from this page. This article was written by Grant W in his or her personal capacity. The opinion(s) expressed in this article are the author's own and may not reflect those of WebCitz, LLC. When you purchase through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission.