Reap what you SEO with Keyword Research
Anything you do regarding marketing or advertising your business needs to be reaping the rewards for your effort. Whether you’re running a big outbound campaign to drive sales or improving your website’s SEO to make you move discoverable, it needs to be getting results. If it doesn’t, what’s the point? In this blog you will learn how to do keyword research properly so that your efforts aren’t going to waste.
First, to conduct thorough keyword research we think it’s important that you know what keywords are and how they are used. So first up…
What are keywords and why are they important?
Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into search engines to find content. If you don’t include the keywords and phrases that people are searching for on your website, chances are they will find it hard to find you.
Let’s say you’re a children’s shoe retailer. What are kids good at? Recking shoes. A parent may go online to find a way to get grass stains out of their children’s shoes. You could write a blog post or create a video that shows mums and dads how to do that. For this post you could use a long tail keyword – ‘how to get grass stains out of children’s shoes’ (We will explain what a long tail keyword is in a minute.) Hopefully when people search, your post will show up, the user will find it valuable and maybe look around your online store and buy something.
This is the whole concept of inbound content marketing. If you’d like to learn more about inbound marketing read our post What is Inbound Marketing?
Let’s have a look at types of keywords.
There are lots of types and variations of keywords even we find it confusing sometimes. So, for simplicity and not wanting you to die of boredom we’re going to stick with three main types of keywords.
Your primary keywords are what you would use throughout your main website pages. Let’s use ourselves as an example. We offer video marketing and video production services. On our home page we might use the keyword ‘video marketing’, it’s as simple as that. That’s a primary keyword. We’d aim to use that two or three times throughout the text on our home page and hopefully rank on search engines. But typically, primary keywords are competitive which make them hard to rank for. Five of your competitors might be using the same primary keyword. Then it depends on who’s optimised their content the best to rank #1.
Running with the same example we may use a short-tail keyword. They’re slightly less competitive. It may not get the same amount of people searching for it but when they do, you have a better chance of being seen because not all your competitors are using it. For example, one of our services is video activation. We may use the short-tail keyword ‘video activation strategy’.
Long-tail keywords are the longest search term and are targeted to a specific topic or audience. Let’s use this blog post for example, the long-tail keyword we used was ‘how to do keyword research’. This long-tail keyword has low search traffic but even lower competition meaning when people do search for it, we have a higher chance of been ranked in search and people clicking through.
So, there you have it. Not so scary, really. You, and our competitors, now know all our secrets. Of course, we kept some tricks up our sleeve.
How to do keyword research
So now we have a full understanding of what keywords are and how they work let’s have a look at how you would find the best keywords to use for your business.
You want to start by brainstorming. Get a few members of your team, 5 heads are better than one. Most of the time anyway. List down all the words or phrases that you could use to describe your business, product, or service. The purpose of this exercise is to get a wide range of keywords, you can whittle them down later.
To give you some ideas…
Accountant – Accountancy (location), book-keeping, self-assessment, tax advice, payroll, tax planning, which accountancy software to use (Xero, QuickBooks, Sage etc.)
Luxury kitchen retailer – Bespoke kitchens (location), how to design a kitchen, best flooring for kitchens, kitchen showroom (location)
Use Keyword Tools
Google’s keyword planner is the #1 tool (which is free) for researching your keywords. For SEO purposes, the main benefits to using this is the insight it gives you into the average monthly searches and the level of competition that keyword has. Ultimately, keyword tools boost your keyword research as they start to introduce legitimacy and substance behind your brainstorming.
If you want to learn more about the detail in choosing your keywords for your SEO campaigns, you can invest in paid resources. Tools like Moz and SEMRush. They offer free trials to help you open a new world of keyword analytics. Linking it into an SEO strategy, these tools can provide actionable advice to take your keyword game by storm.
What do you need to figure out about your competitors to boost your keyword quality?
Well, you need to understand how they stack up against your business. The devil’s in your competition, and it’s also in the detail. In this case, being close to your competition can make the world of difference in building your keyword strength.
Keyword competitive analysis is an exercise that businesses take to understand the top rankers in their industry, help you locate your key opportunities and where it could potentially get saturated.
Providing highly relevant keywords for your business starts with seeing how widely used they are among your closest competing businesses, and where you need to strengthen your SEO or your Google ads.
What you shouldn’t do, is let competitor analysis scare you. Big budgets and dominance don’t have to mean they have the monopoly over you, it just means that there’s a little hurdle you must jump to fit within the gaps of your competitors’ strategies.
To find out what keywords they are using you have two options. You can go onto their website and simply hover your mouse above the website tab. Their page’s SEO title will appear in full and most likely, unless they’re doing this wrong, the keywords they are using should be in that text.
Another way to see a full list of their website page’s title tags is to go to Google and type in
Site:domainname.com (or .co.uk, .org or whichever extension their using)
In the search results there will be a list of website pages all from that company. As I said in the previous method, the keywords they are using will most likely be included in the title tag.
The Proof is in the Analysis
Whatever path you take to find your keywords, remember this: the proof of it working is in the analysis. You now know how to do keyword research but if you had no plans to monitor the performance of your keyword research, you shouldn’t have started. You can quickly see what keywords you are ranking for by heading over to your Google Search Console account, click ‘performance’ on the left-hand side menu and you will see ‘queries’ these are all the keywords that people are using to find your website.
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