A common question is how to do keyword research, especially when the search engine optimisation (SEO) landscape is always changing and is highly competitive. Well, we’ve got all the tips and tricks to break down what SEO is, how to successfully rank high on search engines and what the blind spots are when it comes to keyword research in SEO.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the primary task in SEO search engine optimisation and it is the identification and analysis of specific keywords and phrases that individuals enter into search engines when searching for goods, services or information.
The primary goal of keyword research is to understand the ways in which your potential customers or users phrase their search so that you can align your content to reflect their search intent. In doing so you will be able to optimise your marketing strategy to be in alignment with those keywords and phrases and bring organic traffic to your website. Thus increasing the success of your SEO.
Why is keyword research important?
Picture this, your product is in a shopping mall but will only appear to the user if they say the right word. If your product is mislabeled and not identifiable, no one is going to sift through endless websites to find your product. That is why the first step in preparing your website for SEO is to make sure you are appearing at the top of search engine suggestions. For any paid Google ads, get in touch with SEO specialists to reach your paid growth goals.
Factors to consider when conducting keyword research
Conducting keyword research can seem like a daunting task but taking special consideration and assessing what search terms will best align with your website is going to help you to increase your search engine rankings- driving organic traffic and positioning your website as a source of authority and credibility. The higher you are placed as an authoritative and trustworthy source on search engines, the more likely they will prioritise you organically.
The key considerations when conducting keyword research are search volume, keyword search intent by your potential customers, and how difficult your selected keywords rank compared to your competitors. Here is a breakdown of each below:
Assessing the monthly search volume of specific keywords and phrases can give you an understanding of how to reach your potential customers. However, search terms with high search volume may also come with higher competition due to more websites using the term.
Long tail keywords, on the other hand, can differentiate your website from your competitors and can be a beneficial strategy to focus on. When selecting keywords incorporating long tail keywords and short keywords can broaden your searchability results.
Keyword search intent
Understanding what the driver is behind your potential customer's search is paramount there may be different wording used to represent different stages of the customer's journey. For example, there are usually three types of search intent when it comes to researching:
Informational: Customers are looking for information. Ie: “How to use coconut oil in your hair?”
Navigational: Customers are seeking a specific website or resource. Ie: “Marketing agencies in Sydney.”
Transactional: Customers are seeking to make a purchase and are ready to take action by making a purchase or signing up for a service. Ie: “Used car for sale.”
Keyword difficulty is the process by which you metrically evaluate how a specific keyword is ranked organically on search engine results pages. Because the overarching goal is to have your website ranking on the first page, you want to prioritise specific keywords that are within your means and relevant to your website- finding a balance between the two is how you will best be able to keyword-optimise your website. There are a number of factors that influence keyword difficulty which are all important to consider:
Domain Authority: If your website is deemed trustworthy and authoritative by search engines it will prioritise your website organically. One way to increase your authority is through internal linking and having your website be referenced on other websites known as back linking.
Content quality: Updating your content strategy to present high-quality and relevant content on your web pages using targeted keywords can help your website rank higher for keyword difficulty.
Competitor Strength: If you put yourself in the shoes of your competitors when evaluating how authoritative and trustworthy they are ranking, you will be able to adjust your keyword content strategy accordingly and set realistic goals.
How to calculate keyword difficulty :Keyword difficulty can be evaluated by using SEO tools like Moz, Ahrefs and SEMRush to indicate how competitive your chosen keywords are to give you a better understanding of their value.
Step-by-step Keyword Research
So, how long does it take to do keyword research? It depends on how detailed you go but the more thorough you are with it the better results you will see. Keyword research is important because without it you are blindly using words that could be in high competition, or not yield the desired results due to your potential customers not using those keywords when searching.
Here are the four steps to conducting keyword research.
1) Finding keywords
Finding the right keywords to use to optimise your website for organic search engine result pages takes time but will yield high results if it is done right. First things first you need to brainstorm keywords that are relevant to your organisation. A great way to do this is by conducting brainstorming sessions or activities with your team members to start being able to narrow search terms down.
After you have narrowed down words that summarise your website offerings and brand image, you can further narrow down your target keywords by utilising these research tools:
Google Autocomplete (for long tail keywords)
2) Analyse how competitors are doing
The next step is looking at how your competitors are doing and identifying any gaps as filling the gap is the number one rule of SEO optimisation. This is because It is difficult to bump established websites with generic keywords. Identifying what your competitors are doing well and establishing gaps will give you further direction on how to utilise specific keywords in your favour.
3) Analyse keywords for prioritisation
Analysing keywords for prioritisation can be divided into three categories: primary keywords, secondary keywords and semantic terms to weave throughout your website's body of text. Prioritising and selecting your primary and secondary keywords should be based on search volume, keyword difficulty, how relevant those specific keywords are to your target audience, and your potential customers' search intent.
Semantic terms should be based on your potential customers' search intent as well as utilising any synonyms or similar phrases to your primary keyword. Variations of long-tail keywords can also be used in your semantic term list to increase the SEO of your webpage.
4) Start putting together a strategy to target the selected keywords
The next step is putting together your content strategy to stay on top of your goals and give you a road map into what you want the desired results to be. Here are the top processes and considerations to include in your content strategy for search engine optimisation.
The primary questions to ask when defining your search engine optimisation goals are to question the desired result you are trying to achieve. For example, is it to increase overall traffic or are you seeking to increase lead conversions? Brand visibility is also another consideration when putting together your content strategy.
Keyword mapping is when you organise your list of keywords and strategically place them under specific web pages or categories on your website. This is also a great time to evaluate any opportunities for cross-linking pages within your website to rank higher as a trustworthy and authoritative site.
Now that you have established your overarching goals and keyword mapping, you can then build a keyword content strategy that aligns with your targeted keywords. Weave as many semantic terms and your targeted keywords throughout your content to create engaging, informative webpages that rank high on search engine result pages.
Where a keyword is used makes a big difference, you should always try to incorporate your chosen keyword into the titles and headings of your web pages as well as incorporating it organically throughout your paragraphs.
Link Building and Backlinking
Internal link building and referencing other webpages to your site throughout your content is a great organic way to place your webpage as an authoritative and trustworthy figure.
When it comes to backlinking, it is a quality over quantity that you want to achieve. Backlinking is the process by which external websites reference your website on their own. If you are being referenced by established, trustworthy sites your website will be further ranked as an authoritative and trustworthy figure. This can happen organically through blog posts or articles by ensuring your content is deemed high value by presenting informative articles, original research, data collection or showing engaging visual content. The overarching goal of your content strategy should be to position your website content as high-quality, original and informative as possible to increase your chances of being organically linked from other websites.
However, you can also conduct PR outreach or submit your site to relevant directories to gain further exposure. Keep in mind that you should always be monitoring which sites have been referencing your webpage to ensure that they are not spam sites or of low quality as it can do more harm than good to be referenced by such as source. You can review your backline profile by using Google Search Console.
Making sure your webpages are mobile-friendly for your target audience will increase the authority and trustworthiness of your webpage. It also makes the user's experience of your site seamless and accessible to all potential customers.
Monitoring and Adjusting
Keyword rankings are always going to fluctuate as search engines, and the way your customers search terms will change over time. It is important to be adaptable and keep up to date with the search engine optimisation landscapes. Conducting quarterly reviews will help you stay up to date with the latest trends and ranking systems.
Mastering the art of keyword research is an essential cornerstone for any successful SEO strategy. As we've explored in this step-by-step guide, understanding what keyword research is, why it's important, and the factors to consider while conducting it, is crucial in the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimisation.
By following the four key steps outlined here—finding keywords, analysing competitors, prioritising keywords, and developing a strategic content plan—you can create a solid foundation for success in search engine optimisation.
In this digital age, staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing SEO landscape is essential. We are a SEO agency who are well-equipped to guide you through the intricate world of keyword research and search engine optimisation, helping you achieve your digital marketing goals. Contact us today to embark on your journey towards SEO success.