Step Up Your SEO Game – A Simple Guide to Keyword Research
Any marketer knows keyword research is the pinnacle of a good marketing campaign, and for a very good reason. If you don’t know what your audience is searching for, then how do you expect to deliver content that people actually want to read?
Knowing the type of keywords that you should be targeting allows you to properly optimize your website, build links, and develop quality content that will satisfy the needs of your audience and attract more readers.
Google is known for making constant updates to its algorithm – a thing that often leaves marketers scratching their head in confusion. Still, no matter how many changes have been brought forward, there is one thing that remains constant and just as important as ever: keyword research.
What changes, however, is the way we do research. This has less to do with Google’s algorithm and much more to do with how consumer behavior responds to these algorithm changes.
If things start to sound confusing, worry not. We are here to help you understand why keyword research is important and how you can master it. Keep reading to find out how to do proper keyword research and determine what your audience is looking for.
What exactly is keyword research?
Put simply, keyword research is defined as the process of discovering and analyzing search words or queries that people enter into search engines. The purpose of keyword research is to discover how popular certain queries are and how you can use them to rank high in search engine results.
Over the last few years, many experts have started to believe the actual keywords may not be as important as they used to be. What is important, however, is finding out the intent behind these keywords and determining if your content speaks to this purpose.
If done properly, keyword research can reveal topics your audience is interested in, how popular these topics are, and what your competition does to deliver on these topics. Once you have established that, you can create targeted content that answers to the needs of your audience.
Take travel blogs, for example. There are thousands of such blogs online, so the only way to make sure your content reaches the right audience is by ranking high in Google searches. Otherwise, your content would just get lost in the vast sea of search results.
Now that you understand a bit more about the importance of keyword research, it’s time to learn how to actually do it.
Start by making a list of relevant topics
The first thing you want to do to simplify the keyword research process is to come up with some generic topics that are relevant to your website. These topics can differ based on the niche you are covering. Ideally, you should be able to come up with around ten general topics that are related to your website. These topics will serve as the starting ground for finding relevant keywords users are searching for.
Ask yourself this question first: What type of content would I want my business to get found for?
Let’s stick to the travel blog example. Some general topics for this subject would be:
- Vacation planning
- Traveling on a budget
- Travel guide
- Things to do in X location
- Places to see in X location
These are just some general examples, but you get the idea. Once you make up your list of subjects, you can use certain tools to determine the monthly search volume for each of these keywords and start searching for relevant keywords for each.
Come up with a list of keywords that match these topics
Now is where the real fun begins. Take each of these topics and try to come up with keywords that are important for SERP (search engine result pages). When your audience looks for something online, they are probably searching for specific terms, and you need to be aware of these terms.
Let’s take the first example on our list – vacation planning. There is very little chance someone looking to plan a vacation will simply type “vacation planning” on Google. They will most likely look for some more specific things, such as:
- How to plan a vacation in Europe
- Planning a vacation on a budget
- Planning a vacation during coronavirus
- Vacation planning tips
- Road trip vacation planning
- Planning a winter vacation
The purpose of this step is not to come up with your final keyword list, so don’t worry if the list comes out too long. We’ll start curating the list later on.
To make things easier, you can always use a keyword rank checker to determine how relevant these keywords are for your website and see where you stand when compared to competitors.
Curate keywords based on relevance, authority, and volume
Now that you have come up with a long list of keywords, it’s time to start curating this list. To come up with the best results, analyze your keywords based on the following factors:
Relevance basically means the search intent of your audience. The only way your content will rank high in Google searches is if it meets the needs of searchers. Keep in mind that, apart from the keywords used, the content of your website needs to be of high value as well.
Because Google wants to provide the best results for its users, there is a higher chance your website will rank well in search results if you provide authoritative content as well. If certain keywords are covered by authoritative sources such as Forbes, The New York Times, and so on, there is a much lower chance for your content to rank high unless it provides exceptionally valuable information.
Monthly search volume represents the number of times a keyword is searched every month. There is no point in ranking high for a keyword that only a handful of people are searching for.