The problem with keyword research is that there are many processes you can use to determine what keywords you should be targeting to capture more traffic, and there’s no right or wrong process, although one constant across all processes is that you need data. Which means you will need to have access to a good SEO tool. But let’s start right at the beginning and look at why you need to do keyword research.
Why do keyword research
Knowing what your customers are searching for in the first place determines your SEO strategy and could be considered the glue that links your site to SERPs. Without keyword research how do you determine your sites copy, videos and pages you might need to add? Or how to tag images?
If done well, keyword research can tap into niche’s you may not have considered, unlocking a whole new base of leads. You might also use keyword research for content ideas or as a wider analysis of your closest competitors.
How to do keyword research
Like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Some people will go straight to an SEO analytics tool. Our approach is slightly different to start with and this is what we want to share with you.
The key things you want to find out are:
What are your customers or users searching for
How many people are searching for those terms
How competitive are those keywords
What are the keywords that your competitors are targeting
What similar keywords can you target
What other keywords are your customers searching that may open an unexplored niche
Think like a customer
Begin with an authentic approach and grab a piece of paper and pencil to make two lists. The first, is of topics that you want to be searched for. These are usually general areas of industries you are in such as Swimming Pools, Spa pools, Residential pools.
Now think like a customer and under each topic what sub topics, or ‘keywords” are they likely to search, such as swimming pool installation, pool cleaning, where to buy a swimming pool. We like to call this the common-sense approach. What makes sense if I need xyz.
Validate your lists
This is where an SEO tool is necessary. For most businesses I would recommend engaging with your SEO consultant who will have access to a whole bunch of tools to validate your lists, rather than you subscribing to an expensive tool you won’t use too often.
Plug in your list of words and phrases to be analysed. Are people actually searching for those keywords? How often or how many people are searching monthly? Who is ranking for those keywords? Are they your competitors?
No doubt you would have just uncovered tens if not hundreds of potential keywords and phrases you could target but to be frank, unless you have an extensive marketing budget, most business are limited to anywhere between 5 to 20 keywords depending on factors such as: localisation, competitiveness, resource to deliver required content and more. So, now you need to select which keywords to target which will depend on your competition. If you’re in a highly competitive industry then its better to start with mid to long-tail keywords while you build your domain authority.
Domain authority is a metric that is used to compare the authority of sites with competitors. Improving your overall site SEO can improve your domain authority, more on this in another post. Once you have started to build up your content and developed your on-page and off-page SEO strategies, you’ll then be in a better position to target the more competitive short-tail keywords.
Selecting good keywords doesn’t mean they are the only keywords you can rank for. When people search phrases, they are searching for solutions or information. Search engines look at the intent behind what is being searched for and will index content that is most relevant to solving that problem. For example; someone enters “how to clean my swimming pool”. Although you have not targeted this phrase but have targeted pool cleaning and have a knowledge page on your site with a comprehensive section on best methods for pool cleaning, you may end up in the SERP for the entered long-tail keyword.
The power of thorough keyword research lies in really understanding how your target market searches for your product, services and content. My parting advice is know the language of your users.
Know what they are searching for and know what searches your competitors are optimising for. Keyword research is not difficult, but it does take time and resource, and you do need access to quality SEO tools to provide you with the necessary analytics. Have a go, and if you need our help or would rather More SEO do it all for you then get in touch.