What is Keyword Research for SEO and How Do You Do It?
Keyword research is a powerful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tool for making your website content stand out from the competition. Keyword research is also used in PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. Due to this dual purpose, keywords play an important role in driving both organic and paid traffic.
This article focuses on keyword research for SEO. Selecting and targeting the right keywords ensures your SEO efforts are focused on the right search phrases, i.e. phrases related to your products or services, phrases with buying intent, and phrases that you have the resources to realistically take on existing competition.
Why is Keyword Research So Important?
Keyword research is fundamental for ensuring you understand the phrases (keywords) searchers use to find your products and services so you can:
- Ensure existing content includes those keywords
- Create new content using the keywords
- Help Google connect your website with the keywords people actually use
The process usually involves using a keyword research tool to find relevant keywords. You then strategically place these keywords on website pages as well as in blogs, articles, videos, infographics, and other pieces of content on your website. This will help you rank higher on search engine results pages.
The key to the whole process is identifying and prioritising the right keywords. This ensures you avoid, for example, targeting a keyword that has a significant amount of competition. So, there is an element of art to keyword research that includes smart decision-making about a number of factors, such as keyword search volume, buying intent, strength of competition, and keyword popularity.
How Do You Do Keyword Research?
Finding focused keywords requires the use of keyword research tools. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of keyword research tools out there, including free and paid options.
One of the most popular is Google’s Keyword Planner. It is free and uses data directly from Google search, making it an excellent place to start. Other popular keyword research tools include SemRush, Moz, or Buzzsumo.
Other options a good SEO agency in Auckland will use when doing keyword research include Google Suggest and Google Trends. Keyword research should be part of any SEO Auckland strategy.
Of course, finding keywords is the easy part. Any of the tools above will generate hundreds of keywords for any business, product, or service. Creating a priority list of keywords to target is where many SEO strategies either succeed or fail.
Finding the Most Beneficial Keywords
The following tips will help you find keywords to target. When doing this, always make sure you focus on the right objective. For most SMEs in Auckland (as well as large companies), this will be to increase sales, enquiries, or leads generated through your website. In other words, getting the right traffic is much better than getting lots of the wrong traffic. Choosing the right keywords is crucial to achieving this objective.
Producing worthwhile keywords starts with knowing your customer and understanding keyword intent.
Tip 1 – Brainstorm
The keyword research process usually starts with brainstorming ideas. This involves using your knowledge of your business to make educated guesses about the keywords you think your customers use when conducting a Google search.
To help with this, think of your ideal customer. What are their motivations for doing the search, what problem do they need solved, what information are they trying to find out – the answers to these questions will help you come up with an initial list of keywords.
Tip 2 – Find Other Keywords
Once you have keywords you believe people use to find the products or services you offer, the next stage is to put them through a keyword research tool. The main things you want to discover when doing this include:
- How often the keyword is used
- The level of competition for that keyword
- Alternative keywords that are closely related
Three things will happen during this process. Firstly, your list of potential keywords will become larger. Secondly, you will have more information on each keyword. Finally, you can use the information you have to start prioritising, identifying the main keywords you want to target. This will narrow down your list.
Tip 3 – The Beauty of Long-Tail Keywords
Remember when going through the above process to seek out long-tail keywords. These are keywords that usually have three or more words and often have low search volumes. However, good long-tail keywords have strong buying intent.
To explain this, take a look at the following keyword examples which might interest an online sunglasses retailer:
- “Sunglasses” – this keyword will have high search volumes, but it will also have a lot of competition. It has low buying intent too, instead indicating the start of a search for a new pair of sunglasses.
- “Ray-Ban sunglasses” – this will have a lower search volume than “sunglasses”, but it will still have high competition. While people using this keyword are probably getting close to making a buying decision, they are still likely to be in the research phase.
- “Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses” – search volumes will be lower for this again, but people using this search term now have buying intent and are very close to making a decision.
- “Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses in Auckland” – search volumes for this keyword will be low – very low compared to the keyword “sunglasses”. However, competition for this keyword will be significantly lower too. In addition, this keyword indicates clear buying intent.
By targeting the right long-tail keywords, you can get visitors to your website who are close to buying, making an enquiry, etc. Therefore, make sure you factor in long-tail keywords when doing your research.
Tip 4 – Work in progress.
Keyword research is never done. Evaluating keywords must continually go on if you want to keep up with current search trends and identify new opportunities. You also need to engage in ongoing keyword research to ensure you stay ahead of your competition and keep your website relevant to visitors and customers.
Ranking highly on search results pages is not an easy job. It is essential, however, if you want to get website traffic and potential customers from Google search. Whether you do SEO in-house, or you use an expert SEO agency, it is important you implement the right strategy. High-quality and effective keyword research is an indispensable part of this process.