There are so many changes developed during the last few years in SEO practice. Despite these changes Keyword research remains one of the prime and elementary SEO tasks.
Even the person having pro experience is making huge mistakes in keyword research while formulating complete content marketing strategies for the organization.
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. SEO professionals with different skill sets do keyword research exclusively for new websites or old websites to improve search rankings.
It is the responsibility of SEO professionals to identify suitable keywords that can align with your website’s authority while doing keyword research.
Developing keyword research skills is one of the important skills required to become a better SEO professional.
What is Keyword Research in SEO?
Keyword Research is a procedure by which SEO professionals find and research keywords related to the website or the business value. In simple meaning, Keywords are the queries that users type in the search bar in search engines.
In technical meaning, Keyword research is the process of identifying the keywords which fulfil the objective of a given website.
Keyword research also includes the discovery of keywords people search to find the services or product provided by your business.
Comprehensive keyword research also gives insights about the topics on which you should create content on your site.
The analysis of competitors is somewhat related to keyword research. We will cover this topic in upcoming articles.
This blog will help you to get started with your first ever keyword research.
What is the Importance of Keyword Research in SEO?
Keyword Research is one of the important steps towards the success of organic marketing. It enables you to understand the search intent of users via search queries.
There is no doubt that the keywords that are related to your business, different from what you find during keyword research.
It is very important to understand the true nature of users — the need of users (expressed in the form of search queries), the language of the search terms. There is no place for assumptions in keyword research.
A good keyword search always gets the benefits in SERP results. Likewise, the need of the user changes with time, the keywords also change for your site. So, you need to be more practical and wise during the selection of keywords for your website.
Complete Process of Keyword Research
Keyword Research is a continuous process, you need to perform the same as per your business requirements and changing scenarios.
Perfect keyword research consists of a set of predefined steps which helps to accomplish all of your goals mentioned above.
- There are certain scenarios according to which you need to perform keyword research
- It is possible that users use a different set of queries to reach your business offerings
- New sets of keywords that are not found in previous keyword research.
- Entry of new player in the marketing
- Possible changes in the search algorithms
If you want to become a good SEO professional then you need to make SEO keyword research an internal part of your life.
There are so many different ways to perform keyword research, but in this tutorial, we will proceed with the following steps:
- Deeply Analyze Your Current Keywords List
- Identify Your Keyword Research Goals
- Create Your Future Keywords List
- Examine the Competitors Keywords Carefully
- Create a Plan for Easy Keywords Vs Hard Keywords
- Mathematics of Cost & Time
Note: This keyword research plan will work for all websites whether it is a business or non-business website.
Follow the below points carefully to find out keywords for the products or the services you want to sell.
Step 1: Analyze Current Keywords
If you already have the list of the keywords related to your business then you should start with the analysis of those keywords else begin with step 2 directly. If you are working on the existing website then you must have some list of predefined keywords related to your business.
Track down rankings of those keywords with the help of free tools available or if the list is small then you can manually track the same in Google.
If the list contains more keywords then you will probably need a paid tool. With paid tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, you can also track down the history of the keywords.
Now, Open the Google Search Console to determine the keywords, your site is performing well.
After this, create a performance guideline for the keywords.
Performance guidelines will help in the other steps when you create a keyword universe.
Filter out the best performing keywords from the least on the basis of the metrics you have gathered while doing an analysis of the keywords.
Don’t put away or delete the keywords which are not performing. These keywords may have high search volume but lower rankings or CTR.
Along with the new key terms, you will find in your keyword search, these become the manual for all your following search engine optimization work (at least in relation to things such as content marketing and link building).
Your aim here is to set a guideline of keyword performance which it is possible to use for developing your keyword universe in the upcoming steps.
Step 2: Identify Your Keyword Research Goals
You may think you are all set to begin real keyword research today.
But with no carefully crafted aims, it’ll be a futile attempt.
By goals here I suggest the particular company and brand for which you want to grow organic traffic.
What is the importance of this?
These goals will help you to put your keyword research efforts in the right direction.
Many times, aimless keyword research leads to the discovery of the keywords that you could rank for. But in reality, these keywords will not add up to your goals which bring leads or traffic to your website. Putting efforts in such keywords is worthless.
This is one of the basic mistakes mid-level SEO professionals make on a continuous basis.
Well Defined goals will help in increasing the chances of SEO success.
Additionally, you will save time and effort than required — and prevent targeting insignificant phrases (so-called vanity keywords ) or keywords with little or no return on investment (ROI).
Listed below are a couple of questions to ask when formulating your targets for keyword research:
- Who’s our target audience? Who buys what we offer and why?
- What do we sell and what’s our distinctive value proposition in the market?
- What are the secondary, related demands?
- What do we market and what’s our distinctive value proposition in our market?
- Which are the main needs and/or needs of men and women who become our clients?
- Which are the things our customers will need to learn to feel confident in who they decide to purchase from?
If your mind is clear about the above question then you can focus on the targeted keyword research rather than widespread or splitted.
Step 3: Create Your Future Keywords List
You have to do all things internally in this step.
You can also take advice from the internal team members based upon the questions sets in the above step 2.
List down all the keyword phrases you believe best describe exactly what your prospective customers look for when they’re in different stages of the buying journey.
- What will be the search phrase when customers only want to learn more about your products or services?
- What will be the keyword when they are on the final stage of the buying journey?
- What would be the specific search term for special products you sell?
The above questions are somewhat similar to the questions mentioned in step 2.
The sole purpose of these questions is to provide guidance for doing focused keyword research related to business requirements.
There might be some redundant keywords as well during this step. Not all keywords found in this step are valuable.
Step 4: Examine the Competitors Keywords Carefully
Competitor analysis is one of the best ways to find the keywords you are not ranking but your competitor is.
There might be a possibility that your competitor is in the market for a longer time and you have started the things recently. As a result of which they tapped on the high-value keywords which brings them good revenue and traffic as well.
There are so many SEO tools in the market that helps you to instantly view the keywords along with the rough traffic your competitor is gaining. To deeply understand the keyword research process you may need to invest in one of the paid tools.
Learn How to Do Competitor Keyword Analysis in Different Ways
With the Help of Search Engine
The use of search engine is one of the traditional ways to perform competitor analysis and keyword discovery.
This method requires more attention and focus, otherwise, you will end up with irrelevant or out of league keywords.
Searching keywords with the help of Google is one of the freest methods to perform the competitor keyword analysis.
With the help of Google, you can easily find keywords relevant to your business. Finding keywords with this approach is somewhat dependent on guesswork, this will not give a clear picture about competitor tendency.
However, this method is absolutely free and the best way to discover new keywords, if you don’t have paid tools at your disposal.
By searching in Google itself you can easily find your top competitor.
This approach may not reveal your real-world competition.
You can start by searching for the product or services you provide or sell and consistently watch the top results in the SERP.
For example: If you are India based health startup providing the services like type-2 diabetes reversal then in such case your competitor is Virta Health.
You can repeat this activity for a number of keywords and every time you a new competitor, add them to the list.
So in this way, you can find competitor related to your business
You should always keep in mind that real-world competition may differ from an online one.
Next approach to finding new keywords with the help of Google.
For this, you need to type “site:domainname.com” in the search bar. This will tell about the alternative keywords, your competitor is ranking.
In the above-mentioned example, you will find different variety of keywords like online diabetes reversal program, how to end diabetes etc.
Using Keyword Tools
To do a more comprehensive competitor analysis, you will need a third-party tool. Some of these free tools provide you with limited access for free.
However, the full version of these tools can show you a complete overview of your competitor.
SEO paid tools require domain name to show the complete details such as keywords, organic traffic, backlinks, keywords gap and much more. Some of the examples of the paid tools are SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, Alexa etc.
So, you can easily find out the relevant keywords and add them to your keywords list.
These tools show you the list of keywords your competitor rank for but you don’t and the keywords you rank for but your competitor is not.
You need to create a proper strategy to fill the keyword gap (on which competitor ranking but your website not).
Step 5: Expand Your Keyword Horizons
In the previous step, we are able to find the keywords directly related to our business and services. This keyword will help you to form the sound base for the keywords which are still untouched by you and your competitor.
Keywords are still one of the conventional ways for good SEO. In the last few years, Google has developed the mechanism to recognize topics and all the associated terms, so every keyword is a complete topic in itself.
There are so many advanced and free tools are available which is specifically designed to discover the related topics based on keyword sets.
Some of the most popular tools include:
- Answer the Public
- Keyword Explorer
- Keywords Everywhere and many more are on the list. We will cover this later.
Most of these free tools work by scraping the Google SERP’s to identify the search terms and the question used by the searcher most recently related to the keyword.
But the story will be different with the paid tools. These tools definitely have an edge over the free tools. You will get more depth keywords including LSI related to main keywords as well.
Now you have created the expanded list of the keywords with the help of free or the paid tools. In the final step, you have to identify the high-level topics and then group the other keywords under these according to search volume, keyword difficulty or CPC.
Later on, you can use these keywords for creating the interlinking mesh for better search engine relevancy of the topic.
Step 6: Mathematics of Cost & Time
This step is one of the most important because, in this, we will decide about the financial feasibility and time duration for the researched keywords.
In this, you have to prioritize the keywords as the best opportunities and need to choose keywords against the total cost of working on the same.
In simple words, If a keyword has high traffic potential or search volume but time and cost are so much high to attain a good rank. Then it is advisable to drop the keyword and plan for another one in the list.
Collect all Metrics
Add all keyword you have discovered in the above steps into a sheet. Now create a column in the sheet for the key indicators of value and cost:
- Average search volume (you can easily find out the same via Google keyword planner)
- CPC (Cost Per Click)
CPC is used for Google ads. But we gain an insight into keyword competition and difficulty from this. If the CPC is high then the keyword is very difficult to rank because of tough competition.
Trends is another one of the important metrics to look for
- What is the performance of the keyword over the period of time?
- Search volume increase or decreases
- CPC rise or fall during the selected period of time
If there is no paid tool at your disposal to calculate the metrics then you can take the help of Google trends. This tool will give you a rough idea about the keywords trends over a period of time in a particular geographic location.
Focus on the goal, you created in step 2. Find out which keywords are more likely to addon value at each step of the customer product buying journey.
Match up With Your Existing Content
It is possible that you have already created content on some of the keywords you found. So you need to check the correct positioning of the keyword in SERP and identify the flaws in the content. If there is any then update the same.
Keyword research is one of the most important parts of search engine optimization. It is possible that you may end up spending the most time on keyword research. This activity is a continuous process. You need to keep re-evaluating the keyword over a certain period of time due to the dynamic nature of user needs, new players in the market, changes in Google. Continuous keyword research is one of the best ways to keep an edge over competitors.