If you’re looking for a way to make your business more visible to the modern consumer, you’re going to need a website. A recent study showed that 81 percent of shoppers research products and services online before they make a purchasing decision. If you don’t have a strong online presence, you’re missing out on potential customers that are looking for your brand online. However, there’s much more to having an online presence than simply creating an attractive and easy-to-navigate website. You need to be visible to your consumers at the right time and place. This is where keywords come in.
What are SEO Keywords?
What do you do when you need to search for something online? You enter a phrase in the search engine and click on the search button. SEO keywords are those phrases and words that people use when searching for your products or services. By using these keywords in your website’s content, you make it easier for potential customers to find you through online searches.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process through which website owners or marketing professionals use to make their websites rank higher in search engine results pages. When your website is listed amongst the top results for relevant keywords, you’ll get more traffic to your website.
Why Keyword Research is Important
Using high-volume search terms isn’t enough for successful SEO. You don’t want to appear on just any search results page. You need to ensure your website appears in the right place at the right time. You, therefore, need to use keywords that match your product, service, or brand. You need to use keywords that potential customers are likely to use to find your products or services.
For example, if you offer plumbing services, a potential customer in need of your services would use words and phrases like ‘plumbing services,’ ‘plumber,’ ‘fix pipes’ or ‘toilet repair’ and other related phrases to find a company that offers these services or to find a solution to the problem they are experiencing.
Keyword research is the process through which you can discover valuable keywords for the purpose of improving the ranking of your website on relevant search results pages. Simply put, it means finding those keywords or keyword phrases that potential customers are most likely to use to look for your products, services, or related information. These keywords often give direction to your marketing strategy and the content you include on your website.
Your SEO marketing strategy therefore all begins with keyword research. Keyword research is important for the following reasons:
- It will provide you with insight into marketing trends
Keyword research is a great way to learn about current marketing trends. It will help you to learn about what your target audience is interested in and thus help you center your content on relevant topics.
- It will help you increase organic traffic to your website
Keyword research helps you identify the best keywords for your brand, products, or services. You can therefore create content that will get your website ranked higher in search results pages. This will translate into increased traffic to your website.
- It will help get more customers
Keyword research helps you identify the keywords that you can use to guide potential customers along their buyer journey. You can get them from the awareness stage to making the purchase decision.
The 3 Key Elements of Keyword Research
Before diving into exactly how to find the right keywords for your website, it is important to understand the keys to finding good keywords. You should pay attention to keywords that will enable you to create content that is:
Content is ranked by search engines based on its relevance. This means that you need to also consider the intent of the searchers. You should look for keywords that help you meet the searcher’s needs. You should be able to provide the searcher with value.
It is important to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Google gives a high rank to content that it deems authoritative. You want to look beyond simply using keywords but providing searchers with helpful information.
- Has a high search volume
You want to create content for which users are interested in. This means using keywords with high monthly search volumes. In other words, these keywords are searched for frequently by audiences every month.
How to Do Keyword Research
There are different ways to approach keyword research. You can carry out the research manually or use a keyword research tool. It doesn’t matter exactly how you find the best keywords for your website. It is, however, important to include the steps below for the best results.
- Learn more about your niche
This is where relevance comes in. In order for your SEO strategy to be successful your website must rank on relevant search results pages. You must therefore learn more about your niche and what interests your target audience.
There are a few ways you can do this. You can:
- Look at what your competitors are doing. Visit their websites to see what type of content they are posting and the keywords they are using. Search on social media platforms as well as on their websites to find out about their most popular products or services.
- Talk to existing customers and find out what they are interested in. Are there questions that your customers ask you often on social media? Are there products or services that they have requested or are more interested in? Engage with your customers on social media and other platforms to learn about their likes, and dislikes as well as the problems they are experiencing and how you can solve them.
- Define your goals for your SEO strategy
Your marketing strategy will be based on what you want to achieve. It is therefore important, to begin with, the end in mind. You should begin by asking questions such as:
- What is your business about?
- What makes you different from other similar businesses?
- What do you hope to achieve with your SEO strategy?
People have different goals for their SEO strategies. You may be looking to increase subscribers, increase foot traffic to your physical store or increase sales from your website. It is important to define your goals as these will inform the purpose of the content used on your website.
- Make a list of topics that are relevant to your business
Having learned more about your customers, your brand, and your goals, you can define topics that would not only be interesting to potential customers but also help you achieve your goals.
For example, if your brand sells skin care products made from natural ingredients, you may want to focus on topics such as natural skin care routines, natural face wash, age-defying skin care products, and other such relevant topics.
The topics you come up with will help you in identifying relevant keywords. You can break down the topics down into subtopics in order to identify even more specific keywords.
- Create a list of keywords
Now that you have different topics and sub-topics, you can go ahead and create a list of keywords under each topic or sub-topic. These keywords should be related to the topics that you have come up with. They should be terms that your target audience is most likely to use when searching for information on that particular topic.
For example, if your topic is natural hair care, you will want to use keyword phrases that are related to that topic and that people are most likely going to use to search for more information on this topic. They may include:
- Natural hair care products
- How to care for natural hair
- Products for natural hair
- Top natural hair products
- Best products for natural hair
- How to grow natural hair
- Best natural hair growth tools
- Best products for the growth of natural hair
This isn’t your final list of keywords or keyword phrases. This should be considered more like a brain dump of the phrases that you think potential customers are likely to use when searching for content related to the topics that you have identified. You will refine your list later in the keyword research process.
You will need to repeat this process for each and every topic and sub-topic you have come up with. The keyword phrases you come up with will provide you with a great starting point for determining the actual keywords you will use on your website.
- Make use of a keyword research tool
You can get even more ideas for keywords by using a keyword research tool. These tools will help you generate keywords and keyword phrases based on the topics that you have generated. Some popular tools include SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and KWFinder. Google’s Keyword Planner is also a popular keyword research tool and it is free to use.
Keyword research tools are not only useful for generating keywords and keyword phrases but also for helping you determine search volumes for different keywords. These tools will show you which keywords are used most often.
- Understand the search intent of the users
It isn’t enough to use high-volume keywords in your content. If you want to be successful with your SEO strategy, you must use keywords that drive the right kind of traffic to your website. You must therefore go beyond volume and ranking to understand the intent of the users in using the keywords and keyword phrases.
Search intent is simply the reason why the user entered the search term. There are many factors that drive different search habits. These include:
- Searching for a specific website
- Searching for a specific product
- Searching for answers to a question
- Searching for something that they want to buy
Don’t take the keywords at face value. You should instead look at the meaning behind the searches made. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and try to determine what would make them use those phrases. For example, if a user used a keyword phrase such as ‘best products for natural hair,’ you should find out what the user’s intent was behind using this phrase. Are they starting a natural hair care routine? Are they looking for specific products? Do they want to learn more about how to care for natural hair? Are they looking for recommendations for products so they can make a purchase? It is always a good idea to enter the keyword phrase into a search engine yourself and see what comes up. You will want to use keyword phrases that match your target audience’s intent as closely as possible.
- Check out the competition
Unless you’re offering a product or service that is completely unique, you most likely have competitors in your industry. It is important that you be aware of what your competitors are doing. You can learn from their successes as well as from their failures. This will help you formulate an even more effective SEO strategy.
Check what keywords your competitors are using and how well they are ranking for these keywords. Try and identify any gaps that you can take advantage of in formulating your keyword strategy. You should look for keywords that are not only relevant to your industry but also have a low or medium level of competition.
You can use a keyword research tool to perform keyword searches on your competitors. Some of these tools allow you to run analytics on your competitors too and see how well they are ranking for different keywords.
- Use long tail keywords
The keyword phrases you came up with earlier will most likely be short terms that are related to the topics and subtopics you came up with. You now want to identify long-tail keywords. These are keyword phrases that have more than three words. They are more specific and descriptive. These should match the searcher’s intent.
For example, if a user was searching for a conditioner for their hair, they may look up ‘best conditioner for damaged natural hair’ as opposed to simply ‘hair conditioner.’
Long tail keywords are important. This is because they attract those users that are looking for something specific. These are people that are already interested in what you have to offer. Using a cocktail of both short and long-tail keywords provides you with a winning mix.
- Choose the best keywords for SEO
It is important here to understand that there is nothing like the best keywords. There are just keywords that are highly used by your target audience. With this in mind, you will want to choose those keywords that are relevant, and highly searched, and will give your content authority. You will also want to choose keywords based on the level of competition you will be up against and your ability to produce quality content that offers value to users.
If you’ve followed the steps outlined above, you will most likely have identified the right keywords to use for your website’s SEO strategy. However, this isn’t the end of it all. SEO isn’t something you do once. It is something that is ever-evolving. You must therefore re-evaluate your choice of keywords every few months. This will help you identify those keywords that you are ranking well for and those that aren’t doing so well. You will also identify new opportunities that you can take advantage of for your business.