How do you do Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

What are SEO Keywords?

SEO keywords help connect searchers to your site.

For people to find your website via search engines, your will need key words and phrases within your web content; these are called SEO keywords.

A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base. You want to make it easy for potential visitors to find you. In order to do that, you need to know how people are looking for products and services related to your brand/company. It functions similarly to how paid ads are pushed to relevant web users, but there’s a difference.

The closer your SEO keywords are to what your potential visitors are looking for, the better. This is because you want them to visit your website and not one of the many other pages that appear in search engine results.

Effectively, implementing keyword SEO will help you outrank your competitors.

Creating a list of keywords should therefore be one of the first steps you take towards search engine optimisation to ensure that your website remains highly relevant to your audience.

While it may be a time-consuming and tedious process at first, you will eventually come to see how fruitful optimising for SEO keywords can be.

Discovering what your audience is looking for and using those keywords that will help you rank better on search engine results pages (SERPs). After all, metrics such as keyword density, anchor text and backlinks all play a part in securing your SERP ranking result.

Keywords play a huge role in improving these metrics.

Common SEO Keyword Mistakes That Beginners Make

  • Performing SEO keyword research only once. SEO keyword research should be an ongoing and ever-evolving part of your job as a marketer. Old keywords need to be reevaluated periodically, and high-volume, competitive keywords can often be usefully replaced or augmented with longer, more specific phrases designed not to bring in just any visitor but exactly the right visitors.
  • Not bothering to update and expand their SEO keyword list. Continue experimenting and keep track of the results. Certain trends or viral internet news could work in your favour if you learn how to leverage content marketing properly and take advantage of opportunities.
  • Targeting keywords that are too popular. Popular keywords are competitive and challenging to rank first for. They may also be costly in resources, for both time and money. It may be advisable to try to secure a spot in a comparative advantage or niche that sets yourself apart from your competition, rather than trying to bid and compete for a competitive keyword.
  • Neglecting non-SEO keywords elements. Ultimately, you not only want visitors to land, but also them to convert into paying customers. Hence, good website infrastructure and navigation would lead to a more pleasant user experience. The more convenient it is for them, the more likely they will remember your page.

Keyword Grouping

Keyword Grouping is a strategy involving dividing up your keywords into small, manageable groups of related keywords. This is to cut down your workload of creating individual-keyword-focused pages, yet still create targeted, specific pages.

For example, if your website sells athletic apparel, for example, you would probably want to start one group of keywords for all of your women’s apparel, then one for all of your men’s apparel.

Next, you would want to break down those two keyword groups into smaller subgroups, such as tops and bottom apparels. Then, you can break them into even smaller groups and categories, such as tanks, shorts, pants, t-shirts, etc.

This way, each individual page is optimized by small and specific groups of SEO keywords.

However, how do you know which keywords belong to a group, and which should be separate? While it may be intuitively obvious for some cases, keywords are classified by search engines.

Knowing how search engines think would let you have a better understanding of keywords and their ranking, classification, and groupings. This can be done through keyword research.

What is Keyword Research?

Everything starts with planning.

The same applies for SEO. The process of search engine optimisation starts with keyword research, where search terms are analysed to give users a better insight into the path that they are about to sign up for.

Who will you likely face as competition?

How do you stand apart from the competition and form your unique selling proposition?

How competitive would the digital advertising space for your industry be?

Keyword research is the backbone of SEO strategies. Plenty of digital marketing campaigns rely heavily on SEO as a marketing channel to kickstart their marketing efforts. Hence, it is important to not only understand the process of keyword research but the intent behind it as well.

Furthermore, knowing how and when to use the results is also important.

Keyword research provides you with a perspective, putting a human being the question marks and queries. It allows you to know your audience better, and their questions can help you make more informed decisions on your marketing strategy or branding strategy.

However, keywords are not the only main aspect of SEO planning.

SEO has evolved over the past decade, and keywords are decreasing in importance as more and more factors arrive at the SEO scene to take the number one spot in importance.

While keyword research is still an integral part of SEO campaigns and digital marketing frameworks, keyword research has evolved into being important for other reasons as well. The meaning behind the keywords matters more and more, as bots evolve and start to place priority in solving web users enquires.

This is known as search intent.

Purpose of Keyword Research for SEO

  • Understanding Search Volume. Keyword research can shed more light on many other aspects of SEO and allow you to understand your customers’ perspective better. Through keyword research you get to understand which queries and common topics to target and the popularity of these queries. The popularity of searches can be seen from the Search Volume Metric.
  • Understanding Search Intent. It is important to learn about the why your customers are searching for. Could it be to learn about something? Do they end up on your competitor’s page because they were looking for a new service or product? Or were they finding your brand directly through search engines?

    Knowing your customer base’s search intent allow you to position yourself better in search results page. It helps you fine-tune your content to suit your customers enquires, giving you a higher chance to appear in front of their search results, based on how Google works.

  • Discovering keywords. You will likely already have a few words you would like to rank for. Usually, these words will be related to your products and services or are great seed keywords for your domain name. However, analysing these keywords is still important to understand their average monthly search volume and traffic.

    If the keyword is seldom utilised, it might not be such a good idea to throw your resources into pursuing it. Similarly, you might end up with the right keywords but in the wrong context, as choices of verbs may differ from country to country.

How to Find Keywords for SEO?

Useful Keywords Research Tools & Resources

Here are some resources that could be helpful for you in the keyword research process:

Google also has free tools available for use, such as Google Trends, Search Console and Google Analytics. All of these can help you build the foundation for your SEO strategy.

Are keywords still relevant to SEO in 2021?

In 2021, keywords and keywords research remain relevant. While their importance may have been diminished and overshadowed over the years, keywords still play a large role for SEO purposes. It is not to say that you should start adding keywords to every aspect of your website.

Search engines bots are becoming increasingly relevant and humane, being able to see the difference between spam and authentic. SEO is now more complex than putting keywords on a page.

To keep up with search engines, marketers need to evolve and make use of keyword research to explore search intent.

How do you do keyword research for SEO and rank on Google?

Step 1 – Prepare the Spreadsheet

It’s important to use spreadsheets of any kind, even your own, to check on your own progress and take down notes. You can find a ton of keyword research spreadsheets template on the internet.

Step 2 – Keyword Discovery

The next step of keyword research involves coming up with keyword ideas that are closely related to your services or product. Keyword discovery can prove to be challenging if you choose broad and competitive words like food, art, or design.

On the other hand, keywords that are too niche and unique may not be applicable as well. Few people would end up searching for ‘Christian Apparel Gifts for My Best Friend’s Birthday’ or ‘Jewellery made for people born on 29th February’.

Additionally, avoid using overly punctuated keywords with hyphens or acronyms. Intuitively, fewer people would end up typing hyphens in search engines.

The goal is to find suitable and relevant keywords for your business. There are many tools available on the net to help you with this. Ubersuggest is one of them, equipped with an intuitive user interface.

Step 3 – Keyword Decision

Take down your intended keywords in your excel spreadsheet.

It is important to consider the following:

  • Search volume – the number of keyword searches on a monthly basis. Shows how big your online ‘search’ market is.
  • SEO difficulty – estimated competition in organic search results. Shows how difficult it is to compete with people actively searching.
  • Paid difficulty – estimated competition level in terms of paid search. Shows how difficult it is to compete for ad space with competitors in the same industry.
  • Cost per click – average cost per clicks for a Google Ad. Gives business owners an idea of how much budget should be allocated to paid ads.
  • Related keywords – Different variations of your keyword phrase exists, giving you a wider net to cast and taking note of which other partner keywords you will need to rank for your website.
  • Related keywords: Classification of the various keywords and phrases. This allows you to know which parent keyword to target for each smaller category of keywords.
  • Questions. Questions will give you an answer of what problems your customers are asking or usually face when this keyword is used.

Step 4 – Keyword Analysis

Analyse the keywords that you have narrowed down to.

Use the checklist before:

  • Which one would benefit you most if your website were to be ranked for it?
  • Which of the keywords coincide with your existing product or service?
  • Which of the keywords are attractive enough (in search volume) for you to try to expand to a new market/product/service?
  • Which keywords represent the topics that you have covered? Are there other topics that you have yet to cover?

Why Keyword Research Matters for SEO?

Keywords used to be a huge aspect of SEO. However, as Google continues to modify and update its algorithm, and as other search engines model their priorities after Google, the results page starts to focus on the user’s web-surfing experience, or search intent.

This means that search results are becoming more and more directed at giving searchers the best possible results or answers to their search enquires. Hence, search intent comes into the picture.

Fulfil Your Customer’s Needs with Search Intent

Anyone who enters a question or topic into the search engine hopes to find answers and information about their enquiry. Companies that are too overly focused on integrating keywords into their campaign, without enough attention paid to establishing the quality of information of the page, will get outclassed by their competitors and neglected by Google.

Previously, companies strategised their digital marketing strategy into integrating keywords into their content. Now, it is rather about focusing on the information attached to those keywords and providing them as a door gift for your web visitors.

Having valuable content that matches and expands upon those keywords allows your website and landing pages to be more geared towards your audience and search intent.

When you fulfil your audience’s needs, you attract more traffic to your page and obtain more relevant leads. This can also help with your branding strategy, as it shows that your website and company care for your consumers.

Leads Only Need to Land at One Spot

Keyword is a crucial element in bringing leads to your page, but search intent is responsible for keeping them there. With information all available on one page, one area with thousands of search results, leads will be more likely to remain on your page and engage with your content.

Increase time spent on your page is not only a positive signal to Google’s algorithm but also helps you have a better chance of converting the reader into a paying customer, to help your business earn more leads and grow.

Position Yourself as An Authority

If you provide them with an one-stop-shop for all information that fulfil their curiosity, they don’t need to visit other websites to obtain answers.

They remain on your page to engage with your content, and your brand. This is important, as it builds up your reputation as an authoritative website, with valuable information that no other website can replicate.

The key to that involves disciplined content planning and effective content marketing.

What should you know about Keyword Research and SEO?

Before you start keyword research and SEO, it is important to remember the end goal of keyword research. You want to appear in front of your confused, curious, and hopefully, interested customers. To achieve that, you will have to understand your customers and community.

Ask yourself more questions:

  • In my industry, what related questions do people search for?
  • Who is searching for these enquires? What is their age group? Where are they geographically located? Are your potentially customers located locally or nationally?
  • What terms are people searching for?
  • Are there seasonal dips and spikes in searches throughout the years? Are there any momentous festive seasons or occasions that I should leverage on?
  • Are there more searches performed on mobile devices as opposed to desktop searches?
  • Can you help transform your group of customers into a community, using content marketing?

All of these are important questions to ask, as it allows you to understand the perspective of your customers.

Final Words

Keywords show you what the customers are looking for. However, the ‘why’ behind the search is much more important these days.

Are keywords still important for SEO?

Very much so. However, the outdated focus of keyword manipulation and keyword stuffing has been replaced by other aspects. More attention is paid to keyword placement and search intent. With these changes, different marketing strategies and directions come into the digital marketing scene.

Choosing the right keywords for your research is the start to a successful marketing campaign. In the field of SEO, experience goes a long way. Be sure to engage an experienced digital marketing agency to make your SEO journey a smooth-sailing experience.

Find out about your consumers’ search intent today.

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