Keyword research is the foundation of SEO, and understanding how to pull them out on your website can significantly boost your digital presence. As a small or medium business owner, mastering this skill can transform your website into a potent tool, attracting more traffic, increasing your ranking, and propelling your business to new heights.
In this article, I have put together a thorough guide on how to do keyword research for SEO. These step-by-step techniques behind keyword research will pave a path to enhance your site’s visibility and reach.
Keyword research is the process of identifying, analyzing, and utilizing the terms that people enter into search engines when looking for specific content, products, or services. These keywords are the foundation of your website’s content, guiding you in understanding what your target audience is seeking.
Why Keyword Research is Essential?
Understanding the significance of keyword research is essential for your online success. It not only helps in content creation but is also critical in making your website more visible to your potential customers. By using the right keywords, you can boost your site’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), increase traffic, and improve conversion rates.
Search Demand of a Keyword
Search demand represents the frequency with which users search for a particular keyword. When you conduct keyword research, you are trying to tap into this demand, identifying the popular keywords your target audience uses to search for services or products similar to yours.
It’s a symbiotic relationship; understanding search demand guides your keyword research, and using the right keywords enables you to meet the search demand effectively. Thus, mastering the dynamics of this relationship is a key step in optimizing your website and enhancing your online visibility.
Seed keywords, or primary keywords, are the simplest and most essential keywords related to your business. They are typically one or two words long and reflect the core idea or offering of your business.
For example, if you own a bakery, your seed keywords might include terms like ‘bakery,’ ‘pastries,’ or ‘cakes.’
Seed keywords help in identifying your competition in the digital landscape. By inserting these primary keywords into search engines, you can get a clear picture of who your competitors are.
Methods to Brainstorm Seed Keywords
The first method is to think like your customers by identifying the basic terms they might use to search for your business or services. Write these terms down as a starting point.
Next, consider using keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush. These tools not only suggest high-volume keywords related to your business but also provide insights into competition and search trends.
Finally, take a look at your competitors. Identify the keywords they are ranking for, as these can provide valuable ideas and an understanding of the competitive landscape in your niche.
Search intent, or user intent, is the user’s primary goal when typing a query into a search engine. There are typically four types of search intent:
1. Informational Intent
When users have informational intent, they seek knowledge on a specific topic, product, or service. Queries like “how to find keywords on website” or “a step-by-step guide to keyword research” demonstrate informational intent.
2. Navigational Intent
Navigational intent occurs when users want to visit a particular website. In this case, keywords are typically brand names or specific website URLs. For instance, typing “Facebook” into a search engine shows navigational intent.
3. Transactional Intent
Transactional intent is when a user is inclined to purchase or use a service. Queries might include terms like “Buy Now” or “Book An Appointment.”
4. Commercial Investigation
Users with commercial investigation intent are looking to purchase in the future and are comparing different products or services. For example, a search like “best SEO tools 2024” indicates commercial investigation.
How to Align Content With Search Intent?
Aligning your content with search intent begins with understanding the type of search intent your keywords fall into.
For navigational intent, ensure your website and its pages are optimized for the brand or product searched, as detailed in our guide on the HTML navigation bar.
Transactional intent requires that your content aids the buying process with clear product/service descriptions and a seamless checkout process.
For commercial investigation, create comparison content, reviews, or detailed guides that help the user decide, as exemplified by ourlaw firm website design tips. Always remember satisfying the user’s search intent should be the primary goal of your content.
Analyzing Competitor Keywords
Let’s explore how to effectively analyze competitor keywords and use this knowledge to enhance your online presence.
1. Identify Gaps
By analyzing the keywords your competitors are using, you can identify any gaps in your keyword strategy. This can help you find new opportunities for keywords you might have overlooked.
2. Keyword Relevance
It allows you to understand which keywords are relevant in your industry. If multiple competitors are ranking for the same keywords, these keywords are likely important for your target audience.
3. Learn from Their Successes and Failures
By studying your competitors’ keyword strategies, you can learn from their successes and failures. This can guide your strategy and help you avoid potential pitfalls.
4. Competitive Advantage
Understanding your competitors’ keyword strategies can give you a competitive advantage by allowing you to optimize your content for keywords they may be underutilizing.
Finally, analyzing your competitors’ keywords can serve as a benchmark for your SEO efforts, helping you gauge your progress and adjust your strategy as needed.
Tools and Techniques to Identify Competitor Keywords
There are a variety of tools and techniques to identify competitor keywords, such as:
SEMrush is a versatile tool that provides extensive keyword data, including search volume, competition, long-tail keywords, and relevant phrases. It also offers a complete suite of competitive intelligence features, making it ideal for analyzing competitor keywords. You can simply type the competitor’s website URL, and it will show all the keywords they are ranking for, their position in SERPs, and the volume of traffic those keywords attract.
How to Use Semrush
Using SEMrush effectively involves more than just the Keyword Magic tool. Start here by entering your seed keyword to get hundreds of keyword suggestions. Then, use the “Keyword Difficulty” tool to gauge how hard it would be to rank for each keyword. Also, use the “Keyword Gap” tool to compare your website’s keyword profile to competitors, finding keywords they rank for, but you don’t.
A powerful tool that allows you to ‘peek’ into your competitors’ backlink profiles and keywords. It provides a list of keywords your competitors are ranking for and the pages on their site driving the most traffic.
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer provides detailed keyword information, including keyword difficulty, search volume, and click metrics. It also offers a unique ‘clicks per search’ metric, revealing how many people click on the search results after a particular search.
How to Use Ahrefs
With Ahrefs, enter your seed keyword into the “Keywords Explorer.” Then, look at the “Keyword Difficulty” score to understand how hard it would be to rank for that keyword. Utilize the “Search Volume” and “Clicks” data to know if a keyword has enough search traffic and if it can bring you actual clicks. Finally, explore the “SERP Overview” report to see the top-ranking pages for your keyword.
3. Moz’s Keyword Explorer
This tool offers a ‘See Competition’ feature that allows you to see the top-ranking sites for a particular keyword, helping you to identify your competitors and the keywords they’re using.
Moz Keyword Explorer is another comprehensive tool that offers keyword suggestions, SERP analysis, and search volume data. Its standout feature is the ‘Priority Score’ that helps you focus on the most valuable keywords.
SpyFu lets you search for any domain and see all the keywords it ranks for. It also shows the keywords your competitors are bidding on for pay-per-click campaigns.
5. Google’s Related Searches
At the end of a Google search result page, you will find a ‘Related Searches’ section. These are keywords that Google considers relevant to your search, and they can provide insights into competitor keywords.
6. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a widely used keyword research tool that offers insights into keyword search volumes, competition, and trends. You can uncover new keyword ideas and see how often certain keywords are searched and how their search volumes change over time.
How to Use Google Keyword Planner
To use the Google Keyword Planner effectively, enter a seed keyword into the search bar of the tool. Review the results to find keywords with high search volumes and low competition. Pay particular attention to the “Ad impression share” column, which indicates how often your ad will likely appear for a keyword.
Consider also the “Top of page bid (low range and high range)” to gain insight into the competitive landscape and potential cost of targeting each keyword.
AnswerThePublic is an innovative tool that utilizes Google and Bing’s auto-suggest feature to create a visual map of questions people are asking about a particular keyword. It’s especially useful for discovering long-tail keywords and content ideas.
Evaluate Keyword Metrics
Evaluating keyword metrics helps identify a keyword’s potential and provides insights into the competitive landscape. Understanding search volume, keyword difficulty, and CPC is necessary for an effective SEO strategy. Let’s delve into how to evaluate these metrics effectively to fine-tune your SEO strategy.
1. Search Volume
Search volume refers to the number of searches expected for a keyword within a given timeframe. It is a vital metric as it indicates the traffic potential of a keyword. High search volume keywords are likely to drive more traffic to your website, but they can also be more competitive.
2. Keyword Difficulty
Keyword difficulty measures how hard it would be to rank in organic search results for a particular keyword. This metric considers factors such as the number of websites already ranking for the keyword, the strength of those websites, and the quality of their content. A high keyword difficulty score means it could be harder to outrank the competition. Lower keyword difficulty signals less competition but often comes with lower search volume.
3. Cost Per Click (CPC)
Cost Per Click (CPC) is a handy metric for businesses running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, as it indicates the cost you would pay for each click in your PPC campaigns. However, even if you’re focusing on SEO, CPC can provide insight into keyword value. Generally, a high CPC indicates that a keyword is highly valuable and can potentially convert well, as businesses are willing to pay more for clicks.
Tip for Selecting the Right Keywords
When selecting keywords, balance is key. Aim for keywords with a reasonable search volume, lower keyword difficulty, and higher CPC, as discussed in our article onwhere to start with digital marketing.
This combination typically offers a good trade-off between reaching a large audience and facing manageable competition while targeting keywords likely to convert. It’s essential to align these selections with the search intent of your target audience.
How to Find Keywords on a Website?
Identifying the right keywords on your website is crucial to optimizing your SEO strategy, driving relevant traffic, and increasing conversions.
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a powerful tool that provides insights into what keywords your site is currently ranking for, similar to our guide onhow to start a conversation online. Simply navigate to the ‘Performance’ tab and look at the ‘Queries’ section. Here, you’ll see a list of search queries users have typed into Google to find your website.
2. Website SEO Audit Tools
SEO audit tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can provide a comprehensive list of keywords your website currently ranks for, much like our detailedtips to improve your real estate web design. These tools can also show keyword ranking changes over time, helping you understand how your SEO efforts are progressing.
3. Competitor Analysis
Review your competitors’ websites and note the keywords they are targeting. Look at their title tags, meta descriptions, and content. Tools like MozBar can provide these details. Understanding what keywords your competitors are ranking for can offer insights into industry-specific keywords and help shape your strategy.
How does Content Type affect keyword Targeting?
The type of content you produce significantly influences your keyword-targeting strategy.
1. Blog Posts
Blog posts are typically suited for long-tail keywords with informational intent. They allow you to dive deep into topics related to your business and answer potential queries your target audience might have.
2. Product and Services Pages
Product and service pages, on the other hand, should target transactional keywords. These pages are where conversions happen, so they should align with search queries showing a clear intent to purchase.
3. FAQs and Guides
FAQs and guides can target a mix of informational and transactional keywords, providing both an educational resource and a path to purchase, similar to our comprehensive guide oncreating a restaurant website.
Importance of Content Depth, Relevance, and Freshness
Content depth, relevance, and freshness are critical to successful keyword targeting. Let’s explore why.
1. Content Depth
Content depth refers to the comprehensive coverage of a topic. It’s crucial as it helps you rank for a wide range of long-tail keywords linked to your primary keyword. In-depth content also boosts your credibility, positioning you as a thought leader in your niche.
2. Content Relevance
Relevance is about ensuring your content meets the needs and expectations of your target audience. It directly impacts your search engine rankings as search algorithms prioritize content that closely matches a user’s query. Relevant content also increases the likelihood of user engagement and conversion.
3. Content Freshness
Fresh content is content that is current, engaging, and up-to-date. Search engines often favor fresh content due to its timeliness and relevance to users. Regularly updating your content, whether by rewriting old posts or adding new insights, can improve your site’s visibility and keep your audience engaged.
Pitfalls to Avoid in Keyword Research
While conducting keyword research, it’s important to avoid common traps and mistakes.
1. Over-reliance on Search Volume
One common pitfall in keyword research is over-reliance on search volume. While search volume can indicate potential traffic, it doesn’t necessarily convert into actual visitors or customers. Keywords with high search volume often have high competition, making it difficult to rank them. Moreover, high-volume keywords may not always align with the search intent of your target audience.
2. Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords
Ignoring long-tail keywords is another mistake to avoid. These keywords, often longer and more specific, may have lower search volumes but can offer high conversion rates as they are more aligned with user intent. They also tend to be less competitive, making them valuable for smaller businesses trying to establish their presence.
3. Neglecting Local SEO
Lastly, paying attention to local SEO can be a costly mistake for businesses serving a specific geographical area. Local keywords can significantly improve your visibility among local customers. Failing to include location-based keywords in your research can lead to missed opportunities for traffic and conversions.
4. Risks of Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords
Focusing solely on high-volume keywords while neglecting long-tail keywords can risk your SEO strategy. Long-tail keywords, despite having lower search volumes, are usually more specific and aligned closely with user intent. This specificity can lead to higher conversion rates as it attracts more targeted traffic, users who are more likely to convert.
Understanding how to research keywords and find keywords on a website is an essential step in making a successful SEO strategy for your business. It not only helps in driving relevant traffic but also plays a crucial role in increasing conversions.
Ignoring the importance of thorough keyword research can mean missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with your target audience and grow your online presence. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your competitors, as understanding the keywords they are ranking can provide valuable insights for optimizing your keyword strategy, as we discuss in our article onwebsite navigation best practices for 2023.
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Founder of Tech Artisans, Ahsan has over 12 years of experience in web design, SEO, UX, marketing, and architecting solutions for companies across the globe. He has an Electrical Engineering Degree and GSoC successful participation and is now focused on helping small businesses thrive online and grow their business.
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