Keyword research is probably, if not, and we’re going to say it, the most significant element and focus of any digital strategy.
There’s a lot to keyword searches.
Apart from finding keywords, you then have to identify the right keywords for your business and use them in a way that your audience wants to receive the information.
There are a range of some great (and some not so good) keyword tools to help, and we’ve mentioned a few throughout this guide, and of course, there are the professionals at Buzz Panda too.
If you want (and maybe need) to move up in the rankings on Google, Bing, and even Yahoo, and drive more traffic to your site, capturing those all-important leads, then this keyword research guide is for you.
Now, starting at the very beginning…
Keyword Research step by step guide
In its simplest terms, keyword research is where you actively seek out popular words and phrases that people are currently using in search engines.
What’s more, keyword research, if done properly, should affect all SEO tasks and marketing you have lined up. For example, it should impact your content topics and content promotion, outreach emails, on-page SEO, the works!
Including your keywords into these other areas helps to the point that piece of particular content in the right direction. Which ultimately is what we’re all aiming for – our information seen by our ideal customer.
The biggest benefit of carrying out keyword analysis is that it allows you to understand what your ideal audience is searching for and how that piece of content you’re going to produce answers this very question.
Where to start your search
Knowing how to do keyword research is essential.
We’d recommend starting with a brainstorming session. Listing all of the topics, themes, words, etc. linked to your business, the services you offer, and who your current target audience is.
These topics can be wide and varied, and this is great. It’s a starting point that you can then build upon and really narrow down.
Narrowing down your topics into more useful keywords
We have some great keyword research tips to help you achieve this and gather up a range of keywords. Firstly, however, we’d recommend opening up an excel spreadsheet and recording all of this information. This will make it easier to record keyword details, rank your keywords, monitor the competitiveness of your keywords, discard the ones that are no longer relevant, etc.
Now that we have that sorted, gathering a range of keywords can come from some very handy places:
Googles “Searches related to,” a tool listed at the bottom of a search results page. Here you can type in a broad term, and Google will display other popular searches within the same area.
Wikipedia. More than just for information. Type in your first very broad keyword and Wikipedia will bring you an entry where you might find some hidden gems of keywords within the contents table. Clicking on these might take you to another, still related page, but with a different contents table, hence different, but still appropriate, keywords.
Google’s suggestion – as you begin to type your topic into Google, Google will soon suggest its own searches based on what others have already been searching for.
Reddit – an ideal place to look on threads, comments from users, chat themes, etc. You can also use the tool keyworddit, which will scan Reddit for you, highlighting any words and phrases.
Forums – just like Reddit, checking in on forums where your potential customers are and following threads and chats can throw up multiple keywords. You can also type “your keyword + forum” to help narrow down your search.
Many hands make light work
For keywords, many good SEO tools make light work – and that’s just what we like to hear!
Some keyword tools that can help with your keyword research, providing you with information such as keyword difficulty, click-through rates, volume, and of course, alternative keywords etc, include:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- ExplodingTopics.com – highlighting current trend terms
- AnswerThePublic – provides questions searched around specific keywords.
- KeywordsEverywhere – shows keywords from all of the major search engines.
- Ubersuggest – suggests new keywords based on what you enter.
- SEMrush – a paid tool but a huge timesaver!
How competitive should you be?
There are many factors when choosing the right keywords for you and your business.
One of these factors is understanding keyword difficulty, i.e., how competitive a keyword is.
Sometimes choosing the most competitive and most used keyword out there won’t rank you very high – in fact, you could even find yourself much lower down the rankings as a result.
Instead, we’d advise you to find that unique keyword. The one that doesn’t have a lot of competition. The one that will help you get into the top three of these SERPs.
We understand that this is sometimes easier said than done, but we do have some tricks (and a lot of knowledge and experience) up to our sleeves.
Keyword research tips to beat the competition
Long-tail keywords are typically less competitive, more specific, more focused, and often more valuable. For example, instead of “home renovations,” you could opt for “modern bathroom renovations,” “most popular kitchen designs,” or even “local builders in Leeds.” These types of keywords often convert much better because the search is more specific, so you know people aren’t there just to browse.
Check out what is being displayed on Google’s first page. For example, when you type in a potential keyword, are authoritative sites such as Wikipedia popping up or smaller blog posts? If it is the latter, you’ll stand a much better chance of reaching those top spots with this particular keyword.
Create an FAQ page and cover off as many questions that your searchers ask as you can – this is a great way to boost your organic traffic quickly.
Using tools such as SEMrush will provide you with a competition ranking feature, doing the work for you.
Narrow down your keywords by your location. If you only offer home renovations in Newcastle, for example, add this to your keywords. If you operate further afield i.e., North East England, use this geo-specific research to ensure your content is more relevant to your target audience.
CanIRank is another online tool that compares keyword competition with your site, providing you with a ranking probability at the end, which is extremely useful.
Carry out some SERP analysis so you can identify the competition and compare your own website’s domain authority against others. (Domain authority scores domains between 1 and 100. The higher the domain’s authority, the more likely you are to rank for your optimised keywords. 28 and higher will typically see you on page 1)
Eenie, meeny, miny, moe
So, there’s a little more to choosing your absolute keywords than simply stabbing your pen at the list you’ve generated and picking that one!
It’s about picking the right keyword at the right time for the right piece of content that is all suitable and relevant to your business.
Picking the right keyword boils down to:
- Search volume
- Estimated organic click-through rate
- Cost per click
- Business fit
- What is trending now and coming up in the future
- Understanding your audience, and this is what we’re coming up to next.
Ask about your keywords
You need to understand your audience in great detail. So, when looking at your keywords, you need to understand what people are really looking for when searching for this keyword. Then how are you going to provide them with the perfect answer?
You can’t know enough about your audience; your keyword analysis depends on it!
You need to know, in detail, what your ideal customer looks like, who their customers are, their goals, and how you will help them achieve them.
- What is my audience currently searching for?
- Who is searching, what is their profile, makeup?
- Is it all year round or at specific points throughout the year?
- What questions are being asked?
- Why do they want what they’ve searched for?
- Where are they located?
From here, you can build up a solid platform to provide the best content to answer and satisfy their needs/questions.
Of course, you also need to understand your searcher’s intent; it sounds mysterious, we know.
Ultimately, it is about understanding how people what to receive the information they have searched for.
Understanding this further helps you again to create the perfect content piece.
The main areas of content can be defined as queries relating to:
- Those wanting information
- Those who want to know where to find something
- Those looking to buy
- Those who are looking for information about a company/business service
- And local queries.
To know what type of content your audience wants, type in your keyword into the search, and check out the results.
Actions you need to take
Produce SEO optimised content in a range of different formats i.e., blog post, video, how-to guides, infographics, etc.
Create content around related keywords and synonyms – it’s good to mix it up a bit.
Diversify your selection of keywords across your pages, so each page becomes unique and individually optimised.
Check out your competition and look at some of the keywords they’re using, then look to use different, or prioritise the key ones. Taking advantage of missed opportunities is an excellent way for you to get ahead of the game.
Use the right tools for you.
Building a keyword research strategy isn’t always easy.
If you’re looking to boost your position online and would love a list of keywords perfect for you, get in touch with our SEO Specialist today!