It is not easy to perform keyword research that will yield great results. So it is important to know how to do it properly. Many people often confuse the idea of keyword research with choosing search terms that have high volume or with building special links and working upon ranking a single keyword on its own.
Keyword Research is the basic building block of a good SEO campaign or strategy. When performed in the right manner, even this basic SEO campaign can help you achieve the target of ranking your web pages on the top and, in return, getting more traffic to your website.
What Is Keyword Research?
Defined in simple terms, researching for keywords is the simple process of discovering new words or a collection of words that an average user is likely to search for on the web browser, to build his content around those terms.
Every SEO activity is impacted by the act of researching for the right keywords. This also involves finding topics for content, developing the right SEO for the page, and aiming for the right promotion and reach. It is quite obvious to understand hence, why keyword research forms the base of any SEO activity.
There are two ways to categorize keywords. The categorization is made based on length, and another one is made based on nature.
Based on intent, keywords can be divided into 4 different types. Based on this categorization, it can be concluded that every keyword has its own importance and is based upon the value that it produces.
We will be discussing four main categories for different types of search queries with clear intent.
- Informational keywords: Use of ‘how to,’ ‘what,’ and more.
- Navigational keywords: Based on a query on a brand.
- Commercial investigation keywords: Use of specific attributes such as ‘vs, ‘best.’
- Transactional keywords: Use words that promote a transaction, such as ‘buy,’ ‘download.’
The second categorization can be done in the following two types:
1. Short tail keyword
As the name suggests, a short tail keyword is one where there is the use of fewer than 3 words in a keyword. For example, consider phrases like ‘home solutions, wedding themes, best mobiles,’ etc.
These keywords are also known by the name of head terms. Ideally, these phrases are like the first thing you might think of when deciding to search for something on the search engine.
2. Long tail keywords
When compared to short-tail keywords, these are quite different. Ideally, a long-tail keyword would be longer than 3 words. These keywords do not leave much scope for imagination since they are quite targeted.
There are many benefits of using long-tail keywords, such as that they help bring the targeted audience to your platform. They might not bring back a huge audience, but they will work best to bring the right audience.
A few examples of long-tail keywords include ‘best laptops for gaming under $500 or Samsung mobile phone best price’ and such. As you may be able to see, long-tail keywords are quite more specific than short-tail keywords.
Best Keyword Research Tools
It can be quite hectic to work on researching keywords and, frankly, might consume a lot of time as well. This is why you can use some keyword research tools to make the task easier for you.
When working for keyword research, here are some of the tools which will assist you:
- Google Search Central – Make use of the Google search console queries section, which will help you find related keywords with ease.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics provides you with search queries and keywords.
- SEMrush – This tool is helpful, especially when you need to obtain a list of keywords with related search volume. For more info, be sure to check my Semrush review.
- Ahrefs – You can use this tool to extract keywords based on your competitors’ and more related terms based on the search volume and difficulty of keywords. The tool also offers a feature to compare 3 or more competitors and discover keywords that are easier to target.
- SpyFu – This tool is quite useful when you need to check what your competitors are up to. From the traffic that they are gaining, you will be able to obtain the list of keywords that they are using. The tool also offers some other unique features which can be very useful for your purpose. For more info, you can see the SpyFu review.
- Long Tail Pro – By using this tool, you will be able to gain access to long-tail keywords. From a business perspective, long-tail keywords are far more useful than short-tail keywords. For more info, you can check the Long Tail Pro review.
Researching Keywords Process
Following are the steps involved in the process of keyword research with the help of mentioned tools.
It would be best if you were decided on the topic. Let’s say you are in the business of running a digital marketing agency, then you might ideally be searching for things like email marketing, social media, web traffic, blogging, etc.
However, you need to understand that these are not keywords but merely topics you are looking to work with. It is based on these topics that you will be searching for keywords. You can also make use of Google and YouTube for running this search.
With these topics in mind, proceed to write them on the search bar on Google and find out the phrases that Google suggests back to you. Mark these because these might be perfect to be added to your list.
This is because when Google suggests something back to you, it is quite obvious that many people out there are already looking for exactly these things. However, don’t end your search with Google Suggest just yet.
Analogously, you can also make use of YouTube suggestions. At the bottom of the Google search result page, you will also find an option to look for Searches related to the option. This is another way to find keywords.
Same as Google suggests, these ideas come straight from what people are searching on Google. This way, you already get to know that these topics are quite popular on Google. It is almost like Google is telling you on its own that these topics are quite popular among people, and they are actually searching for these.
Obtain the search volume, click rate, and potential of driving traffic. Use above mentioned tools to check those stats.
Get your competitor’s page traffic data. This will help you in finding topics and the potential for additional business. The best tools to use for this purpose are Ahrefs and SpyFu.
Choose a targeted keyword and identify the search intent behind it. This can be done by analyzing the top 10 Google search results for that particular topic. Although this needs to be done manually, tools like SpyFu and Long Tail Pro can assist you in the task.
Assess whether you can fulfill the search intent. If the answer to this is no, then you need to move on, but if it is a yes, then assess the related ranking difficulty.
If you need to check the competition level that a keyword faces, you can follow these steps. Do a quick search for the keyword on Google. Check the sites which rank on the search result page.
If the results on the first page display some grand website like Wikipedia, then that keyword needs to be struck off your list. However, if the results on the page are not quite significant, there is a chance that you can also hit the spot on this page.
Some tools like Moz and SEMrush also feature a tool that allows you to check for the difficulty of a keyword.
Now that you have a targeted keyword list, link building should not be the only way to rank. To fulfill the needs of your users, you will need to create content around these keywords.
As per the Google algorithm, the content will only rank if it works to fulfill the need of a user. This is why you need to devote special time to the creation of valuable content.
Take care of things like the density of the keyword, the proximity, and the length of the content. The main keyword and the related keywords must be used properly.
After completing the placement of keywords on the content, you will have to work on factors like meta title, meta description, the structure of data, and more. These are some of the off-page activities which are just as relevant.
The next step would be to build links to the content you have created with the keywords inserted. Branded keywords and anchor text will help you boost the organic search traffic to your website.
If there is a need to search for more keywords, you will have to start the process from the beginning. Although, if the keywords are already ready with you, you will only require working on the last two steps again.
Perform Keyword Research Summary
Working with these tools can give you an edge in your business and help you perform better in the digital domain. Using the steps explained above, you can easily build your content around useful keywords, which can prove to be a game-changer for you.
DISCLOSURE: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Read more about it here.