In the constantly evolving world of SEO, it’s easy to overlook the importance of keyword research. Keyword research is the basis and arguably the most important value in regards to search engine optimization. Without keywords, what we know as SEO would not exist.
What are keywords exactly? They’re the words and phrases that people type into search engines to find the information or website they need. Keywords are essential to every website online as they drive target traffic. When choosing the keywords for your business, it is important to dedicate time and thought into your keyword research.
Think Like Your Customer
The goal of keyword research is to not only attract traffic to your website, but to attract the right traffic. People actively searching for your product or service will produce results. Get to know your target audience as well as their needs and values. Developing a customer persona helps to achieve the right keywords for your industry.
Always remember that everything on your website, from the images to the content is for the audience. Keep this same attitude in mind when keyword researching. What words or phrases would the typical customer use to search for your website? Your current customers are valuable sources of information for keywords. What terms or language do they use when communicating to you about your product or service?
Using public forum type tools with common customer questions are also useful. Answer the Public(link) is great for researching the terms and phrases that people use when searching for something. Research the content that your targeted audience already turns to for information. You can use this language to create a list of possible keywords and topics.
Use On-Site Search
Another valuable tool to use when keyword researching is on-site search queries. People are coming to your site with a purpose and type exactly what they need. Because of this, on-site search information can be one of the most effective keyword research tools.
The first step in utilizing on-site search is, of course, having a website that is site-search friendly. Ensuring that your site has a search box is not only useful for you, but for your customers as well. The search feature allows users to find information on your site easily, giving a higher chance of conversion. On the back end, the curated list of on-site search queries provides valuable keyword data.
Identify Your Niche Topics
In simplest terms, a niche is an overall general topic. A niche is the main theme of your website or blog, with all sub-topics relating back to that topic. When you have your niche, users view you as an expert on the particular topic. Establishing a niche for your website is important for building a loyal following and generating quality web traffic.
Identifying and coming up with long tail keywords that apply to your niche is critical for SEO. Niche keywords are very specific long-tail keywords pertaining to a particular industry. What is the significance of niche keywords? Think of it this way: When a user types in a highly specific keyword search term, they tend to know exactly what they need. They have already done their research and most likely are ready to make a product or service purchase.
Because of the specificity, long-tail keywords and phrases tend to get less search traffic. However, for the same reason, they have a higher conversion rate. Users know what they are looking and have an intent when searching. To make the most out of a niche keyword strategy, it is vital to be knowledgeable and have a clear vision of your industry and website. Knowing the ins and outs of your business and the industry will aide in the discovering the most valuable niche keywords.
There are advantages of niche keywords getting less search traffic, however, due to the competitiveness of the web market. With millions of web pages available to the public, it can be very difficult to rank for most markets. Highly specific niche keywords are easier to rank for. It’s all about using the right keywords to target the users that are looking for you.
Stay Up to Date
Just like everything else involving SEO, keywords and the language people use to search are constantly evolving. Stay up to date by repeating your keyword research regularly. Not only does this keep you updated with the current language and keywords used by your target users, but also provides potential new content topics.
Staying up to date is especially critical for long tail keywords in SEO. As new technologies arise and updates are implemented, new keyword terms emerge. As the user’s search terms change, search engine algorithms are adjusted to reflect these changes. In order to stay competitive in SEO, it is key to continuously review and update your keyword research.
Useful Keyword Research Tools
There are several keyword research tools that are designed to help you build a successful keyword strategy. Here are a few that we recommend:
- Keyword Tool. Keyword Tool is a great starting point in building your keyword foundation. It uses Google’s Autocomplete feature and data to create its own database of long-tail keywords. Keyword Tool is also useful because it gives you the option to search for keyword suggestions for Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and the App Store. The free version allows for 750+ keyword suggestions for every search term.
- Google Keyword Planner. Google Keyword Planner is made for advertising and great for conducting competitor keyword research. With Google Keyword Planner, you can build strong keyword lists and see how keywords would perform in an advertising campaign. This resource is extremely useful in uncovering organic long-tail keywords.
- Google Search Console. Google Search Console provides the data and tools to monitor your website’s performance in Google Search results. Not only that, but this resource assists in maintaining your websites ranking by increasing visibility. The Search Analytics report provides some of the search keywords and terms users used to click through your site.
Now it’s time to set your research plan in action! Keyword research can be time-consuming and difficult, but by keeping these tips in mind the hard work will pay off. Spend time ensuring that you know the ins and outs of your industry and think like your customer. Study the existing content in your field that could be valuable sources of information. Use user-generated content to find the language your customers are using. The possibilities of keyword research are endless! Using the right keywords for your website will give you the competitive edge online.