How To Do Keyword Research For Beginners
If you are a beginner starting to learn about the tools of digital marketing or a business owner trying to make your website rank higher on Google, you will have likely heard the term “Search Engine Optimization”, or SEO as it’s more commonly referred to as.
SEO is the process of optimizing your website content and other relevant pages to rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The top position on the first page of any search engine results page, also called SERP, is the most coveted. If your website shows up first on the search results for a search query relevant to your business or your content, then it means that you are doing SEO right!
Before you can start working out a proper SEO strategy, you will need to establish the foundations first, and step 1 is doing keyword research.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Simply put, a keyword is a word or phrase that helps to describe what your content is. By researching and targeting the right keywords, you can improve your website and its visibility on search engines.
Using keywords important to your business and incorporating them in the right spots on your content, Google will be able to make sense of what your content is about and rank your website or content higher on the search results page if it matches what people are searching for on the internet.
For example, If you own a pet shop, then some keywords can be dog food, pet collars or pet grooming.
2 Main Types of SEO Keywords:
Short tail keywords, also called seed keywords, usually comprise 1-2 words and refer to broad topics. They are the most common search terms with a high search volume but a low conversion rate compared to long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are a more extended version of seed keywords with three or more words. They are very focused on a subject as they seek to answer a specific question a person might have wherever they are on the customer journey. Search volume is comparatively much lower than short tail keywords, but they have a high conversion rate.
Both short tail keyword and long tail keyword have their uses. Short tail keywords can help raise your website visibility and branding, while long tail keywords are specific vital terms used to attract high intent qualified leads.
There are other types of SEO keywords such as short-term, long-term, product defining (branded), customer defining, geo-targeting (local), and intent targeting.
Why Is Keyword Research Necessary?
Keyword research helps you understand what people are searching for online and gives you ideas for creating content that will appeal to your target audience. It also enables you to determine which keywords are worth targeting, based on their competitiveness and how much traffic they generate.
There are several different tools and techniques you can use for keyword research, but the most crucial part is to constantly be testing and experimenting to find what works best for your business. So don’t underestimate the importance of keyword research – it could make all the difference in your SEO efforts.
2 Reasons Why It Is Essential To Start Doing Your Keyword Research:
1. It helps you to identify market trends.
By using a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends, you can identify what people search online and the popularity of the search terms they use over time. You can even uncover hot topics in your industry!
2. It helps you to generate ideas for content.
Once you know what your target people are looking for, you are equipped with the knowledge to tackle their problems and offer your solutions. The same Google tools mentioned earlier like the keyword planner can help you develop several keyword ideas to create content or optimize existing ones to draw in the audience.
In summary, keyword research helps you find appropriate ideas or specific keywords that match your answers to audience queries. You can then craft your content relevant to their desires (which Google loves) to help your website rank better and higher.
Factors To Remember When Doing Keyword Research
Essentially, there are three factors to consider when discovering which list of keywords for SEO is essential to your business:
1. Search Intent
Search intent is the purpose behind the search query on a search engine.
When users first turn to Google to search for something, they are not necessarily jumping straight into purchasing. Instead, they tend to start with a search for information for all possible solutions, narrowing down the list by reviewing all options and searching for different words and phrases before they are ready to make a decision.
There are four types of search intent:
- Informational — when the person is looking for general information or an answer to a question (for example: what is iPhone)
- Navigational — when the person is searching for a specific website or page (for instance, Apple shop iPhone)
- Commercial — when the person is doing research and evaluating all alternatives (for example, iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 review)
- Transactional — when the person is ready to make a purchase (for example: buy iPhone)
As you can see in the example above, the customer journey is not straightforward and the search queries a user makes reflect that point. But once you know what people are searching for on Google per month, you can write and optimize content that matches their search intent. You can fully capture their attention and interest, drive traffic to your site, and win their business.
2. Search Volume
Search Volume is the number of times a keyword has been searched for within a certain period.
It is only an estimate and changes regularly as search engines crawl and index new pages so search volumes should only be used as proxies for user search behaviour.
One thing to remember is that SEO keywords with high search volume are typically very competitive, as many other websites also target those exact keywords. This means it is unlikely your website will have a high SERP ranking if you merely target those keywords with massive search volumes unless you are an established company already seen as an authoritative figure in the industry.
Regardless, search volume is still a helpful metric in determining the popularity of the keyword and is often looked at together with keyword difficulty in guiding content strategy.
3. Keyword Difficulty
Keyword Difficulty is the evaluation of the difficulty of the keyword to rank organically on the first page of SERP.
There are many factors a paid keyword research tool such as Ahrefs Keyword Explorer will consider when it comes to determining the difficulty level of a search term, such as the backlink profile, domain authority, and content relevance of the top ranking websites for those search terms.
By looking at the keyword difficulty, you can decide if a keyword with serious difficulty is worth the time and money to compete for. It might be better to focus on niche keywords that usually have a mid to low difficulty.
Our key take-aways about doing keyword research for SEO is that it may be tedious, but it is essential for building the right content for the right audiences that they can find at the right time. For beginners, remember that keywords research is important in Link Building as well as you have to use certain keywords as the anchor text. When suggesting metadata or meta description, most SEO best practices involve keywords as a critical part in improving head terms such as Title tag, H1 and Meta Description. Whether you are writing a blog post or suggesting an additional piece of content, putting the best keywords for SEO on a type of content for your target audience helps improve the relevancy score. In modern SEO, keyword stuffing on content around specific keywords won’t help. Also, everything starts with Google Search, from the Primary keyword normal with high search volume or any head terms, words and phrases that people search in Google.
Search engine optimization, as a whole, can help your website rank high on the search results page. Keyword research enables you to craft the content and marketing messages that your target audience is looking for and then place them on strategic parts of your website, which is part of the keyword mapping process.
In other words, without proper keyword research and consequently the right content or marketing messages, you can still get visitors to your websites but you will not hold their attention long enough for them to convert into a customer.
If you have any questions about keyword research, link building, using the google keyword planner, or SEO in general or need help to make your website more visible on search engines, feel free to contact us! We offer FREE consultation calls and website audits to help you see what SEO keywords are important to get started on your online transformation. Think ahead, move ahead.