If you want your SEO campaign to succeed, you need a solid plan. Keyword research is our roadmap to your organic traffic success.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how we find the best keywords for you, let us stress: this is one of the most important activities for your SEO success.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines with the goal of using that data for a specific purpose, often for search engine optimization (SEO) or general marketing. It involves connecting the relevance of keywords to a website and its individual pages so that the user can find the best page to answer their query. It involves categorizing search queries into the different stages of a user journey and different categories of search. It helps you understand your niche and target audience, tailor your content strategy to the needs of your audience and get more relevant organic traffic to your website. Properly conducted keyword research helps you to identify primary keywords with their search intent and accurately target the most effective keywords in your content strategy. Download the ebook, How To Do Keyword Research For SEO, to learn more about the three steps of keyword research.
What are the steps for keyword research?
Step 1: Identify the topic you’re interested in
Step-by-step instructions for identifying the topics for keyword research include the following steps:
Step 2: Consider the search intent of your users
By understanding the search intent of your users, you can leverage keyword research to create content that will capture their attention and meet their needs. Knowing the search intent helps you determine what type of content will actually rank for the keyword, and this can then be used to create targeted and optimized content. This can help you improve rankings and better serve your customers, as you can provide them with the content that best answer their queries. Additionally, by understanding the search intent of your users, you can create content that fits their needs and makes it more likely that they will consider making a purchase after looking at your website.
Step 3: brainstorm keywords for your topic
Keyword research is an important part of creating content for your business, as it helps you to understand what your target audience is searching for and how you can reach them best. To make sure your keyword research is successful, here’s a step-by-step process to brainstorm keyword ideas:
By following this keyword research process, you’ll be able to come up with an effective list of keywords and target them effectively to reach your target audience.
Step 4: Check keyword volume and MSV
Step 1: The first step to check keyword volume and MSV is to use search volume tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Majestics or Google Keywordplanner to discover the monthly search volumes (MSV) for keywords.
Step 2: Once you’ve obtained the MSV for a keyword, use a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to find out the worldwide as well as local MSV of that keyword.
Step 3: After you have gathered the data, sort the volumes, intent, and topics to decide if you have a chance of ranking on a term by looking at the competition for each keyword.
Step 4: Use the data gathered to find the best keywords to target and maximize your marketing budget.
Step 5: Keep in mind that keywords with super high volumes may not be the best to focus on since they can be too ambiguous and rarely have a specific intent.
Step 6: If a tool shows a keyword with zero search volume, consider targeting it in your strategy, but make sure you know your audience and what is relevant to them before investing resources.
Step 5: Use keyword research tools to your advantage
Keyword research tools can be incredibly useful in helping you discover keywords and optimize your SEO strategy. Here are the steps you need to take to make the most of keyword research tools:
By following these steps, you should be able to make the most of keyword research tools and optimize your SEO strategy.
Step 6: Verify search intent
Step-by-step instructions for verifying search intent for keyword research:
Step 7: Analyze the strength of keywords
Step 1: Begin by sorting the keywords into three main elements: volume, intent, and topics. Look for keywords that have a relevant search volume, are likely to provide the intent you are looking for, and fit in with the topics you want to target.
Step 2: Assess the competition for each keyword by looking at your search engine results page (SERP). Look at how many other pages are competing for the same keyword and consider how hard it would be for your page to compete with them.
Step 3: Look at the strength of the top-ranked pages for each of the keywords you are considering. Evaluate the content, backlinks, and other ranking factors to determine which keywords are more likely to rank better.
Step 4: Analyze the potential of each keyword by considering the search intent, your target audience, and how relevant the keyword is to your topic.
Step 5: Make a decision on which keywords to target. Consider the strength of the keyword, the competition, and the potential to rank well.
Step 6: Create a keyword strategy and start optimizing your content. Once you have identified the keywords that you want to target, start optimizing your content to target those keywords and ensure you are appearing in the SERPs.
Step 8: Expand each topic with a list of phrases you think your customers use
Step 1: Identify the General Categories
The first step in the keyword research process is to identify the general categories in which you want to locate keywords. Start by brainstorming various topics that relate to your business, such as your products or services, industry trends, or customer demographics. For example, an environmentally friendly website might have three general categories: Green Products, Healthy Environment, and Sustainable Living.
Step 2: List Keywords Under Each Category
Next, with these general categories at hand, it’s time to identify the terms and phrases your target customer might type into the search bar to locate information, products, or services. Create a list under each general category and add it to your spreadsheet. Feel free to ask your co-workers or employees for ideas, especially those who are customer-facing. You can also use website analytics software like Google Analytics or HubSpot’s Sources report, look through your organic search traffic bucket to identify keywords consumers already use to arrive at your website.
Step 3: Analyze Keywords with SEO Metrics
Having access to millions of keyword ideas is all well and good. But how do you know which ones are best? After all, going through them all by hand will be a near-impossible task. The solution is simple: Use SEO metrics to narrow things down and separate the wheat from the chaff before adding them to your keyword list. Look at metrics such as the search volume, difficulty score, and click-through rate to determine which keywords are worth targeting.
Step 4: Get Creative
Everything we’ve discussed so far is enough to generate an almost unlimited number of keyword ideas. But at the same time, the process kind of keeps you “in the box.” You can solve this by going to the places where your target audience hangs out—industry forums, groups, and Q&A sites—and studying their conversations. Additionally, reach out to your existing customers and pay attention to the language they use and the common questions they ask. This might lead you to some original keyword ideas to cover on your website.
Step 9: Verify organic results with Google Analytics / Search Console
Step 1: Login to your Google Search Console and head over to the “Performance Report”.
Step 2: Sort the list by “Impressions” to see which keywords get significant amounts of impressions, but not necessarily clicks.
Step 3: Create a piece of content optimized around that keyword.
Step 4: Check Google Analytics for the page’s estimated monthly organic search traffic.
Step 5: Use a third-party keyword tool (e.g. Ahref) to find additional keywords and synonyms related to the topic.
Step 6: Optimize your content and layout according to the keyword research, making sure to make it more valuable, readable, and complete than your competition’s.
Step 7: Make your website easy to scan and mobile-friendly.
Step 8: Track the results of your keyword research by keeping track of the organic traffic to the page.
Step 9: Stay up-to-date with broader SEO best practices and hone your keyword-researching skills.
Tips and tricks for effective keyword research
1. Perform comprehensive keyword research
How can you perform comprehensive keyword research? [Step-by-step instructions].
Step 1: Think about your mission and determine your SEO goals. Ask yourself what the main goal of your business or organization is and what makes it special. Reflect on who you are trying to reach, and what promises you make on your website. Writing down your mission and getting a clear understanding of the market you’re in will help you determine your SEO goals and whether you can rank high with your chosen keywords.
Step 2: Make a list of relevant keywords. Brainstorm a list of words and phrases that are relevant to your product, service or business. Make sure to include long-tail keywords that match user intent. Start by identifying a primary keyword for each page and then look for related terms and phrases to use as secondary keywords.
Step 3: Use a keyword research tool. Use a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz, or Ahrefs to find even more relevant keywords. These tools help you identify popular keywords that generate a good amount of traffic and also reveal competitor keywords to target.
Step 4: Analyze search volumes. Analyze the search volumes for each keyword you identified to determine which ones are more popular and generate more traffic. This can help you prioritize which keywords to target first and focus your efforts on.
Step 5: Analyze the competition. Analyze the level of competition for each keyword to determine which ones are easier to rank for. This can help you identify the low-hanging fruit and which keywords to target first.
Step 6: Keep track of your keywords. Create a spreadsheet or use a keyword tracking tool to keep track of all the keywords you’re targeting. This can help you easily monitor how your pages are performing and make adjustments if needed.
Step 7: Develop a keyword strategy. Once you have identified the best keywords, develop a keyword strategy to include them in your content. This should include optimal keyword placement, such as in the title, headings, meta description, and body of the content.
Step 8: Monitor performance. Monitor the performance of your keywords and pages to ensure that your strategy is working. This can help you identify areas that need improvement and make adjustments accordingly.
Step 9: Optimize content. Optimize existing content and keep it up to date with the latest trends and insights. This can help ensure that your content is always relevant and useful to your audience.
Step 10: Update regularly. Regularly update your content and add new keywords as you find them. This can help ensure that your website is always fresh and up-to-date with the latest search trends and insights.
2. Determine keywords with high search volume
Step 1: Begin by determining the seed keywords that you would like to target for your website. These should include products, services, and other topics your website addresses. Enter these keywords into a keyword research tool to discover the average monthly search volume and similar keywords.
Step 2: Once you have entered the seed keywords into the keyword research tool, you will begin to discover other relevant keywords, common questions, and topics for your content. When analyzing the keywords, look for those with the highest search volume.
Step 3: The easiest way to determine the search volume and competition for your keywords is to use a keyword research or SEO tool. Popular options include Ahrefs, Semrush, Wordtracker, and Ubersuggest.
Step 4: When analyzing your keywords, make sure to focus on the exact search term people use, the search volume of the keyword, and the competition for organic search. Aim to target keywords with a high search volume and low organic search competition. This is the sweet spot for targeting your keywords.
3. Target long-tail keywords
Targeting long-tail keywords can help with keyword research by providing more specific, lower search volume and less competitive words. Long-tail keywords are typically made up of three or more words and allow for more specific content creation that can attract higher engagement and conversion rates.
Additionally, long-tail keywords can make up a significant portion of organic traffic, as visitors often search for more specific terms. It’s important to note that while these terms may not have the same search volume as their shorter counterparts, they are still valuable.
By using long-tail keywords in your keyword research, you can better answer questions and provide information that people in your niche are looking for.
4. Analyze the keywords of your competitors
Analyzing the keywords of your competitors can help with keyword research by providing insight into which topics they are targeting and which keywords they rank for. This information can then be used to accelerate keyword research, as it helps to identify competitors and discover topics that are already proven to bring in traffic.
Additionally, filtering out brand keywords can help to uncover potential opportunities that could be used to target similar keywords and increase visibility in search results.
5. Use keyword suggestion tools
Tools can help with keyword research by giving users access to comprehensive and accurate keyword data, search volume and competitive data. With the help of keyword research tools, users can quickly and easily explore and analyze thousands of relevant long-tail keywords.
These tools can also be used to generate more keyword ideas based on exact match keywords and phrase match keywords. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer and Keyword Surfer provide users with features such as keyword suggestions, Google Ads keywords, keywords for websites and keyword phrases.
Additionally, these tools can help users identify negative keywords, meta keywords and PPC keywords.
6. Add keywords to your content that are not easy to find
Looking to add keywords to your content that are not easy to find? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do so.
By following these steps, you can create content with targeted and stronger keywords that will attract more traffic to your website.
7. Use keyword research to create marketing strategies
How can keyword research be used to create marketing strategies? [Step-by-step instructions]
Step 1: Get to know your audience: Learn who your target audience is and what their needs and interests are. Analyze their search intent and keyword trends to identify topics that would appeal to them.
Step 2: Build a list of keywords: Create a comprehensive list of relevant keywords that your audience is likely to use in searches. Consider using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or KeywordTool.io to help you identify popular keywords.
Step 3: Use keyword frameworks: Develop a keyword framework that can help you organize your keywords into related topics and categories. This will help you create content that is more search-engine friendly and easier to read.
Step 4: Analyze your competitors: Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting and see how they are ranking in search results. Use this information to create better content around the same topics and keywords.
Step 5: Prioritize your keywords: Decide which keywords you want to target and prioritize them according to their relevance and importance. This will help you focus your efforts on creating content that is more likely to achieve better search engine rankings.
Step 6: Use keyword research tools: Utilize keyword research tools to help you identify long-tail keywords, related keywords, and keywords with high search volume. This will help you get the most out of your keyword research.
By following these steps, you can effectively use keyword research to create marketing strategies that will attract the right audience and improve your search engine rankings.
8. Include keywords in your website’s navigation
Including keywords in website navigation can help with keyword research by providing important insights into the minds of your target audience. By strategically incorporating the right keywords into the website navigation, you can accurately inform search engines about the type of content that is featured on your webpages. This way, when customers search for products or services online, your website has a better chance of appearing higher in search engine results. Furthermore, including high-quality keywords in website navigation can also help to boost website rankings and attract more organic traffic. Ultimately, this can result in more leads for your business, as well as increased visibility and brand awareness.
9. Find keywords that people might use in the future (emerging topics)
Keyword research is an important part of optimizing your website for better search engine rankings, as it involves finding the words and phrases that people use when searching for information, products, or services related to your business.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can use keywords that people use when searching to improve your keyword research and make sure your content is properly optimized.
First, utilize Google search suggestions as a base for creating content for your website. By creating content around the popular keywords that your audience is using to find information online, you’re already giving great value to your website visitors.
Second, you can check out the “Searches Related To” section at the bottom of Google’s search results. Here, you’ll find a list of 8 keywords that are closely related to your search term.
Third, use the data on your website analytics software to identify keywords consumers already use to arrive at your website.
Fourth, brainstorm potential keywords under general categories related to your website.
Fifth, search the keywords you’ve listed in Google and see what terms Google Suggests to you. These are great keywords to add to your list, as if Google suggests a keyword, you know that lots of people are searching for it.
Finally, search for keyword phrases in Google and scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of related search phrases. You can also use a tool like AnswerThePublic to find additional related keywords.
By using the above steps, you can ensure that your website content is properly optimized with the right keywords to rank better on search engines and attract more visitors.
10. Adjust your keyword strategy as needed
How can you adjust your keyword strategy as needed for effective keyword research? [Step-by-Step Instructions]
Why is keyword research important to SEO?
Keyword research affects all SEO work we do. Content creation, on-page SEO and link building are all guided by the research.
Keywords are like a compass and a map to our SEO campaign. They tell us where to go, how we get there and how we are progressing.
Keywords will tell us the thoughts, fears and desires of our target market. Keyword research gives us insight into which exact words and phrases our customers are using to find information.
Keyword research is a main component in market research in the 21st century.
Why is our keyword research the best in class?
Our research identifies and uncovers keywords that share three important characteristics:
Keyword research with artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is a game changer for keyword research. We are now able to do it faster and better. We use state-of-the-art technology to research keywords your target audience has been looking for and will be looking for. You answer 20 questions about your target audience, your product, and your service. That’s it. Your answers enable us to uncover solid keyword opportunities for your business.
Our keyword research process
Our process is simple, fast, and very effective:
Investment & Time-Frame
Consider hiring us for your keyword research. A small investment of just €500 (one-time payment) for up to 20 keywords. Typical research sets you back €1000 (for up to 100 keywords). More extensive research projects for e.g. large e-commerce websites with more than 1000 keywords start at €2500.
Small projects have a turnaround time of under 2 weeks. Larger projects can take up to a month.