Google’s search algorithm considers hundreds of factors to rank a website. Honestly, digital marketing professionals know only 5-10 out of 200, and we just have to assume the rest.
To make our website rank at the top and stand out, we pay attention to various factors, such as website optimization, high-quality content, backlinks, PPC, and whatnot. But there is one essential method that every digital marketer relies on- keyword research in SEO.
Creating a list of relevant and useful keywords helps us develop an effective keyword strategy to boost the ranking of our website and generate organic traffic.
However, the most common question that many SEO beginners ask is, ‘how do I do keyword research?’. If you have the same doubt, then this blog is for you. We will walk you through a systematic keyword research process, explaining how to align keywords with user intent and select the best keywords that appeal to the target audience.
What is Keyword Search in SEO?
As we learn how to do keyword research for SEO, it’s crucial to get a fair understanding of what keyword research is. It means finding, analyzing, and selecting specific terms and phrases that people use to search for information on search engines. It uncovers queries that businesses can target, the popularity of these queries, the ranking difficulty of each, and more.
We use keywords in SEO strategies so search engines can rank our pages on top while providing useful content to users. Using keywords, we create ads, content, videos, social media posts, etc., that directly address the queries of the target audience. This enhances brand visibility and drives more traffic.
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Why is Keyword SEO Research Important?
Many beginners and aspirants often wonder about the importance of keyword analysis for SEO and how it impacts marketing strategies. So, we’ll answer this common question in detail below.
Keyword research is the process of finding relevant and targeted keywords to provide valuable insights into the queries asked by users on search engines. As people use phrases or specific words to search for something or find solutions online, search engines look for informative and quality content that answers these queries. This search is highly based on keywords used in the content.
Keyword research plays a pivotal role in every SEO task, such as email outreach, finding topics for content, website optimization, on-page and off-page SEO, building backlinks, and content promotion. It is needed at every step of an effective SEO strategy- telling SEO experts where to direct their marketing efforts, their progress, the content they need to create, etc.
Also, keyword search in SEO helps marketers understand their target audiences better by telling them what phrases customers are using while looking for something on search engines. Once marketers have a list of relevant keywords, they create content around them to offer people what they want.
Here are a few benefits of keyword research:
1. Drives Website Traffic
When we publish optimized content on the website, it has a higher chance of ranking higher in search engine results and driving more traffic.
2. Marketing Trend Insights
It is a trusted way to find the current digital marketing trends and discover the best topics for content.
3. Customer Acquisition
When you publish informative and helpful content that the target audience is looking for, you compel them to take the desired action by clicking on CTAs, which will convert them into buyers and boost your sales.
What are the Elements of Keyword Research?
Before we learn how to find keywords for SEO, let’s understand the three key elements of keyword research that we must pay attention to.
Relevance shows the applicability of keywords to the user’s intent. Google considers relevancy while ranking content. If it aligns with the user’s needs or answers the user’s queries, then only it will rank on search engine result pages.
Pages that don’t solve user’s queries are not displayed in search results. Google algorithm uses keywords to know if the content is relevant or not and then shows results. Also, search engines prefer the best sources while answering queries. So, any content that provides less value to users will not be ranked at the top.
Google and other search engines want to provide the best results to users, so they rank sources they deem authoritative. It includes websites with high authority and established domains. To prove your website’s authority, you must enrich it with quality and informative content and then promote that content to earn more backlinks and social media shares.
This also shows the weight that experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EEAT) have on your search engine result rankings. If SERPs are full of industry leaders and leading websites, then your content will have a lower chance of ranking.
Keyword volume is measured by monthly search volume (MSV), which shows the number of times a keyword is searched in a month by users. With in-depth keyword research for bloggers, your content can rank on the first page of the search engine results page, but if it has a low MSV, it will not reach many people and drive less traffic to your website. So, target keywords with high search volume.
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Steps in Keyword Research for SEO
- Brainstorm a List of Topics Relevant to Your Business
- Find Potential Keywords Related to Those Topics
- Understand the Relationship Between Intent and Keywords
- Leverage the Power of Keyword Research Tools
- Create a Mix of Long-tail and Short-tail Keywords
- Analyze Competitors and Their Targeted Keywords
How to do Keyword Research in SEO?
Here is the step-by-step process to find keywords in SEO:
1. Brainstorm a List of Topics Relevant to Your Business
The first step of how to search SEO keywords is to think of all the topics you want to rank for. These topics must correspond to your brand and product categories and also align with the interests of the target audience. Come up with at least 5-10 topics that you consider valuable for your business, and create a spreadsheet.
As a blogger, you’ve probably covered these topics frequently or must have discussed them in sales conversations. If you still find it hard to create topics, put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and then think of all the blogs and content you’ll be interested in reading. Come up with the topics that the target audience searches for often and would help your business get found on search engines.
If you are an ed-tech platform offering different courses to aspirants, then you can target keywords like:
- Data analytics course
- Digital marketing course
- Best SEO course
- Python training program
- Google Ads course
- Web development course
Based on monthly search volumes, assess the importance of each topic and create sub-topics for the content.
2. Find Potential Keywords Related to Those Topics
Now that you have all the categories and topics that you want to focus on, let’s move on to one of the most critical steps of the process. Identify all the related terms and phrases that the target customers probably type into the search bar while looking for your product or service.
These are the keywords that are important to rank on search engine result pages. While wondering how to conduct keyword research, many people oversee the power of online tools and platforms. You can use different SEO and digital marketing tools and software like Google Analytics and HubSpot to look through the organic traffic and see the keywords that people are already using to come to your website.
For example, if we pick a digital marketing course topic, we would brainstorm keywords that we think people would use while searching for it. The list may include:
- Best digital marketing course
- Top institute for digital marketing
- Best digital marketing training program
- Best course for digital marketing
- Top digital marketing institutes, and so on.
These are not the final keywords that you’ll target in the content but just a dump of phrases that you think are important.
3. Understand the Relationship Between Intent and Keywords
User intent is one of the most vital factors to rank higher on search engine result pages. When a user enters a search query, they want a comprehensive answer to their question. Hence, it’s important that you understand users’ intent, and your web pages must solve their problems rather than just carry keywords.
Many times, websites take keywords for face value without digging deeper and identifying their different meanings. If a user comes to your website looking for information and you just try to sell your product instead of addressing their issue, they’ll bounce quickly to the next page, which will affect your search engine rankings.
On the other hand, if a visitor comes to your page to buy something and finds that product, it will lead to a happy purchase and boost your ranking and sales.
So, how to research keywords for this purpose? Focus on the intent behind the search and then interpret keywords. For example, suppose a user is looking for ‘how to find the best digital marketing course?’.
In that case, they may be looking for the factors to consider while selecting the right digital marketing course or might want a list of digital marketing courses based on fee, curriculum, trainers, etc. You need to develop a content strategy ideal for your target customers based on their intent.
You can also type the same keyword in the search bar and see the results you get. Your content must be closely related to the search results Google is showing for that keyword. Make sure that you check user intent for all keywords before composing content.
4. Leverage the Power of Keyword Research Tools
Although you get many keyword suggestions from Google and other search engines, the results may not always be reliable or enough. Also, the process can be time-consuming. Therefore, it’s better to use different keyword research tools and platforms.
These tools provide exact matches for keywords based on phrases that you have generated until this step. The best part is these tools are easy to use for keyword research for SEO, even for beginners.
Some of the most commonly used tools are
These tools can provide overwhelming answers, so narrow down the list by selecting relevant keywords for your business.
5. Create a Mix of Long-tail and Short-tail Keywords
Short-tail keywords, or head terms, are more generic, consisting of 1-3 words, whereas long-tail keywords are longer phrases containing three or more words. Generally, users frequently search for short-tail keywords, making them more competitive. Therefore, it’s hard to rank for these head terms. On the other hand, it’s easier to rank for long-tail keywords as they are less competitive.
While preparing a list of relevant keywords, it’s important to ensure that it’s a rich mix of short and long-tail keywords for a balanced keyword strategy. Also, it helps you attain long-term marketing goals along with short-term targets.
Although head terms have a higher search volume, you get more quality traffic from long-tail phrases. This is because users with more specific searches or queries are more qualified for your product than the ones who are looking for something generic. Also, long-tail keywords tell the specific requirements of searchers and their intent.
However, we can’t say the same for people using 1-2 words on search engines. To make sure that your list has a balance of both types of keywords, it’s important to learn how to do keyword analysis and zero in on the most relevant and quality keywords.
Long-tail keywords will get you quick wins, but head terms can work wonders for your website, so they are worth the try.
6. Analyze Competitors and Their Targeted Keywords
What’s working for your competitors might not work for your brand. The same is true for keywords. Certain keywords can be important for your competitors and work for their business, but that doesn’t mean it will drive results for you, too. However, it is still crucial to have a clear understanding of the keywords that your competitors are using.
See what keywords they are ranking for. Check their website and content meticulously and see if you are missing out on something important. If some keywords in your list are the same as the ones they are using, then focus on them for better ranking. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the keywords they are not bothered about, as this is your opportunity to have your market share.
You need to maintain the balance between difficult keywords due to fierce competition and more realistic keywords. This will ensure that you have your quick wins while making progress toward long-term and bigger goals.
You can search for keywords manually and see your competitors’ rankings for each. There are several tools as well, like Ahrefs, that shows you top-ranking keywords for your niche or domain. These tools are a faster way to find keywords your competitors are ranking for.
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We hope this blog answers the common query ‘how to do a keyword analysis?’. Keyword research is not a challenging task, but finding the right and relevant keywords is an arduous task. You need to pay attention to user intent, trends, and blind spots to identify optimal keywords and create content around them. Your keyword research is only the first yet most crucial step of your SEO strategy. The next step is to compose valuable and readable write-ups and blog posts based on those keywords.
SEO is a continuous process where you gradually climb SERPs and attain your goals. Cherish small wins but strive for bigger goals by leveling up your SEO strategies. Leverage the power of SEO and keyword research tools. Soon, you will witness success.
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