There’s probably no need to convince you of the importance of proper keyword research. In fact, keyword research deliver the highest return on investment of all SEO activities out there and are indispensable for your online marketing success. From the beginning of time keyword research has been the very first step in the online journey and this hasn’t changed ever since.
Wondering what the idea of keyword research is? It’s about finding your most relevant keywords and aiming to rank as high as possible on these keywords within search engines. This comes with a few steps which are quite straightforward. We’ll discuss each one of them.
Keyword Research: Picking The Right Keywords
1. Create a list of keywords
Think about the 5 words which you believe people will search to find your website. Then use one or more keyword tools to understand how often people actually search on these terms. Google’s Keyword Tool is used most widely and provides you many insights in search volume and competition. Besides illustrating search volume and relevant keywords the tool also provides suggestions for other keywords. First you start with a relatively broad keyword and you will niche it down until you see interesting opportunities.
For example: if you sell clothes, you start off with keywords such as: clothes, women’s clothing, men’s clothing. Next you will narrow keywords down and check related keywords, such as: women’s jeans, women’s shirt, men’s jeans, men’s shirt.
2. Analyze keywords you’re already ranking for
You should already be ranking on a couple of keywords in case your website has been around for a while. Knowing how your currently performing, can give you more grip on what direction to take. Focus on the underperforming keywords and try to keep up the ones performing well.
3. Analyze your competitors’ keywords
Chances are that your competitors may help you out in terms of interesting keywords. Try to recognize which keywords your main competitors are using on their websites and find out how they’re performing. If you don’t have an idea of who your competitors are, just type your main keywords into Google and you’ll find out quick enough.
4. Study your niche
The keyword research strategies mentioned above, are very effective and give you tons of possible keyword ideas. However, they sort of avoid you to think outside the box. Just by studying your field (and by using common sense), you can come up with some great keywords that no one in your niche is aiming at yet. Do so by talking with existing customers and listen to the language they use. Participate in communities and make sure you’re active on social networks. Listen, observe, and use the information you gather.
5. Combine and analyze the results
By now you’ll have some results you can use. Try to use keywords tools, data, spreadsheets, and figure out which keywords need to make it to the shortlist. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, there a different keyword metrics you’ll need to bear into mind.
- Search volume: this shows you how many times people from a specific area put this keyword into Google. Most of the keyword research tools, pull their search volume numbers directly from Google AdWords.
- Competition: the lower the competition, the more change you’ll have to rank high. Ideally this would come with a high search volume, but a low search volume doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
- Relevance: decide how important each search term is for your business. You can use a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the most relevant for your site.
Start applying the keywords on your website
You’ll want to break down the total amount of keywords into a small list. These keywords will need to be used on different strategic positions on your site. That means in the page titles, URLs, meta data, and the text on the web page itself. There are many other metrics you could analyze but you would need different tools to do so. The above tricks are possible with a free tool like Google’s Keyword Planner. This should keep you busy for a while.
Do you focus on the right keywords? We can perform a website optimization check and boost your website in the organic search results of Google.