Keyword research for search engine optimization : a comprehensive guide
Introduction to Keyword research
Keywords are words or phrases that the users type in the search bar to gain information regarding a specific topic.
Selecting the right keywords and optimizing your content around them should be the main aim of conducting keyword research.
For this purpose, one must have an acute understanding of their target audience, and select the keywords based on search intent rather than using pure statistics.
Find Keyword ideas
Generating keyword ideas is one of the most important part of the process because this is the part where you are faced with a blank piece of paper.
Let’s take a look at the process by taking an example of an E-commerce site that sells baby products.
In order to begin, you need to first start off by brainstorming a list of topics. ‘Baby products’ is a broad term and people are less likely to directly search for the same as supposed to searching for a ‘baby stroller online’.
In this scenario, we will have to divide the broad term ‘baby products’ into smaller topics like
- baby clothes
- diaper bags
- bath essentials
- feeding and nursery
- home safety
- baby toys
We will now use these more defined topics to generate a list of keywords
Use Google and YouTube suggest
Once you have a list of topics, type each topic into the google search in order to get keyword ideas.
And take a look at the terms that Google suggests to you.
These are important keywords that you should consider for your website. Google is recommending them as a lot of people are searching for the same.
Another reliable source to mine keyword ideas is YouTube, it is the second largest search engine after Google.
According to Search Engine Rankings released by comscore.com, YouTube has around 3.7 Billion searches every month which makes it an ideal hub for deriving keyword information.
You can also use the search suggestions at the end of the Search Engine Results page on Google in order to get additional keyword ideas. These also contain long tail keywords which are good for ranking higher, about which we’ll talk later in the blog.
Keyword research tools
This chapter is all about the tools you need in your arsenal to conduct a comprehensive keyword research for SEO.
Keywords Everywhere is a free browser add-on for Chrome & Firefox that shows search volume, CPC & competition on multiple websites.
Once you add it in your browser, you can see keyword data on all the sites that Keywords everywhere integrates with.
Ubersuggest is a new free tool by Neil Patel Digital that helps you discover new keywords and also give you other SEO related information.
Enter the required keyword in the search box and press enter.
It will then come up with keyword ideas based on data obtained from Google search suggestions.
it also gives you data on each keyword (like search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty and more).
The Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner tool is the most reliable source of Keyword information available online.
Because the data directly and organically comes from Google itself.
Even though GKP was designed to provide data for Ad campaigns, it is vastly used to get keyword ideas.
It is a goldmine of data that gives information regarding the average monthly searches, competition, impressions, etc. You can use the ‘add filter’ option to extend this list.
SEMrush is a paid tool to get keyword information, but in my opinion it’s totally worth the cost. Here’s why,
Other tools give you additional keyword ideas that may or may not be useful. SEMrush gives you the exact keywords that any given site is ranking for.
My milestones is a baby lifestyle essentials company. By simply typing their URL in the search box, one can get the exact keywords that they are ranking for on Google.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a clever consumer insight tool that combines the suggested searches from Bing and Google and visualises them in what could be called a search cloud.
It can help you target your keyword research, optimise for long-tail key phrases, and answer questions that can get you into Google’s featured snippets.
Using these keyword suggestion tools, you can help your business show up on the first page of prominent search engines.
You can gauge the keyword difficulty by taking a look at the tools mentioned above.
Keyword should not be too competitive to rank for, or you’ll find your site buried on the third page of Google. Try to find a keyword without a ton of competition but a relatively higher search volume.
If your website is commercial (offering products or services), go with keywords that seem to have the most commercial intent based on the current ranking websites. If your website is informational (blogs come to mind), go with keywords that have the most informational intent.
Look for a “sweet spot” of high search volume in conjunction with low-difficulty/competition.
Long-tail keywords generally have low competition but have great returns because people are specifically searching for them.
These keywords are phrases containing 3-5 words that ask for a specific thing.
When you’re just starting your business, it is generally a good idea to target specific low competition long tail keywords. For e.g. baby clothes for boys online.
The following image highlights the section in GKP that shows competition for the keyword.
Basis of choosing a keyword
At this point you have a list of keywords and are waiting to select the right mix. Unfortunately, there is no one tool out there that will tell you the same.
Fortunately, we are here to shortlist the criteria for you, on the basis of which you can select the correct keywords for your business.
This is an easy one. Search volume is the number of times the keyword was searched by the people. The more the search volume, the better. Keyword competition is one factor you need to consider, which is already explained in the previous chapter.
But what constitutes a “good” search volume differs from industry to industry. ‘Trousers for men’ get 10k-100k searches per month while ‘SEO keyword research’ gets around 100-1k searches per month.
The ‘high’ or ‘low’ will depend on your niche. Choose keywords that suit your business the best.
Organic Click Through-Rate
Search volume is not the complete story. You also need to take a look at the amount of clicks a website gets for a specific keyword from a first page Google ranking.
Relevance is an important criteria that Google considers while ranking websites. If a keyword has a high volume but is not relevant to your website, you won’t get ranked high for that keyword.
It is therefore imperative to look at the organic click through-rate before selecting keywords.
This is already covered in chapter 4, but for a quick recap select keywords with more volume along with less competition. This will help your website to rank better for that keyword.
The keywords needs to be relevant to your business. Even if you target a high-volume keyword, if it’s not relevant to your business, you won’t be able to rank higher using that keyword.
On the contrary, a low competition keyword can help you rank way higher if it’s directly relevant to the services or products you provide.
Google Trends is a tool that can help you understand the growth of a particular search term over time. You can take advantage of this tool to predict future trends and use that search term as a keyword for your business.
For e.g. If a low competition keyword is showing an upward trend, you can imbibe it in your website before everyone gets on the hype train. This will help you rank better for a keyword that could potentially be of high competition in the near future.
If you followed each and every step in this guide carefully, you would by now have a list of keywords that’ll help you focus on the right topics for your business, and get you some short-term and long-term gains.
Try out the things that work for your business, and constantly make changes to the plan when required.
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