It’s no secret to anyone with a website or blog that Google is always keeping us on our toes with all of the algorithm updates they keep rolling out, but the one thing that remains constant for marketers looking to optimize their websites, and that is keyword research.
However, the need to do keyword research has stayed the same, the way you go about doing it hasn’t.
So, let’s talk about how to do a keyword research for SEO, and look at some of the best strategies for 2017.
So, What Is Keyword Research Anyway?
Keyword research is what SEO ( search engine optimization ) professionals use to find and research actual terms that people enter into the search engines. Search engine optimization professionals research keywords which they use to achieve better rankings in the search engines. Once a niche keyword is found, they expand on it to find similar keywords. Keyword research tools such as Jaaxy will help aid in the process.
How To Do Keyword Research And Improve Your SEO
1) Make a list of the most important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business.
So, to get things started, think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of common or generic buckets and containers. Now, you should try and come up with 5 – 10 topic buckets and containers you think are important or relevant to your business, then you will use those topic buckets and containers to help you come up with some more specific keywords later on.
If you blog on a regular basis, these are probably the topics you write about most frequently. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes – what kinds of topics would your target audience search that would help them find your business. If you were a company like Microsoft for example, you might have topic buckets and containers like email marketing, inbound marketing, blogging, lead generation, social media marketing, SEO, marketing analytics or marketing automation.
2) Fill in those topic buckets and containers with keywords.
Now that you have some topic buckets and containers you want to focus on, it’s time to find some keywords that fit into those buckets and containers. These will be keyword phrases that you think are important and relevant that will rank in the SERPS ( search engine results pages ) because your target audience or customers are probably conducting searches for those specific terms.
For example, if we were looking for keyword research tools we would brainstorm some keyword phrases that we think people would type in that are related to that topic. Those might include:
- Keyword search tools
- Best keyword search tools
- Keyword research tools
- Keyword search results tool
- Best keyword research tools
And so on. The point here isn’t to come up with your final list of keyword phrases, but instead, you want to compile a list of keyword phrases that you think potential customers might use to search for content that is relevant to that particular topic.
This is a video from the co-founder of Jaaxy, it will give you a basic overview of how a keyword research tool works and what it can do and how it can help anyone who is unsure about keywords and what a keywords function is.
More and more keywords are being encrypted by Google every day, so another clever way to come up with keyword ideas is to find keywords that your website is already being found for. In order to do this, you will need some website analytics such as Google Analytics. Now you can drill down into your website’s traffic sources, and sift through your organic search traffic buckets and containers to identify the keywords people are using to find your site.
3) Research relevant search terms.
This is a rather creative way you may have thought of before when doing keyword research, but if not it’s a great way to get those lists filled out.
If you are struggling to come up with some more keywords that people might be using to find a specific topic, just go to Google.com and have a look at the related search terms that appear when you type in a keyword. When you type in your keyword phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, there will be some suggestions for searches relevant to what you originally typed in. These keywords just might generate some ideas for other keywords that you may want to use.
4) Check for a mix of head terms and long tail keywords in each bucket and container.
If you’re not sure what the difference is between head terms and long tail keywords, here it is. Head terms are keyword phrases that are in most cases shorter and more generic, they are usually only one to three words in length. Long tail keywords are, however, much longer keyword phrases consisting of three or more words.
Make sure you can come up with a mix of head terms and long tail keywords because it will give you a keyword strategy that is well balanced. Head terms are on average searched for more frequently, making them more often than not ( but not always ) much more competitive and harder to rank for as opposed to long tail keywords.
Think about it this way, which of the following terms would you think will be harder to rank for?
- great summer time bbq recipes
- bbq recipes
#2 should be the obvious answer, but don’t be deterred by that. While head terms generally claim the most search volume ( meaning greater potential to send you traffic ), the traffic you will get from the term “great summer time bbq recipes” will be more desirable.
So why is that?
Because anyone who is looking for something that specific probably has more experience searching for your product or service, rather than someone who is looking for something really generic. Since long tail keywords tend to be more specific, it’s easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are looking for.
5) See how your competition is ranking for these keywords.
Just because your competition is doing one thing, it doesn’t mean that you should. The same can be said for keywords. Just because a keyword might be important to your competition, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be important to you. But, understanding what keywords your competition is trying to rank for is a good way to help you decide what keywords are right for you.
If your competition is ranking well for certain keywords that are on your list, then it only makes sense to spend some time working on improving your ranking for those keywords. Don’t ignore the ones that your competition doesn’t seem to care about, this could be a great opportunity to own market share on some important terms.
So, how do you go about finding out what keywords your competition is ranking for? Apart from searching manually for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing where your competition’s keywords are ranked, SEMrush allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get an idea of what kinds of keywords your competition is ranking for.
Awesome! you should by now have a list of keywords that will help you focus on the right topics for your business and be able to now make some short term and long term gains.
Make sure to re-evaluate keywords every couple of months. As you start to gain more authority with the SERPs, you will now start to find that you can ad more and more keywords to your lists enabling you to expand into new areas and stay one step ahead of the competition.