Keyword research refers to the process used to find and analyse the search terms that people enter into search engines while looking for information online.
Keywords form the foundation of any great SEO strategy. To increase your website’s visibility in search engines, you need to begin with powerful keyword research. This will help you determine which words and phrases to aim for in your SEO campaigns.
In this article, you’ll learn how to find, evaluate and choose the most effective keywords for the best SEO results.
Step 1. Gather a List of Starting Keywords
The first step is to create a seed list of starting terms that will form the basis of your keyword research. Brainstorm and note down the main terms that people might use to find information about your business, products and services. Think about what your product does and what problems it solves or the solutions it provides.
Besides brainstorming, here are some other ways to develop your set of starting terms:
- Research your competitors’ websites and blogs to find out what keywords they use
- Use Google’s autocomplete and related searches features. When you start a search on Google, it will show you a list of other relevant queries. Thanks to the autocomplete feature, you can see which other keywords are related to your query. This can help you discover other relevant terms to add to your seed list.
- Research your target audience to discover what words they use when discussing issues in your industry. You can do this by browsing relevant forums, Q&A sites like Quora, blog comments and social networking sites.
Step 2. Use Keyword Suggestion Tools to Get More Ideas
Now that you have a set of starting keywords to work with, it’s time to expand your list. You’ll use a keyword research tool to generate more ideas to add to your list.
Here are some popular keyword research tools that you can use for this purpose:
- Google Keyword Planner – Arguably the most popular keyword research tool
- Ubersuggest – A free tool that provides keyword suggestions, keyword difficulty and competitive intelligence
- Keywordtool.io – Uses Google autocomplete to generate relevant long-tail keywords
- Bing Keyword Tool – Provides keyword ideas and suggestions from Bing search engine.
- SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker – Besides keyword research, this tool also allows you to track your keyword rankings in search engines
- SEO Book’s Keyword Tool – A fast, free and detailed alternative to the Google Keyword Planner tool
Once you’ve selected your favorite keyword tool, proceed and enter your keywords from step one above.
Many people, especially SEO beginners tend to only focus on Google’s Keyword Planner tool for their keyword research. But to uncover even more keywords, combine with other keyword suggestion tools. This can help you find some great keywords that might not show up in the Google keyword tool.
Use modifiers and verbs with your keywords to discover more phrases. For example, if your main keyword is “laptop backpacks”, some modifiers may include:
- “Laptop backpacks 2018” to indicate time
- “Laptop backpacks reviews”, “laptop backpacks comparisons” and “laptop backpacks for sale” to indicate user motives
- “Laptop backpacks in Birmingham” or “London laptop” backpacks” to specify location
After processing your initial keywords using Keyword research tools, you should now have a good list of keywords.
In the next step, you’ll learn how to refine your list and identify the best keywords to use in your SEO strategy.
Step 3. Refine Your Keyword List
In this step, you’re basically going to eliminate the keywords and phrases that are less valuable to you.
There are no hard-and-fast rules here. Below are some factors to consider when refining your keywords:
- Search volume and competition – Ideally, you should go for keywords with a high number of searches and low competition. You’ll have a higher chance of ranking for keywords that are less competitive. That said, you should not be discouraged from targeting competitive keywords if they’re highly relevant to your business. Just know that you might have to work harder to rank for the more competitive terms.
- Long tail keywords – Long tail keywords refer to those 3 and 4 word search terms that are very specific to what a user wants. Such terms can help you get more conversions because they are usually more targeted and less competitive.
- Keywords with commercial intent – To attract people who are ready to buy, consider keyword phrases that include words like coupons, buy, review, purchase, offer, best, comparison, etc.
Keyword research is one of the most important activities in the search engine optimisation field. By researching which keywords are relevant to your market or niche, you’ll be able to determine which terms and phrases to target with SEO and learn more about your audience as a whole.
Finally, remember that it’s not just about getting the most visitors to your website, but getting the right kind of traffic..