Smart Ways to Carry Out Proper Keyword Research.
If you are an SEO writer, you probably know what keyword research is because keyword research is the first step for a proper SEO campaign. However, if you haven’t, let’s start by defining the basic concepts.
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words or phrases that searchers search for on search engines. For instance, if you go on Google to search for “the best dog names”, “the best dog names” is automatically a keyword. Now, search engines collect the data of the number of times people search for certain words or phrases (keywords) for webmasters. The reason for this is so webmasters can write for the people making these search queries.
Bear in mind that search engines want to provide searchers with answers or solutions. And that’s where the webmasters come in; providing that answer. So, search engines make the job easy by making that data accessible so you, as a webmaster, can know what is being searched for and provide the answer or a solution. However, you cannot get those keywords without keyword research.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of finding and analysing the words used by your target audience when searching for your content. Proper keyword research will provide you with the keywords your target audience use, the search volume, the ranking difficulties and some premium packages will even give you the websites that are ranking at the top (top 5 or on the first page of the SERPs). Remember that you are not writing or publishing content on the internet for everybody, you have a target audience. For instance, sticking to the keyword example above, it will be safe to assume you write on dogs or own a business that is focused on dogs. Therefore, your target audience will be dog lovers and not cat lovers or someone that is Zoophobic. In essence, you will be searching for queries entered by fellow dog lovers and dog owners.
The point of SEO, in the first place, is to be found online by your target audience amidst the huge number of competitors you likely have. So, it only makes sense to ensure that they find you. And they can only find you with well-optimised content. But you cannot have well-optimised contents if you don’t carry out proper keyword research.
How to Carry Out Proper Keyword Research
Now that you understand the basics of keyword research, let’s go into the meat of the article.
Identify Your Seed Keywords
Every niche has its own seed keywords and you have to identify them to carry out proper keyword research. In fact, keyword research does not exist in isolation; you have to start from somewhere. As a business, ask yourself what words are important to your business, what words come up in your business a lot, what words come up in conversations with customers, what words define your niche or your brand. Identifying these words will form the foundation of your keyword research as you will need to start from there. For instance, for a dog store, your seed keywords will be “dog, dog feed, dog lovers, dog owners, dog toys, dog essentials” and so on.
Check Related Search Terms
After identifying your seed keywords, you can now fill them with other words like “unique dog names for male dogs”, “where to find the healthiest dog food.” Of course, you don’t have to rack your brain to do this. You can just enter your seed keywords or even topic ideas on search engines and find related search terms or “people also ask” terms. These two categories can inspire other ideas for relevant keyword ideas you can use.
Check Your Competitors
Another way to carry out proper keyword research is to search for what your competitors are ranking for. Now, you may or may not know your competitors. This is because by competitors, I’m not talking about the store in your town selling dog feeds, I’m talking about brands or websites online ranking for the same/similar keywords as yours. So if you don’t know these websites, you can find them by searching for your seed keywords, the top-ranking sites would be considered your competitors. However, you have to be strategic in choosing your competitors. For instance, some brands like Amazon or Forbes could be ranking but they are not necessarily your competitors. Focus instead, on brands similar to yours.
Use Keyword Research Tools
You can take your keyword research further by using keyword research tools. There are a good number of them, including Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, UberSuggest, and Keyword Everywhere. Most of them have a free version but if you want to enjoy more features, you will have to pay for the premium version. These tools will help you group keywords, find search volume, ranking difficulties, the websites ranking for it, CPC (cost-per-click) and many more features.
It is not enough to know where to find the right keywords, you have to know how to choose the right keywords. You should choose based on relevance, authority and volume. What this means is that you should choose keywords for which you can come up with content that is relevant; search engines will not rank content that is not providing value.
Secondly, you need to show authority on the topic to rank; that is, you know what you are talking about and have the expertise to back it up. For instance, you cannot be talking about teeth when you are a carpenter; why should your content on teeth be trusted when you are not a dentist?
Thirdly, writing content with little or no search volume will not get you the target audience you need. If nobody is searching for the topic, nobody will find you and I assume you want to be found. So, if that’s the case, you should take the search volume per month into consideration.
Finally, don’t abandon your keywords; go back to them through analytics to see how it’s doing and what can be done to improve it. You can also check your top-ranking pages to identify keywords that work for your brand. This is so you can create more content based on related keywords to your high-rank.
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