SEO, it’s one of those areas that you know is vital to the long term success of a business but it seems so daunting, you never really get around to it. Don’t feel too bad. There are entire professions dedicated to trying to outwit the Google algorithm and keep companies one step ahead of their competitors.
Here’s the essential guide on how to do effective keyword research, fast.
Keyword Research – In A Nutshell
For all the complicated acronyms and terms, SEO is at its core, finding our what people are looking for on the internet by analyzing the words they use to try and find information.
Once you’ve established what people are looking for, you can adapt your website and online content to take advantage of this and increase your website’s search rankings.
Why Is It So Important?
It’s true that we are a long way on from the days of keyword stuffing on websites. Let’s face it, some pages were almost illegible after being stuffed with keywords. Now, it is not completely dependent upon the keywords, but the intent behind them and the usefulness of the content on the page.
For example, if you want to rank for ‘Gardner Denver variable speed air compressors’ or ‘dog walkers in Houston’, you no longer have to try and cram your pages with those phrases. You can concentrate on authoritative content and the google algorithm is smart enough to do the rest.
So, the frequency of keywords on your site is less important, but the quality of your keywords is still vital.
Why Does Intent Matter?
Keywords on your site aren’t enough anymore, the content of your site must address the needs of the searcher.
A keyword could have potentially different meanings to different people. If you’re unsure, try typing in the keywords into Google yourself and see what kind of content shows up in the results.
Simple, but comprehensive keyword research should incorporate:
- A list of topics relevant to your business and services.
- Split your keywords into groups. These groups can be based on your services areas or product types. If you are a blogger they could be the subject areas you write about the most.
- Create a list of keywords for each topic – these could be any keywords that your target audience could potentially be using. They aren’t the final list, but rather a jumping-off point for your research.
- Find out what you’re already ranking for. Free tools such as Google Analytics or Uber Suggest can analyze your existing site and let you know what keywords you are already ranking for.
- Look for related search terms. A really easy way to find more search terms is to type one of your keywords or phrases into Google and scroll down to the bottom of the first page, there you will find some related search terms. For example, if your search for ‘face moisturizer’ on Google, some of the related search terms that appear are:
- Face moisturizer for sensitive skin
- Face moisturizer for men
- Face moisturizer with SPF
- For each of your sections, create a full list of keywords and long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases longer than a few words that you may have. To use an earlier example, you might find it difficult to rank for ‘moisturizer’ but it might be easier to rank for ‘moisturizer for dry skin’.
- Check if your competitors are ranking for these keywords and what other terms they are ranking for. The same way that you discovered how your site was ranking for keywords, use the free tools, and check what your competitors are doing. You may even find some phrases you hadn’t thought of.
Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner
You’ve probably got a very long list of potential keywords now which you need to cut down to a more manageable size. Google Keywords Planner and Google Trends to look at the current search volumes for your keywords list.
You can start cutting down on terms with low search volumes, but before you disregard them completely, check Google Trends to see if they predict an increase in traffic.
Search engine rankings are vital to the online success of a business and good SEO starts with good keyword research. Without this, everything you do will be based on the wrong information. With this foundation to build on, you’re ready to take on Google.