Does keyword research still important for SEO in 2023? Certainly! Keyword research remains a vital aspect of SEO.
Keyword research serves as the fundamental cornerstone for any SEO and SEM marketing campaign. It provides essential justification and strategic direction for SEOs, marketers, and webmasters, ensuring that content creation is purposeful and aligned with business objectives.
Within this article, you will discover the significance of keyword research for SEO, along with a collection of valuable keyword research tips to assist you in conducting your research effectively.
What is Keyword Research?
To understand the importance of keyword research for SEO, it is essential to begin by defining what exactly keyword research entails.
Keyword research involves the exploration of commonly used words and phrases that individuals enter into search engines when seeking specific information.
For instance, if you own a plumbing business, conducting keyword research can assist in identifying relevant keywords such as “plumbing service” or “leak repair.”
When developing new content for a website or client, keyword research should be regarded as the initial step that webmasters and marketers undertake.
Now, let’s dive into the reasons why keyword research holds significant importance for every SEO marketing campaign.
Getting started with keyword research
Before embarking on your keyword research journey to optimize your content, it is essential to grasp the fundamentals of keyword research. It is important to distinguish between focus keywords, long-tail keywords, and regular keywords.
A focus keyword, as the name implies, is the primary keyword that receives strategic emphasis. It is the main word or phrase intentionally incorporated into the title, URL, meta description, and text of your website, with the aim of attracting search engine recognition.
In contrast, long-tail keywords consist of three or more words. They are specific phrases that potential buyers are more inclined to use when they are closer to making a purchase and have a clearer idea of their desired product or service. Long-tail keywords attract more qualified traffic. They hold significant value, especially in highly competitive markets, as they enable websites to differentiate themselves. For instance, comparing the search terms “locksmith” and “reliable and trusted locksmith,” it is evident which one would yield more precise and targeted results.
Additional concepts that will assist you in conducting a comprehensive and beneficial keyword research process include:
Understanding how keyword intent factors into keyword research is a crucial aspect of developing a well-rounded keyword strategy. While you may possess extensive knowledge about your business, it is essential to empathize with your target audience and comprehend the intention behind their search. This allows you to put yourself in their shoes and gain a genuine understanding of the purpose behind their search queries.
During the process of conducting SEO keyword research, it is important to evaluate whether your content aligns with the consumer’s intent. Take into account whether they are seeking information, searching for a specific company or website, comparing products in preparation for a purchase, or ready to make an immediate purchase. A strong alignment between consumer intent and your content will encourage visitors to stay on your page for longer durations and improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Gaining insights into your audience and understanding their motivations will enable you to incorporate trigger phrases into your long-tail keywords effectively. Customize your keywords by including trigger phrases that align with various types of consumer intent. For instance, if you are selling a product, incorporating transactional or commercial trigger phrases like “best,” “buy,” “join,” and “compare” will enhance your visibility in searches where individuals have a stronger intent to make a purchase.
Monthly search volume (MSV)
MSV (Monthly Search Volume) represents the average number of searches conducted for a particular keyword in a month. Keyword research websites and tools provide the means to investigate the worldwide MSV (Monthly Search Volume) of a keyword or refine it to a specific city. While a higher MSV indicates the potential for increased website traffic, it also signifies heightened competition within that keyword space.
With the advancement of search engines and the growing importance of related terms, natural language, and high-quality content, it is crucial to exhibit your website’s expertise by offering comprehensive and interconnected content. By establishing yourself as a trusted source of information on a specific topic, consumers will be more inclined to click on your website. Developing authoritative content and building a solid reputation will contribute to achieving a higher ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Steps to perform keyword research
Keyword research can be conducted through various methods, including manual approaches or utilizing dedicated keyword research tools like Keyword Tool. Regardless of the chosen method, several essential steps need to be followed.
To conduct comprehensive and effective keyword research, it is essential to follow a detailed step-by-step guide that covers everything from defining your goals to executing your keyword strategy.
1. Study your niche
Before identifying the optimal keywords for page optimization, it is advisable to delve deeply into your topic or niche. This exploration can provide valuable insights, generate innovative ideas, and uncover unique angles for your marketing and SEO strategy that might have been previously overlooked.
Here are some suggestions on how to conduct a thorough study of your niche:
- Engage in conversations with your current customers to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives. Discover the specific terms and language they employ when referring to your brand, company, product, or service.
- Adopt the mindset of potential customers and consider how you would describe your brand’s offerings to a friend. Put yourself in their shoes and contemplate the language and terms you would naturally use in conversation.
- Participate actively in online communities relevant to your topic or niche, such as forums and social media networks. Engage in discussions, read through conversations, and take note of any pain points or challenges commonly mentioned within your niche.
2. Define your goals
Defining your goal is crucial as it sets the direction for your SEO strategy and plan. The search terms you select should align with your goals and be organized into different content marketing funnels. Your goals also guide the purpose of your SEO copywriting and content creation efforts.
Document your goals by writing them down and creating visual charts. This process establishes a framework and provides the necessary direction for your top-level content and online marketing strategy.
3. Make a list of relevant topics
Segment your brand’s main category and goals into smaller topic buckets. Generate a comprehensive list of all the topics associated with your brand that you aim to rank for on Google.
Select topics that hold significance for your business and align with your buyer personas. Consider the types of topics that your target audience is likely to search for on Google. These topic buckets can later be further dissected into keywords that are directly relevant to those chosen topics.
4. Create a list of seed keywords
Once you have segmented your main category into different sub-topics, you can proceed to compile a list of seed keywords. These keywords should be closely associated with your various topics and, most importantly, reflect terms that your target audience may be using when searching on Google.
Seed keywords, also known as focus keywords, play a crucial role as they serve as the cornerstone of your keyword research. They help define your niche and identify your competitors within the industry.
Discovering the seed or focus keywords for your brand or product is simpler than you may think. By describing your offering in the simplest terms and brainstorming how others might search for it on Google, you can easily identify the relevant keywords.
5. Use good keyword research tools
After establishing your goals, topics, and a list of seed keywords, it is time to leverage keyword research tools to refine and expand your search terms.
One option is to utilize Google Keyword Planner, although it provides only approximate search volumes. Alternatively, you can employ a tool such as Keyword Tool, which offers more detailed insights and assists in refining your search terms effectively. Additionally, it can provide additional ideas for related keywords to consider.
6. Study the search intent
In the past, simply inserting high-volume keywords to improve page rankings was a relatively straightforward approach. However, this strategy has become more complex in recent times. Google’s machine learning search algorithms now analyze search terms about user queries to gain insights into search intent.
Search intent refers to the underlying purpose or motivation behind people’s search queries for specific terms. People’s search habits are influenced by various driving factors that shape their intent.
Place yourself in the perspective of your target audience and consider why they would search for your topic. Reflect on how they would enter their search terms. Are they seeking to make a purchase or are they in search of a service to address a particular problem?
Once you have a clear understanding of the search intent driving potential readers or customers, you can leverage this knowledge to refine your keyword research. While compiling a list of high-volume keywords related to your brand or topic is valuable, the real advantage lies in discovering keywords that directly align with your target audience’s search intent.
7. Identify long tail keywords
Seed keywords generally consist of concise search terms closely related to the primary topic or category of your brand. In contrast, long-tail keywords are more descriptive and often associated with the smaller sub-topics within your brand. Aligning your target audience’s search intent with long-tail keywords is typically more straightforward in comparison to seed keywords.
Although long-tail keywords tend to receive fewer clicks, they often yield a higher conversion rate due to their specific focus on a particular topic or product.
Following these steps, you should have gathered sufficient insights to develop a strong content and SEO strategy. Additionally, you would have acquired the necessary data for SEO copywriting to effectively optimize your content.
Irrespective of whether you manage a content-focused blog, a small business, or engage in brand marketing, keyword research is essential for initiating your content and marketing endeavors.
Doing keyword research can be a tough and time-consuming process. However, more often than not, it proves to be highly rewarding in the long term.