Keyword research is the first step in building an effective Content and SEO strategy. Do it right and you’ll have an edge over your competitors with optimized content that delivers results. Do it wrong and you’ll be lost in the sea of web pages, never to be discovered by your audience.
What are keywords anyway?
Keywords are the language that helps search engines understand the relevance of your content, show it to the right audience and determine your organic search rankings.
- The phrases your audience types into Google search when looking for information
- The topic and ideas your content is about
You need to ensure that the gap between these two is minimal. This is exactly what keyword research helps you do.
Why do keyword research?
Keyword research is essential to understand the language and intent of your target audience, optimize your content to generate quality organic inbound leads, and support your marketing and promotional activities.
It also helps you understand:
- The demand for a specific keyword
- The traffic they’ll be able to generate
- Your audience’s content choice
- The buyer’s journey
How to choose a keyword
Keyword research is a delicate process. It requires trial, error, and effort. But once you understand the basics and get the right keywords, you can easily craft a detailed plan of action to generate quality inbound leads.
Here are 6 key steps to help you find the best keywords for your content:
1. Define your goals
Doing keyword research and developing a content strategy around it without setting clear goals is like running behind a chicken. You will be all over the place.
To define your objectives, start with asking yourself questions like:
- What is your brand about?
- What makes it special
- What is your website about?
- What does your website promise to the audience?
- What is your goal – increasing the number of subscribers or reaching a sales target by a certain date?
The answer to these questions will help you develop the framework of your keyword research.
2. Create a list of ‘seed’ keywords
Seed keywords are the very first draft of your final keywords and help you identify your niche and competitors. Every keyword research tool asks for a seed keyword which it then analyses to generate specific keywords ideas.
Creating a list of seed of keywords is easy. Just shortlist the words/phrases that people would generally type when looking for the services you/your product offers.
For instance, if you sell CRM solutions, your seed keyword list could be – ‘crm software, cloud CRM, free crm’
Don’t stress too much over creating a perfect seed keyword list, they are just your starting point and you don’t need that many. From just 4 seed keywords you can literally generate hundreds of keyword suggestions.
3. Understand the buyer’s search intent
Search intent is the reason why people are searching for a specific term. To understand and define a buyer’s search intent, keywords can be divided into three categories: Navigational, Informational, and Transactional.
- Navigational Keywords: When a person uses a search term intended to navigate to a webpage. Ex – Typing “Twitter” into Google to reach Twitter.com
- Informational Keywords: Typing a question to find a specific piece of information. Ex – Typing “Who owns Twitter” into Google
- Transactional Keywords: Words like ‘Buy’ and ‘Price’ are strong indicators of a user’s buying intent. Ex – Searching for the “how much is a CRM” clearly indicates the buying intent.
Understanding the search intent helps you pack your content with the keywords that match your user’s exact needs.
4. Analyze your competitors
Knowing the keywords your competitors are using should be an essential part of your keyword research as it helps you understand your niche’s content landscape better and up your SEO game.
To do that, do a Google search using any of your seed keywords so you can find the websites that are ranking on the first page. Scan through their content and meta tags to find unique keywords that you might not have thought about. You can also review the ‘autosuggest’ Google provides to broaden your list of keyword ideas.
Note: If you can produce better quality content than your competitors – you can easily outrank them.
5. Use Long-tail Keywords
While seed keywords are broad terms related to your brand’s category, long-term keywords are specific, descriptive phrases associated with your brand’s subtopics.
They make it easier for you to match your content with your audience’s needs and have a much higher conversion rate.
For example, if your website publishes content about web design, using long-tail keywords like “web design for real estate agents” or “web design in Sydney” will attract a more relevant audience than the seed keyword “web design services”
6. Keyword research tools
There are hundreds of keywords you can choose from. And each keyword comes with its own additional data. Instead of getting bogged down by the numbers, you can rely on KatLinks keyword research tool to save you time and effort.
KatLinks keyword research feature consists of 3 tools that will help you find the best keywords you need to focus on to improve your SEO:
- Ranked Keywords: will find up to 100 keywords for which your website is already ranking
- Suggested Keywords: will give you up to 100 keywords based on a seed keyword you provide
- Competitor Keywords: will find up to 100 keywords for which your competitor is ranking
Along with the keywords, you will also see additional data for each, like average search volumes, competition level, and estimated CPC value.
Common Keyword Research Mistakes
If you want to do it right, there are some things you need to avoid when working on your keywords:
- Doing keyword research only once. Keyword research is a continuous process and needs constant re-evaluation. KatLinks includes a rank tracking feature that lets you monitor and analyze each keyword’s role in your page ranking, helping you replace low-performing quality with better ones.
- Stuffing your content with keywords. This Blackhat SEO technique can damage your organic visibility. Keywords are important, but they must be used correctly. KatLinks on-page audit tool will suggest proper keyword usage as well as recommend the ideal keyword density based on your content length.
- Targeting keywords that are too popular. Popular keywords bring tough competition. Replace high-volume keywords with long-tail, highly relevant keywords to bring in the right audience.
With the right tools, finding the best keywords for your content is not that hard. It will take some time to do it right, but it’s one of the most important SEO tasks you need to do if you want to improve your rankings and increase your organic traffic.