While writing content for our websites or blogs, the main goal in our minds is to make it appear on the first page of search results for specific keywords. We all want the efforts and hard work we put into our articles to translate into concrete results.
Before starting to write, you want to ensure that people on the internet are searching for this content. Even if your article is extremely well written and informative, it will not get the desired traffic as no one is searching for it.
As technology is growing rapidly, keyword research is a great strategy to adapt to the constantly changing Google algorithms and to ensure that your content stays relevant. Expert writers and SEO specialists heavily rely on keyword research to rank their keywords at the top in the organic search results.
As said, with regards to positioning better in the search engine results, established brands concentrate on the approach of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Keywords are the basis of SEO. Therefore, keyword research is quite possibly the most fundamental SEO task. You must realize that keyword research is all about tracking down the correct keywords and placing them effectively in your content.
In this article, we discuss the various steps you need to undertake to be efficient at keyword research and rank your content higher in search rankings.
Need for Keyword Research
Keyword research is about strengthening your SEO strategy. It provides relevant insights to content creators regarding the queries or keywords put in by their target readers on search engines. Recognizing these phases can assist you in forming your content strategy as well as solidifying your broader marketing plan.
Having a robust keyword strategy will help you envision and understand what people are looking for on the internet. The purpose is to look for what the market wants; what topics are getting high search volumes. Based on this, you can plan your content accordingly.
However, this does not mean that you need to exactly match the keywords that the people are looking for. Merely stuffing keywords into your blog will not help in attaining a higher ranking. With Google’s changing algorithm, it is now all about intent; you must understand the intent of that keyword search and your content must cater to that intent.
You might be already familiar with the industry; its needs and wants, the customers’ psyche etc. However, do not make the mistake of assuming things. You may use your expertise to confirm your findings, but always rely on solid research to make decisions. Data-driven decisions help achieve your goals more effectively and efficiently. Apart from this, you may also find some myth-busters, when you conduct research based on data as intuitions can often prove to be wrong.
The following are some of the reasons to conduct data-driven keyword research before developing your content strategy:
- Helps in drawing quality traffic to your blog.
- Target customers at various stages (from need recognition to purchase decision) of the buying process.
- Cater to the requirements of your target group.
- Achieve improved search engine rankings.
- More opportunities to build new links and grow existing ones.
- Find relevant topics to write on.
- Increased promotions.
Process of Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is a complex process; it requires a lot of effort and time. However, following the 7 steps mentioned below to improve your search engine rankings and achieve your SEO goals.
1. Identify your niche/expertise
The first step while starting a blog is to identify your niche. This will help you to ideate a flow for your blog and explore new perspectives or schools of thought on that topic. It will enable you to optimize your page with the most relevant keywords. This will also ensure that your content is relevant to your particular industry, offerings, and target group.
Some of the ways to understand and plan the topics are as follows:
- Talk to your existing customers and understand how they perceive your brand or the terms they use to describe your brand.
- Be active on various platforms like forums or social media to know the current discussions.
- See Wikipedia’s table of contents.
- Check the ‘related searches’ section on search engines.
- See the suggestions offered on websites like Youtube or Google.
2. Plan and set your goals
As you begin with your mission, keep the end goal in mind. To determine your goal, you need to understand various aspects of your business such as what is your brand about, what message do you want to convey, who is your audience, what is unique about you among other things.
Once you have figured out these aspects, you need to fix the objective of your strategy. It may be to increase the number of subscribers, increase daily traffic, improve SEO ranking, etc. This objective will provide the direction to your whole content strategy. It will also give purpose to your content via a decent framework.
3. Create a list of topics
Once the research process has begun, you should start making notes to organise your thoughts and findings. Making a list of the possible topics will help you to sort and figure out which prospects you want to target. This may feel like a cumbersome process initially, but when you have to deal with a large number of keywords, this will prove to be a helpful step.
While keeping in mind the niche you have selected and the goals of your strategy, determine the subjects you want to write about. Further, divide these broad subjects into specific topics that each content piece will talk about. After this, you can finally attribute keywords to each topic.
You can use online tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to help you with your research and keyword planning. It will help you keep a track of your keywords which can be useful in the successful implementation of your strategy.
4. Review the search intent
As stated earlier also, merely adding a large number of keywords into your content will not ensure a higher page ranking. This happens as your keywords are compared with the queries put in by users to examine the search intent.
Search intent refers to the reason why people are searching for a particular term. You need to understand the purpose that people want to solve when they are entering a particular keyword into the search engine; what are the factors that affect their search behavior.
Once you have understood the behavioral pattern of your target group, you will develop a broad idea about how to carry your keyword research. This way, you can focus on not only including high-volume keywords, but also those words which match the search intent of your target audience.
5. Strike a balance of seed and long-tail keywords
Seed keywords refer to short search terms that form the base of a keyword strategy. They are directly related to your topic and do not include modifiers. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are more descriptive. They are more related to your sub-topics and generally include modifiers.
A good SEO strategy is all about finding the right balance between the two. It must include words and phrases that cover a broad spectrum. It is more likely that a long-tail keyword will match the intent of the user. Therefore, long-tail keywords attract a more relevant audience to your website. They usually have a higher conversion rate. On the other hand, seed keywords are more successful in getting clicks as they are specific to you.
6. Watch out for competitors
One way to identify important keywords is to keep an eye on your competitors and the industry in general. Check out which keywords are they using and how successful their SEO strategy is. This will prove to be a good starting point from where you can build your strategy. To make your work organized and smooth, you can use various SEO tools such as SEMrush to conduct a competitor study.
7. Analyze the keywords
After all the keywords have been shortlisted and gathered, it is now time to evaluate them. Ideally, you should use many different metrics to filter the ones which are most suitable for you. These may include search volume, competition level, etc. The idea is to ensure that you are making the right decision with the help of data.
Once you are through with the aforementioned steps, you will be ready to develop a strong SEO strategy with the help of efficient keyword research. It is complex and may take up a lot of time. However, the returns are worth the effort, especially in the long run.
Keyword research is a vital step when you are creating content for the internet. To explain the entire article, in a nutshell, it can be said that the keywords are your main topics. Match them with the user search intent, understand your competition, and place them smartly in your content.