We all want to see our sites on the first page of the search results for the given search terms. After all, you want your efforts and hard work to translate into favorable outcomes like increased traffic and more leads.
Imagine writing content on the topic or idea that no one is searching for. It makes no sense to put so much effort into something that is not going to get desired traffic from the search engine, no matter how well you write it or how hard you try to promote it.
To increase their online visibility, brands have started to focus on continuously optimizing their websites in line with the constantly updating Google’s algorithms. The one thing that has stayed consistent over the period of time is keyword research. Content Writing experts and SEO professionals are always in the race to rank the keywords higher in the organic search results.
As said, when it comes to ranking better in the search results, brands focus on search engine optimization (SEO). Keywords are the foundation of SEO. Hence, keyword research is one of the most essential SEO tasks. Know that keyword research is about finding the right keywords and about placing them correctly.
Further, we talk about the basics of keyword research that you should know to get your articles ranked. When aligned the mentioned points to your goals, your blog will easily grow more and rank better in the search results.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are words or phrases that a user types in the search engines in order to find relevant information online. Keywords are often called search queries or are also known as SEO keywords.
In technical terms, a keyword is a gateway through which people are directed to the organic search results and later to the website where they can possibly find their answers. Hence, through the process of keyword research, you can get to know about the information that people are searching for and optimize your website for better rankings.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is an SEO practice of finding the phrases and words that people are most likely to use to search for information online. Basically, it is about knowing your potential audience, determining what content they will search for, and using it to optimize your content.
Keyword research is the most important part of your SEO strategy. The keywords help set a direction for your content. Therefore, knowing high-volume search terms also ensures that the content in your article is relevant and easily searchable on search engines.
The process involves deriving a list of valuable search terms and analyzing them for the purpose of SEO rich content. A keyword could be a single word like ‘Estimate’ or several words like ‘Create an Estimate’.
It might look like a tedious and time-consuming task, but it is a very crucial task to lay a strong foundation for your content creation and SEO process.
What is the Need to do Keyword Research?
Keyword research is about strengthening your SEO strategy. It provides valuable insights to brands about the queries put in by their target audience on search engines. Knowing these actual search terms can help you form your content strategy as well as strengthen your overall marketing strategy.
A strong keyword strategy will help you know what people care about. The idea to do keyword research is to get to know the topics that are getting high volume searches per month. Based on which you can sort and create content on it.
With the change in Google’s algorithm, you no longer need to use keywords that exactly match what the person is searching for. Keyword stuffing is not going to help you rank better. Now, it is the intent behind the keyword and whether or not your content piece solves for that intent. Hence, now your focus should be on researching keywords for popularity, search volume, and general intent.
If you think you are familiar with the industry and audience, do not commit the mistake of skipping the keyword research process. No matter how well you know your customers, it is always best to make data-driven decisions. Choosing keywords based on the data gathered through research will help achieve goals more effectively.
Here are the main reasons why should you use the best keywords for your business:
- Help attract quality traffic
- Attain searchers at all stages of the buying process
- Cater to your audience’s needs and problems
- Better search engine rankings
- Increased link building opportunities
- Good content topics
- Enhanced promotions
Keyword research is known to be the market research of this decade. It helps set the direction of your SEO campaign and to track its progress.
How to do Keyword Research for Your Articles?
Keyword research can prove to be a long and complex process. Let us dive into the details on how to perform keyword research. Follow the steps below to get your articles ranked to meet your SEO goals.
1. Know Your Niche Topics
In order to optimize your page through the best keywords, it is essential that you first know more about your topic or niche. This step helps you to brainstorm ideas and explore angles that you might have never thought of before. It also ensures that the content of your articles is relevant to your industry, product/service, and audience.
A few ways to determine the related topics are:
- Speak to your existing customers and know the terms they use to describe your brand
- Use online communities like forums or social media platforms to know the discussions happening
- Check Wikipedia’s table of contents
- Go to Google’s searches related to section
- Use Google and Youtube suggest section
For example, check out the related searches for “proforma invoice generator”
2. Determine Your Goals
As Stephen Covey says, ‘Begin with the end in mind’. Whenever you begin a new journey, it is critical that you know your end goal. To determine that you need to know the answers to certain questions like what is your brand about, who is your target audience, what is your USP, etc.
Once you have all the answers figured out, you can frame your brand’s mission statement. It could be to increase the traffic to your website or get more subscribers, etc. Having a goal in the mind helps set a direction for your whole strategy and plan. Your set goals will also help devise the purpose of your content through a proper framework and direction.
3. Create A List Of Topics
Once you start with your research, you will have to collect and organize those ideas. Making a list of your options will help you sort and figure out key data options. It may seem like a redundant step, however, when you assemble for hundreds of keywords, staying organized is necessary.
Based on the niche and the goals, determine topics related to your brand and divide them into smaller topic buckets. The topics are important for your brand and its audience. The topic bucket then can be broken into relevant keywords.
A list of keywords will eventually also become a valuable resource for you. You can use online keyword research tools like Google’s keyword planner to lay a strong foundation for your research. Figuring out and tracking your keywords will help you develop and implement a successful strategy.
4. Examine The Search Intent
As mentioned earlier, just stuffing in high-volume keywords is not going to help you rank your page easily. With the change in Google’s algorithm, now the search engine compares your keywords with user queries to know about the intent.
Search intent is basically the reason behind people searching for specific terms. You will have to determine the factors affecting your audience’s search habits. Keep yourself in their shoes to determine the purpose of their query.
Once you know whether they are looking for something specific or finding a solution to a problem, you will get a broad idea to carry out your keyword research. Apart from finding high-volume keywords, your focus should also be on matching the keywords with your target audience’s search intent.
5. Find A Balance Of Seed & Long-Tail Keywords
Seed keywords are short search terms that are directly related to your niche or your brand’s category. While long-tail keywords are related to your brand’s subtopics and are more descriptive.
A good SEO strategy always targets keywords of diverse length and specificity. It is essential to have a mix of both seed keywords and long-tail keywords.
You are more likely to easily match the user’s search intent with long-tail keywords. Hence, it is simpler to attract the relevant audience with long-tail keywords compared to seed keywords. In terms of clicks, long-tail keywords get lower compared to seed keywords as they are mostly specific to a brand, product, or topic. However, they often have higher conversion rates.
6. Keep An Eye On Competitors
When talking about getting your articles ranked higher, you will have to first check out your competitors. Determine which keywords they are doing to achieve a high ranking. This will save your time and effort to start from scratch.
Use online SEO tools like SEMrush to carry out competitor research. See the keywords they are ranking for, and the competition level for each of your keywords. Scout for the keywords from them on which you think you can leverage more opportunities and rank higher. Leave the keywords that are too difficult to rank and identify the ones where you see a gap.
7. Analyze The Keywords
Now that you have gathered all the potential keywords, it is time to evaluate those keywords. You can use various metrics to filter out the best keywords for you. Use metrics like search volume, competition level, etc. to determine the keyword’s value.
The best keywords will have high search volume and low competition level. The idea is to make more data-driven decisions to get your content better ranked.
When to do keyword research?
Keyword research is often the first step of SEO. Any blogger, content writer, or a digital marketer who is carrying out content-focused activities online initially performs this. Whether you are looking for new content ideas or trying to optimize the existing ones, keyword research is an essential thing to do.
Once you have understood what keyword research is, its importance, and the steps to carry it out, you are ready to sketch good content and frame a strong SEO strategy. It is a strategy that requires efforts but pays off good results in the long-term.
To sum it up, think of the main keywords as topics, match them with the user intent, check its competition, and know its placement correctly. Remember that keyword research is the most critical step when you are running any content-focused activity online.