Let’s figure out which strategic keywords to target in your website’s content, and how to create that material to satisfy both visitors and search engines, now that you know how to show up in search results.
Understanding your target market and how they search for your information, services, or products is the power of keyword research.
Keyword research gives particular search data that might assist you in answering queries such as:
What are they looking for?
How many individuals are on the lookout for it?
What format do they require the information in?
In this chapter, you’ll discover how to unearth that information using tools and methodologies, as well as how to prevent keyword research blunders and create powerful content. You’ll discover a whole new world of strategic SEO after you figure out how your target audience searches for your content.
Before you start looking for keywords, make a list of questions.
Before you can help a company expand through SEO, you must first understand who they are, who their consumers are, and what their objectives are.
This is where many people save costs. Many people skip this critical planning phase because keyword research takes time, and why waste time when you already know what keywords you want to rank for?
The truth is that what you want to rank for and what your audience wants are frequently diametrically opposed. Focusing on your target group and then using keyword data to fine-tune those insights can result in far more successful campaigns than focusing on random keywords.
Here’s an illustration. Frankie & Jo’s (a vegan, gluten-free ice cream store in Seattle) has heard about SEO and would like assistance in enhancing how and how often they appear in organic search results. To assist them, you must first gain a better understanding of their clients. You could do so by asking questions like:
What kind of ice cream, desserts, snacks, and other foods are people looking for?
Who is looking for these keywords?
When are individuals looking for ice cream, snacks, sweets, and other such items?
Are there any trends in seasonality throughout the year?
What methods do individuals use to find ice cream?
What are the words they use?
What kind of inquiries do they make?
Is it true that more searches are conducted on mobile devices?
Why are people on the lookout for ice cream?
Are people seeking for health-conscious ice cream or just something to please their sweet tooth?
What are the locations of potential clients – locally, nationally, or internationally?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how can you assist in the creation of the best ice cream content in order to foster a community and deliver what all those individuals are looking for? These questions are an important part of the planning process since they will drive your keyword research and help you create better content.
What exactly does the word imply?
Remember, if any of the concepts mentioned in this chapter leave you perplexed, our SEO glossary is available to help!
Definitions in Chapter 3
What are the terms that people are looking for?
You may be able to describe what you do, but how does your target audience find your product, service, or information? The initial stage in the keyword research process is to answer this question.
You’ve probably got a list of keywords in mind that you’d like to rank for. These will be things like your products, services, or other topics covered on your website, and they’ll serve as excellent seed keywords for your study,
so start there! You can use a keyword research tool to find out the average monthly search volume and similar keywords for those phrases. We’ll go over search volume in more detail in the next section,
but it might help you figure out which variations of your keywords are the most popular with searchers during the discovery phase.
Once you’ve entered your seed keywords into a keyword research tool, you’ll start to see more keywords, common inquiries, and content ideas that you might have overlooked otherwise.
Let’s look at a florist who specializes in weddings as an example.
If you type “wedding” and “florist” into a keyword research tool, you might find highly relevant, highly searched for terms like:
Bouquets for weddings
Flower shop for weddings
When you’re researching keywords for your content, you’ll probably realize that the search volume for such terms changes a lot. While it’s important to target terms that your audience is searching for, in some circumstances, targeting terms with lower search traffic may be more advantageous because they’re less competitive.
Because both high- and low-competition keywords can benefit your website, learning more about search traffic will help you prioritize keywords and choose the ones that will provide your website with the greatest strategic advantage.
How frequently are those terms looked up?
Getting to the bottom of search volume
The more labor necessary to get higher results for a certain term or keyword phrase, the higher the search traffic.
This is sometimes referred to as keyword difficulty, and it can include SERP features; for example, if a keyword’s result page is clogged with SERP features (such as featured snippets, knowledge graphs, carousels, and so on), difficulty will rise.
Big businesses frequently dominate the top 10 results for high-volume keywords, so if you’re just getting started on the web and targeting the same keywords, ranking can take years.
The stronger the competition and work required to achieve organic ranking success, the higher the search volume.
If you set it too low, though, you risk not attracting any searchers to your site. In many circumstances, targeting highly precise, low-competition search phrases may be the best option. Long-tail keywords are what we call them in SEO.
Recognizing the long tail
Ranking #1 for the keyword “shoes” would be fantastic… or would it?
It’s great to work with keywords that get 50,000 or even 5,000 searches per month, but in reality, these popular search terms account for a small percentage of total web searches.
Indeed, keywords with large search volumes may imply uncertain purpose, putting you at danger of attracting visitors with goals that aren’t aligned with the content on your website if you target these terms.
Don’t dismiss these less well-known terms. Because searchers are more focused and intentional in their queries, long tail keywords with lower search volume frequently convert better.
A user searching for “shoes,” for example, is most likely just browsing. Someone looking for “best price red womens size 7 running shoe,” on the other hand, is nearly pulling out their money!
Using search volume as a strategic tool
You may be even more strategic by looking at your competition and figuring out how searches fluctuate by season or area now that you’ve uncovered relevant search terms for your site and their accompanying search volumes.
You’ll most likely collect a large number of keywords. How do you know which one to start with? Prioritizing high-volume keywords that your competitors aren’t already ranking for could be a good idea.
On the other hand, you might look at your list to see which keywords your competitors are already ranking for and prioritize those.
The former is ideal for capitalizing on your competitors’ missed opportunities, while the latter is a bold strategy that positions you to compete for keywords that your competitors are currently ranking well for.
Understanding seasonal trends might help you plan your content strategy.
For example, if you know that “Christmas box” sales in the United Kingdom peak in October through December, you can plan content months ahead of time and give it a significant push during those months.
You can more strategically target a specific location by using Google Keyword Planner to narrow down your keyword research to specific cities, counties, or states, or evaluating “interest by subregion” in Google Trends.
Geographically specific research might assist you in making your content more relevant to your target audience. For example, you can learn that in Texas, a large truck is referred to as a “big rig,” whereas in New York, it is referred to as a “tractor trailer.”
Which format is more appropriate for the searcher’s intent?
We learned about SERP characteristics in Chapter 2. That background will aid us in determining how searchers prefer to consume content for a specific keyword.
The format in which Google displays search results is determined by purpose, and each question has its own. In their Quality Rater Guidelines, Google defines these intentions as “know” (discover information), “do” (achieve a goal), “website” (find a specific website), or “visit-in-person” (visit a local business).
While there are dozens of different search kinds, let’s look at five of the most common ones:
- Informational queries: The searcher is looking for specific information, such as the name of a band or the Empire State Building’s height.
Tools for determining a keyword’s worth
How much does a keyword add to the worth of your website? These tools can assist you in answering that question, and they’d be excellent additions to your keyword research toolkit:
Input a keyword into Moz Keyword Explorer to gain data on monthly search volume and SERP features (such as local packs or highlighted snippets) that are ranking for that phrase. Using live clickstream data, the program retrieves accurate search volume data.
Check out Announcing Keyword Explorer to discover more about how we create our keyword data.
Bonus! The “Difficulty” score in Keyword Explorer can also help you filter down your keyword possibilities to the phrases that have the best chance of ranking. The harder it is to rank for a keyword with a high score, the more difficult it is to rank for that term. More information about Keyword Difficulty.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner – For years, Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner has been the most popular place to start when researching SEO keywords. Keyword Planner, on the other hand, limits search volume data by grouping terms into large search volume range buckets. Check out Google Keyword Planner’s Dirty Secrets for more information.
Google Trends – If you’re looking for seasonal search swings, Google’s keyword trend tool is an excellent place to start. “Funny halloween costume ideas,” for example, will be popular in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
AnswerThePublic – This free program generates a list of frequently asked questions based on a keyword. Bonus! You can use this tool in conjunction with Keywords Everywhere, a free service, to prioritize ATP’s suggestions based on search volume.
SpyFu Keyword Research Tool – This tool provides some pretty useful competitive keyword information.
Now that you’ve figured out what your target audience is looking for and how often they’re looking for it, it’s time to move on to the next step: creating pages that visitors will enjoy and search engines will comprehend. Go to Chapter 4 (On-Site Optimization) for more information.
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