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When was the last time you Google’d something?
Perhaps, it was to check up on upcoming desktop and mobile operating systems. Or maybe you’re looking for a specific pair of shoes. Or perhaps it’s just a hobby.
Regardless of what you’re looking for, we all search for something at one point or another. It’s an activity that we do—almost daily. We Google things, and we look them up on Wikipedia and see if they’re true. And when we’re done with the details, we search again. But this time to find out more about the person behind the website or the content itself.
Whatever the case, we’re guessing that your last search stemmed from a question or concern that involved finding information related to something you need/want/love.
And even if your search failed to yield an answer, you probably still ended up on a website that offered a solution. Google’s role? It’s helping you find the information you’re looking for. Then, transpose your question into a list of results that direct you to websites that than offer a solution or answer.
Thanks to keywords, you’re able to find answers in less than a second.
The problem is that, when it comes to successful keyword research, there are just sometimes more questions than answers out there. And often, the answers are misleading or sometimes downright confusing. But worry not!
Because today, we’re going to simplify the whole thing for you— and help you decipher the best ways to do keyword research in today’s ever-changing digital world.
Keyword Research Defined
Did you know that approximately 56% of Filipino consumers research first on search engines before buying anything? Global Web Index’s mobile media search survey found that the Philippines is the third most active country in terms of Internet searches, with 76% of Filipinos doing so daily.
That’s many people out there looking for anything and everything online, and it’s also why knowing how to do keyword research is an absolute must for your business.
Keyword research is an in-depth process that involves looking at the numbers, understanding what they mean, and finally, applying it to your website to optimize its search result listings in engines like Google.
Essentially, keyword research is the act of finding out which keywords are related to your business or products so that you can optimize your website for them. Your optimized landing page or well-research content won’t work if no one wants what you’re offering.
It is like a tug of war between your business and the search engine. The search engine wants to deliver what people want, and you want to get found by people who would buy your products and services. Your keyword research will facilitate the process.
Your keywords will help the search engines deliver the right people to your website. Get it right, and you’ll get the right eyeballs on your content and drive more traffic to your website.
Why is Keyword Research Important?
The answer can be summed up into three words: CONNECTION.CONVERSION.REVENUE.
CONNECTION because you cannot connect with the right target audience if you don’t know what your target audience looks for. You won’t be able to understand what they want quickly. You won’t be able to get your message across quickly, at the right time, in the right place.
A very unsuccessful business transaction.
A campaign that ends with a lost sale.
However, with keyword research, you’ll know exactly what the audience wants, and you’ll give it to them — because it’s what they want.
And this is where the CONVERSION comes in. Because every time you convert a customer, you’ll get more than just one sale. You’ll get repeat customers, referrals, positive word-of-mouth, and so much more.
Your overall income also won’t be divided based on one sale. Instead, it would be divided among many transactions with customers who are all satisfied with your brand and products/services.
Lastly, REVENUE. It’s not just about making money. It’s about generating revenue for your business. And the only way to generate revenue is by getting your content shared on social media or enhanced with ads, rankings, and so much more.
If you know what the target audience wants, you’ll also know what to do to make them click their way through the funnel that leads them to your site.
And why is keyword research important? It’s because you can get all of these without spending a lot of money. All it takes is to understand which keywords to target, which you’ll get with keyword research.
More than that, keyword research helps you to answer these questions:
* How can I stay relevant to my target audience?
* What are the phrases/words my target audience types in their search engines to find my brand/products/services?
* Which are the top performing keywords? How do I rank better in Google?
* How can I optimize my landing pages for maximum conversions?
* What are the different types of content I can use to attract more customers?
* Who should I hire as an affiliate partner to generate sales for me online, and through offline channels as well?
* How can I give the audience what they want at a time they expect it?
* How can I make sure my business stays ahead of its competitors?
What To Consider In Choosing Keywords?
There’s a high chance that you’ll be lost in the ocean of keywords if you don’t know how to find the ones that work well for your business.
So what’s the secret? How can you ensure that your keyword research will blow up results and not turn into a total time-eater? Check these crucial factors you need to consider to get the most out of your keyword research.
If a keyword is not relevant to the content of your page, it won’t work. Period.
One of the biggest mistakes that many companies make is that they use irrelevant keywords just because those search terms have a higher search volume or because those users are more likely to convert to their businesses.
Take this for example. Your business sells vegan leather shoes and bags, but you’re using keywords related to fast food as part of your SEO campaign, such as “steak,” “burger,” “hotdog,” and so much more.
In this instance, your content might be relevant to vegan leather products but not to the keywords you’re trying to rank well in.
Think of a keyword that is relevant to your business and related to the topic of your blog post. It will serve as an anchor for your content that will draw people in one way or another. It would be better to opt for keywords like “vegan leather bag” or “leather bag,” for example.
The keywords that get high search volume but are not relevant to the topic of your blog post will get you nowhere. The visitors who came to your website will get lost and won’t read your blog post, which is the worst thing that could happen to you.
But if for some reason, your business cannot sell vegan leather products, you can opt for a keyword like “vegan leather shoes.” Sure, it will have less searches compared to the former, but it will still be relevant to your business. The payment would also be good enough to cover up your expenses.
You can ignore this factor if you’re doing branding. But if you’re trying to rank your content for a keyword that already has tons of results or tons of ads, then this factor is something that you need to look into.
If you saw the search volume for a specific keyword and it’s pretty high, and there’s already a plethora of websites ranking well for it, then it means that there’s also a lot of competition. You don’t want to join the battle, and you don’t want to get lost in the sea of websites that are competing for the exact keywords.
So what can you do? What’s a keyword you can target with a high search volume but not a lot of competition?
You can either go after a keyword or let it chase you when it comes to targeting keywords. Meaning to say, you can get really aggressive and get your content optimized for keywords that already have a lot of competition, or you can get less aggressive and get your content optimized for keywords that aren’t yet optimized.
3. Search Volume
Search volume is also another factor that you need to consider.
It’s not about targeting keywords with a lot of search volume. It’s about targeting keywords based on the relevance of your content, competitiveness, and how much traffic you can get.
If you want to make it work, your keyword must have at least 2,000 searches per month or higher or twice that if possible. If it has less than 2k searches per month, then its probably not worth your time.
Types Of Keywords
Before you even start with keyword research, you need to know what kind of keywords you want to target.
Keywords are simply the words that your visitors type as part of a search query. As you can see, there are two crucial parts to a search query: the “search terms” and the “keywords.” Search terms are the words or phrases that your visitors use to type their search query and this will show on the search engine results page (SERP).
On the other hand, keywords are simply those words that you used to target as part of your SEO campaign. Essentially, you’re telling the search engine what these search terms mean to you.
This section will discuss the different types of keywords that you can use for your SEO campaign.
1. Short-tail keywords
Also known as head keywords, short-tail keywords usually consist of three or less keywords. They are also easy to rank for and can be used in PPC campaigns. On top of that, these keywords are highly competitive and can give you lots of traffic.
Most online searchers opt to use short-tail keywords. That’s because they are easily remembered and easier to type. The thing is, people also tend to abandon their search query as soon as they see the SERP for this keyword. Again, this is because people are so used to searching for these keywords that they’d instead just type their search query without even reading the rest of the content.
2. Long-Tail Keywords
Meanwhile, long-tail keywords typically consist of four or more keywords. They are also great for branding and PPC campaigns. People who search for this type of keyword usually spend a lot of time reading other pages and looking for related information online before they decide to buy your product.
Plus, these people tend to learn about your company as an extension of their daily lives. They might even read your blog posts and take note of what you’re saying. This is great for both branding and SEO.
However, long-tail keywords can be tricky to rank for. These keywords will require a lot of work to optimize and rank well. Another downside to long-tail keywords is that they are difficult to remember and more complex to type. It can be hard to remember the whole thing and type it quickly.
3. Long-term evergreen keyword
Even though they are named evergreen keywords, these are keywords can last for years. This means that your content can rank forever with little to no effort. You don’t need to create relevant content and link to other related content within the same niche.
You also don’t need to worry about changing these keywords if you’re doing branding or PPC campaigns because they will never expire.
Just make sure that the content that surrounds evergreen keywords is engaging and relevant to people’s lives. As much as possible, make it informative, authoritative, and educational.
4. Short-term fresh keyword
Notice that short-term fresh keywords are slightly different from evergreen keywords. They are keywords that bring up the latest trends or hype in the market. Your content must align itself to these trends in order to get ranked.
This means that you have to be on top of your game. You have to continually create new content that will be relevant and useful to the market. You also have to think about where your readers are coming from because it will affect the type of content you write for your website.
5. Product-defining keyword
These are keywords that define a product. Searchers utilize a more specific phrase.
Say for instance, a searcher is not just looking for a ‘book’ but a ‘digital marketing book.’
Now, there’s the difference. Product-defining keywords are a good indication that your audience is currently at the early stage of the buyer’s journey.
Simply put, they are looking for specific details of the product they’re planning to buy. Therefore, if you have content relevant to their needs, it would be better for you to create content that is more specific rather than general.
6. Customer-defining keyword
On the other hand, customer-defining keywords pertain to keywords that relate to an individual customer and how they would benefit from your service or product.
As a result, you need to think about the searcher’s journey as well as their needs. If you can target keywords that would help your audience reach their goals, it is a good idea.
For instance, let us use ‘book’ as one of the keywords.
Product defining keyword: digital marketing book
Customer defining keyword: digital marketing book for beginners, digital marketing book for college students
We highly suggest checking your target persona. What are their goals? What are their pain points?
This helps you to come up with the most relevant keywords.
7. Geo-Targeting Keywords
Refers to keywords that target the searcher’s location.
You can use these keywords to your advantage if you’re targeting a specific audience. By doing this, you will be able to create content that is very relevant to their location. Your rankings will also increase if you can rank for users interested in buying products from your site.
For small local businesses, these keywords can help you reach a global audience.
LSI is an acronym for Latent Semantic Indexing. Google usually uses these keywords. They help search engines to understand what searchers are looking for in terms of synonyms, misspellings, and related terms.
They are basically the abbreviated forms of keywords that seemingly improve user experiences when searching for something online. Search engines use LSI to determine what information to provide if people type in misspelled terms or synonyms.
9. Intent targeting keywords
These keywords target the searcher’s intent. In other words, they will indicate what a person is searching for or what they want from you. Thus, the more relevant your content would be to the searchers’ intent, it is good.
When you understand what a person wants from your product, you’ll know how to set up a PPC campaign that matches their needs. You won’t have to go through all the trouble of creating them again and again.
The intent targeting keyword is divided into three categories.
*Informational – These are keywords that indicate what a person wants to know about. It is like asking the question ‘what’ or ‘how.’
Example: What is SEO?, How to make a website?
*Navigational – This keyword is used to indicate where a person wants to go. It is like asking the question ‘where’ or ‘to.’
Example: Where is the nearest hospital?, Which hotel do you recommend?
*Transactional – This one is a little tricky. It indicates what a person wants from you. It is like asking questions such as’ buy,’ ‘sale,’ or ‘promotion.’
Example: How much is the sale? How to buy a car?
Keyword research is significant if you’re looking to rank your site. If you’re looking to rank for specific phrases or keywords, you must research the SERPs relevant to that particular keyword.
Using this method will help you locate keywords used in your niche so that you can focus on ranking for them.
How To Do Keyword Research
Regardless of the SEO changes that have taken place in the past few years, keyword research remains of paramount importance. Thus, it would benefit you and your business to get the most out of the simple formula: find what people will type in the search query.
Every webmaster, marketer, and SEO specialist’s mission is to create natural search results to page-rank their sites. So, without further ado, here are the fundamental steps on how to conduct keyword research.
1. Make your own 'seed' list.
When we say seed list, these are set of keywords relevant to your business. They are the keywords you know you want to rank for but lack insights into which keywords people are using. These are also called “seed” words because they will sprout keywords that will extend your reach far beyond the seed you started with.
As much as possible, try to include synonyms and related phrases in your seed list. Research your target persona. If you are the target buyer, what words would you use to search for a solution if you were going online?
You may also evaluate the keywords you’re using right now. For example, what keywords are you already ranking for that could be targeted to generate more organic traffic?
It would also help if you checked what keywords your competitors are using. You can check this by using SEMrush and SpyFu. These tools will show you keywords that your competitors are ranking for.
2. Time to set your goals.
What do you want to achieve from your keyword research? Here are the few goals you can strive for:
-Learn about what people are searching for so that you can tell what they want.
-Look for long-tail keywords to rank for.
-See what your competitors are using so that you can take action.
-See the gaps in the market so that you know where to position yourself to dominate in your niche.
By having a goal, you will know the direction you’re going to take with your keywords.
3. Narrow down your options.
Now that you have a list of ‘seed’ keywords, it’s time to narrow the list down. Here are the things you need to do:
-Find out what people type in Google.
Tools you can use: SEMrush, SpyFu, Keyword Tool
-Look for gaps in your seed list so that you can add more keywords from competitors.
-Know what searchers type in when they want to make an informed decision.
4. Check where your competitors are ranking.
You must also see what your competitors and related keywords rank for. If you begin to compare your seed list with your competitors’ seed, you can quickly pinpoint the gaps in your list. Understanding these gaps of the competitors’ keywords is very important.
5. Plan your next move like a pro.
You now have a few ideas of what you want to rank for, but it’s time to take action. The next step is to start writing content. This will be an article on the topic you are researching. It could be for your blog, an article on your site or even a guest blog post.
It’s important that you come up with content ideas that are specific to your target niche and audience.
6. Recheck the SERPs.
When you get your article done, you should get an idea of what keywords people use to rank for. It will help you decipher the gap for you to BE SEEN by your target audience.
If you are successful in ranking for it, then great! You will have locked in a spot so that your business can have more organic traffic.
But if not, no worries! Just try again until success comes knocking on your door.
Tools On How To Do Keyword Research
To further expand your keyword horizon, we have compiled a list of tools that can help you do even more research. These tools are more technical, but they can help you drill down into the core of your niche.
1. Google keyword planner
When it comes to keyword research, Google planner is a fundamental tool that provides click-through data. Hence, if you’re looking to get your feet wet with keyword research, this tool will help get you started.
Specifically designed to help you develop long-tail keywords, this tool will allow you to look at specific topics within your niche. Features like the COUNT function will help you target particular pages, as well as corresponding keywords. In creating long-tail keywords, you can look at more than just the number of pages that exist on a major website. You can also look at the number of unique visits to those pages.
Through these two functions, it’s easy to find specific content within your niche and create a keyword phrase that will help you rank for one particular topic.
Meanwhile, the UberSuggest tool is directly within the Google AdWords platform, where you can use it to determine your most popular keywords. Of course, you’ll need to have a Google account to use this specific tool.
As you look at UberSuggest, you’ll be able to see which keywords are searched for most often with Google Search. This way, you can find out what users are searching for online and then work backward to target those keywords with SEO.
For a more detailed look at additional keywords, you can also take a closer look at the Keyword Tool. This tool will help you dive deeper into keyword research and provide specific details about keywords themselves.
This tool will help you see how much traffic a specific keyword receives, as well as the percentage of long-tail keywords it is associated with. You can then refine your keyword list by researching particular keywords that are 1% or more above the average keyword rank.
What’s unique about it?
Keywordtool.io provides a great way to look at your potential target keywords and then determine which keywords you’ll need to target with SEO.
Ahrefs is an additional keyword research tool that also features a higher level of detail for keyword data. These tools are built for higher-level SEO’s who have been in the business for years and have a deeper understanding of the industry they work in.
You may take advantage of the different features it has, such as:
* Power Keywords – Power keywords are defined as the most important keywords for your business. They either account for the majority of your traffic or are incredibly profitable compared to other keywords.
* Keyword Difficulty – Also known as KD, this metric shows you how competitive a keyword is for traffic. Every keyword lists KD score out of 100. A high KD score indicates that it is hard to rank within specific position on SERP.
* Search Volume – This metric shows how many times your keyword appears on SERP. It will give you an idea of how much competition there is for your keyword within the market.
Lastly, Answerthepublic aids in a different way to improve your keyword research. This tool takes a unique approach, which allows you to identify terms that may not be searched for often by Google, but may still be relevant within your industry.
Typically people use this tool to find the search terms people are asking about on Google without searching for them. You can take these keywords and then use them in your content or advertising, which will allow you to target specific emotions and needs.
Ideal for longer-tail keywords, the free version of AnswerThePublic will give you up to 15 results.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you do keyword research for beginners?
Keyword research comes down to the same things as any other type of marketing: knowing your target market and how they typically respond to questions. It is the art of finding a way to engage those people in a way that will engage their interest enough for them to do business with you.
How do I optimize keywords?
To optimize your keywords, you need to understand what the different search engines actually do. In turn, you need to know how they work and how they make their decisions.
For example, Google AdWords uses a combination of RANK and VOLUME for their ranking algorithms. This means that they use both the number of times your keyword appears on the page and the actual search volume for your query.
On top of the above, Google also gives preference to keywords with authority over keywords with volume.
How many keywords should you target?
Keyword research isn’t just about the number of words. It’s also about the number of phrases, concepts, and ideas you use to target your ideal customer.
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