How to do keyword research – the easy way!
Keywords are not just what people ‘key’ into their computer to look for something, they are the ‘key’ that unlocks your website and all its goodies for them. Make sure you are giving people your key.
Knowing the best keywords that will bring customers your way is essential to anyone who wants an extra avenue of free marketing. But you probably don’t need to be told that.
So how exactly do you find out what those keywords are?
There are a few questions that you need to solve, and you will, with keyword research:
- What words or phrases are your potential customers using to find a business that does what you do?
- What problems are your potential customers having that you could solve?
- What search terms are people using that are getting less results?
- What keywords are your competitors using to get in front of their audience?
With keywords, clever is better than broad
Keywords need to be strategic. It is not about casting the widest possible net, it is about focusing in on what you do and what your customers need you to do.
There are over 1.2 billion websites that search engines like Google need to look through to return search results to the end user trying to find an answer, a product or a service that meets their needs.
If you have an online store selling handmade socks for cats, then you could focus on words like ‘cats’, and there is a good chance that someone who types in ‘cats’ might be interested in buying some socks for their tabby as well. However, there is a better chance that someone who types in just ‘cats’ is an eight-year-old researching cats for a school project or someone who likes 1980s musical theatre.
Broad topics are for people who are just starting their internet searches, and who don’t know what they are looking for, or anything much about it. What you need to focus on, where the hidden treasure lies, is in targeting the intent-based long-tail keywords.
What you need to do is create more of a funnel of customers/readers to you, by targeting more specific keywords like ‘my cat has cold feet’ or ‘buy cat socks online’. However beware of phrasing that may put your business in front of people searching for socks with cats on!
The longer phrases are called long-tail keywords, and while they may bring you less traffic, they will bring you the traffic which is more likely to convert into sales.
Someone who types in ‘socks for cats with cold feet’ has a specific problem that they are ready to solve, and they are more likely to make a purchase that someone searching cats generally.
Additionally, when you use long-tail keywords in your content marketing and SEO strategy, your website will rank much higher on those in search results than on the broad terms.
How to find the best keywords to target
The best place to find the best keywords for your business is often hidden in the questions customers ask ALL.THE.TIME. Because, before they asked you, they likely typed in the same thing into Google. Make a list of your FAQs – even the ones you think everyone should know already – and I bet you’ll find some scorching keywords to target.
Customer phrasing and language is ideal for figuring out a big long hit list of keywords/phrases to target. Then you can take that list to free tools such as SEMrush, UberSuggest (super easy and free!) or Google Keyword Planner (found within AdWords).
You can use these tools to get reports on the following:
- What keywords you currently rank for
- Who are your website competitors on these keywords
- A list of related keywords to the ones you already rank for
You can usually access a certain amount of information through these tools for free, but to do more in-depth keyword research you will need to pay for their services.
If you are still stuck, type some questions in Google, Quora or BuzzSumo that customers might ask, and see what results come back. In the results you will notice trends in language and questions that you can specifically target.
Depending on your niche, you could do a search on your competitors and see what terms they are targeting on their website and in Ad copy.
Another source for finding keywords in a particular niche or local area may be asking in a Facebook group, asking a group of friends, or even asking on your social media channels:
How would you describe X?
If you had X problem, what would you type into Google to find the answer?
Asking real-live people is a good option if you are trying to boost your search presence locally because locals may use different terminology to the rest of the globe (which are represented in keyword research tools). For example, if you are targeting popular keywords focused on “Coffee Shop” but the locals commonly search for “Cafe”, then your SEO efforts may not perform quite as well.
Social media sites can be a great resource for keyword research and learning on what to base your content. Twitter for example regularly provides tips on seasonal hashtags and keywords to help you keep up with people are looking for now.
Google gives you hints
Just using Google to search for things can give you a lot of sneaky information about your keywords. When you start typing in a search term, Google will use autocomplete to presume what you are looking for. This brings up a handy list of the terms that people are using most often.
Then at the bottom of the search results page, there will also be a list of suggested searches you should try as well.
When you are figuring out which new keywords to target, just type them into Google, and see where your competitors rate for them, and which ones aren’t ranking at all.
Also look closely at the all of the results on the first page. Within the descriptions given by competitors, you will also find related keywords that you could be using.
Another fantastic source of inspiration is Wikipedia. Enter your main keywords into this website, and then you will find a wealth of information and ideas from the results that pop up.
The content provided by Wiki includes alternate versions of your search terms, as well as a definition of your topic, and disambiguation about any similar topics you may have really been looking for.
You can read through this content and make a list of keywords and long-tail keywords inspired by the information Wiki gives you on this page. Further points of inspiration from Wikipedia include their ‘Contents’ and ‘See Also’ sections of your page of results.
Firstly, embrace the fact that you need to do some keyword research, and set time aside to do this. Keyword research is something that needs to be done regularly, as the internet moves fast. No matter how often you research new keywords there was always be alternatives you have not considered or new things that can learn.
Then get a pen and paper (or create a spreadsheet) and make a list. Then you will be ready to execute the implementation of your SEO strategy.
Need some extra help? We can help. Get in touch with us here to discuss all things keyword research and SEO.
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