Keyword research is fundamental to almost everything you do online; from seeking information through Google, to blogging, search engine optimization, and online marketing. What makes it so important is the fact that both users and search engine depends on them to find your site. Selecting right keywords which matches your content means your site is optimized for showing up in search engine results whenever someone searches for those keywords or phrases. But choosing suitable keywords is an art. It includes figuring out what the people are looking for, so that you can be in the right place, at the right time, with the right content.
How to do Keyword Research
Getting your keywords right is almost half the battle won. Targeting right keywords can help you rank high in search engines and drive organic traffic to your site.
Keyword research is the foundation on which your whole content creation should take place. As you can’t hit an arrow at a right place without selecting a target, in the same manner, you just can’t start producing content until and unless you know about the keywords that you want to target. Right keywords can make or break a website.
For example, if you are running an auto blog covering car news, new technology, concepts, launches and targeting keywords like automobile spare parts, it’s not going to work. Why? 99% of the people searching for automobile spare parts will not be interested in your content. On the other hand, the people who are actually searching for the content you cover on regular basis, will not be able to reach you.
So, it is essential to spend some time analyzing few things before starting keyword research:-
Keyword Research Strategies
1. Analyze Your Website & Set Your Keyword Goals
Start with making a list of all relevant keywords you can relate your website with. Compile a list of potential keywords & phrases based on your niche and the topics relevant to your site. If you are clear about what your site is and what you want to achieve with it, then keyword selection becomes a much easier process.
To get an idea of what keywords are popular in your niche, you can Google few common keywords that comes to your mind. Google itself shows up few keywords and key phrases powered by ‘Google Sugggest’ feature. The feature is integrated to Google search. If you’re signed in to your Google Account and have Web History enabled, you might have noticed the drop down list of suggestions from the search box as soon as you start typing, it’s Google Suggest. If you’re not signed in to your Google Account, no history-based suggestions are displayed.
It also shows you more suggestions at the bottom of the result page to refine your search. For example, if you are searching for wedding dresses, you will get a number of keyword ideas related to the topic.
1. It’s advisable to include long tail keywords with your main keywords as they are less competitive and more promising. Lesser the competition, better the chance it will be ranking on them in the search engines. For example, if you run a blog on wedding, “black and white wedding dresses” can be a long tail keyword for you.
2. Focus on specific keywords instead of focusing on broad keywords as they will be responsible for majority of your traffic. For example if you are an automobile spare parts supplier, your broad category could be Maruti, Ford, Honda etc. and your specific category can be spare parts of ford fiesta, spare parts of ford icon etc. There may be thousands of visitors who are searching for ford, but they will not convert into your customer as once they arrive on your site they will realize that they are not looking for this information/spare parts.
TIP: Targeting keywords on the basis of high search volume is not a good idea as the competition level will be much higher on them, which will make it impossible for you to rank on these keywords.
2. Research Your Audience
Do some research about what your potential audience is looking for. Don’t assume that what you are searching is what your audience searches for. It’s important to target keywords which are relevant to your site to improve your user experience. Ranking for a keyword that is not relevant to your site may attract traffic in the short term, but won’t add add value to your users.
Browse forums and check social media platforms to see the search terms people are using in their conversations
Always think about your audience first. Your top goal should be to provide every user who is coming to your site, what he or she is looking for.
TIP: You can ask your friends & family, what they will search for on your targeted topic to get an idea of what your audience might use.
3. Analyze Your Competitors
Start by learning from the top competitors in your niche. What keywords they are using?The simple way to start is by scanning your competitor’s site pages for their targeted keywords.
You can also check the search results for your targeted keywords to discover other websites which are already ranking on your keywords. Take first five websites and analyze their keywords to find effective keywords/phrases on your targeted topic.
TIP: To check the authority of the websites appearing in top search results, you can install MozBar , SEO toolbar. When you perform a search you will see the domain and page rank for any sites you come across. The domain rank specifies how important the website is with page authority on a 100-point, logarithmic scale.
PRO TIP: If two or more of your competitors are targetting a certain keyword, then use keywords that are associated with it or pick the long tailed versions of it.
4.Use Keyword Tools to Expand Your Keyword List
Use professional keyword research tools to finalize your keywords. Don’t rely on a single keyword tool as each source gets it result from different sources. It is advisable to use different keywords tools to make a comprehensive list. Some of the popular free tools are:
Google keyword tool is a favorite among many bloggers. Enter an exact keyword or list of keywords and start, it will show you a huge range of keywords from which you can pick the ones which are relevant to your site. If you want exact results for your keyword you can select ‘Exact Match’ queries in Google’s Keyword Tool’. Knock out anything which is not relevant to your site, filter further on the basis of search volumes.
You can use Keyword Spy for competitive keyword analysis. All its premium features aren’t free, but you can access a good amount of data for free.Type a keyword or key phrase in the search box; select a country of your choice, tick on the desired check box to let it do keyword brainstorming for you.
SERP is a good tool, if you have a few shortlisted keywords which need further research to check their viability as it only shows data for “exact searches”.
5.Refine Your list and Review it Twice
After going through all these steps your keyword list will become very extensive, now start narrowing down your list on the basis of search volume, competition and relevancy. Strike off the others. Your keyword list might still be large. Now, review your list again to pick 10 to 15 primary keywords you’re going to target.
Review your list from time to time to check for any trending keywords.
Keyword research is an ongoing process as the trends keep on changing and so is the competition, so review and renew your keyword research every few months. Try to stay ahead of your competitors by using Google Trends to assess hot topics before anyone else do so.