Much has changed over the years with SEO. Google certainly keeps things interesting. But if there’s one SEO fundamental that has remained constant, it’s keyword research. This article will teach you how to perform keyword research so you can improve your site’s organic search presence.
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What is SEO Keyword Research?
At its heart, keyword research is understanding what words and terms that people who are looking for your business offerings are entering into the search engines. By better understanding what your ideal prospect is looking for and creating a content strategy to best target those keywords, you can improve your rankings and increased organic traffic while promoting qualified leads.
How to Effectively Perform Keyword Research
Let’s look at a five-step process to perform keyword research effectively:
1. What Are You Currently Ranked For?
Which keywords is your site currently ranked for? Which keywords are ranked well and driving organic traffic to your site? Which keywords aren’t ranked well? It’s important to take an unbiased look at your current performance. Google Search Console and other tools can help you with this.
Knowing your current keyword rankings can help you get an idea of core areas to target with additional keywords. It can also give you an idea of where you may need to improve content in an effort to improve rankings for important keywords that are currently underperforming.
2. Analyze Your Competition
Success leaves clues. Which of your competitors are consistently ranking well in organic search results? What are the search terms you’re using to find them there? Which of those keywords are you using? Which ones aren’t you using?
If your budget is tight, using Google for your research will suffice. If you have the funds, there are some excellent paid analysis tools that can give you the competitive intelligence you need. Tools like SEMRush can help you identify what keywords your competitors are currently ranked for as well as the associated landing pages and projected organic traffic. You can use this data to inform your own keyword strategy.
3. Refine Your Keyword List
Now that you’ve done your due diligence on your current rankings and your competitors’ rankings, it’s time to pare down that list. There are many tools available to help you get this done, but let’s focus on two free tools for starters: Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.
- Google Keyword Planner gives you the search volume for the keywords you’re using or considering. Keyword Planner will identify keywords on your list with too much or too little volume. You can also use Keyword Planner to get keyword ideas for other relevant keywords based on your manual entry of keywords.
- Google Trends will give you both the trend history and projections. What are people interested in now? For instance, if you sell home furnishings and see that the term “winged-back chairs” has a positive trend and is projected to continue, you can check your site and make sure you have a section or page focused on that term. If you don’t, you can add one to capture that traffic.
4. Explore Alternative Opportunities
Within your industry, what are people talking about and showing signs that they want to know more about it? Question and Answer sites, social media groups, and industry forums can give you ideas about what people are interested in and very likely searching for. You can then confirm search volume for these kinds of searches with keyword research tools to determine if they will be valuable to target with your own site.
5. Remember That Content Is King
Google ranks your site according to how well your content will provide searchers with the product, service, or information they’re looking for. For example, if your company manufactures footwear and you have minimal content on sandals, even though you manufacture them, you’re not very likely to rank highly for the keyword “sandals.”
Once you’ve pared back your keyword list, check it against your site’s content and your business offerings. If you notice keywords with high search volume that are not currently represented with quality content on your site, make a plan to build out that content to best target those keywords.
Keep at It
SEO is a continuous process of making adjustments to the changes that Google periodically makes. You need to be constantly studying SEO and keeping current with strategies that will improve your performance. If you don’t have the time to do it, work with an SEO company that does.
If you need assistance with keyword research, contact ClickGiant today. We are a leading digital marketing agency serving clients nationwide. Get in touch today to request a free site audit.