Google constantly keeps the algorithm updates coming. The only thing that has stayed consistent for inbound marketers looking to optimize their websites has been keyword research.
So what is keyword research? Why is it important? How do you do your research for your SEO strategy and choose the right keywords for your website?
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is essentially the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines with the goal of using that data for a specific purpose, often for search engine optimization (SEO) or general marketing. Keyword research involves uncovering queries to target, the popularity of those queries, their ranking difficulty, and other factors.
Keyword research offers insight into the queries that a target audience is actually searching on Google. This insight gets into actual search terms that can help inform content strategy and the larger marketing strategy.
People use keywords to find answers when conducting research online. If your content is successful in getting in front of an audience as they conduct searches, you will stand to gain more traffic.
Content is not created around what to tell people, but instead should be created around what people want to discover. Much of this relies on keyword research.
Conducting keyword research has many benefits, including:
- Marketing Trend Insight — Effective keyword research will provide you with insights into current marketing trends. It also helps center content on relevant topics and keywords your audience is in search of.
- Traffic Growth — Identifying the best fitting keywords for the content published will lead to higher rankings in search engine results and more traffic attracted to a website.
- Customer Acquisition — When a business has content that other business professionals are looking for, they can meet their needs and provide them with a call to action that will lead them to become buyers.
Why is keyword research important?
When researching keywords for popularity, search volume, and general intent, you can discover questions most people want answers to. However, keywords do not work by themselves because Google has evolved beyond exact-match algorithms.
SEO has evolved over just the last decade. Lesser important keywords have become an ability to rank well for the searches people make every day.
Keep in mind the intent behind a keyword and whether a piece of content solves that intent. This does not mean keyword research is an outdated process.
Keyword research tells you what topics people care about and how popular those topics actually are among an audience. When it comes to topics, researching keywords that are getting a high volume of searches per month will allow you to identify and sort your content into topics that you want to create content on.
You can then use these topics to dictate which keywords you look for and target. There are three main elements to pay attention to when conducting keyword research.
- Relevance — Google ranks content for relevance, which is where the concept of search intent comes in. Content only ranks for a keyword if it meets the searchers’ needs. The content must also be the best resource out there for a query.
- Authority — Google provides more weight to sources it deems authoritative. That means a person must do all they can to become an authoritative source by enriching their website with helpful, information content and promoting that content to earn social signals and backlinks. When a website is not seen as authoritative in the space, or if a keyword’s SERPs are loaded with heavy sources they cannot compete with, there is a lesser chance of ranking unless the content is exquisite.
- Volume — Ranking on the first page for a specific keyword no one ever searches for will not result in traffic to a website. Volume is measured by monthly search volume (MSV), which means the number of times the keyword is searched per month across all audiences.
How do you do your research for your SEO?
Five simple steps to take for keyword research are as follows:
- Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about a business. Think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. Come up with about 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then you will use those topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process. Look at monthly search volume because this data allows you to gauge how important these topics are to your audience, and how many different sub-topics you might need to create content on to be successful with that keyword.
- Fill in the topic buckets with keywords. Once you have a few topic buckets, focus on identifying some keywords that fall into those buckets. Look for keyword phrases you think are important to rank for in the search engine results pages (SERPs) because your target customer is probably conducting searches for those specific terms.
- Understand how intent affects keyword research and analyze accordingly. User intent is now one of the most pivotal factors in the ability to rank well on search engines like Google. It is now more important than a web page addresses the problem a searcher intended to solve than simply carries the keyword the searcher used.
- Research-related search terms. If you are struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug in a keyword into Google. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, you will notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.
- Use keyword research tools to your advantage. Keyword research and SEO tools can help you come up with more keyword ideas based on exact match keywords and phrase match keywords based on the ideas you’ve generated up to this point. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Keywords Everywhere
Find an SEO Company in Houston
If you are seeking SEO help in the greater Houston area, you should not wait to contact SERP Matrix. We will work closely with you and do all of the work that is required to make you a powerful voice online.
For a free consultation, simply call (713) 287-1134, or contact us online. Our office will contact you as soon as possible to arrange for you to discuss the information about your project with an experienced Project Manager.