If you’re thinking about getting into SEO for your website, keyword research is one of the first things you should do. Since your content marketing strategy will revolve around your keywords, knowing what to focus your content on is crucial for success. To optimize your SEO results, you have to become aware of the competitive digital market conditions. Research can also reveal what your competition is spending their advertising dollars on.
There are a few questions your research will have to answer:
- How competitive are the keywords I wish to rank for?
- Which SEO keywords are our target customers using in search?
- How can we use those keywords in our content for our on page and our off page optimization?
- How many keywords should I optimize my digital marketing for?
Let’s have a look at how keyword research can answer these questions and help optimize your SEO results.
Narrowing It Down
When you’re compiling a list of potential keywords to research and use, it’s always a good idea to start with what you think people are searching for. The name of your product or service will be your main starting point, and variations on how you have heard your customers talk about your business. There might be location-based variations in the search query, depending on whether you’re opting for local SEO or not.
If you already have a website, check which queries are generating your website traffic through your Google Analytics. Base your first set of keywords around existing questions that make sense and encourage the type of SEO results you’re looking for. Then try to expand, either by turning them into long-tail keywords or by researching similar queries.
Determining Keyword Popularity and Competitiveness
A crucial part of researching SEO keywords is determining how frequently a phrase is searched and how competitive the keyword is. Out of all the potential keywords that you choose based on relevancy to your website and business, of course it helps to find some that are popular with less competition. In other words, you need the keywords that are searched for often, but not overused by the competition. The free keyword planning tool for Google AdWords is still the best tool available today and you only need to set up a Google AdWords account to use it. You do not need to spend anything on Google AdWords.
Finding Keyword Variations and Grouping Them
If you don’t feel like you have enough keywords, there are some free tools that could help you come up with variations. Tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner allow you to put in your list of keywords and determine the volume of search in your target geographic area. Alternatively, you can input a competitors website into the Google planner to find out what their website has focused on for search. Keep in mind the way your target audience might search!
After that, it’s time to group related keywords and assign them to different parts of your website that will have different content. Your homepage will be one part you need to optimize for. Competitive keywords can find their place in your mission statement. Transition to less competitive and more specific keywords to use in your products and services pages. Finally, opt for long-tail keywords in your content marketing pages. They will have little competition, but their contribution to your website traffic can accumulate.
Relying on traffic generation through SEO is a good strategy. It allows you to understand the behavior of your target audience and helps you write better content. However, its downside is that it can take months to see the results, especially without a professional to guide you. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you wish to look at making your digital marketing efforts come to fruition more quickly. I’ll be happy to discuss your marketing strategy with you and help in any way I can.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.