How To Do Effective Keyword Research for SEO

February 15, 2023
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On-Page Optimization starts with knowing how people search for things online. You will not get traffic if people can't find your website, even if you have well-written articles. Doing keyword research will help you focus on topics people are looking up. It also helps you avoid writing content on things that don't interest people.

Keywords are the phrases people type into search engines when looking for information. For example, if you want to redesign your site, you might type "web designer near me" or "web designer [your city's name]." This will bring up lists of design professionals in your area. When you choose keywords well, search engines will consider your content relevant. 

Start with thinking of what customers are searching for. You can also consider what they are saying about your industry in general. It involves more than coming up with a list of topics based on what people say. Here are other things to consider when choosing keywords for your articles.

 How much traffic can I get through this keyword? 

Using relevant keywords in your article is no guarantee of a rise in your website's ranking. Other factors matter as well, like the number of other websites that use this keyword. If you target a generic term, it will be more challenging to rank. For example, including "winter boots" in an e-commerce article won't affect page rankings. Meanwhile, writing about "how to choose waterproof platform boots" will help.

Choosing long-tail or specific keywords is the best way to rank for topics in your niche. You don't have much competition for them, which means significant gains in the long run. Treat common terms as 'seed keywords,' the point at which you start your planning. Use it to inform your research instead of focusing on these from the start. You will likely need to explore several seed keywords—four or five per article is ideal. So, you should know a lot about your industry and current events in it. 

How hard is it to rank for this keyword?

When you have your keyword seeds and long-tail keywords, it is time to figure out which ones will help you rank. Not all long-tail keywords are helpful—some are so specific that no one searches for them. Identify the phrases you must focus on using a keyword search tool. Google's Keyword Planner Tool is a reliable option if you want to DIY your research for free. You can also subscribe to a paid search tool or hire an SEO service provider to take care of things.

Whether you're using free or paid search tools, it helps to focus on keyword difficulty. Although this is not the sole determinant for how well a phrase can help you rank, it is significant. Difficulty considers four attributes:

  • Content
  • Search intent
  • Backlink Quality
  • Website authority

Each of these attributes deserves an article on its own, but we will run through them in brief. Content quality is easy to recognize. When you have an article that resonates, you can mention a keyword once, and the post will still rank.

Search intent, meanwhile, is about what compels people to look for a phrase. Since you won't know what people search for unless you ask them yourself, you can look at page performance. Your analytics will provide clues on what people are getting out of your site and ones like yours. 

Backlinks are external pages that link to yours. When your website has plenty of high-quality backlinks, Google sees it as relevant. It sees the number of backlinks as a sign of your authoritativeness. 

Finally, you have website authority, which is the most imprecise of the four. Generally speaking, authority comes from recall—people associating your brand with your service. It is easier to rank for long-tail keywords if you are in a competitive field. It is because not even big-name websites can respond to all keywords. 

What type of content would help me rank?

Consider as well how keywords fit into the content plan. It is counterintuitive to shoehorn phrases into your strategy to address demand. If you already have a plan, look at the topics you have decided on and see how your data on keywords improves it. Instead of an overhaul, you could look at a topic from an angle that better incorporates the keywords.

For example, suppose you are a honeybee farm and want to write about how you can use honey in meal preparation. Through your keyword research, you see that people are not searching for "how to use honey in meals." Instead, you find out that they are searching "is honey better than sugar when dieting." 

You do not have to scrap your original idea. You can write an article on low-calorie meals that use honey instead of sugar. This way, you address demand while sticking with your plan. There is always a way to incorporate keywords into your strategy. 

Will I see conversions if I focus on this keyword?

Aside from finding the right words and strategizing content, consider your conversions. Businesses cannot focus on producing content on the company or its achievements. Your goal should always be to get people to sign up for your service or buy your products. So, you need to focus on keywords that help you convert—look at a phrase's potential to bring in revenue.

Map keywords onto your customer journey. Doing this lets you engage with consumers before, during, and after they buy or subscribe. Know if the keywords drive awareness, provide value, or distinguish you from competitors.

Top-of-funnel keywords introduce you to potential customers. These are "what is" phrases or ones that explain a topic to a beginner. Mid-funnel keywords, meanwhile, are the ones that explain how to do something. These target customers familiar with your industry who are looking for a specific answer. 

Finally, bottom-of-funnel keywords highlight things like side-by-side comparisons and customer reviews. These phrases help clinch a sale by showing how your product is the best choice in your niche.

Knowing when to use specific keywords makes your message more effective. You do not attempt to sell to someone who hasn't seen your products' value. So, you don't use bottom-of-funnel phrases for an article that introduces your business.

In Conclusion

A sound content plan starts with the right topics or focus. Site optimization works when you base your articles on the keywords that would drive the most growth. Knowing what phrases to focus on does more than put your content in front of the right people. It also gives form to your topics and allows you to create articles that connect. Asking these questions will help you produce relevant articles that impact your conversion.

Launch your content plan the right way when you partner with us. Ranked provides data-driven weekly content designed to get organic traffic for your website. Get in touch with us or activate your account today!