The Keyword Research Process Can Be Optimized
But First – A Short Introduction to Keyword Research
If there is one fact that every digital marketer agrees with, it is the importance of keyword research in an SEO strategy. Omitting keyword research is like going mountain climbing in the Alps without the right gears. What is worse than going to the Alps without gears is going there without adequate preparation.
Keyword research is essential for SEO and just like climbing in the Alps, you need to be prepared; doing it correctly and efficiently makes the process easy and less cumbersome.
If you are reading this, the assumption is that you already know what keyword research is. However, if you don’t, here’s how Yoast (a favorite tool) puts it:
Keyword research can be defined as the work you do to come up with an extensive list of keywords you want to rank for.
What this means is finding the keywords that connect your business with the services it renders. Getting it wrong can mean your website isn’t working for you and it can frustrate your content marketing efforts. Through proper research to find the right keywords, you will not only discover the phrases and terms to use for SEO, but you will also become acquainted with your target audiences (aka customers) search preferences.
Understand this – it is not just about getting high amounts of traffic to your website but about getting the right traffic. Knowing what your customers are searching for will keep you abreast of their buying patterns regarding demand, fluctuating market conditions, and/or help you to understand what new services to introduce. With semantic SEO, searching has gone beyond the keywords that users use in order to discover the true intent, or purpose, of the keywords.
How to Go About the Keyword Research Process
There is no specific guideline for the keyword research process; however, there are certain steps you must take.
Understand Your Business and its Relevant Search Terms
You may think, yes, I know my business. But how much do you really know? Now is the time to write it all down. Remember that the people who are searching most likely have no idea of your actual business name or the services you offer. View your company from the standpoint of a potential customer and write down how you would want them to perceive it and search for it. Try to uncover every search term that will identify with your business and its services.
Think of it this way; if you were searching for your company, how would you search for it? What keywords would you use? What other ways or combinations can you write those words? What are some alternatives to those words?
To optimize this process, you can use your intuition, Google’s suggest data, competitor insights, PPC data, internal search data, or analytics data. You can also use this free keyword tool by WordStream or Google Keyword Planner. The terms you come up with will be the foundation of your research process.
Refine and Prioritize Your Keyword List
At this point, you have to examine the list you made in the first step of the keyword research process and find out which ones are more important to your business. The average search volume of these keywords defines their importance, which means a keyword with 10,000 searches monthly is more popular and valuable to you than a keyword with 500. This does not necessarily mean that targeting a popular keyword will bring you higher visibility for where you want to be. It may not and it is based on additional factors, such as keyword difficulty and competition for that keyword.
With the Google Keyword Tool, you can configure the data to match a specific location and type of keyword (broad, exact, or phrase). For example, you may only be interested in the number of people who searched for wine bars in Colorado. The results of the search will allow you to decide which phrases you want to keep or cut.
The keywords you choose at this point of your process will be the basis of your keyword campaign.
Categorize Your Keywords
This means grouping similar elements and sorting them into different categories. The categories include product terms, brand terms, competitor terms, customer terms, complementary product terms, etc.
Keyword In and a feature called Ad Group Ideas recently introduced to the Google Keyword tool can make this process faster. These tools will help you group your keywords together.
Consider Current Trends
Many search keywords have trends associated with them. Knowing these trends will significantly reduce the effort that you invest in particular keywords. For example, around December, many products related to Christmas sell faster than others do. The tools you use for your keyword research process will customarily provide year-round results without necessarily accounting for seasonality.
To find out search patterns of particular keywords, you can use the Google Insights for Search tool. With this tool, you can find out if there have been identifiable search trends for a particular keyword. By discovering the search patterns of a specific keyword, you will be able to push out your content in a timely manner.
Free Tools to Optimize Your Keyword Research Process
The following are free tools that can help you significantly reduce the time you spend on your keyword research process.
Remember how Google’s autocomplete feature brings up possible search suggestions? Soolve is a keyword research tool that offers you autocomplete suggestions from different sources. This tool will help you generate keywords, to improve your search volume, that you may not have considered.
It is set to Google by default, but you can use other sources like Yahoo, Amazon, YouTube, Bing, and Wikipedia. You can try various keywords with different sources. Use this tool to help you generate relevant keywords.
This tools works similarly to Google Keyword Planner and potentially provides more (or different) data than you would get from Google’s tool. An excellent idea would be to use UberSuggest after using Google Keyword Planner.
To use this tool, type in your keyword and click suggest. This will provide you with a long list of keywords. An exciting feature of UberSuggest is the way it organizes its results by letters. This organized approach will help you review every keyword possible before selecting the ones you prefer.
Your competitor’s data can be your best keyword resource, and that is exactly what this tool does. You can visit their webpages or blog sites to find out what keywords they use, but that can be time-consuming or daunting.
WordTracker Scout is a chrome extension that allows you to visit a webpage and generate page summary, insights, and keywords.
Final Thoughts on the Keyword Research Process
Now you have some powerful, free tools (and tips along with them) to get you started on your keyword research project(s).
Knowing how to optimize your keyword research process will significantly help you reduce the time you spend and it will give you an advantage over the competition.
The use of research tools will aid you in getting the correct keywords for your content strategy, improve your search engine rankings and ultimately drive the right visitors to your web pages.
Don’t have the time to figure out the keyword research process yourself?
Reach out to the HBM Team and we will assist you in your keyword research process through our proprietary tools and methodology. Our SEO Experts have the knowledge and understanding of how to make the search engines work for you!
Content Writer & Editor
brianna at heartbrain dot marketing