Keyword research is the first step in the SEO content writing process and an important part of your SEO strategy. Before creating your website’s content, you should find out what search terms your audience uses. Search terms are your keywords. You can start writing high quality content based on these keywords. In this article, we will talk about the steps required for keyword research.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research aims to find the keywords your audience uses when searching for a product or service you offer. Without keyword research, it is very difficult to be in your search engines and search result pages. There are several factors to consider when conducting keyword research and creating your keyword strategy.
What search terms do users type in Google when searching for products, services, businesses or types of organizations? What are they waiting to find? With the list of answers to these questions, website owners can create content that will attract higher quality traffic on their site. Keyword research never ends, regular repetition is necessary to stay up to date.
What makes your business unique?
Before starting keyword research, you need to know what makes your company unique. You need to have a clear understanding of your business’ mission. You need to determine exactly what you should offer because that’s what will get you ranked.
Would people want to find you? Why should Google rank you?
One of the frequently asked questions is “How to find meaningful keywords?”. Take a step back and look at your business as a whole:
- What are you offering?
- What is your mission?
- What are your core values and strengths?
- What are the features that distinguish you from others? Consider the niche features your business thrives on.
You don’t have to be better than your competitors in every field. For smaller companies, this means you need to be better at what the big fish don’t think about or want to do actively. If you can’t think of anything, you have a much bigger problem than finding keywords.
Your audience’s role in keyword research
Once you’ve determined what you have to offer, it’s time to think about your audience. After all, SEO is all about making sure your users can find you. The first thing you need to do is find out what words your potential audience is using to find the information they’re looking for.
You should always choose your keywords based on your audience’s perspective. You can use Google Trends to investigate how often certain search terms are used compared to other terms.
How to do keyword research?
There are 8 important steps when doing keyword research. During this process, we will give you practical tips to easily start your own keyword research.
- Determine your mission.
- Make a list of keywords.
- Research your keywords.
- Don’t forget long-tail keywords.
- Analyze your competition.
- Take a closer look at search intent.
- Choose a keyword strategy.
- Start creating landing pages.
1. Determine your mission
You must first consider your mission:
- What is the main purpose of your business or organization?
- What makes it special?
- To whom exactly are you trying to reach?
- What kind of promises do you make on your website?
Take your time and literally write down your task. When you can answer these questions in detail, you take the first and most important step in your keyword strategy.
The market you are in determines whether your business is important enough to take the top spot. Some markets are highly competitive, and large companies dominate search results more. These companies have large budgets for marketing in general and SEO in particular. If you’re entering a competitive market, the best step is to start small.
2. Make a list of keywords
The second step is to create a list of your keywords in a spreadsheet like Google Sheets or Excel. Start thinking by your target audience, with your role in mind.
- What will people search for?
- What types of search terms might they use when searching for your service or product?
- What problems of people does your product/service solve?
Write as many answers as possible. If your mission is clear, you’ll have a pretty clear view of your niche and unique selling points (what sets your business apart from others).
3. Research your keywords
It’s time to dig a little deeper into your keywords.
There are some tools that make your keyword research a little bit easier. The first thing that comes to mind is Google itself. Check out the keywords you found Google before and the searches Google suggested as you type. These are the questions people ask Google! You can also review “related searches” on Google’s results page.
4. Don’t forget long-tail keywords
When people start their keyword research, they tend to focus on “very popular terms.” Unfortunately, these main keywords are mostly used by large businesses. On the other hand long-tail keywords get less search traffic, but there is less competition. Therefore, it’s easier for you to rank with these keywords. Moreover, long-tail keywords even have a higher conversion value because they focus more on a particular product or topic.
A long-tail keyword is usually longer and more focused than the main term. If your main term is [music lesson], long-tail could be a keyword [harmony lesson in preparation for music schools in Istanbul]. Using Google Trends from this stage will also help you find longer tail variants of your keywords.
Don’t forget to include long-tail keywords in your table as well. Put header terms in the first column and add (multiple) columns for longer tail keywords. This table will help you to create a suitable site structure later.
5. Analyze your competition
If the competition in your niche is high, you may have difficulty ranking in competitive conditions. If you have little competition, you can even rank for search terms. That’s why you need to make some benchmarks for SEO.
Put keywords from your keyword research for Google first. Check out the search engine result page (SERP). These are websites where you will compete when you optimize your content for similar keywords. The questions you should ask are: Do you see professional websites? Are these company websites? Are you “equal” to these companies? Does your website fit these websites? Is your company of similar size and does it have a lot of influence in your niche?
It is more difficult to rank when competing against sites with strong brand names. If the brands are known from TV or radio commercials, your chances of getting top spots will be even less. But, is the content well written and well optimized? If your competitors have really bad content, you may have a chance to outdo them!
Also check out the ads on Google. If you have a Google Ads account, you can control pay per click. Search terms with high pay-per-click rates are often more difficult to rank in organic results.
Be sure to make notes about your findings for keywords in your keyword table!
6. Take a closer look at search intent
Today’s SEO strategies often have to aim at answering the questions people have or providing the best solution to their “problems”. When a user enters a search query into a search engine, he is in search of something. Each question type needs a specific answer.
Try to find your audience’s purpose when they type a specific keyword into Google:
- Does it have an informative purpose? (try to find information on a specific topic)
- Is it the purpose of searching a website? (I want to access a specific website)
- Commercial purpose? (research something before purchasing)
- Operational purpose? (does he want to buy something?)
You can learn more about the search intent of specific queries by looking closely at the page types already listed for the query.
- Do you mostly see product pages?
- Do you see a lot of informative blog posts?
- Do you see videos?
- Do you see a mix?
These are all hints about what Google assumes the search purpose of a particular query.
7. Choose a keyword strategy
These are all clues to what Google assumes the search intent of a particular query.
You can determine a keyword strategy based on the data you collect. If you followed the steps above, you have a table with a significant amount of keywords. You need to know about the competition for these keywords and the search intent of your audience.
Now consider these questions:
- How does your website compare to websites on the SERPs?
- Are you of equal size and on a marketing budget?
Go ahead and focus on these key terms. If not, try longer-tail keywords first. Putting long tail keywords together can drive a lot of traffic. Once you manage to rank long tail keywords, it’ll be a little easier to target more head terms.
Consider content type after deciding where to focus:
- What is the search intent for my keywords?
- What is my target audience looking for?
- What content can I create that isn’t there yet and how can I stand out in terms of quality or resolution?
8. Start creating landing pages
This step is beyond the scope of keyword research. Still, if you want to get traffic to your website, it’s important to create great landing pages. So you need to create landing pages for your search terms, but you don’t need to create all those pages right away – this can be a long-term effort. Your keyword strategy will help you prioritize.
You should create content articles for your most important keywords. Create the best possible content about that keyword. Your long tail articles will link to this main content.