Keyword Research: How Does It Work, and Do You Even Need It?
Keyword research is the foundation of any digital marketing campaign. Keyword research aims to determine what your target audience is searching for on the internet and what it will take to rank for those keywords. You cannot effectively optimize the website or develop content for your audience without knowing what keywords you should be targeting.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the method of identifying and analyzing search terms that users enter into search engines. We use this data for a specific purpose, often for search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing(SEM). Keyword research can help you identify queries to target, their popularity, and their ranking difficulty.
Why is Keyword Research Necessary?
Keyword research provides valuable insight into your target audience’s queries on search engines. The insight you receive from the keyword research will help you develop a content strategy and overall marketing strategy for your business.
People use keywords or search terms to find answers when conducting research online. Therefore, if your content successfully reaches your audience as they perform searches, you stand to gain more organic traffic.
You, as a marketer, should be creating content about what people want to discover if you focus on the inbound methodology. In other words, let your audience come to you.
Elements of Effective Keyword Research
Following are three main elements to look for when conducting keyword research.
1. Highly Relevant
Ensure that the search terms you consider are highly relevant to your marketing goal. Keyword relevancy may be easier to determine if you are a service provider or selling specific products. You ultimately want your target audience to purchase the product or service that you’re selling.
Google will give more importance to sources it considers authoritative. Therefore, you must do everything you can to become an authoritative source by enriching your site with valuable and informative content. Promote that content to earn social signals and backlinks. If you’re not seen as authoritative in your niche, or if a keyword’s SERPs are loaded with rich sources you can’t compete with, you have a lower chance of ranking unless your content is outstanding.
3. Search Volume
What’s the point in ranking on the first page for a specific keyword if no one searches for it. Ranking for such terms will not have any benefit to your site. Volume is usually measured by MSV (monthly search volume), which means the number of times the keyword is searched per month. If your business is location-specific, consider that particular location’s search volume.
Five Steps To Effectively Do Keyword Research
Below is the 5 step keyword research process you can follow to develop a list of keywords you should be targeting.
Step 1: Brainstorm essential and relevant topics based on your business
Think about the topics or search terms you want to rank for and list them out in excel or google sheets. Come up with about ten topic buckets you think are essential to your business. Once you’ve successfully brainstormed enough topics, you’ll use those topic buckets to develop specific short-tail and long-tail keywords later in the process.
Let’s say you’re a fitness trainer in Florida. What kinds of things do people who need a fitness trainer might search for? They might have a question like, “How do I lose weight?” They might also search for your services more directly, using the phrase, “fitness trainer near me.” Or maybe it’s something more precise to the kind of service you offer, such as “weight loss trainer in Florida.”
In the first step, you should ideally develop seed-level or high-level keywords. Examples of seed level keywords include:
- weight loss
- muscle gain
Step 2: Keyword Expansion
Now it’s time for you to compile a list comprising several hundred unique keywords.
There are various ways to discover keywords related to the seed one. Google auto-completes, similar searches, and Keyword Planner tools are accessible. But if you want to go deep into the rabbit hole, you’ll need a decent keyword research tool.
Keyword research tools can help you develop more keyword ideas based on the topics you’ve brainstormed up to this point. Some of the most popular tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Keywords Everywhere
If you put the keyword “fitness trainer” into any keyword research tool, you will find thousands of related keywords relevant to your business.
Step 3: Keyword Filtering
It would be best if you asked a few questions to yourself as you eliminated keywords from the list. For example, how fast would you like to rank? What type of keywords from the list support each other? Which keywords or phrases on the list represent the biggest money makers for your business?
You will find answers to all these questions by finding out the keywords’ search volume and keyword difficulty(KD) level.
-> Search volume: The first thing you want to know is how many people are searching for this keyword in the first place. Their interest is easily measurable using a metric like a search volume. It shows the number of searches a keyword receives per month.
-> Keyword difficulty level: Chances are you’re not the first person who’s thought to go after the topic you’ve chosen. For instance, if you search “Fitness trainer,” you’ll see millions of pages on that topic. The probability of your website ranking for this keyword is very low if the competition is exceptionally high. Therefore, one should ideally choose keywords with a very high search volume and low keyword difficulty.
Step 4: Group the Cosen Keywords by Subtopics.
Once You’ve filtered out the junk keywords you have no use for, what you’re left with is a clean list of keywords that are highly relevant to your business. Now it’s time for you to group all those keywords to make your content marketing strategy easier.
Step 5: Write Epic Content That Covers All of the Subtopics.
You’ve come to the final step of the keyword research process. It is the most crucial step of all, as you’ll use all the keywords you’ve discovered in the first four steps in your content strategy.
Writing unique content is equally important to rank on the first page of SERPs, along with effective keyword research. Having one without the other may result in disaster.