So you have a website and you care to grow it by building Inbound Content to attract the right people.
But you don’t know where to start…
Hopefully, this will help!
Keyword research may seem like an easy and straightforward task – it’s only keywords… right? There’s a lot more to it than just keywords that sound or look right.
At the end of this article, I want you guys to understand the importance of keyword research and above all, the importance of getting it right!
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of researching and identifying specific words or phrases (keywords or keyword phrases) commonly used by people (users) on Google. Which you then use to optimise your content/pages so they can rank and be found by your intended audience.
The Importance of Keyword Research
Keyword research should be the very first step of any SEO campaign.
- Because it’s the only way to know what people search for and what’s trending.
- Your keywords are what drives traffic to your website organically and how you rank for those keywords is one of the metrics you use to track to determine success.
When you create content without first researching keywords, their search volumes and competitiveness, you’re potentially wasting your time (and money) producing something that people just aren’t interested in.
More so, you’re risking going all in on something that has zero chance of ranking well because of how competitive it is.
According to Ahrefs search traffic study, “90.63% of content gets no traffic from Google” and this is likely to be because website owners aren’t doing keyword research properly or skipping it altogether.
Search Intent 101
As I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s a lot more to it than just keywords that sound or look good. It’s useless ranking for a keyword that drives the wrong type of traffic or no traffic at all. Usually, the wrong kind of traffic means that the keyword doesn’t 100% match the page.
Here’s a snapshot:
What exactly is the user trying to find? You’ll need to identify what stage of the buyer’s journey are they at – are they ready to buy or are they still researching and comparing? Would this keyword match my page? What would you want to see if you searched for the given keyword?
By putting yourself in the users’ position, you get to know them better – what they look for and what their intent is.
Let’s talk more about the intent…
The Four Types of Search Intent You Need To Know About
Looking for information:
- What is SEO
- Do I need a website for my business
- Who is Neil Patel
- Boxing results
Looking for a specific website or something within the website:
- Rankcave SEO
- Neil Patel Youtube account
- Boxrec list of heavyweights
- MOZ academy
Looking to buy something. Already know what they want and are ready to purchase:
- Buy iPhone 11
- Ahrefs pricing
- JD Gym membership
- SEO Services
Very similar to informational because they’re looking for information. They know what they want but have not yet decided which brand, service or product they prefer. Most likely looking for reviews and comparisons:
- SEO vs PPC
- List of top SEO agencies
- Ahref vs SEMrush
- Top takeaways in London
Keep this in mind when choosing your target keywords.
How To Do Keyword Research (And Get It Right)
I hope by now you have an idea of what you need to do next time you’re choosing keywords for your pages. Now let’s go over step by step process to keyword research.
It’s much easier to do keyword research via tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush. The only problem with these two is that they aren’t cheap. Although you can get 30 days for free with SEMrush and Ahrefs does seven days access for $7. Google Keyword Planner is a good option too (and free).
Step 1: Get a Feel for How Competitive Your Niche Is
I would almost always start by typing your highest level keywords into Google and see what results you get. This will give you an indication of how competitive your niche is.
Example: If you sell anti-slip work shoes or boots, here are your keyword options; work boots, work shoes, shoes for work, anti slip work shoes, anti slip work boots for men, etc.
What you need to make note of:
- Notice how many results show up for your search.
If that number is high, then it means a lot of people target the given keyword and therefore it’s quite competitive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t outrank them – they may have poor quality content. But that really depends on your website state.
If your domain is brand new – it may take you a while to start ranking at all. This is called being in the sandbox.
However, for this specific keyword example, I’d imagine it would be difficult as I know there are tons of huge brands selling this type of product.
- Notice what kind of websites are ranking in the top results.
As I’ve mentioned, they are huge (and some international) brands. So if you’re a start-up, it would be challenging to outrank these.
- Notice how many ads there are in the search results page.
This is another indicator of how competitive the given keyword is. If there are multiple ads, it means people are paying to be found for this. Which means it’s pretty competitive!
Solution: I would suggest looking for alternative keywords which brings me to step two.
Step 2: Look For Other Keyword Ideas
Use Google keyword planner or any other keyword research tool you prefer. In my case, I will be using SEMrush simply because I already have my own personal paid subscription.
Before you start, be sure to select which country you’re searching for. In my case, it’s the United Kingdom.
Next, type in the same keyword (anti slip work shoes) in your keyword research tool and analyse results.
I would say the first and second result is reasonable for a startup or small business.
For example, 40 monthly searches and a very specific keyword; mens anti slip work shoes.
Tip: Around 10 to 80 search volume keywords are considered small. Ideal for a start-up or small business that isn’t yet ranking or getting that much traffic.
It’s important to know where you stand. If you’re a startup and aim for keywords with 500 search volume right from the start, you simply won’t rank for them at all. In the past, I have seen it before where a fairly fresh website ranked well for a big keyword but then completely dropped off a couple of days later.
So it might happen yes, but it won’t last. You’re much better of making baby steps and targeting smaller, more realistic keywords.
80 to 200 search volume keywords would most likely be classed as medium size keywords. 200 to 1000+ search volume keywords are big and impressive to rank for.
Step 3: Search Intent of the Given Keyword
Now that you have your keyword, it’s essential to know which page to target this keyword for.
If anti-slip work shoes are the only type of product you sell, then it shouldn’t be difficult to choose which page to target. This would mean though, that you need a dedicated product listing page for men only – if you were to target “mens anti slip work shoes”.
Which does make sense – I would advise having men and women separate category pages anyway.
However, if you sell other types of shoes such as football trainers – you mustn’t display football trainers in a page found for “mens anti slip work shoes”.
That would be completely irrelevant to the searchers intent. And although it may seem like common sense, a mistake like that could really hurt your rankings.
Here you can find more information on how to category your website (coming soon).
Another irrelevant page example: an article that talks about men’s anti-slip work shoes. Why? This is going back to the four types of search intent. “Mens anti slip work shoes” is a transactional search intent keyword which means the user is ready to buy – not read an article or do further research on it.
Step 4: Competitor Analysis (More Keyword Ideas)
This is probably the best way but also the most expensive way to find keyword ideas. It’s costly because you need access to tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush, which cost a minimum of £99 a month.
Let’s say you’re using SEMrush.
- Simply log in and copy and paste your competitors’ domain (www.asos.com) into the search bar.
- Next, click Organic Research.
- And then click Positions.
Just to give you a better idea of what you will see and which columns are important:
- Position the keyword is ranking for in Google (position 1 means position 1 on page 1. Position 11 means position 11 on page 2. Google displays a maximum of 10 results on a single page therefore if the position is 11 it’s beyond page 1).
- Search Volume (volume) means monthly searches of the given keyword (the amount of times the given keyword is searched on Google each month).
- URL is the page the given keyword is ranking for.
If the keyword you like has 1000 monthly searches, follow the above instructions and find other relevant keywords with less monthly searches.
Use “related searches” at the bottom of Google results page. This can give you an idea of what else is being searched for.
Boom – You’re Done! You Now Know How To Go About Researching Keywords for Your Website
You have an idea, and you’ve found a potential keyword you’d like to target for a specific page. The beauty of this is that you can repeat this process to find other relevant keywords for other pages.
Tip: I would recommend targeting at least two keywords for a single page (primary keyword and secondary keyword).
For example, “men’s anti-slip work boots” may be your primary keyword but “anti-slip work boots” may be your primary keyword.
So essentially, you’re targeting two keywords within a single sentence to maximise its potential.
- Use Google to get an idea of the competition for the given keyword.
- Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to research keywords.
- Keep searchers intent in mind when targeting keywords for specific pages.
- Analyse competitors keywords by using tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs.
- Use the ‘related searches’ section at the bottom of Google results page to gain more ideas of what else people look for that is relevant to your orginical search.