If you’ve been looking for ways to increase traffic to your website, you’ve probably come across the term keyword research. Maybe you’ve even asked yourself, “How important can this be?” The answer may surprise you.
Keyword research is an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, many would say it’s the backbone of SEO. Without it, you’re missing out on attracting the kinds of visitors you need for your website – and business – to successful.
While it’s not difficult per se, keyword research is a bit more involved than adding some words to pages on your website. With a little time and effort, however, you can do keyword research on your own, which in turn, you can use in website content and ads.
Below, are our five easy steps to doing keyword research.
Understand what keywords are
First, let’s talk about the meaning of keywords. Contrary to what you may be thinking, keywords aren’t necessary limited to one word. They can also be a phrase that people enter into a search engine when they are looking for content about a specific topic.
Keywords are divided into short-tail and long-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are best if you’re looking for visitors to static pages on your website, while long-tail keywords are more specific, and are best for blogs and pages with very specific content.
It’s good to note that if you’re bidding on keywords for ads, broad short-tail keywords are often more expensive because the search volume is higher. Long-term keywords, however, usually have less search volume but a high conversion rate. They’re often less expensive, but also a great investment.
Here are some examples of short-tail and long-tail keywords:
• Short-tail – SEO vs. Long-tail – SEO tips for beginners
• Short-tail – custom homes vs. Long tail – custom built homes in Cincinnati
• Short-tail – engagement ring vs. Long tail – cubic zirconia engagement rings
Define your goals
This is an important step, and arguably one that’s good to do whether you’re doing keyword research or not. Think closely about what your company’s mission is, and what makes you stand out from your competition.
Next, consider what you want your website to accomplish. If you’re a nonprofit, are you trying to raise awareness of a cause or increase donations? Are you looking for new subscribers, clients or customers? This framework will help you start your keyword research.
Get used to keyword planning tool
Start off by exploring different keyword planning tools. Once you’ve got a couple you like using, play around by adding keywords relevant to your industry and website until you’re comfortable with them.
Google’s Keyword Planner is generally considered the go-to for most digital content strategists for two big reasons. First, you can use it for free. And second, it’s from the world’s largest search engine. Since most of your website’s traffic likely comes from Google searches, this is a good place to start.
Understand your competitors
It’s a good idea to know how your competitors are using keywords to get traffic to their websites as well. While this is a very important step when creating a list of keywords to use for ads, it’s helpful for SEO as well.
Of course, you can’t call up your competitors and ask them for a list of the keywords they’re using, but you can do a competitive keyword analysis to see what keywords they are bidding on and using for content marketing. For this, you’ll need a tool. Google Ad’s Auction Insights is a good place to start. You could also check out SpyFu, SEMRush, and BuzzSumo.
Create your keyword library
Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start creating your lists of keywords. First start with the most obvious short-tail keywords. These are called your seed keywords.
For example, if you’re a pizza parlor, your keywords could include pizza delivery, order pizza, and Italian restaurants, and pizza specials. For longer-tail keywords, you could use best pizza near me, pizza deliver near me, top rated pizza restaurants, best pizza in Cincinnati, free pizza delivery, or best deals on pizza delivery in Mount Lookout (or another location).
Think about your customer and what words they’d use when searching for your business. Then, begin to branch out beyond your seed keywords. For example, the pizza parlor could try these long-tail keywords: gluten free pizza near me, organic pizza options in Cincinnati, pizza and beer delivery late night.
It’s not unusual for keyword lists to contain hundreds of short and long tail keywords. Remember: Don’t only choose keywords that are the most popular. Highly specific keywords may have a light search volume, but that also means that when someone uses those terms and finds your business – bingo. They’ve found exactly what they were looking for.
Something else to consider…
Your business name is a keyword. And yes, other businesses can bid on it. Have you ever searched the name of a popular store on Google, only to find that a competitor store comes up first on the search engine results page? That’s an ad. And they ranked highest because they bid on the name you were searching for.
Ready to get started? Friedrich Advertising helps clients create successful SEO strategies for their businesses every day. We’re here to help you with keyword planning and beyond.