Keyword research is the foundation of any successful on-page SEO strategy. It helps you identify the most relevant keywords to target and create content around, which can improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website. In this article, we'll outline some best practices for keyword research in on-page SEO.
How to Perform Keyword Research for Beginners
Start with a Seed Keyword
The first step in keyword research is to identify a seed keyword related to your industry or niche. A seed keyword, also known as a head term, is a broad, short-tail keyword that describes a topic or product. Seed keywords are typically used as the starting point for keyword research and can be used to generate longer, more specific keywords.
How To Identify Seed Keywords
Brainstorm: Think about the products or services you offer, the topics you write about, or the problems you solve. What keywords would your target audience use to find information about these things?
Utilize the “People also ask” section: The “People also ask” section of Google SERPs can give you an idea of the types of keywords users are searching.
Analyze your competitors: Look at the keywords that your competitors are targeting. This can give you a good idea of the keywords that are relevant to your industry and that have the potential to drive traffic to your website.
Once you have a list of seed keywords, you can start to narrow them down and identify the ones that are most relevant to your target audience and that have the potential to drive traffic to your website. You can then use these keywords to optimize your website, create content, and run marketing campaigns.
Pro Tip: How to Choose The Right Seed Keywords
Choose keywords that are relevant to your target audience: The keywords you choose should be relevant to the products or services you offer, the topics you write about, or the problems you solve.
Choose keywords that have a high search volume: The higher the search volume for a keyword, the more people are searching for that keyword. This means that there is a greater potential for your website to rank for that keyword and attract visitors.
Choose keywords that have low competition: The lower the competition for a keyword, the easier it will be for your website to rank for that keyword.
Use a Keyword Research Tool
Keyword research tools can help you generate a list of relevant keywords and provide insights into their search volume, competition, and potential for driving traffic to your website. There are many keyword research tools available, including Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer.
SEMpress Digital recommends Mangools for all your keyword research needs. As a small to medium business, it can be hard to compete with big box brands/company for popular keywords (keywords with high monthly search volumes). Mangools helps its users identify long-tail keywords with low difficulty scores that are much easier and faster in which to rank.
Consider Search Intent
When conducting keyword research, it's important to consider search intent. This refers to the reason why someone is searching for a particular keyword. For example, someone searching for "how to bake a cake" is likely looking for a tutorial, while someone searching for "best cake recipes" is likely looking for recipe ideas. Understanding search intent can help you create content that better meets the needs of your target audience.
There are four main types of search intent:
Informational: Users with informational intent are looking for information on a particular topic. They may be trying to learn something new, solve a problem, or make a decision. Examples of informational keywords include "how to" questions, definitions, and comparisons.
Commercial: Users with commercial intent are interested in buying a product or service. They may be researching different options, comparing prices, or reading reviews. Examples of commercial keywords include product names, brand names, and keywords related to buying or selling.
Navigational: Users with navigational intent are looking for a specific website or page. They may have heard about the website from a friend, seen an ad, or typed in the URL directly. Examples of navigational keywords include website names, domain names, and product names.
Transactional: Users with transactional intent are ready to buy. They have already done their research and are now ready to make a purchase. Examples of transactional keywords include "buy now," "free shipping," and "coupon codes."
It is important to understand the search intent behind a keyword in order to create content that is relevant and engaging to users. By targeting the right keywords, you can improve your website's ranking in search results and attract more visitors.
Identifying Search Intent
Look at the keywords themselves: The words that a user uses in their search query can give you a good indication of their intent. For example, a keyword like "how to" indicates an informational intent, while a keyword like "buy" indicates a commercial intent.
Look at the search results: The type of content that appears in the search results for a particular keyword can also give you clues about the intent behind that keyword. For example, if the search results are mostly articles and blog posts, then the intent is likely informational. If the search results are mostly product pages and shopping carts, then the intent is likely commercial.
Use keyword research tools: There are a number of keyword research tools that can help you understand search intent. These tools can show you the search volume for a particular keyword, the competition for that keyword, and the type of content that ranks well for that keyword.
Search intent can also be useful for understanding where users are in their consumer journey. By understanding the intent behind a user's search query, you can tailor your content and marketing efforts to meet their needs at that specific point in the journey. This will help you increase your website traffic, improve your conversion rates, and grow your business.
Pro Tip: How To Use Search Intent To Understand The Consumer Journey
Track your website traffic: By tracking your website traffic, you can see which pages are getting the most views and which keywords are driving traffic to your site. This information can help you identify the types of content that users are interested in and the keywords that you should focus on targeting.
Use analytics tools: There are a number of analytics tools that can help you track your website traffic and understand the search intent behind your visitors' queries. These tools can show you the keywords that users are using to find your site, the pages that they are visiting, and how long they are staying on your site.
Test different content and marketing strategies: Once you have a good understanding of your target audience and their search intent, you can start testing different content and marketing strategies to see what works best. This will help you refine your approach and improve your results over time.
Analyze Your Competitors
Analyzing your competitors when conducting keyword research is important because it can help you identify the keywords that are most relevant to your target audience and have the potential to drive traffic to your website. By understanding what keywords your competitors are targeting, you can tailor your content and marketing efforts to reach the same audience.
Benefits of Competitor Research
Identify high-traffic keywords: You can identify high-traffic keywords that you may have overlooked by reviewing keywords in which you competitors are currently ranking. These keywords can be a great source of traffic for your website.
Find long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and have less competition than short-tail keywords. By analyzing your competitors, you can find long-tail keywords that you can target with your content and marketing efforts.
Get ideas & improve your content: Reviewing content developed by your competitors can provide useful insight and ideas for content on your own site. This content can help you attract more visitors and improve your search engine ranking, especially if the topic has little to no coverage. You can also identify what your competitors are doing well and areas for improvement, which can provide you with baseline.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific than short-tail keywords. They are often made up of three or more words, and they are used by people who are looking for more information about a particular topic. For example, instead of targeting the keyword "baking," you might target the long-tail keyword "gluten-free baking recipes."Long-tail keywords are important in the keyword research process because they can help you target your content and marketing efforts to a specific audience.
Benefits of Using Long-Tail Keywords
Less competition: There is less competition for long-tail keywords than for short-tail keywords. This means that it is easier to rank for long-tail keywords in search results.
More relevant traffic: Long-tail keywords are more relevant to your target audience. This means that the people who visit your website after searching for a long-tail keyword are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
Higher conversion rates: Long-tail keywords often have higher conversion rates than short-tail keywords. This is because people who search for long-tail keywords are more likely to be ready to buy or take action.
Relevance is important when conducting keyword research because it helps you target your content and marketing efforts to the right audience. When you use relevant keywords, you are more likely to attract visitors who are interested in what you have to offer. This can lead to higher conversion rates and improved ROI.
Benefits of Using Relevant Keywords
Increased traffic: Relevant keywords can help you attract more visitors to your website. Users are more likely to be interested in your offerings when searching for relevant keywords.
Improved conversion rates: Relevant keywords can help improve your conversion rates. Users are more likely to to take action, such as making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter when searching for relevant keywords.
Increased brand awareness: Relevant keywords can help you increase your brand awareness. Users are more likely to to remember your brand after searching for relevant keywords and landing on your website.
When selecting keywords to target, prioritize relevance over search volume. Targeting highly relevant keywords that are more specific to your business can help you attract more qualified traffic to your website. For example, if you sell gluten-free baked goods, targeting the keyword "gluten-free baking recipes" is more relevant to your business than targeting the keyword "baking."
Consider User Experience (UX)
When creating content around your targeted keywords, consider the user experience. Make sure your content is easy to read and provides value to your target audience. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make your content more scannable, and include images and videos to make it more engaging.
Benefits of Considering UX
Improved search engine ranking: When you create content that is relevant and engaging to users, you are more likely to rank well in search results. Search engines like Google reward websites that provide a good user experience.
Increased website traffic: When your website ranks well in search results, you will attract more visitors. This can lead to increased sales, leads, or other desired outcomes.
Improved customer satisfaction: When users have a good experience on your website, they are more likely to be satisfied with your products or services leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.
Pro Tip: How To Consider User Experience:
Understand your target audience: The first step is to understand your target audience. Who are they? What are their needs and wants? What are their pain points? Once you understand your target audience, you can start to identify the keywords that they are using to search for information.
Choose the right keywords: When choosing keywords, it is important to consider both search volume and competition. Search volume refers to the number of people who are searching for a particular keyword each month. Competition refers to the number of other websites that are also targeting that keyword. You want to choose keywords with high search volume and low competition.
Use keywords throughout your content: Once you have chosen your keywords, you need to use them throughout your content. This includes your titles, meta descriptions, headers, sub-headers, and throughout the body of your text. However, it is important to use keywords naturally and not to stuff them into your content.
Track your results: Once you have implemented your keyword research, it is important to track your results. This includes tracking your website traffic, search engine ranking, and customer satisfaction. By tracking your results, you can see what is working and what is not. This will help you improve your keyword research and your website's overall performance.
In conclusion, keyword research is a critical component of any successful on-page SEO strategy. By following these best practices, you can identify the most relevant keywords to target, create content that meets the needs of your target audience, and drive more traffic to your website.
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