Keywords are one of the most important elements of successful SEO. Over the years, Google updates have had it that keyword research is thorough enough to put the needs of the target market above that of the website owners.
The modern keyword research strategy is different from that of the previous years. It explains why some business owners and webmaster are still having trouble seeing any positive SEO results in line with the proper use of keywords.
The entire goal of keyword research for website owners is to find what the target audiences are searching for online. Then, they must figure out how to rank for keywords in the top search results. While there are several techniques to go about keyword research, it is best to stick as close as possible to the strategies that have the best results yet. Given the competition you are facing in your sector, it matters a lot how you put in any amount of effort to find the right keywords and rank for them. Here is a breakdown of the best strategies to get started on:
1. Understand the wants of the audience
All SEO practices should primarily be based on the satisfaction of the audience, and that includes keyword research. If your keyword research strategy has not been working, it could be that you have the perfect keyword choices, but using them on the wrong audience. Based on the niche market you choose to work with, the keywords must resonate with their preferences, interests, and wants.
The very initial step to keyword research should be in learning what your audience wants. Study their behavior on different platforms, more so on social media. Follow through with their conversations online, in various forums and communities. If you can sample out a few pointers to what they want, then you are a go for the next step.
2. Make a list
In any research, you cannot start from a blank point. The list you must come up with is of seed keywords that will help you in identifying the keywords relevant to your niche and your target audience. The seed keywords should be based on your brand’s essence, along with what you know about your industry. Consider the role of your business in the specific industry you are in, whether business, technology or fashion. To find the seed keywords, you can look into spaces like Quora questions, Wikipedia, Amazon reviews, among others. However, you must already have an idea of what kinds of niche topics you want to consider for your content.
This list will also allow you to come up with the most relevant topics you deem important for your audience, which must also be related to what you do as a business. It is those topic buckets that can best help you capture some of the ideal seed keywords to kick start your research. While choosing what ideas make it to your list, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, or perhaps as a customer to your business. What would you like to know? How would you rather it packaged to you?
3. Employ keyword tools
For each of the topic buckets, there needs to be a keyword or two, which resonates with the approach of the topic. However, to fill in the topics with keywords, you will need to expand your scope with keyword research tools. Luckily, there are tons of keyword research tools that could get the job done, and help give you a more comprehensive view of what you can strive to rank for as matters of ideal keywords. Such tools include Ubersuggest, Google Ads Keywords, Moz Keyword Explorer,
If neither of those tools is as appealing to you, try out Google Search Suggestions. The best bit about Google Search Suggestions, other than being free, you will be getting your keywords from search engines. For one. Google is the most widely used search engines today, which means the suggestions you get are as accurate to the searchers’ needs as possible.
4. Narrow down your list to a specific niche
Now that you have the keyword tool working for you do not get too caught up with the luxury of having too many keywords to work with. The keyword may be relevant to your industry, but stretching too much is not going to give you the best results. To narrow down, you must pick the most suitable keywords based on your primary goal as a business. The keyword should in all ways complement your goal while gratifying the needs of your target audience.
On this one, you can still rely on some keyword tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends, from where you can look up the search volume of the words in question. Any words that have a lower volume in comparison to all other keywords should not remain on the list. This way, the words you target for your content will be angled in one direction instead of being spread out all over.
5. Find related keywords
What you have on your final list may not be enough to get your site to the first page of Google. The thing with finding related keywords is that you can safely avoid keyword stuffing, which is the overuse of your keywords on a piece of copy. Now that you have narrowed down your list to the specific few, you need other related terms to help your target your content to the right audience, while widening your scope.
Essentially, people may be looking for the same thing online but using different search terms. This is where the related keywords come in handy because you can capture the entire audience, without necessarily changing up the direction of your content.
6. Differentiate between head terms and long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are a big deal in modern keyword research. The concept lies in merging seed keywords with other words to form a phrase of about four words or more. The long-tail keywords work great in capturing the intent of the searchers and targeting a very specific niche audience. On the other hand, a head term is a keyword that underlines your topic. For example, if you were talking about SEO in the modern day, the difference would be:
Head term: SEO tips
Long tail keywords: The best speed optimization strategies for a website
However great each of those words individually is, you must determine a safe mix of both head terms and long-tail keywords. The head terms are more often than not short-tail keywords, which means they are highly competitive, in comparison to long-tail keywords. The reason you need a safe balance of the two is that even though long-tail keywords are not very competitive, they are less likely to get searched for by users. Combining the two allows your users who are searching for ‘SEO tips,’ to come across a more specified area of SEO that is ‘speed optimization strategies.’
7. Prioritize search intent
After thoroughly understanding what it is your target audience I interested in, you must figure out the search intent of the keywords you have determined. The typed-in searches may not always equate to what the user intended to search for online. As it may be, the keywords you determine have a literal meaning, and the intended meaning. One great way to understand what the intent of the users is to consider the Google search results. For a site to keep ranking for a particular keyword for a while, it means that the user is more or less content with the perspective provided thereof. Use the results on Google search to make a calculated judgment on what the audience is interested in matters of the niche topic you have.
Using long-tail keywords in your copies is also a great way to capture intent. Q&A sites like Quora can also help analyze search intent. Predominantly consider social media platforms as a rich source of information on the intent of people’s searches. The discussions held on the different platforms should point you more toward which material it is the public considers relevant and helpful to their searches. From here, you can angle your copies to take such approaches.
8. Target topics before keywords
Keywords can be very general, and most times, very broad. A keyword term like ‘SEO strategies’ could take up an entire website’s life to fully explore the area. Grouping your work into topics allows you to have categories that give you more keyword options that are more specific and descriptive. By working with a keyword before you have a topic, you cannot be exhaustive, which equates to an unsatisfied audience.
Instead, have several topics sources from the primary goal of your business, and then identify several keywords that could befit such a topic. Notice that as you keep creating material based on the niche topics you have, you will naturally add more related keywords, which justifies the need to have a bank of related keywords for your work. This might be the only way for you to come up with the most relevant and detailed content while targeting just the right keywords.
9. Check out your competition
It is safe to say that your competition can become your best friend in matters of SEO. Even with the right keyword, your competition may outrank you on search engines. It is why you need to research about them to gather the techniques they have that you do not. The most important area to concentrate on is the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Not only that, but find out why they are ranking better than you on those keywords, and what you can borrow from them. However, do not overlook the keywords you have on your list that your competitors are not ranking for or even using in their content. You can use those terms to get the upper hand on the target market, which you most likely share with them. Overall, remember you are looking for quick wins within your sector that will give you a proper ranking and for the right keywords. To save you the hassle, you can use a tool like SpyFu to check out which words your competitors are bidding on.
10. Research for voice search
In this age and time, technology is taking over fast. The voice technology has already been widely integrated into gadgets and devices. People can now bank on Alexa, Cortana or Google home to get their requests online. Therefore, in your keyword research, you need to take a shift toward voice search. Instead of considering keywords that people are most likely to type in on search boxes, look into the speech element.
After identifying the most qualifying keywords, you can use for your website, configure them for the ‘layman’ language. For example, instead of full sentences, try using short-forms, and instead of 100% proper grammar, try using slang every once in a while. Your entire focus should be on using natural language to get the best keywords to target. This could even give you a competitive advantage for the top rank position on Google’s SERP. Remember also, that majority of the voice searches are question-based. This means that when creating content and figuring out the best headings and subheading, you must aim for power words like, who, what, which, define, where, how, among others.
11. Consider the Keyword Difficulty Score
Most of the keyword tools that are there have a spot for the Keyword Difficulty Score. This is a perfect metric to suggest to you a variety of keywords you can use that have low competition. While most keyword tools arrive that the keyword difficulty score differently, the most common factors they consider are authority, links, and trust. Some of the keywords you may determine might be very competitive, proving almost impossible for you to rank for them. This happens a lot when the sites that are already ranking for such terms have high domain authority.
However, you do not have to stay completely away from such keywords, because the score is more or less relative. Based on the kind of content you generate from the keywords you have, your content might skyrocket to the top, but it has to be that good. It is, however, a factor to consider in your keyword research so that you can arrive at the ideal words suited for your brand.
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