Google has changed the SEO game a lot in recent years, and keyword research is one of the biggest factors. In an era where organic search and digital marketing aren’t as big of a driver to traffic as they used to be, understanding keywords will ensure that you’re writing content that is helping you achieve your goals, and enable you to grow the traffic to your website.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is about the intersection of keywords and content. If you want to rank on Google search results, write keyword optimised content to get better results from your website. Keyword research will also help you to find out if a specific keyword is searched for, so that you don’t waste your time writing content that isn’t going to get traffic.
The importance of Keyword Research
Keyword research for SEO is vital to the success of any website. Even if you have a wonderful product or service, if you don’t use the right keywords, you could lose any of that traffic and visibility. By finding and optimising your target keywords, you’ll increase your chances of ranking for those key phrases on a top search engine.
Keyword research in SEO helps you gain insight into how your target audience is thinking and searching. You can also use it to better target your content and SEO strategy. Understanding your keywords also helps you determine which topics to create content for on your website.
How to do keyword research
There are many keyword research tools available that are great, yet, the best keyword research tool, in my opinion, is a free and paid tool called KeywordTool.io. Some other tools that are good for keyword research are:
Most premium paid SEO tools have a Keyword Research Tool built within the platform to enable you to identify related keywords to your industry, including SEMRush, Ahrefs, SERanking and WebCEO.
Keyword Research Tips
How to organise your keyword research process
You can organise your keywords into specific keywords for the main website pages you’d like to rank on search or if you have an eCommerce website, you may decide to target specific keywords related to the products you are selling.
A quick tip: One tool I use is Google Sheets, which is easy to use and free! The tool I recommended earlier, Keyword Tool (keywordtool.io) also allows you to export all keywords into an Excel spreadsheet which you can upload to Google Drive and open and edit in Google Sheets.
How to use keyword research
There are many ways you can use the keywords you have found in your research. The fundamental ways to use your keywords are:
They can help you write great content, e.g., blogs and pages
Make sure you use your keywords in your meta title and meta descriptions
Have your keywords in the H1 tag of the page/post
H2, H3 and H4 tags should also include target keywords and are a great way to target question-based keywords, for example – How to use Google Sheets
Add the keywords within your content – but don’t over-optimise!
Put your keywords in your image alt tags to help search engines to better understand your content and can help with website accessibility for visitors using screen readers
How to choose good keywords to use on your website
To choose the best keywords for your website, it is best to think about if the keywords are relevant to the page you want to optimise. Then look at the Keyword’s Search Volume (per month) and the Keyword Difficulty, which shows you how competitive the keyword is. Good keywords to start with if your website is relatively new are long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for. Once you have focused on long-tail keywords to build authority in your industry, then you can have a look at competing for short-tail keywords to get more visitors to your site.
While the main focus of this article was to have you grasp some of the basic concepts behind SEO, I hope that it has also inspired you to do your keyword research. With a small amount of time and some technical knowledge, you can certainly learn a lot about the way search engines think and act to your benefit. With that said, it’s time to get to it. Good luck!