Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for bringing relevant organic traffic to your website. At the core of an effective SEO strategy is comprehensive keyword research and analysis. Choosing the right keywords and phrases that people are searching for can significantly impact your website’s discoverability, traffic, and conversions.
Why Keyword Research Matters in SEO
Keywords are the words and phrases that searchers type into Google, Bing, and other search engines to find information online. Matching your content to these keywords is key to appearing in search results and earning clicks/traffic.
As explained on the Search Engine Land website:
“If you want to attract visitors to your site, you need content that ranks well for keywords people are searching for.”
Keyword research provides vital data to inform your:
- Content creation – Writing blog posts, web pages, videos, and other content that targets popular and relevant keyword phrases.
- On-page optimization – Incorporating keywords naturally into titles, headers, meta descriptions, image alt text, URLs, etc.
- Link building – Reaching out to other sites for backlinks using anchor text with your focus keywords.
- Paid search ads – Building a Pay Per Click campaign around high-value keywords.
Without keyword research, you are guessing at what search terms might be popular. With proper keyword analysis, you know which terms and topics to focus on.
How to Perform Keyword Research
Effective keyword research takes time and uses multiple data sources. Here is a step-by-step process:
1. Brainstorm Seed Keywords
Start by listing down potential keywords and phrases for your content. These seed keywords are based on your knowledge of search intent for your products/services.
2. Use Keyword Planner
Input the seed keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner tool to see monthly search volume data. Look for low-competition keywords with decent search volume.
3. Perform Competitor Analysis
Analyze competitors’ website content and see what keywords they are targeting on-page. Use a tool like Ahrefs to discover new keyword opportunities.
4. Analyze Related Keywords
Lookup-related/similar keyword ideas from Google’s “People also ask” and “Searches related to” sections. Also, use Ubersuggest’s keyword research tool to find additional keyword variations.
5. Organize Keywords
Track your keywords in a spreadsheet, sorting them into primary, secondary, and tertiary focus keywords. Primary keywords will be the highest priority for content.
6. Update Research
Keyword demand changes over time. Revisit your research every 3-6 months to see if new keywords emerge.
Key SEO Metrics to Analyze
When researching keywords, pay attention to these key metrics:
Monthly search volume indicates how often a term is searched. Higher volume means more potential traffic. Just remember that this metric is only an estimate.
Click Through Rate
Click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of searchers who click on a particular result. Aim for keywords with a higher than average CTR.
This measures how hard it will be to rank for a keyword. You want lower competition keywords with less than 100,000 competing web pages. Use keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to analyze the difficulty of ranking for target keywords.
Ensure keywords relate closely to your products, services, and website content. No point in trying to rank for unrelated keywords.
Prioritize keywords where users are searching with the intent to buy something. These convert better than informational queries.
Prioritize keywords that are showing an upward trend in monthly search volume, as this indicates growing interest in the topic.
Common Keyword Research Mistakes
Some common mistakes to avoid with keyword research include:
- Not tracking enough keyword metrics – look beyond just volume.
- Failure to brainstorm enough seed keywords at the start.
- Only using one tool like Google Keyword Planner vs multiple data sources.
- Not checking search intent behind keywords.
- Not categorizing keywords into groups.
- Failing to expand seed keywords into semantically related long tail keywords.
- Not updating keyword research regularly to account for trends.
Proper keyword research takes time and effort. However, it provides the critical data needed to optimize content and rank higher in SEO. Treat keyword research as an ongoing process, not just a one-time task. Consistently monitor your target keywords and adjust your optimization and content accordingly.
Comprehensive keyword research and analysis form the foundation of an effective SEO strategy. Finding the right keywords for your target audience is searching for can boost your website’s visibility and traffic exponentially. At ASN Digital Marketing, we use a methodical research process, draw insights from multiple tools, track relevant metrics beyond just volume, and continuously update our clients’ keyword lists. With the right keywords to focus on, we help our clients create optimized content that search engines and searchers will love. The in-depth keyword research conducted by our team enables us to develop SEO strategies that boost our clients’ online visibility and drive more qualified traffic to their websites.