SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the buzzword of digital marketing. One of the key components of SEO is the use of keywords to optimize your content and ensure that you reach the viewers. Boosting your content with keywords also improves your page ranking on search engines.
But how do you know which keywords to use? How do you learn what your audience is looking for? Here are 4 critical steps to conduct keyword research for your content:
Step 1 – Create a list of topics that define your company.
These are broad areas. It may be the industry you work in, your buyer interests, the topics you most frequently blog about, etc. For example, the broad topics for Company X, which sells running shoes, might be –
running shoes (111k) running (74k) half marathon (27.1k) 10k (16k) fitness (110k) sports gear (6k) fitness goals (2.9k) athletics (22k) running tips (5k)
What are the numbers in the brackets? This is the monthly search volume for these topics, i.e. how many people search for these in a month in a given area (here, the United States.)
Step 2 – For each topic category, list down specific keywords.
For example, consider ‘half marathon’ as the topic category. It has a fair search volume and is directly relevant to the product that Company X sells.
In this step, brainstorm all the search terms that anyone who wants to find out about ‘half marathon’ might key in. This includes:
half marathon training plan night before half marathon checklist half marathon training half marathon preparation best half marathon running shoes shoes for half marathon half marathon miles half marathon pace calculator
This brainstorming exercise puts you in the customers’ shoes! You begin to think not as a creator but as a viewer looking for answers to specific questions and concerns.
Step 3 – Use keyword research tools to decide on targets.
Now that you know what keywords are, you should explore some free online keyword research tools. These tools track what the audience generally searches for and which keywords a content creator should target.
Here are three keyword research tools to start:
Now, remember keyword searches are very location-specific. So make sure that you focus on search terms that are looked up by people in your target location. Here is a sample of the information you get from a research tool:
Image source: SEMRush
Apart from the search volume, you will also learn about:
● the popularity of the keyword
● keyword density (how frequently the keyword appears in the content)
● CPC (cost per click, or the price you would pay for an ad for this keyword)
● competition (the number of other creators using that keyword)
● further keyword suggestions, etc.
Using these tools, you can analyze whether you target the right keywords with relatively high volume but low competition or a delicate balance between both.
Step 4 – Verify Search Intent
Finally, your keyword research reveals another vital detail: the search intent. This means that the audience has keyed this into the search engine. There are 4 types of buyer intent:
The visitor wants to find something. e.g. Adidas running shoes
The visitor wants to learn more about something. e.g. How to choose running shoes
The visitor wants to complete a specific action, like a purchase or registrations. e.g. Buy Adidas running shoes
The visitor wants to learn more so as to make an informed purchase. e.g. Adidas vs Nike running shoes
Along with the search volume and competition, it is essential to map the buyer’s intent against the keyword. This way, you match your content to the search intent. Imagine if someone visits Company X’s link expecting information about the best shoes and is only provided with a sale. For a better customer experience, keyword search intent is crucial.
These are the four fundamental steps to beginning keyword research. Follow in the footsteps of Company X and try conducting your research and exploration for your brand or a fictional brand. Exploring the different tools will help you improve your research and get more clarity.