From keyword stuffing to semantic search, SEO keyword strategy may have taken a 180-degree turn, but there are a few things that remain unchanged. SEO Keyword research, for example, has remained pretty consistent for people looking to optimize their web presence for search.
What are Keywords?
To the uninitiated, keywords are words and phrases that help people find your website during a web search. These words/ phrases best describe your website or the products/services you are trying to sell. As a site owner, your job is to incorporate these keywords into your content and metadata to make it easy for potential users to find you. Without implementing these keywords, they are more likely to land on a competitor’s site that ranks above yours.
Why is SEO Keyword Research Important?
Needless to say, SEO keyword research is the bedrock of a good SEO keyword strategy. Effective SEO keyword research isn’t only about ranking on search engines; you also need to get the right kind of visitors to your website. SEO keyword research gives you an insight into your customers and the market as a whole – you get to predict demand, and even understand shifts in the market conditions.
How to Find Effective Keywords for Your SEO Strategy
Step 1: Start By Listing Out Relevant Topics Related To Your Business.
At this stage, you need a set of generic topics related to your business. You could use these generic ideas to find keywords related to your business. For example, if you are into real estate investment, come up with topics like selling homes quickly, sale-by-owner sales, selling homes with repairs, etc. Put yourself in the shoes of the end user – what are the things that he is likely to look for? Come up with at least 5 to 10 generic topics.
Step 2: Think of Potential Keywords Related To These Topics
Pick each of these topics and think of search terms that users are likely to enter. You do not have to come up with synonyms at this stage – that comes later. For instance, if you’ve chosen to sell homes with repairs as a potential topic, think of keyword phrases that are likely to be related to that topic. A few phrases that I could think offhand would include:
- Sell home fast
- Companies that buy houses in any condition
- How to sell home fast by owner
- Cash home buyers
This can go on and on until you have a list of all the potential phrases that people are likely to search. To this list, you can also add keywords that your website is currently being found for. You could either do this using Google Analytics or review keywords on Google Webmaster Tools. You’ll get a list of keywords that people are using to reach your website. Repeat this process for all the generic topics. You could also speak to your sales team to get a general idea about the common questions they are asked.
Step 3: Branded, Generic, Short Tailed, Long Tailed… Your List Should Include Everything
Not all keywords are made alike. Brand keywords are for people who already know your name – they’re relatively easy to convert. Generic keywords are for people who know about your business, but not about you. For example, we buy houses – people are aware of this business, but they haven’t chosen a buyer yet and are still educating themselves. You could use variations of this keyword like ‘we buy houses for cash’ Long-tailed keywords are longer and more specific search terms. For example, “sell houses in Arizona for cash”. With search queries getting longer and more specific, you may want to include these without fail. A good keyword strategy should include diverse keyword phrases since it is observed that while long-tailed keywords are good for short-term goals, generic keywords are good for long-term goals.
Step 4: Competitor Research
You could either manually search for keywords to check what positions your competitors are placed, or run a quick search on SEMrush to look for top keywords for these domains. Competition research helps you understand what keywords your competitors are ranking for, but just because it’s important to them doesn’t mean that it’s important to you.
Step 5: Filter your Choice:
Now that you have a wide choice of keywords, it’s time to filter down to the ones that are relevant and worth pursuing. While there are plenty of paid software, Google Adwords Keyword Planner and SEMRush are always solid choices. Look for search volume and identify trends using Google Trends to understand which keywords need more focus, or watch for keywords that may seem low-volume, but could trend later. You could continue this until you narrow down your choice to a set of keywords.
Now that you have your keywords remember to evaluate them every few months to make sure if you need to add more or get rid of some of the existing ones.
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