SEO relies on keywords as its fundamental building blocks. Without people searching for your content, Google won’t direct any traffic your way, regardless of your efforts. This underscores the crucial role of mastering keyword research for SEO success. The stakes are high, and making a mistake in choosing keywords can result in a significant waste of time and resources.
However, don’t be discouraged; keyword research isn’t overly complex. In fact, you can grasp the essentials in just about 3 minutes. Yet, it’s essential to be mindful of important nuances and dispel misconceptions to enhance your ability to make informed SEO decisions.
So, let’s get started without further delay.
Keyword Research Basics
If you’re new to the realm of SEO, you might be curious about the significance of keyword research. This brief section is tailored to address your questions; however, if you’re already familiar, feel free to proceed to the next chapter.
What is Keyword Research
It involves the exploration of valuable search queries that your potential customers input into search engines, such as Google, when seeking products, services, or information.
Understanding the importance of keyword research is crucial. If you create content on a subject that people aren’t actively searching for, that particular article won’t attract any traffic from Google or other search engines. This common mistake contributes to the fact that, according to a study by Ahrefs, 90.63% of internet pages receive no traffic from Google.
Keyword research plays a pivotal role in confirming the existence of a search demand for the content you intend to create. Consequently, if your webpage successfully secures a high rank on Google for its designated keyword, you can expect a steady influx of precisely targeted visitors.
How To Find Keyword Ideas
To start with keyword research, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. This process is simple but requires good industry knowledge and an understanding of keyword research tools. This chapter covers just that.
Brainstorming Seed Keywords
Brainstorming “seed” keywords is the first step of your keyword research process. Seed keywords help define your niche and identify your competitors. Almost every keyword research tool requires a seed keyword, which it uses to generate an extensive list of keyword ideas (more details on this later). Developing seed keywords is easy if you have a product or business to promote online. It would help to consider what people type into Google to find your products or services. For instance, if you sell coffee and coffee-making equipment, your seed keywords might include coffee, cappuccino, french press, espresso, etc.
Seed keywords may not necessarily be worth targeting with pages on your website. As the name suggests, they are just the starting point for the next steps of the process. Therefore, you should spend only a little time on your seed keywords. It only takes a few minutes to identify them. Once you have a few broad ideas about your website’s topic, move on to the next step.
Use Keyword Research Tools
Looking at your competitors can be a valuable way to get keyword ideas. However, it’s likely that your competitors still need to cover some keywords. To uncover these, you can utilize a variety of keyword research tools.
Keyword research tools generally function in the same manner. You input a seed keyword, and the tool generates keyword ideas from its database based on that keyword.
The Google Keyword Planner, or GKP, is one of the most recognized keyword tools. It is free to use, and even though it is primarily designed for those wishing to display paid ads in Google, it can also be employed to find keywords for SEO purposes.
The primary objective is to identify suitable keywords with high search volumes and low keyword difficulty. These three factors are crucial in keyword research and are commonly referred to as The Keyword Tripod Rule, each representing a leg of the tripod. The entire tripod will fall apart if any of the legs are removed.
Previously, content creators used to conduct keyword research solely to identify high-volume keywords. They would then stuff these keywords into their content to deceive search engine algorithms and secure high rankings in organic search results. However, keyword research has evolved significantly since then and has become more intricate.
Additionally, it is only sometimes feasible to rank solely for high-volume keywords. As a new website, it may be impossible to rank for primary keywords, but you should still attempt to do so once you have established yourself in the market and gained some authority.
Ultimately, it is essential to assess your actual chances, and the metric known as keyword difficulty can be helpful in this regard.
When you decide on the keywords you want to rank for, evaluating the competition is essential to determine how difficult it will be. The level of competition is usually expressed through a metric called keyword difficulty, which is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 in most tools. The higher the score, the more challenging it will be to rank on the first page of search results for that particular keyword.
Ranking for a particular keyword depends on the authority of the pages:
- You can better understand the critical keywords and significant players in your niche by analysing the keyword difficulty.
- You can also identify the keywords you have a good chance of ranking for.
This will allow you to save a lot of time by focusing on the keywords that can bring you results even if you have little authority.
Relevance of your keyword is crucial. Performing a thorough SERP analysis is the most straightforward method to determine the following:
- Your ability to contend with websites appearing in the top SERP (refer to the previous section on keyword difficulty).
- The search intent behind the keywords you intend to optimize for.
By analyzing the SERP, you can determine the search intent behind the query and assess whether it aligns with your content.
There are 4 different search intent types:
- Navigational – search for a specific website/brand
- Informational – search for general information
- Transactional – the user wants to buy something online
- Commercial – the user does the research before purchase
- To acquire search traffic, generating content that covers subjects people are searching for is crucial.
- To initiate the process of researching your keywords, it’s best to analyze the keywords driving traffic to your competitors.
- Sophisticated keyword research tools have extensive collections of keywords and can provide you with millions of keyword suggestions that contain your seed keywords.