Using the right keywords in your content is the best way to grow your website’s traffic through search engine optimization (SEO). Effective keyword research is vital to these efforts.
Keywords are search terms used by potential customers to find what they need on the internet. If you create content on your website including these keywords, you’ll attract more traffic.
This article will explain how to do keyword research, and how your website can benefit from it. We will also provide tips on how to optimize the keyword planning process.
How to do keyword research in five steps
There are a few simple steps to do keyword research for website traffic optimization.
Step 1. List keyword topics relevant to your brand
First, brainstorm topics related to your industry, brand, and products or service.
You can use these topics as your ‘seed’ keywords, which are generic terms consisting of one to two words.
For example, if you offer a laundry service, your seed keywords can be something as simple as “laundry,” “laundromat,” “laundry business,” or “laundry baskets.”
Then, expand these terms into longer, more specific keywords or subtopics. For example: “the best laundry service in the area” or “best laundry cleaning tips.”
Tip 💁 – Focus on keywords that directly promote your products or services. Think of “quick dry cleaning service” if we’re going by the same example.
If you have difficulty coming up with possible search queries, consider using Seed Keywords.
It gathers the seed keywords used by similar brands.
Step 2. Expand your keyword list
These tools present new keyword ideas based on yours within topics related to the industry. They also provide content ideas and identify competitors’ keywords.
You can also do this step manually using search engines. Google, for example, suggests topics and key phrases related to your search terms at the bottom of the search results page.
AnswerThePublic is a free tool that helps you collect autocomplete suggestions from Google and Bing based on your seed keywords.
They tend to explore questions and subtopics missed by the average keyword planner tool.
For a more personal approach, you might conduct email surveys and polls. These will help you to know your target audience better and come up with novel organic keyword ideas.
Step 3. Analyze your keywords
By this point, you should have a vast library of potential keywords to try. However, you still need to sort them out using keyword metrics for optimal results.
Use these criteria to analyze the effectiveness of your keywords:
- Relevancy — how relevant a keyword is to your brand or industry.
- Monthly search volume — the number of searches on a keyword per month.
- Keyword difficulty — the web page’s chance of ranking higher for a specific keyword. A higher score means it’s harder to rank. .
- Cost Per Click (CPC) — the price an advertiser pays to a publisher for every click in an AdWords campaign. Competitive keywords are more expensive due to their popularity.
Step 4. Mix short and long-tail keywords
The next thing you need to do is to group short and long-tail keywords with the same intent and similar wordings.
Short-tail keywords are search terms containing no more than three words. They focus on general topics with broad intents.
They tend to have high search traffic and keyword difficulty but low conversion rates.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords are longer search terms with specific user intents.
While they don’t generate as much traffic as short-tail keywords, they have higher conversion values and less competition.
Considering the nature of each keyword type. You benefit from using both types in your content.
Editor’s note 📝 – Use short-tail keywords to expose your web page to a broader audience. Meanwhile, long-tail keywords help build a deeper connection with users by catering to their specific needs.
For this reason, it’s best to have an equal number of short and long search terms on your list.
Take the short-tail keyword “keyword research,” for example. Consider pairing it with longer keyword variations like “how to research keywords” or “keyword research tips.”
Step 5. Create a keyword map
Once you build a list of keywords, you can perform one last categorization process called keyword mapping.
Keyword mapping is the practice of assigning keywords to individual pages. This will help you perform on-site SEO and create content relevant to your niche.
You must first structure the keyword list based on its priority:
- Keywords with primary priority are the ones you want to rank on search results immediately.
They’re relevant to your target audience, suitable to your brand, and have a decent amount of search volume for long-term investment.
You want to use them as focus keywords placed in strategic places like the first paragraph, titles, or headlines.
- Meanwhile, secondary keywords provide support to primary keywords. They consist of synonyms and phrases relevant to focus keywords.
Despite having lower search volumes, secondary keywords enrich your text, drive more search traffic, and convert more leads.
You then assign the keywords to different web pages and elements within your website. This includes, but not limited to, titles, meta descriptions, headlines, and internal links.
Since there’s no fixed formula for keyword mapping, feel free to modify this step according to your needs.
Extra tips for better keyword research
Below are additional tips for your keyword research process, to help you find the best keywords.
Keep tabs on your competitors
Pay special attention to keyword gaps. These are search terms that drive traffic to your competitors’ sites instead of yours.
Tip 💁 – Identify which keywords your competitors use to rank high on search results. Doing this gives you insights into rivals’ SEO performance and keyword gaps.
You can devise a strategy to claim the opportunities you previously failed to see. Who knows, Google may even display your web page on the search results features’ rich snippets.
Crawler software like Screaming Frog SEO Spider is also useful for mining on-site keyword tags by looking at the web’s HTML source.
Target local keywords
If you want your content to be visible in geo-targeted listings, consider using local keywords.
While this type of keyword has lower search volumes, it has higher conversion rates. Additionally, they may also generate foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores.
- From 76% of smartphone searches looking for nearby businesses, 28% of them lead to an on-site purchase.
- Despite its name, local keywords can also bring traffic from outside the brand’s operational area, allowing you to expand your reach both online and offline.
- To rank high with local keywords, you should incorporate terms describing your specialty and district into your long-tail keywords. An example might be: “best hotel in Oahu Hawaii”.
Consider using Google Trends keyword research tool as well. It gives you insights into the level of interest per subregion, along with other related topics and keyword ideas.
Monitor seasonal trends
Some keywords have high search volumes at particular times due to seasonal trends. This allows you to gain seasonal traffic during certain periods and make more money online.
For instance, the keyword “chocolates and flowers” might spike in February for the same reason the search phrase “how to carve a pumpkin” gains popularity when it’s nearing Halloween.
Season trends also apply to non-holiday periods like the start of an academic year. It’s worth knowing the timeline of events related to your website’s niche if you want to improve conversions.
- When listing seasonal keywords, we suggest you add modifiers like year and season to enhance their quality. For example, “Black Friday 2021” and “ best places to visit this summer”.
- As timing is essential, make sure to do your research a few months before launching a new post or product. You should have plenty of time to plan and schedule your content.
- Note that each seasonal keyword has a different lifespan in terms of relevance. Failure to update them regularly may negatively affect your long-term SEO efforts.
What is keyword research, and why should you do it?
Keyword research is an SEO best practice a webmaster uses. The aim is to find and analyze different variations of popular keywords users input into search engines, based on specific intent.
This process is vital for your SEO efforts. It contributes to finding topics relevant to your brand, optimizing on-page SEO, and improving your site’s ranking in search engine results.
- Since keywords represent user intent, researching them helps you to understand your target audience’s search habits.
- The information obtained from research helps you tailor content based on user needs and preferences. This leads to an increase in organic traffic and brand exposure.
- Keyword research is ideal for monitoring your competitors. By knowing their SEO strategy, you get to stay ahead of the competition and dominate the market.
- High-quality keywords can make up for a great domain name. Using keywords relevant to your brand, you give visitors a glimpse into its content and prompt them to click it.
- Descriptive terms promote return traffic by making your URL easier to remember. The next time a user wants to visit, they can recall the address off the top of their head.
To make sure that your keyword-based domain name is available, you can check it with Zyro Domain Name Generator.
Once you find the right one, you can register it with us for the price as low as $0.99/year, depending on your chosen domain extension.
How often should you perform keyword research?
As customers’ needs and preferences are always changing, it’s best to do keyword research regularly.
The best time to do it is before you launch a new product or create new content. Keyword research redirects visitors’ attention to what’s new.
However, there are other factors like seasonal trends and language shifts. These may affect your research’s frequency and keyword list.
It’s essential to always be on the lookout for changes within your industry as well as relevant global and local trends.
Answer users’ inquiries with fresh content under relevant keywords search. This way you’re likely to maintain a solid audience and improve your traffic volumes.