Keyword research is one of the first steps in the creation of SEO content. This will determine what you will write and share. It allows you to get a deep understanding of your audience and exactly what they want to know.
After reading this article, you will be able to:
- Define the target audience you want to create content for.
- Find keywords with the potential of increasing site traffic.
- Refine and finalize keywords for your content using free online tools.
Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?
To understand the importance of keyword research, let’s see how you will approach creating content without it. You will likely have certain topic ideas based on the products or services you sell. You will assume that your customers are interested in these topics and create content on them.
There will be no data to back this up initial thought. In such a case, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that without keyword research, you are shooting in the dark.
Keyword research provides relevant data to back up or question your existing views. By doing it, you will know exactly what your audience wants to know and the likelihood of your content reaching them. This gives a scientific approach to content creation and maximizes your reach.
Define Your Target Audience
The first step of doing keyword research is to clearly define your target audience. If you don’t know who are creating content for, then it will be impossible to effectively find keywords to rank for.
You should already have an idea of who your audience is. Let’s say you are a tea manufacturer who sells directly to customers. Based on this, you already know that your target audience is tea drinkers. Here are a few questions that you can ask to further narrow it down:
- What kinds of tea do your customers purchase?
- Which geographical locations are your customers based in?
- What questions do your customers have about your product?
- Why do your customers buy tea from you?
- Which kinds of customers do you want to attract?
These questions will provide greater clarity on who you are writing for. It will help you further narrow down the audience to let’s say green tea drinkers living in metro cities.
Once you have this, it’s time to start looking for potential content they might be interested in.
Keyword Discovery Tips and Tricks
Once you have defined your target audience, you will already have some keywords in mind. These can be terms that are directly connected to your brands or topics that your readers will naturally have an interest in. These are sometimes referred to as seed keywords.
At this stage, you should not limit yourself to the keywords you can think of. Here, you are simply collecting possible keywords for producing content. The idea is to get a long list of potential keywords. We will refine this list in the next step.
Wikipedia can work as a goldmine for keyword ideas. You should start with the Wikipedia table of contents and look at all the topics that have been covered there.
Let’s say you want to write for tea manufacturers in India. A Wikipedia article on tea will provide all the relevant sub-headings that need to be covered on the topic.
Apart from this, you should also look at anchor texts and related topics that are linked to the article. This is great for covering your bases and ensuring that you don’t miss out on relevant material.
Google autocomplete suggestions provide a list of related keywords to the one you are searching for. The best thing is that these keywords are narrowed down from the broad keywords you are likely to have in mind.
Google suggestions are generally in the form of questions. This relates to the most commonly asked questions by the audience on that topic. These questions should be given high priority.
Apart from this, each platform provides its own set of auto-complete suggestions. Let’s say you are creating content for YouTube. In such a case, you should look at YouTube’s suggestions.
There are many Reddit forums that are regularly visited by many niche communities. This is a great place to go for finding the topics that your audience is interested in. The best part is that you get the keywords straight from the horse’s mouth, i.e., your audience.
Competitor analysis plays a key role in the creation of any new content. You want to make sure that you are covering the keywords used by the competitors and providing more value to the users through your content.
This is quite easy to do. You should already have a list of your competitors. You should go through each of their websites and select the keywords that they are ranking on. If you don’t have access to software, you can simply look at the headings and identify keywords from there.
Trending keywords are great to write on. These usually drive a high search volume but are low in difficulty. This is particularly true if you create content when the keyword has started gaining interest and your competitors have not created content for it.
Keyword Research Metrics
Once you have a list of potential keywords, it is time to select the specific keywords for writing the content. In order to do this, you will need to understand the various keyword metrics listed below:
The search volume refers to the number of people searching for a particular keyword in a particular time period. Higher search volume means that more people are interested in reading about the keyword.
Due to high search volume, these keywords typically require more work in order to achieve a higher rank in the Search Engine Results Page. Therefore, you should not look at the search volume in isolation. At the same time, selecting a keyboard with a negligible search volume will be a mistake as very few readers will be interested in it.
The difficulty level refers to the amount of work required in order to achieve a high rank on the search results page. A generally higher difficulty is a result of high search volume.
While the exact number cannot be detected, a good idea is to use keyboards with difficultly in the range of 30-60. This means that enough readers are searching for the content and you have the potential of driving traffic to your blog. However, the keyword isn’t so difficult that achieving a good rank is nearly impossible.
Cost Per Click
Cost per click (CPC) refers to the amount of money an advertiser will pay Google for each click on the keyword. The higher the CPC for a keyword, the higher will be the difficulty. This is due to the fact that higher CPC makes the keyword more lucrative to write on.
As with everything else, you need to balance the CPC and choose one where you can achieve a good rank.
Long-tail keywords are keywords with lower search volume and higher chances of conversion. These keywords are usually used by readers after initial research.
Let’s take the same example of a tea manufacturer. In this case, a potential long-tail keyword would be “green tea bag from Assam”.
Even though these keywords have a low search volume, the chances of conversion are quite high. The users are generally more interested in the topic as compared to the keywords with higher search volume.
User Search Intent
The search intent refers to the reason for which a user searches for a particular keyword. There are four different kinds of search intent:
- Informational: This means that the user is looking for information. This is typically in the form of how-to guides, blogs, etc.
- Transactional: This means that the user is looking to buy a specific product. The users will typically land up on product pages.
- Navigational: This means that the user is looking to navigate to a specific website, such as Facebook or YouTube.
- Commercial: This means that the user is looking to buy a product but has not finalized it yet. Such users are usually looking for product reviews, curated lists, etc.
The best way to determine the search intent behind a particular keyword is to look at the top results for the same. For example, let’s say your keyboard is ‘small business’. Let’s say when you Google it, you will find various blogs on small businesses. This means that the search intent behind this keyboard is informational.
Free Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research is often seen as a highly complex and technical task. This is only true in part. While paid keyword tools do have an added advantage, there are enough free tools for keyword research you to get started.
If you are new to keyword research, then you should ideally hire an SEO expert to do this for you. Here are some of the best tools that you should definitely check out:
Google Trends provides an overview of the trending keywords during a particular time period. You can narrow down the search to a geographical area, category, time, and platform. Along with this, Google Trends does an excellent job of providing related topics and queries for any search keyword.
Apart from this, Google Trends provides a keyword comparison feature where you can add multiple keywords at once to see their search volume. This is extremely helpful for creating content.
Let’s say you run a tech blog and are confused between two keywords – ‘business ideas’ and ‘business costs’. You can run a keyword comparison on Google trends and select the keyword with the highest average search volume in the last year.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public provides a wide range of keyword ideas in the form of questions, comparisons, and related searches. This is great for conducting keyword research for free.
Let’s say you input the keyword ‘small business’. The software will yield various questions related to ‘small business’ in categories of what, how, are, can, when, etc. For example, a question can be ‘how to run a small business’.
Along with this, Answer the Public also provides a keyword comparison feature. The results are shown in ‘x vs y’ format. This is extremely useful for deciding the topic or even planning the table of contents for a particular keyword.
You can also find related search queries here. This data is directly taken from Google suggestions.
Ubersuggest provides one of the best free keyword research tools available in the market. For any given keyword, it will tell you various metrics including search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, trend, cost per click, etc.
This data is invaluable for creating new content. You get a bird’s eye view of everything related to the keyword of your choice. Based on the stats, you can create a list of primary as well as secondary keywords.
Ubersuggest also provides a list of content ideas per keyword. You can use this to get inspired. Although this isn’t developed very well and you will likely get better results from conducting competitor research.
Keyword Surfer is one of the easiest tools to use for keyword research. It works as an extension and provides data on keywords as you search for them.
Let’s say you are on Google search and you type in “small business”. The extension will instantly tell you the global as well as the local search volume for it. It will provide the same data for all the auto-complete suggestions provided by Google.
You can also go on the dashboard to find similar keywords for your search. This is helpful in getting content ideas or finding secondary keywords.
Keyword Generator is a free keyword research tool developed by Ahrefs. It works in a similar way as Ubersuggest.
You can enter a seed keyword and the software will generate 150 keyword ideas for each seed keyword. Along with this, the software will also provide relevant metrics including the keyword difficulty, search volume, geographical location, etc.
The best thing about Keyword Generator is that you can narrow your search based on the platform of your choice. Let’s say you run a YouTube channel. In this case, keyword research for YouTube will be much more valuable than the search volume on Google.
Keyword research forms the base of content creation. This is a step that provides a real insight into your audience as well as the content they are looking for.
Here are some key points to keep in mind while conducting keyword research:
- Start with defining your target audience. You cannot conduct meaningful keyword research unless you know the audience you are creating content for.
- Create a list of all the potential keywords by scouting the web. This includes everything from Wikipedia to Reddit forums to Google auto-suggestions.
- Validate your keyword list by looking at the keyword metrics of a keyword research tool. This will ensure that you create content on keywords your audience is interested in and that you can rank high for.
For your ease, we have created an SEO template that you can use for conducting keyword research for SEO campaign. You can find the Google sheet here. You can also download the Excel version here:
– Practics.in team
At Practics.in, we pride ourselves on being great at what we do, i.e. SEO and Content Mktg. We understand search engines and content well enough to help businesses get the most out of their online presence. We can help you rank high on relevant searches by your potential customers.
Try us. If you are not satisfied with our services, we give a 100% refund for our first month of work together. No questions asked.
Our focus is on helping businesses improve their search ranking to increase visibility, grow traffic, and maximise revenue. Schedule a FREE consulting with us today to learn how SEO can help in growing your business.
Check out our incredible success stories.