Good keyword research is one of the basics of a successful SEO content strategy. If done correctly it will lead you to create the content that people are looking for, using the language that people are searching with.
Using keyword research to identify the keywords people are searching and how often is a powerful benefit. If you’re clever, you can apply those insights to the benefit of your entire marketing approach. So here are 5 tips for getting the most out of your keyword research to craft a complete content strategy.
But First! Just what is “keyword research”?
It is the process of learning which search terms people are typing into search engines when they’re looking for something. Keyword research is an ongoing process, not a one-time thing, and its best practices are continually evolving. Here’s a short guide.
Now, let’s get started!
Keyword Research Is a Radar. Use It to See What’s Out There.
Your company sells products or services that people want. But how do you know what people want so that you can sell to them online in the right way? The answer is keyword research.
Keyword research is like a radar that lights up the products and services people care about, the questions they have, and the terminology they use to describe it. By conducting keyword research, you can begin to understand your prospective customers’ search patterns. What search terms are they using? How are they thinking about your products? Keyword research can help you create content that “speaks the same language” as your prospective customers.
Ultimately, both your organic and paid traffic will depend heavily on good keyword research, though here we are focused on organic traffic.
How Do I Conduct Keyword Research?
The best way to perform keyword research is with a dedicated tool, like the Google Ads Keyword Planner, or KeywordTool.io. In addition to popular resources like these, there are some very creative but lesser-known keyword research tools out there that can help you approach your research in different ways.
Don’t worry about laying down a bunch of money at first. Many of the best tools have a free version, and once you build some experience you can make an informed decision about which tools are worth upgrading to the paid offering.
2. Choose Keywords Based on Intent
The single most important tip for mastering keyword research, by far, is to focus on the keywords used by people who are actually going to buy your products. When you’re evaluating keywords, ask yourself this simple question:
“Is the person typing this keyword going to become my customer if my site shows up in their search results?”
If the answer is “yes,” or even a solid “maybe,” then that keyword is worth considering for inclusion in your keyword strategy. But if the answer is “no” or “probably not,” then that keyword is a trap. It is crucial that you not let yourself get distracted by keywords that are being used by people who aren’t going to become your customer!
Always think in terms of customer behavior. Even if a keyword is relevant to what you’re selling; even if it has good search volumes; even if your business has a realistic chance at ranking for it in search engine results pages (SERPs); even if all of these things are true, that keyword is still virtually worthless to you if it’s not a keyword that your prospective customers are using.
Don’t optimize for people who aren’t going to become your customer!
3. Let Your Keyword Research Show You What Content to Create
It’s a given that your website will have pages for your individual products, and category pages for related groups of products. It might seem like these pages are set in stone, and it’s true that you’ll need to include all of the relevant information.
But it’s also true that the tone and focus of these pages are surprisingly open to modification. If your keyword research is telling you that people are focused on the health benefits of your product, your approach to marketing would be significantly different if people were mostly concerned with whether your product was fashionable. Same product, different ways of thinking about it as a customer.
In situations where multiple keywords are a good fit for a given page, you can incorporate more than one keyword on the same page.
But Remember: You can’t rank for every search term. Your resources are finite, and there is only so much space to optimize your content. There are also diminishing returns to optimizing too many keywords per page, so you have to be strategic about which terms you optimize for.
4. Supplemental / Long-Tail Content Is a Great Long-Term SEO Project
There’s another way to tap into the different audiences for your products. If you’ve ever looked at optimized websites, you’ll see that they always have a blog. But why?
Well, suppose your company sells pet supplies. You probably already have category pages for your various product departments (e.g., beds, toys, collars). But what about somebody who’s googling whether they should get their pet microchipped? You don’t sell anything related to that, so you might never think to target a keyword like “pet microchipping.”
Here’s the thing, though: The person doing that search is a potential customer for the products that you do sell. If you were to create a page with good information on microchipping services, where you also remind people of the importance of buying collars or tags with your pet’s information on it, you could earn a sale and a new customer. All you have to do is include links to your relevant product pages.
This kind of supplemental content is a great target for your long-term SEO efforts once your more important pages are in good shape.
Build Your Knowledge Base: Learn more about the long tail and why SEO is so important.
5. Upgrade to a Professional Service When You’re Ready
The day may come when your needs for search engine optimization and keyword research are greater than you can fulfill in-house. This could be due to the size and growth rate of your website, or the need for professionals who bring their experience of optimizing many different websites. At that point, it’s time to hire a professional SEO marketing service that can take your content strategy to the next level.
It’s very uncommon for companies with well-optimized websites to do their SEO work in-house. That’s because top-level SEO work, including keyword research, is highly specialized and requires a fairly large staff of experienced people. Just like a satellite TV company wouldn’t have their own rocket division to build the rockets to launch their satellites, it doesn’t really make financial sense for most companies to do their own SEO.
SEO companies will work with you closely to integrate your business expertise with their SEO best practices, including the latest and most effective keyword strategies, to produce impressive long-term results that may just usher in a whole new era for your business.
Leverage Keyword Research in All Areas of Your Business
Keyword research is a vital form of industry research. It tells you what your customers think, and in a way, even how they think. Next time you prepare a new marketing initiative, or even considering launching a new product or service, Look to the search volume first. If people are already looking for it, you’ll know, and your business as a whole will benefit.
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