Keyword Research Tips And Tricks
The single most important determinant of a successful SEO campaign is having the right keywords. It’s as simple as that. And the only way you’ll discover the right keywords is through keyword research.
Nail your keyword research and you’ll have a list of keyword phrases that people actually use when they’re searching online for your business or for businesses like yours. Not phrases you think they will use! Skip this step and your website will languish in no man’s land. Keyword research really is a crucial first stage to SEO success.
The process of keyword research will help you discover and analyse the best high-volume queries that people use to search the internet – and it will help you to adapt your website content so that it’s found more easily.
Basically, you need to find a list of keywords (or rather keyword phrases) that describe or represent your business as accurately as possible. This isn’t necessarily simple or straightforward because your options will be influenced by many different factors including the industry niche you’re in, your geographical area of operation and the searcher’s intent. But once you have your list, you can then optimise your website so that it appears in Google and other search engines’ ranking pages for these phrases.
Keyword research is basically a three-stage process.
The first stage is to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Let your imagination run wild. The next stage is a process of analysis and elimination to sort all these options into the good, the bad and the ugly! And the final stage involves ranking this ‘good’ list in terms of importance – from high to low – and optimising your website accordingly.
It’s worth noting that as a general rule, you should optimise your website for two highly relevant keyword phrases per page (occasionally you’ll only need a single keyword or phrase).
When you start the process, it’s really important to be honest with yourself. Be realistic. And be prepared to invest considerable time (and perhaps even money) on your keyword research because it will pay dividends.
Useful Keyword Research Tips
Here are some really useful keyword research tips and tricks (trust me, they’ve helped dozens of my clients to nail their SEO in Perth over the years).
Stage 1 – Brainstorming ideas
I have found that the following prompts are really helpful in kickstarting the brainstorming process.
- Jot down keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business
- How would you describe or define your business?
- What’s my unique selling point?
- What are your keywords for your specific products or individual services you provide?
Stage 2 – Finding niche keywords
Once you’ve established a list of keywords that you think are relevant to your business, you need to expand these into more niche ones. It’s really useful to consider concepts like the buying cycle (ie the process that a customer goes through from the initial stage of realising they need/want a product, investigating options, considering it and then ultimately buying it) and search intent (what the intention is of the searcher when they type something into Google).
The buying cycle will introduce words which will help you nail your niche keywords – such as ‘cheapest’ and specific product names – as well as longer keyword phrases as the searcher goes deeper with their research and gets closer to conversion.
Search intent is one of the most important areas of keyword research and it’s a really good idea to spend time and effort getting to grips with this concept and its relevance to your business. What’s the motivation behind a searcher’s query on Google? How might people search for my particular business?
My tip when it comes to researching search intent is to consider three main areas, namely:
- Information search intent – what do people type into Google when they’re hunting for information or answers.
- Transactional search intent – what keywords do searchers use when they’re looking for a specific product or service to buy or use. Depending on the nature of your business, these phrases may also include a location. I recommend you make this area your main focus.
- Branded search intent (when someone is looking for an actual named business).
The trick is always to keep your target audience in mind and ensure that your keywords are relevant to your business.
A good idea is to use SEO tools to generate more options and to see the search data (eg search volumes and keyword difficulty) for each phrase. Using professional keyword research tools (there are some free ones as well as paid ones) will give you a competitive edge over any competitors who don’t.
Stage 3 – ranking your keywords
A key factor is the relevance of your keywords. You don’t want to waste time targeting keywords that no-one searches for, so you need to get to grips with search volume in your industry. My tip here is that there are no easy answers as to the ‘right’ search volume, you need to find what works for your particular business. Again, this is where keyword research tools play a valuable role.
If you have an e-commerce website, especially if it’s a business-to-consumer website, a good trick is to focus your keyword research on category pages and the brand names of products you stock. Comparison shopping will be a big focus for a searcher – especially as they get closer to the point of conversion once they know what they want, so the trick is to focus on your brand pages.
Another trick with keyword research is to consider the size of your website. As mentioned earlier, it’s only necessary to have two keyword phrases per page – so if your website is small, you don’t need to research thousands of keywords for your SEO!
In conclusion, keyword research is the cornerstone of your SEO and it’s an ongoing process. Remember to focus on ‘search intent’ to find relevant, niche keyword phrases that’ll bring visitors to your website and ultimately turn them into customers – and use keyword research tools to help you work out your target keywords quickly and effectively.
Check out my new online, self-managed course, The SEO School, which takes you through all the key tools and techniques of a successful SEO strategy. The course is great for business owners, website managers and anyone who wants hands-on learning about all the essentials of SEO from an industry expert. Find out more about The SEO School here.
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