If you want to connect with your target demographic and achieve success with your business, at some point you will need to conduct keyword research. Having an idea of what your target prospects are searching for can be invaluable, not only for increasing traffic to your website but also for converting visitors into paying customers.
Without this knowledge, you have no way of knowing what people in your industry sector are searching for, what words they use to find websites, and how competitive the marketplace is, especially when it comes to ranking on major search engines.
Performing even a small amount of keyword research can place you at an immediate advantage over competitors, allowing you to engage with the right customers.
Conducting Keyword Research
There are a number of ways to conduct keyword research. The easiest, most basic method is to simply think about what keyword variations you would type into a search engine if you were looking for your own product or service. While this is an excellent starting point, it is by no means scientific. This is why you should consider using other methods to solidify your research.
One popular approach is to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to type in a bunch of target keywords, then see a list of recommended or related words to your topic. The tool also highlights the level of competitiveness, the number of searches in a period of time, and how costly a targeted PPC advertising campaign might be. A number of similar tools can be found online, both commercial and free.
Another method you can use to quickly find popular keywords is to use the Google Search Engine Results Pages (commonly known as ‘SERPs’). After typing in a keyword into the search box, you will see a list of results. Beneath these results at the bottom of the page, you will see a handful of related keywords, based on other user queries. It’s a quick and easy method to locate relevant keywords for your marketing campaign.
In this case, if we search for “how to do keyword research“, we get the following:
Searches related to “how to do keyword research”
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Website analytical tools, such as Google Analytics, can also be handy places to sure-up your keyword research. These packages are ideal for digging up new keyword combinations, or gauging which keyword combinations work best. However, it is worth noting that in recent years, Google has started encrypting keyword tracking, so this method is no longer as effective as it once was.
Investigating the keywords that competitors use is yet another recommended approach you can use to find suitable keywords. You will find that the most popular keywords are used in competitor page titles, in the meta description, and in headings and other page elements, so be sure to keep a close eye on your immediate competition.
Short vs Long Tail Keywords
It can be very worthwhile to be aware of the difference between short tail and long tail keywords. While beginners often focus on the short tail keywords (one or two words in length), long tail keywords (typically three to five words in length) are equally important, and often more rewarding. Single or two-word keyword searches also tend to be more competitive, especially in highly contested industry sectors, such as insurance, medical, or marketing. Therefore, catering for longer search terms will be more achievable and allow you to capture a greater amount of targeted traffic.
Once you have a solid understanding of your audience and the keyword variations they tend to use, you can build upon this with a content marketing strategy. Although beyond the scope of this blog post, a well-planned content strategy will allow you to become an expert in your field, increase your website traffic, and attract a whole new audience just waiting to purchase your product or service.
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