Guide to Keyword Research

Posted 21.08.2018

By Lucy Bradley

In the past, we’ve talked about the best tools that are out there to undertake the most comprehensive keyword research. We’ve even given you the insights into how the right keywords play a major part in your digital marketing strategy. But, we’ve failed to tell you how to use these tips and tricks to carry out keyword research for your business. So today we’re taking it back to basics, whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to vamp up your content, this is your beginners guide to keyword research. Use our general structure to start doing meaningful and in-depth keyword research today.

What Is Keyword Research & Why Is It Important?

Keyword research is all about identifying the actual terms that people enter into search engines. Knowing the topics and queries users are searching for allows you to create content around fields you know your target market is interested in. Comprehensive keyword research forms the basis for any content marketing piece, PPC campaign or digital marketing strategy, and its importance should not be underestimated.

However, it is easy to get bombarded with thousands of keywords, making it difficult to identify which are priority, and which you should be targeting. Have these 3 factors in mind when you’re choosing your keywords:

  1. Search Volume – Does the keyword have a high search volume? There is no point creating a piece of content that targets a keyword with an average of 10 monthly searches, as you’re unlikely to get any return. Focus on finding keywords that have a high enough search volume that you can capture untapped traffic, but are not unattainable to rank number 1 for (we’ll come onto how to decipher this later on in this post).
  2. Relevancy – Always have relevance at the forefront of your mind. Continually ask yourself, will my target audience be searching for this, and are they interested in content around this keyword? If the answer is no, don’t target that keyword. If you target keywords that aren’t relevant to your site, you will be driving unqualified traffic to your website, that will only result in a negative on-site experience and a higher bounce rate. This indicates to Google that the user experience on your site isn’t great, which can negatively impact rankings!
  3. Search Intent – Another factor to consider with a keyword is the search intent. Search intent is all about understanding the reason why a person is conducting their search. Are they searching because they want information, an answer to their question, they want to buy something or are they looking for a specific website? Choose keywords where you know you can either create content or provide a product/service that satisfies their intent. In doing so, you’re providing the very best user experience for your website users.

Identify Core Topics For Keyword Research

The initial step for any keyword research is to identify your core services, or the topics you want to be associated with your business. For example, at Frogspark we might identify some of our core services as web design, web development, SEO and content marketing. Doing this task gives you umbrella categories to work from, and then you can get more granular as you get into the keyword research. Alternatively, you could identify the top keywords your site is ranking for and then work from there, filling in the gaps with additional topics and pieces of keyword research.

Expand Each Category

Now that you’ve identified your topics or categories, take each one in turn and identify short and long tail keywords for each. Short tail keywords or ‘head terms’ are usually 1 or 2 words in length. These keywords generally have a higher search volume, which in turn makes them more competitive, for example, a term such as, ‘web design’. Long tail keywords can be referred to as keyword phrases, and are not head terms i.e, ‘web design for small businesses’. These terms are generally more targeted, as they are relevant to what the user is actually searching for, and can help you better understand the searcher’s intent (and better respond to this within your content).

Whilst it is important to have a collection of both short and long tail phrases, it is key to recognise the differences between the two. As we mentioned earlier in the post, while short tail keywords have a high search volume, that also means there is much more competition, and you are unlikely to understand the searcher’s intent, and you are therefore unlikely to rank on the first page in Google. A term like ‘SEO’ could be related to someone searching what SEO means, how they can do SEO for their business, how much SEO costs… The list is endless.

Long tail keywords, on the other hand, are your best bet for getting qualified traffic, understanding and meeting users intent and actually getting that top spot on Google! A term such as ‘is SEO for small businesses’ is something you could actually provide the answer to within a content piece.

Use All Keyword Research Tools Available

One of the best tips to takeaway for ensuring expansive keyword research is to use a range of the tools available to you. Some of our personal favourites are:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google search suggestions
  • Competitors’ ranking keywords
  • Uber Suggest

We put together a post around the best keyword research tools, so you get some ideas for which tools to try out to make sure your keyword research is as good as it can be. The key thing to remember is to use a combination of the tools available to you, and you’ll find your keyword research is much more in-depth, comprehensive and makes helps you create the best content for you target audience.

Tracking Keywords

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, and have assigned them to a service page or piece of content it is important to see how the page performs in relation to that keyword. In doing this exercise, you’ll be able to better see which pages are performing as they should, and which require further optimisation. We choose to use SEM Rush here at Frogspark, but there are a wealth of tools out there you can use for the job.

Undertaking in depth keyword research should be a priority in any digital marketing strategy in 2018. Make sure you’re creating content that targets keywords that are high performing, relevant to your target market and match their search intent to truly reap the best rewards from your online presence.

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