Keyword research involves researching popular search terms that people use to search engines such as Google. Then, you include these search terms strategically in your content to make it appear higher up on search engine results pages (SERP). Keyword research is an essential practice in search engine optimization (SEO).
Keyword research involves selecting a topic relevant to a specific set of keywords you want your content to rank for.
Keyword Research: The History
Since 2005, SEOs have been performing keyword research to find algorithms. However, keyword research has changed a lot over the years. When ranking content, search engines now prioritize content that is well-written and aligned to search intent. Search engine optimization is not about keyword density. This refers to how often you use a keyword within your content. The search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so keyword research strategies have evolved.
Keyword research is usually done in the initial stages of campaigns. It can also lay down a foundation for future campaigns, projects, and content. Keyword research can be used to generate ideas for new content, help you name product features or optimize your website once it is published.
Although keyword research strategies can be different for every business, we will discuss best practices to help you find the right keywords to reach your target audience.
The Buyer’s Journey defines your Keyword Journey
It is a great business idea to identify your buyer personas. This will help you choose the keywords that you should target in your content. Your entire organization should be aware of the buyer’s journey, not just your marketing department. If your sales team can identify the buyer’s journey, they will make better decisions about how to approach potential customers or prospects.
Each user is unique and can lead to different keyword combinations. It is important to make a content map. A content map shows you your buyer personas as well as the stages of your buyer’s journey. It will also show you which buyer personas you might need additional content for.
Let’s take a look at a B2C journey. A user searching for racecar parts will have a different search behavior than someone looking for toys for their child. However, they share similar keywords, so it is important to understand each buyer persona to find the terms for both.
SEO Keyword Research Process
Once you have defined your personas, it is time to plan for keywords you rank for and those you want to rank.
The PIE method is a simple structure that’s easy to follow. We recommend it to our customers as part of the onboarding process.
Protect, Improve and Expand is the term used here.
The Protect section is for keywords you rank for but want to keep at their current position. These keywords and brand names are closely related to your service or product. These keywords are usually late-stage, so they are highly valuable for conversions.
The Improving section deals with potential keywords that rank between the second and tenth Google search results pages. These keywords are low-hanging fruit and easy to increase your authority by tweaking the pages.
Expand refers to opportunity terms that perform well in PPC but are not visible in organic. These keywords do not rank on the first ten Google pages. These keywords can also be used to add new campaign keywords to your arsenal.
You can then prioritize your time by focusing on the gaps you discover from this analysis. You can then start your keyword research.
The Best Keyword Research Practices
You can also search for People and Searches related to them.
Here are some clues that Google offers beyond the Google Keyword Planner.
The search box is the first. This will give you clues about keywords closely related to the search terms people are searching for. These keywords are time-sensitive because Google only uses them to fill in the gaps based on search volume and trends.
These keywords are further explored in the “Searches Related To …” Section. Clicking on these keywords can reveal more related keywords, allowing you to build a keyword matrix. We will talk about it further below.
Wikipedia’s Table of Contents
Wikipedia is a great source of information about many topics. The moderators of Wikipedia do an excellent job keeping posts current with new content and links. The side table of contents provides great information about categories with close keyword relevance to their subject matter.
These can be used to help you add more topics to your keyword tracking.
Competitive Content Gap Analysis
Google Keyword Planner allows you to submit a landing page and receive keywords related to it. You can enter the top search terms for a topic and see the supplementary keywords they used to map that page.
We entered the URL of the top-ranking URL to find the keywords on Keyword Planner.
How to Create a Keyword Matrix using LSI
Latent Semantic Indexing is an interesting topic related to SEO. An SEO can choose to use these metrics in their keyword research plans. A typical keyword research plan will include a list of keywords along with their volume and competition. LSI gives you additional relevance by using keywords that are topically related. Google and Wikipedia are examples of easily accessible ways to create a great keyword matrix.
These are some things to remember when creating a keyword-mapping matrix:
Keywords: Quality over Quantity
Once you have a good keyword matrix, it’s time to look for the sweet spot between keyword competition and search volume. Keywords that are too broad will likely be too diluted, and searchers may not convert if they are ranked for the same keyword. The conductor has found that two to three-word keywords are the most effective.
Google Panda has been a hit on many websites because they used low-volume keywords and created hundreds of pages. You can create 10 pages that are optimized and not 100, that is.
Avoid Broad Single Word Terms
Think about the last time you searched for something on Google using a single keyword. What result did you get? You won’t convert traffic if your keywords are too long and competitive.
Avoid long-tail keywords
The more niche-specific you are trying to reach, the longer your keyword will be. Although you can specialize your content with more than four keywords, the popularity of your content will drop as well, which in turn will reduce search volume.
Find the Sweet Spot
The in-between is what’s important. It should contain two to three words phrases. These should be complemented with keywords from your LSI Keywords. Then, you can build the page using article best practices.
You are looking for a keyword relevant to your industry but not too broad or too common that will bring traffic to your site.
Keyword research may seem daunting. This research will help you to plan the rest of your content strategy. Your customers are all different. Make sure you reach the right audience with the right content.