There’s no other way.
That’s why it’s essential to master these methods since you use them pretty much every day.
One of the most crucial SEO tasks is keyword research. If you want visibility, more leads, and engagement, that’s the answer. Good research will be handy in giving you what you need to rank better in result pages.
In case you’re wondering how, keep reading. We’re going to address it in this post:
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What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the terms people use on search engines.
By understanding those keywords, the brand can finally find the ones that matter the most and develop specific content to match people’s needs and intentions.
It’s about finding out what your buyer persona searches for and, then, making the right adjustment to find what they are looking for. You get to analyze not only what expressions they may use, but:
- how much they’re using those words.
- info on the search result pages for each keyword.
Putting it simply: keyword research is the heart and soul of your Content and Digital Marketing plan.
If the content production itself is about building the body structure, the keyword analysis gives the content a reason to exist.
With good keyword research, you can:
- boost traffic.
- qualify your visits: since people who actually are interested in your offering will find you.
However, keyword research is much more than only finding some combination of words.
It’s about exploring them to understand how you leverage them to rank better. This is what you can gather from the research:
- search volume: you can see how much an expression is used every month.
- relevance: the tools allow you to understand which are the significant keywords in your niche.
- popularity: also, you can get a view of how many brands are already using each keyword.
How to Do Keyword Research
Before you can meet a target audience’s needs, you have to zero in on what they’re searching for and consider why. Great keyword research works because it helps digital marketers and content creators better align marketing content with a user’s true search intent, a key Google priority in 2023 and beyond.
That said, here’s a step-by-step approach to nailing your next round of keyword research efforts, as well as some best practices to keep in mind.
Start with a broad topic list
If you’re new to SEO keyword research or otherwise starting from scratch with your strategy, this is an ideal place to start—with a collection of general topics that you’d like to rank for.
What topics do you cover most often on your company blog or across your social media channels? Are there particular subjects that tend to come up a lot when you’re talking to prospective customers about products or pain points?
If you have buyer personas that represent your ideal customers, use them to help you figure out what your desired audience is likely searching for. Be sure to consider potential topics you may not have covered yet.
Fill those lists with keywords
Each topic you came up with in the previous step needs to be fleshed out with relevant keywords. For example, if you listed “digital marketing” as a broad topic, you may want to include important keyword choices like “social media marketing,” “marketing strategy,” or “SEO.”
Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. If you were them, what would you type into Google’s search bar to find content like yours? Come up with as many examples as possible. Naturally, you should also add keywords that your site is already ranking for and consider related examples.
Dive further into user intent
The concept of helpful content is a big deal for Google these days. To be truly helpful, content needs to adequately address the issue of user intent. That means thinking beyond simply taking keywords at face value and instead getting to the root of what a user was actually trying to accomplish with a search.
For example, let’s say you’re considering a key term like “how to blog.” You need to think about why a user searched for that phrase and what they were hoping to find. Are they trying to learn how to compose individual posts, be more consistent about blogging, or something else entirely?
One solid way to get a better read on likely user intent is to simply enter a keyword into Google and check out the results. How closely do these results align with your own intentions for that keyword?
Expand your keyword choices
Once you’ve covered each keyword that was obvious or easy to identify, it’s time to fill out your lists more thoroughly by identifying even more viable keywords.
One simple, straightforward way to get further ideas is to type one of your chosen keywords into Google and scroll down to the bottom of the SERP. You’ll see a section dedicated to related searches.
For example, let’s revisit the “how to blog” keyword possibility from the above step. Google’s suggestions may include “how to blog and make money,” “WordPress blog,” “blog writing format,” and “how to start a blog for free.”
These and others may be good possibilities to consider in and of themselves, depending on your own SEO goals. But don’t be afraid to let them inspire additional ideas based on what you already know about your unique customer base and audience.
You can even type each suggestion into Google and take a look at related searches for those options.
Take advantage of keyword research tools
These days, there’s a wealth of effective keyword research tools that can help digital marketers and content creators expand their collections of target keywords while coming up with new ideas based on things that are already working.
Actual Google tools, like the ubiquitous Google Keyword Planner, are definitely must-haves. They offer solid ways to stay ahead of what’s already working on Google. However, additional options like Ubersuggest, Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and KWFinder also have their perks.
Experiment with several different tools until you’ve settled on a few that really suit your purposes well. Consult them regularly when it’s time to refresh your keyword strategy. There’s no universal rule that identifies how often this should happen, but many marketers consider once per quarter to be a good benchmark.
Keyword research tools can also provide helpful ways to narrow down keyword lists that have grown too large and complicated.
Stay on top of trending topics
Although many of the topics you’ll target with keyword research are likely evergreen, there’s a lot of merit to targeting trending topics as well. Try consulting a resource like Google Trends to see what’s red-hot at a given moment, and make a note of any topics that relate to your industry or your audience’s interests.
You can also use tools like Google Trends to keep an eye on which of your pet keywords are seeing more or less search volume than usual. Tweak your content calendar and ongoing SEO strategy accordingly.
Prioritize options that are realistic for your site
If you own or manage a brand that’s quite large and capable of targeting very popular, high-volume key terms, then, by all means, go for it. But small to midsize websites and brands generally do a lot better when targeting alternatives that tie in nicely with topics that are already working for them.
Another possible approach is to check out keyword options that are relevant to your branding and SEO goals but have very little competition. The less competition you have for a given keyword, the better chance you have of scoring a coveted top SERP rank.
Include SERP features in your strategy
Scoring a spot in one of Google’s SERP features—such as an image pack or rich snippet—is another effective way to get your website noticed in search results.
Pay attention to what SERP features typically look like when you Google your chosen keywords. Then consider additional content strategies and keyword choices that will make your content more likely to qualify for inclusion in the features you see.
What is the best keyword research tool?
There are many research tools out there. They are very similar to each other but differ in some aspects.
Let’s review the most popular ones!
On SEMRush, you can identify the best keywords for your brand in the blink of an eye.
Users can find a list of the most relevant terms and even get some smart suggestions. Besides finding KWs, marketers can evaluate their businesses as well.
SEMRush offers you a list of your main backlinks and the keywords to which you’re ranking better now. You can also get a view of how your competitors are doing and get some insight to evolve.
They display the information on a dashboard, making it easy for you to understand what’s going on.
Another great option is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. To use it, you need to search for a general word or sentence.
Then, the software shows you related search terms and the information you need to know about them.
Users can identify the keyword’s difficulty, and the monthly search volume, and even visualize the trends of ups and downs in the searches. Also, you can get excellent keyword ideas to produce new pieces.
Ubersuggest also gives you an overview of how your site is performing with a site audit.
Based on the insight the software provides, you can make some significant changes and get better results.
We can’t talk about SEO tools without mentioning Moz. It helps you get a better vision of how hard it is to go for each keyword. That means it provides you with each term’s difficulty.
It also gives you a deep understanding of search results, so you can improve your ranking. With Moz, you get to rank better and leverage SEO features, such as featured snippets.
What are the other keyword tools you need?
Now, let’s see some more options for keyword research we haven’t talked about yet.
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
The Keyword Explorer and Keyword Generator from Ahrefs are as powerful as they can be when it comes to KW research.
They give you a ton of insight and metrics on a sentence, from volume and difficulty to a full breakdown of the results page.
Users can browse through over 7 billion queries that are on the Ahrefs database.
The good thing about its dashboard is the massive variety of filters: search volume, difficulty, presence of SERP features, etc. You can visualize information from different perspectives.
Besides, Ahrefs tools provide you with data from several search engines, not only Google. You can see what’s happening on YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Baidu, etc.
Keywords Everywhere is an add-on for your browser that shows you related information about search queries as you use the engines.
So, in real-time, you can learn as much as you need about the keywords, the search volumes, the intent, and more.
The supported sites are:
- Google SERPs;
- Google Analytics;
WordStream Free Keyword Tool
The Free Keyword Tool by WordStream is another straightforward, easy-to-use keyword software. All you need to do is enter a specific keyword.
Then the page displays related terms, search volume, competition for each of those KWs, and other features. In the free version, you can use it for 30 searches.
Keyword.io provides marketers with more than 700 keyword suggestions based on a simple idea. Also, you don’t even need to sign in. It’s really that easy to get started.
There are KWs for different search engines, such as YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, eBay, and more.
How to learn more about SEO?
Fortunately, if you wish to go further on SEO, there are several online courses available nowadays.
You can learn what you need without spending too much or wasting too much of your time. Do you want to know how?
Let’s see which ones are the best!
SEMRush offers a couple of courses that help people find their way into the SEO world.
There’s the “Free online SEO course”, for instance, that guides users through the first steps.
They teach keyword research, competitive analysis, and more while guiding how to use SEMRush software.
Besides that, there’s the “SEO Keyword Research Course with Greg Gifford”, a set of 8 lessons about keyword research, query intent, and benchmark, with Greg, a well-known expert on the subject.
The Moz SEO Certification focuses on teaching you what you need to know about SEO. It contains a series of 5-hour video lessons and a final exam.
Besides, there’s the “Keyword: developing your competitive strategy.” In this one, you’ll learn how to compare keywords, connect them with your sales funnel, get blog post ideas, and understand how to increase traffic.
What about Hubspot? You probably already know their courses. “Creating a Content Strategy in HubSpot” is about creating a content strategy from scratch.
You get to learn how to use SEO tools to identify and match user intent, so you can create new posts and convert more.
Also, there’s the SEO training, which is more of a general guide. In this one, you will understand how to test the website and apply practical changes for better ranking.
Keyword research is a fundamental process for your content strategy.
It gives you excellent ideas to produce new pieces and match people’s needs and query intent. This way, you convert more and generate more revenue through your blogging.
However, this is only one part of an SEO strategy. Every marketer needs a solid SEO foundation before doing anything online, so it’s crucial to keep learning about those three letters.
We have an SEO guide ready for you. If you liked this post and want to dive even deeper, go ahead and check it out!