Keyword Research is perhaps the most important step in search engine optimization for your website. If you’re not targeting the right keyword terms and phrases, then your target audience will be unable to find your site. Although Google Algorithms keep changing regularly, there is one thing that remains the same, and that is How to Do Keyword Research. Let’s quickly see how you can do keyword research and analysis for your website to discover the right keyword phrases and head terms, long tail keywords as well as LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords for your business.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword Research is the process of finding and researching keywords that your target audience uses in their search terms while searching on search engines. It enables you to understand what your target website visitors such as prospects & customers are looking for, and include those keywords in your content strategy as well as marketing tactics.
How to Do Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimization?
Here’s a 6 step keyword strategy you can use to find relevant target keyword phrases and search terms for your website.
1. Make a list of topics that are important and/or relevant to your target audience
The first step is to come up with a list of 5-10 topics that are relevant and/or important for your target website visitors. These are fairly broad topics that you will use as a starting point to come up with more specific keyword phrases and search terms. If you run a blog, these would be the topics you blog about regularly. They are also the topics that come up frequently in sales calls, or even industry forums.
Think about it from the perspective of your target audience. What type of topics will they search for that you’d like your business to be found for? For example, if you’re a marketing agency, you’d want people to find your website when they search for terms like ‘search engine optimization’,’content marketing’,’email marketing’ and so on.
2. Expand those topics with keywords
Now that you’ve made a list of seed topics to start your keyword research, you can expand them further by adding specific keyword phrases and search terms for each topic. These are the keyword phrases that you’ll need to rank for in search results because, according to you, your target audience searches for these specific search terms.
For example, if you look at the first topic ‘search engine optimization’, here are some of the keywords to start with:
- what is search engine optimization
- benefits of search engine optimization
- why do you need search engine optimization
- search engine optimization services
- search engine optimization agency
- search engine optimization cost
- and so on..
The idea is to create an exhaustive list of all possible keyword phrases and search terms that you can think of, for each topic. Another way to come up with keyword ideas is to simply find the search phrases that your website is already ranking for. You can use Google Analytics or Google Search Console to find the keywords for which your site is already being found on Google.
If you’re finding it difficult to come up with keyword ideas you can reach out to your team mates in other departments like sales, marketing, customer support, etc to find out the most commonly used terms & questions by their prospects and customers. You can also see what keywords your competitors are using frequently in their content, to figure out their target keyword phrases.
3. Research related search terms
Have you noticed a section called related search terms that appears at the bottom of your search results, when you use google search? It’s actually a great source of finding long-tail keywords and LSI keywords that are related to your main keyword phrases and search terms. You can add these keywords to your list of keyword phrases.
Also, when you type a search term in Google, you must have seen an auto complete list with suggestion. Include those keyword terms too.
You can recursively type in these related terms and suggestions in Google and repeat the above exercise.
You can also read our list of Best Long Tail Keyword Research Tools to find related keywords for your head terms.
4. Ensure your topics have head terms as well as long tail keywords
Check if your list of keywords for each topic includes head terms, as well as long tail keywords and LSI keywords. Let’s look at what this means. Head terms are basically short 1-2 word search terms such as ‘SEO’. Long Tail keywords are 3-4 word keyword phrases that include your head terms but are more specific, like ‘SEO best practices’, ‘SEO tips & tricks’, ‘On-page SEO‘, etc. LSI keywords are related to your head term but need not actually contain your main keyword. For example, ‘keyword research’,’title optimization’, etc are LSI keywords that are related to ‘SEO’ but don’t actually contain the term.
This technique enables you to come up with a comprehensive SEO strategy that not only covers head terms, that are more frequently searched and therefore more competitive, but also long tail keywords that are less searched but drive more qualified website visitors.
It also allows you to group related keywords together and target them at once, in your content. For example, you can write a blog post about ‘what is seo’ and include 4-5 related long tail keywords in it, so that your blog ranks well for head terms as well as long tail keywords.
5. Do Competitor Research
Find out how your competitors are ranking for your target keywords. You can do that by simply searching those keywords manually and seeing where your competitors are ranked, or use one of the SEO competitor research tools like SEMRush. It’s also important to remember that just because a competitor ranks for a keyword, doesn’t mean you should target it too. However, it gives a good indication that you’re headed in the right direction.
Also, don’t ignore the keywords that your competitors aren’t targeting. They just might provide an untapped opportunity to grow your business.
6. Use Google Keyword Planner to prune your list
By now, you would have created an exhaustive list of all possible keywords that your target audience might be searching for. The final step is to filter this list based on the amount of search traffic they attract every month.
You can use Google Keyword Planner to get a monthly traffic estimate for each keyword in your list, as well as get more keyword suggestions. You just need to plug your keywords into Google Keyword Planner and it will give you r traffic estimate for each keyword. Once your have an estimate of monthly search volume for each keyword phrase, you can remove those terms that have very little traffic volume.
Finally, you’ll have a nice little list of high traffic keywords that are very relevant to your target audience.
You can also read our step-by-step Guide to use Google Keyword Planner Tool for keyword research.
Keyword Research and Analysis enables you to understand what your target customer are looking for, build content around those keywords and also incorporate them in your overall marketing strategy. It will help you target the right keywords, improve your search engine rankings and drive more website traffic and improve conversions. The key is to revisit your keyword list every 6 months to add new search terms that are gaining traffic, and remove the ones that don’t drive visitors any more.
Do you have any tips to do keyword research?