While Google keeps us on our toes with all the algorithm updates they keep rolling’ out, one thing has stayed pretty consistent for inbound marketers looking to optimize their websites for search: keyword research.
Well, the need to do keyword research has stayed the same. How you actually do it hasn’t.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is when people use keywords to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines. The knowledge about these actual search terms can help inform content strategy, or marketing strategy.
I’m going to lay out a keyword research process you can follow to help you come up with and narrow down a list of terms you should be targeting.
That way, you’ll be able to establish and execute a strong keyword strategy that helps you get found for the search terms you actually care about.
How To Research Keywords For Your SEO Strategy
Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business.
Think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. You’ll come up with about 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then you’ll use those topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.
If you’re a regular blogger or own a website, these are probably the topics you write about most frequently. Or maybe they are the topics that come up the most in conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas, and/or your targeted traffic and visitors that is and will be visiting your blog and/or website.
What types of topics would your target audience search that you would want your business to get found for?
If you were a company selling marketing software, you might have general topic buckets like inbound marketing, blogging, email marketing, lead generation, SEO, social media, marketing analytics, and marketing automation.
Make sense? Of course, it does, you want to have topics that your target audience will be searching for.
Now that you have a few topic buckets you want to focus on, it’s time to identify some keywords that fall into those buckets. These are keyword phrases you think are important to rank for in the SERP’s (search engine results pages) because your target customer is probably conducting searches for those specific terms.
For instance, if I took that last topic bucket for an inbound marketing software company — “marketing automation” — I’d brainstorm some keyword phrases that I think people would type in related to that topic. Those might include:
- marketing automation tools
- how to use marketing automation software
- what is marketing automation
- how to tell if I need marketing automation software
- lead nurturing
- email marketing automation
- top automation tools
And so on and so on. The point of this step is not to come up with your final list of keyword phrases — you just want to end up with a few phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket. We’ll narrow the lists down later in the process so you don’t have something to far widely searched.
The more specific we get with our targeted keyword phrases, the more conversions we will have.
This is a creative step you may have already thought of when doing keyword research. If not, it’s a great way to fill out those lists.
If you’re struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, go to Google.com and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug in a keyword.
When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, you’ll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.
Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each bucket.
If you don’t know the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords, let me explain. Head terms are keywords phrases that are generally shorter and more generic. They’re typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.
It’s important to check that you have a mix of head terms and long-tail terms because it’ll give you a keyword strategy that’s well-balanced with long-term goals and short-term wins. That’s because head terms are generally searched more frequently, making them often much more competitive and harder to rank for than long-tail terms. Think about it… Without even looking up search volume or difficulty, which of the following terms do you think would be harder to rank for?
- How to research keywords?
If you answered #2, you’re absolutely right. But don’t get discouraged. While head terms generally boast the most search volume (meaning greater potential to send you traffic), frankly, the traffic you’ll get from the term “how to research keywords” is usually more desirable.
Because someone who is looking for something that specific is probably a much more qualified searcher for your product or service than someone looking for something really generic. And because long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it’s usually easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. Someone searching for the head term “keywords,” on the other hand, could be searching it for a whole list of reasons unrelated to your business or topic.
So check your keyword lists to make sure you have a healthy mix of head terms and long-tail keywords. You definitely want some quick wins that long-tail keywords will afford you, but you should also try to chip away at more difficult head terms over the long haul.
See How Competitors Are Ranking For These Keywords
Just because your competitor is doing something does not mean you need to. The same goes for keywords. Just because a keyword is important to your competitor, doesn’t mean it’s important to you. However, understanding what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a great way to help you give your list of keywords another evaluation.
If your competitor is ranking for certain keywords that are on your list, it definitely makes sense to work on improving your ranking for those. However, don’t ignore the ones your competitors don’t seem to care about. This could be a great opportunity for you to own market share on important terms.
Understanding the balance of terms that might be a little more difficult due to competition, versus those terms that are a little more realistic, will help you maintain a similar balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms allows. Remember, the goal is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some quick wins but also helps you make progress toward bigger, more challenging SEO goals.
How do you figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you ask? Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, Jaaxy allows you to run reports that show you the top keyword phrases for the keyword you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
Use the Jaaxy Keyword Research To Cut Down Your Keyword List
Now that you’ve got the right mix of keywords, it’s time to narrow down your lists with some more descriptive data. You have a lot of tools at your disposal to do this, but let me share my favorite keyword search tool with you.
In Jaaxy you can get search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you’re considering. Jaaxy allows you to do many things and it is arguably the best research tool available on the market today.
I will tell you that the starter membership is FREE! You can find out all about it below and sign up for your Free membership, or one of the two Premium memberships. I do urge you to check it out and with it being free, what have you got to lose?
And … You’re done!
Congratulations! You’ve now got a list of keywords that will help you focus on the right topics for your business, and get you some short-term and long-term gains.
Be sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months. Once a quarter is a good, but some businesses like to do it even more often than that. As you gain even more authority in the SERPs, you’ll find that you can add more and more keywords to your lists to tackle as you work on maintaining your current presence, and then growing in new areas on top of that.
I should take this opportunity to add that if you want to join up to WealthyAffiliate, you get the best training available. You can also create and host multiple websites there, or transfer websites you currently own to be hosted there, and you can still join up with Jaaxy, but you get the opportunity to upgrade to either Pro or Enterprise membership for HALF PRICE! You can also stay with the starter membership, known as Jaaxy lite, as part of joining Wealthy Affiliate. For details of the Wealthy Affiliate platform and what it is, please feel free to check out my review of Wealthy Affiliate by clicking here.
I do want to thank you for taking the time to read my article and I do hope that I was able to help you out in what you were looking for.
I would love to hear from you and get your thoughts about Jaaxy and its capabilities so if you do not mind please leave a comment below, it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if there are ANY questions you may have leave them below as well and I will get back to you soon.