Keyword Research is the method of identifying the words and phrases that are largely used in search engines when people are looking for information. This includes finding out the volume of search words used as well as the competitiveness of the terms.
Keyword research is one of the crucial elements of search engine optimization. When executed correctly, it acts as a road map for the design and development of a website.
Attracting new visitors to your website is the primary objective of keyword research. To accomplish this, you need to come up with a list of words users may type that may land them to your page. Hence identification of the right search words is the most important step to ensure the success of your website in search engine rankings. Keyword research methods largely depend upon:
- The website
- Goals and objectives of the company
- Resources, budgets and deadlines
- Nature and landscape of industry
Although there is no universal method for keyword research, the following are the general steps to follow:
Make a list of all important and niche topics relevant to your industry
The goal of finding a niche topic list is to map out different topics that your target audience may search for in Google. To come up with these topics you need to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer personas. What would you search for if you were the buyer? A minimum of 5 to 10 topics is necessary to come up with comprehensive keywords list or your “keyword universe”.
Fill in each topic with specific keywords
Now that your topic buckets are ready, you must identify the keywords that may fall into it. These are the keyword phrases that you think the customers will most likely type in to the search engine.
Expand the list with the help of tools and research
It is now time to expand the list. Use tools like Google keyword tracker, Keyword Discovery etc. to expand the seed word list and find out the search volumes of your keywords. Google projects a volume of occurrence of these keywords but keep in mind that these are only an approximate list and not 100% accurate. They are based on current search popularity that may vary from month to month.
Another creative way of coming up with new words is to go to Google.com and type in your keyword and make a note of the related search terms Google displays.
Check on the competition-how others are ranking on these keywords
It is useful to check the rank of keywords with a competitor. If he is ranking well for keywords from your list, you may need to do some evaluation. At the same time, the terms that you have and your competitor doesn’t is a great chance for you obtain an edge.
There are many ranking tools like SEMrush, Firefox Rank Checker and so on.
Use tools to simplify and shorten your keyword list
From this “keyword universe” it is important to prioritize your keywords and only choose those words that will attract your target customers. These are the typical words that you will be tracking the rank for in the future. This keywords choice also determines how competitive you are in your respective industry.
Identify appropriate landing pages
Once you have your priority keyword list ready, you can begin mapping them to their respective relevant pages. These pages will be the ones you will monitor and optimize as you go ahead.
Keep refining your keyword list
Over time, it is important to revisit and refine these keywords based on their ranking amongst the competition. This is especially required for seasonal brands so that new opportunities and any change in customer behavior can be identified.
Finding the correct set of keywords will help a great deal in your search engine optimization efforts and help your web pages stand out and rank high in search engines.