Web pages don’t rank themselves. And search engine traffic doesn’t just happen on its own.
In fact, behind every search engine results page, there are three key ranking factors needed to dominate search— on-page search engine optimization (SEO), domain authority, and SEO keyword research.
If you’re wondering how to find keywords for SEO, you’ve come to the right place!
What We’ll Cover:
- What keyword research is
- Search intents of SEO keyword research in 2020
- How to find the right keywords for SEO
- SEO Keyword research metrics
What is Keyword Research?
SEO keywords are essentially single words and complex phrases used in web content with the goal of increasing relevant, organic search traffic. Web visitors utilize them whenever they’re searching for something related to your brand.
For example, these can all be considered keywords:
- Learn guitar
- Easy tips to learn how to play guitar fast
And SEO keyword research is the first step in effectively optimizing your website for certain keywords.
Before you embark on the content creation process, you need to find out which search terms your audience is using. Their search terms will end up being your keywords. Once you’ve identified these keywords, you can use them to help guide your overall content marketing strategy.
Search Intent: SEO Keyword Research in 2020
In order to publish the right content, Google and other search engines need to recognize what the user’s intentions are.
It’s not enough to just find individual keywords and keyword combinations within the search input terms and connect them to the websites containing the same phrases. To classify the user search accurately, you need to determine the rationale behind the request.
These search queries can be broken down into three distinct search categories—informational, navigational, and transactional.
With informational search queries, users are simply seeking information. This occurs at the “Awareness” stage of the stage funnel, where the leads are still cold.
They tend to employ these types of searches whenever they want to learn more about a specific topic or product without necessarily having the intention to make a purchase.
Information-oriented searches can encompass a variety of different keyword sequences. They can be submitted not only in question form—for example, “How do I renew my passport?”—but also as a simple phrase like “renewing passport.”
Navigation-oriented searches target a certain type of website and use the search engine to navigate there. The user is not looking for a specific product or company or trying to complete a purchase. They just want to visit a particular type of website and use the search engine to navigate there.
This takes place during the “Consideration” stage of the buying cycle, when the leads are lukewarm.
Examples of navigation-driven keywords include terms like “Microsoft,” “San Diego Museum of Art,” and “New Balance Running Shoes.” By performing searches like these, users are attempting to reach websites or targeted subpages of brands and businesses.
Also known as “commercial intent,” transactional queries are often viewed as the holy grail of search marketing. Search requests that indicate a clear action and intention to buy are considered transactional queries.
And they will use search engines like Google to select this product and visit the relevant website to complete the purchase. This action could apply to lead generation or file downloading as well.
Those who use keyword phrases that include specific product names combined with the standard buying words like “buy,” “coupon,” “discount,” and markdown” are ready to buy.
How to Find Good Keywords for SEO
Growing your business through SEO means that you first must have a solid understanding of who your customers are and the needs they’re trying to fulfill. By making your audience your main focus, you’ll take the guesswork out of keyword research and ultimately, lead to more successful campaigns.
For example, let’s say you’ve just opened up a new pizza shop and you want to improve your rankings and create more targeted, high quality content. Here are some of the questions you could ask:
- Who is searching for pizza?
- What types of pizza are people searching for?
- When are people searching for pizza?
- Where are potential pizza shop customers located?
- How are people searching for pizza?
- Why are people searching for pizza?
Make a List of Relevant Topics
Considering what you know about your brand and the goals you’re trying to reach, identify the main topics you want to rank for. Then, break those topics down into smaller topic buckets.
For example, if you’re an organic beauty brand specializing in women’s skin care products, some topics that are related to your brand can be:
- Natural skin care
- Sustainable skin care
- Personal care products
Once you’ve created your topic buckets, look at the search process from your buyer persona’s point of view and come up with a few keywords that would fit into those buckets. Building on the example above, yours can include:
- Minimize pores
- How often to use exfoliator
- Anti-aging serum
Research Related Search Queries
You might hit a mental plateau when trying to come up with additional keywords you think your audience will be searching for. If that’s the case, check out the related search terms that show up on Google after you’ve inputted your keyword. These keywords can help generate ideas for additional keywords you haven’t covered yet.
And if you’re trying to optimize a video for SEO, you can use YouTube’s Search Suggest feature, which basically churns out a ton of related keywords once you enter a word or phrase into the search bar.
The best part is that you don’t have to put in extra effort trying to find out if they’re popular or not. The suggestion provided reflects the terms that users actually type into YouTube.
Research Your Competitor’s Keyword Research
By arming yourself with your competitor’s keyword information, you stay one step ahead of other companies in your industry.
Not only are you monitoring what your competitor is targeting, but who is already ranking for the topics that are relevant to your business.
This is where tools like SEMrush Keyword Gap come in handy. This technology allows you to find keywords that your competition ranks for, but your target site does not.
With this data, you’re better able to refine your strategy and tailor an approach that’s more suitable for your target audience.
Borrow from the Wikipedia Table of Contents
Wikipedia is often underutilized when it comes to keyword research.
To gain some unique insights, start by typing a broad term and hitting “enter.”
Then, navigate to the “contents” section of the page. From there, you can scroll through the subtopics listed or related entries. All of these items include keywords that would’ve been nearly impossible to find any other way.
Finding the Best Keywords for SEO: Getting Strategic
The best keywords are ones that clear the path for you to break into the rankings and maybe even bypass all the other results to reach that coveted number one position. To achieve this, you have to take the following into account:
Understanding Search Volume
As its name implies, keyword search volume refers to the number of searches made for a particular keyword within a certain time frame. SEOs and marketers use this information to see how in demand a given keyword is and how it performs over time.
Normally, the higher the search volume, the fiercer the competition. If you go too low, however, you risk drawing little-to-no traffic to your site. The sweet spot tends to be in the middle, in which you can target highly specific, yet lower competition search terms.
Keyword Difficulty: What is It?
This is a critical metric when conducting keyword research. The higher the value, the more difficult it is to compete with others using that same keyword. The keyword difficulty rating streamlines the process of choosing SEO keywords that are easy enough for your site to compete for.
Search Intent: What Content Format is Best?
Search intent is the reasoning behind a search query, or the why.
In other words, when a user enters a search term in Google, what information are they really hoping to get?
If the keywords you’re trying to rank for have a consistent intent behind them, you can customize your content format to be the best possible match for that particular intent.
Here are the best content formats for the following search queries.
- Blog posts
- How-to videos
- Step-by-step guides
- Landing pages
- Case studies
- Product pages
- Sign up pages
- Live demos
- Free consultations
Search Intent: Keyword Value and Your Sales Funnel
Despite their lower search volumes, some keywords are more valuable to rank for than others.
Most online keyword research tools provide you with a Cost Per Click number, which is a helpful metric in verifying if ranking for a certain key phrase would be beneficial.
Remember—transactional search terms are keywords that tend to be towards the bottom of the sales funnel, while research or informational queries are at the top.
There you have it! We know we’ve thrown a ton of information at you, but we promise it’s not as complicated as it looks.
All you need to do is take the time to learn how to do keyword research for SEO and go one day at a time.
If you do, we promise that you’ll soon see a surge in traffic, leads, and sales!