What We’ll Cover:
- What Keyword Research Is
- Looking at Search Intent – Keyword Research for SEO
- How to Find the Best Keywords for SEO
- What to Do Once You’ve Found Your Keywords
- SEO Keyword Metrics to Consider
- FAQs: Keyword Research for SEO
What is Keyword Research?
SEO keyword research is an important part of digital marketing. It refers to the process of identifying potential new keywords and analyzing how they might help your brand.
The correct keywords can make or break your digital marketing efforts. If you want to find achievable success, you have to do research to find out which keywords your preferred audience is searching for. Through this process, you can identify words or phrases that are resonating with them and, in turn, are more likely to get you noticed on the SERPs.
The right keywords are essential to driving organic traffic to your site. Learning how to do keyword research correctly will help you understand your searchers’ intent, optimize your content, and improve your paid media strategy.
Search Intent: Keyword Research for SEO
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 four distinct search categories: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial.
Informational search queries are used when searchers are seeking information. They are using keywords in an attempt to find an answer to their question or a solution to their problem.
This occurs at the Awareness stage of the stage funnel, where the leads are still cold. They are searching for information on a topic or product that they’re interested in but may not necessarily be ready to 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.”
If you are producing content such as blog posts, how-to-videos, step-by-step guides, and infographics, you’ll most likely be interested in informational keywords. These types of content provide information that searchers are actively seeking, and the correct keywords will pair the content with the interested searchers.
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 are looking for a type of website and use the search engine as a guide to navigate to the site they’re looking for.
This takes place during the Consideration stage of the buying cycle when the leads are lukewarm. Types of content that benefit from navigational keywords include landing pages, case studies, ebooks, and webinars.
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.
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.
Using Google’s help, these searchers will find the correct product, visit the website, and complete their purchase. Transactional searches also apply to any type of conversion, including lead generation or file downloading.
Content such as product pages, sign-up pages, live demos, and free consultations are all examples of pages that benefit from transactional keywords. These pieces of content should be written with the transaction in mind. Transactional keywords often include specific product names combined with the standard buying words like “coupon,” “discount,” and “markdown” are ready to buy.
Commercial queries are those used when a searcher is actively looking to make a purchase but isn’t ready quite yet. They indicate a desire to buy a product, compare different products or brands, or obtain information about a particular brand.
These types of queries happen at the end of a sales funnel, where a purchase is likely. Commercial keywords are often things like “best laptop” or “best desk calendar.” With commercial keywords, the user is investigating their options.
Product pages, listings, reviews, case studies, testimonials, FAQ pages, and product support pages are all examples of content that should be written after commercial keyword research analysis has been performed.
How to Find the Best Keywords for SEO
Ready to learn how to do keyword research? Here are our best keyword research tips.
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?
Simply opening up Google and typing your questions in the search bar will give you more examples of commonly related questions.
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 skincare products, some topics that are related to your brand can be:
- Natural skincare
- Sustainable skincare
- 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 an 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.
Spy On 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 you can also see who else 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.
Now That You Found Your Keywords… What Do You Do?
Understanding how to do keyword research is only part of the puzzle. Now that you have your keywords, what do you do next?
Once you have a list of possible keywords, it’s time to organize them and analyze their strength. Tools like SemRush can help you determine if the keywords you selected will actually help drum up the organic traffic that you’re looking for.
These tools will tell you the exact phrase to use, how high the search volume is, how steep your competition will be, and check for related keywords that you may have missed.
You’ll also want to check the SERP for your selected keywords and verify that you were correct about the search intent behind them.
Once you’ve completed the entire SEO keyword research process, you have to select the ones you want to use the most. Remember, SEO keywords are constantly evolving so if there are a few particular phrases that you love, you can cycle them in and out of your content through updates and additional posts.
SEO Keyword Metrics to Consider
Finding and utilizing your keywords is not the end of the process. Now you have to keep an eye on how well they perform.
Obviously, the goal is for your keywords to clear the path for you to break into the rankings and bypass other results, but in order to achieve this, there are a few keyword metrics to keep in mind.
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. Digital 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 SEO search terms.
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: 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 (CPC) number, which is a helpful metric in verifying if ranking for a certain keyphrase 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.
FAQs: Keyword Research for SEO
1. How often should I update my keyword research?
One of our biggest keyword tips is to update them periodically, but how often you do an update depends on a variety of factors. Some good times to review your keyword research include:
- When seasonal changes and trends occur
- When you update your content
- When you’re running a PPC campaign
- When you introduce new products
- If your industry changes
- If user intent changes
A good rule of thumb is to monitor your keyword metrics and adjust your research if you aren’t getting the results you want or if something major changes in your business or industry.
2. Which is the best tool for SEO keyword research?
There are a ton of really good SEO keyword research tools, including the free Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz, AnswerThePublic, and SpyFu. Which tool you use will depend on your goals and personal preferences.
3. How many keywords should I use for SEO?
There isn’t a secret number when it comes to how many keywords you should use to improve your SERP ranking. Google favors quality over quantity, so just be sure to use them naturally throughout your content and avoid keyword stuffing.
4. What are seasonal keywords and how can they benefit me?
Seasonal keywords are words or phrases that are specific to a certain time of the year. Examples include “winter coats,” “back to school supplies,” “Christmas trees,” or “beach gear.”
You can use them to benefit your business if a particular season is more lucrative to you. For example, a retailer that sells winter coats is going to thrive when using seasonal keywords like “winter coats” or “ski jackets” in the winter when people are looking for those things. In the summer, the seasonal keyword “winter coats” probably won’t perform as well because no one is looking for a winter coat when it’s 100 degrees outside.
5. How do Google updates affect my keyword strategy?
Google updates will significantly affect your keyword strategy. It’s best to keep up to date on Google’s constant algorithm evolution and adjust your strategy accordingly.
6. How do I handle keywords for multilingual or global websites?
Multi-lingual websites are going to need a slightly different approach to keyword research. You should be sure to conduct the appropriate research using tools that support each different language you want to target. Also, be sure to stay informed about regional search trends and adjust your strategy when necessary.
7. How do negative keywords play a role in SEO?
Negative keywords are generally used more in PPC advertising than organic SEO work. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t have an impact on your organic traffic as well. To counteract their negative impact, take certain steps, such as avoiding keyword cannibalization, improving your user experience, and developing a strong content strategy.
Ready to Take Your Keyword Research for SEO to the Next Level?
Ignite Visibility has a team of expert digital marketing professionals ready to leverage the power of keyword research to help businesses improve their search engine results rankings.
Hundreds of companies use our search engine optimization strategies to achieve their marketing goals. Whether you’re running a healthcare practice, automotive shop, or another business, we’ve got you covered.
Ignite Visibility can help you with:
- On-page optimization
- Boost organic rankings
- Customize SEO
- Maximize ROI
Our expert strategists work closely with clients to understand their unique needs, whether it’s creating optimal content or catering to user intent, we handle every aspect of SEO to ensure our clients receive optimal results.
Ready to get started? Reach out now!