Keyword research is quite possibly the most important part of SEO. Your SEO keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. Optimizing your website for a good search engine ranking should be one of your main priorities. “If you build it, they will come” almost certainly doesn’t apply unless you do some basic SEO. Studies have shown that 95% of people will click a link that’s on the first page of Google search results, and 70% of those clicks go to the top three results on the page. Keywords are one of the main elements of SEO basics.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is all about discovering exactly what it is that people are searching for, and then trying to rank highly (hopefully on the first page) for the search results of that term. This is really the foundation of your SEO strategy, so it’s important to get keyword research right.
How To Find Your Best Keywords for SEO
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.
To do proper research, we need to be very clear on what our product is and we need to get quite specific so that we aren’t trying to compete with too many other websites. It’s generally better to rank highly for a search term that gets less searches than to rank on page 10 for a highly popular term – within reason, of course. There’s no point ranking highly for something that only gets five searches a month.
How to Do Keyword Research
Google Keyword Planner
Google provides a free tool that will help us with much of our keyword research. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you’re actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google Adwords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!
How To Use Google Keyword Planner
When trying to access Google Keyword Planner, there is a very important step that needs to be taken. Keyword Planner is intended to help advertisers plan their Google AdWords campaigns by telling them exactly what people are searching for. you do now need to sign up for an AdWords account in order to get access to the Keyword Planner tool. Most people have a Google account already, so setting up an AdWords account takes just a few seconds, but this is where the crucial step lies.
1. Firstly you need to sign into your Google account.
2. Next, visit adwords.google.com and click on the “Start Now” button.
3. IMPORTANT: On the next page, you’ll be presented with a screen that asks for some basic information about your business. You MUST click the link that says “skip guided setup.” If you do not click this link then you will be, for reasons only Google knows, forced into creating and paying for an ad before you get access to the Keyword Planner tool.
We don’t want to do that. This small oddity caught my attention and led me to forums full of other frustrated people facing the same issue. There apparently is no way to go back once you have passed over this first page, so do not miss the link and do not explore the further pages expecting to be able to click back later.
4. If you followed the steps correctly, clicking the link will take you into your AdWords dashboard, where you will want to navigate to Tools>>Keyword Planner
Once you’ve input your initial keywords into Keyword Planner, you’ll get a result that tells you, on average, how many times that phrase was searched for in your chosen region. Beneath this will be some further suggestions for similar keywords that you might want to consider as well.
After you’ve decided on the best keywords to target for your page, you want to make sure you use them in your content, your meta description and even the URL if possible. Google is pretty clever these days, though, so don’t keyword spam with page titles
Keep the phrases genuine and your site will look all the more professional to your potential customers. And don’t forget image file names as a place to use your keywords, as well as the image ALT text, which can be easily edited in the media insertion panel for WordPress posts and pages.
Other Keyword Research Tools
Keyword Planner isn’t the only keyword research tool you can use. Here are a few other common tools:
1.) WordStream’s Keyword Tool (free)
Of course I could never forget WordStream’s keyword tool for both SEO and PPC keyword research.
The WordStream keyword tool allows you to target certain niches (groups of related keywords), gives you further suggestions, and also allows you to group them based off of a common theme for easy ad group launches.
2.) Moz Bar
Moz Bar is a free tool is a Firefox or Chrome browser extension that performs a ton of analysis on the pages you visit. It’s a great tool for checking out competitors’ websites in order to get a better idea of what you’re up against when you try and outrank them in the SERP (search engine result page).
Moz Keyword Difficulty Analysis
Moz’s paid Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis Tool uses all of the backlink and search data they have to provide you with a simple score that aims to define the difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword with your domain. It’s probably the easiest and fastest way to do serious initial keyword research, but it does come at a price. If your time is valuable, though, this might be an option to look into.
3.) Soovle (free)
If you have multiple channels you wish to do keyword research for and want to sound like an idiot explaining the pronunciation of this tool to your watercooler buddies, then Soovle is a perfect fit.
Soovle allows you to explore the most typed in keywords on multiple search engines based on the keyword root you give it. It even includes Amazon and eBay.
Not only is it a great keyword research tool to use, but it’s also a great brainstormer as you can slowly start typing in your ideas and allow it to auto-generate its own ideas.
4.) Ubersuggest (free)
Meet the keyword research tool on steroids, Ubersuggest.
Ubersuggest takes any keyword you give it and immediately gives you an almost unlimited list of alphabetized and numerical keyword variations of your original keyword.
5.) Competitor Source Code (free)
This might not be the best and most fruitful keyword research tool but it allows you to see what meta keywords your competitors could be using to try to rank organically.
Since I use Google Chrome as my browser, it’s super simple to right-click on a site and select “View Page Source.”
By understanding and applying the basics of keyword research, you can make a steady and realistic climb up the search rankings. This will enable you to drive traffic to your website and attract new customers even while you’re not working.