You write the content and the customers will come, right? While this may have been possible in the earliest days of the internet, it’s just not so today. After all, you have thousands of websites competing for one keyword.
So how can you ensure you come out on top for your industry’s leading keywords? The first step is keyword research.
This article will introduce keyword research and its importance for websites and businesses. It will then share techniques for getting started with keyword research for SEO.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of researching keyword terms that users enter into search engines to find relevant information. From a business perspective, keyword research is about understanding your audience and how to cater to their needs. You can use keyword research for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure you’re ranking for popular keywords in your industry.
How to Get Started with Keyword Research for SEO
If you’re ready to put keyword research into action, the below steps are a great place to begin.
Create a List of Niche Keywords
The first step is often the most simple, and the same is true for keyword research.
When you’re first starting, you’ll want to write up a list of keywords and keyword phrases related to your industry. This should be incredibly broad.
While you may find it easy to start, you’ll soon find yourself struggling to come up with ideas. You can look to other industry websites and blogs for inspiration.
Analyze Keyword Data to Understand Traffic and Competition
When performing keyword research, there are two metrics you’ll often use: traffic and competition. Traffic is how often users search the keyword while competition is how many websites are ranking for that keyword.
The goal is to choose keywords that have medium to high search traffic with medium to low competition. This is difficult in most industries, but not impossible.
Using the list of niche keywords from above, narrow down those keywords that have potential promise. These are those keywords that aren’t incredibly saturated but that have enough traffic to pique interest.
Tools like Google Keyword Planner are a great place to start.
Now that you have this narrowed-down list, you’ll want to optimize even further with long-tail keyword variants.
Target Long-Tail Keyword Variants
An easy way to distinguish yourself within your niche is to target long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are keyword strings as opposed to one or two-word phrases. For example, “how to perform keyword research” is a keyword string as opposed to “keyword research” which is just a phrase.
The benefits of using long-tail keywords are two-fold.
First, there’s likely to be similar traffic to the shorter keyword phrases but less competition. It’s harder to rank for long-tail keywords accidentally than for keyword phrases.
Second, long-tail keywords often have a more obvious user intent. This means you can more easily target customers lower in the funnel.
Create Optimized Landing Pages for Your Keywords
You have two lists: your list of keyword phrases and your list of long-tail keywords. Now it’s time to create content for these keywords so you have a greater chance of ranking.
An optimized landing page is one that educates, engages, and converts. For your most important keywords, this should be cornerstone content. For smaller or less important keywords, you may be able to keep the landing pages short or even combine multiple keyword phrases into one post.
Once you’ve created this content, you’ll want to leave it as-is for at least 45 days. You can then re-evaluate the content as needed.
Keyword research for SEO is a daunting task. While it does take time and effort up-front, it’s actually fairly easy to maintain once you’ve gotten started.
Remember that keyword research and optimization are ongoing processes. You should evaluate your keyword optimization strategy at least once per month to ensure you’re on track with your SEO goals.