After spending the last couple weeks doing keyword research for some of our clients, I've decided that now would be a good time to shed some light on how it's done. Before we look into how its done, it is essential that we understand why it's done.
“In order to rank for searches and be visible to potential customers, your website must be optimized”
If I had a dollar for every time someone said these words to me, I'd have enough money to make rent this month. However, it clearly doesn't solve my SEO problems, neither will it answer your questions on Search Engine Optimization. Thus, I'm going to take special efforts to make it crystal clear for you.
To simplify, Keyword Research is the process of discovering key search terms that internet users may be using to search for products or services through the medium of a Search Engine. This is then followed by optimizing your website, to naturally contain these keywords in the text or other forms of content.
It goes without saying that knowing your business (or the one you're handling marketing for) is one of the most important things in any aspect of marketing. If you don't know your company's values, products or services, it is a good idea to start off by getting your hands on a catalogue or a similar resource that lets you understand the business.
Once you understand the products or services that the business offers, you'll be able to categorize the keywords according to product or service type and also be able to figure out which keywords are more relevant than others. Let's say we have a small online store that sells two products- Bread and Butter. When we try to hunt for keywords to target, we can separate them into two sections (at least) by product type so that it is easier to implement optimization and also track keyword performance.
Buyer personas play a huge roll in keyword searches. If you know the kind of customer you are trying to target, you're already halfway there. The challenge really is to be able to think like the buyer of your product or service. Let us look at an interesting scenario:
One of ElementIQ's clients, Keating Dental Arts, is a full-service dental lab that caters to dentists across North America. Let's take a look at a snippet of their website traffic source by keywords.
If you take a look at the image above, the phrase 'emax stain and glaze' brings 99 visitors to their website. The phrase is quite technical and will probably be used by dentists or people who are in the profession. Since KDA is a dental lab that only caters to dentists and not dental patients, It is a good idea to spend time optimizing for more technical keywords like this one so that it drives more traffic from dentists.
Just like the example above, focusing on industry-specific keywords and how the buyer uses those keywords, most definitely will benefit your process of optimization.
There are three kinds of keywords that you must consider when trying to optimize your page for both organic and paid searches - Generic Keywords, Broad Match Keywords, Long-Tailed Keywords. You can read more about these types of keywords here. The idea is to jot down words that are most relevant to your business or product/service. Let's say you are a dentist (or you're marketing on a dentist's behalf), the words that you should start your research from would be something similar to these:
The above list is just an example, your list may look different in comparison to the one above depending on the nature of your business. The idea is to use these words to generate other keywords closely related to them using sophisticated tools.
Once you have this list, it's time to put some tools to use.
The tool I like using for keyword generation is the built-in Keyword Planner (formerly keyword tool) that Google offers in it's AdWords platform. The keyword planner looks something like this:
The keyword planner can be accessed by clicking on the tools menu in AdWords. You will need an AdWords account to access this feature. However, you do not need to spend money on ads to avail this feature.
Once you've gained access to the keyword planner, its only a few minutes before the magic happens!
We want to work in the 'Multiply keyword lists together to get new keywords'. The idea is to enter a set of keywords in the List 1 section and another set in List 2 section. Here's what I've entered, just for example sake:
Next, we want to adjust the location settings to our liking. This is important if your business caters to a specific locality. I'm going to set it to Burnaby.
The resultant page will give us a few keywords that are a product of the two lists. It is important to note that NOT all of those keywords are going to be relevant.
Once we have our final list of keywords, we can move to optimizing the pages we like.
Ranking for keywords is always a quality over quantity game. You'd rather rank for the most relevant keywords to your business to get the best possible conversion rate. However, to get the best possible results from keyword research and optimization, it is essential that we track the keywords that seem most relevant to the business and it's goals. I personally use Ahrefs to accomplish this. I will soon be writing more about Ahrefs to help out with keyword tracking and analysis!
If you have more detailed questions related to Search Engine Optimization, you can leave a comment down below or get in touch with the ElementIQ team here.