With every new Google algorithm update, search engines have been minimizing the importance of keywords for search rankings.
Start with a simple list and then branch out from there
In fact, you will not necessarily find keywords in the title tags of the top five search engine results. Marketers no longer emphasize using exact keyword phrases in the content of their
Considering all of this, should you abandon the process of keyword research and focus on other factors to improve your website’s search rankings?
Surprisingly, the answer is no.
Keyword research for SEO might no longer seem to be essential, but it still remains one of the SEO activities that can offer huge returns with less effort. Keyword research is indeed pivotal for your website’s search marketing success.
Keyword research — the skillful identification of relevant search terms — is still important. But the way it works has evolved.
Let’s take a closer look at the process for keyword research for SEO. You can tweak this keyword research process to meet your search marketing goals.
? What is Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing words and phrases that people search for when they are looking for information or a product/service.
It’s not just about finding relevant search terms or phrases. It is also about exploring the different methods people use to research an idea or topic.
Keyword research for SEO gives marketers a quantitative analysis of how popular certain keywords are. It also helps you determine how tough the competition will be to rank for these terms in organic search results.
It gives a direction to your search engine optimization efforts while giving you tremendous insights into what potential customers are searching for.
Simply put, keyword research is equivalent to market research.
? Why is Keyword Research Important
It is an undeniable fact that SEO has evolved over the last decade. And the importance of keywords for website ranking has declined a bit.
Today, using keyword phrases that exactly match a user’s search is no longer required for SEO. What matters is the user intent behind the search and whether your content can provide a solution.
However, that doesn’t take away the importance of keyword research for SEO. Here’s why:
Keyword research gives you valuable insights about the topics people in your niche care about.
You can identify the topics that are popular among your target audience and then create content about them. Once you have a list of topics, you can create and optimize content with relevant keywords that have high search volumes.
Using keyword research to create targeted content for SEO can help you drive relevant traffic to your website. Relevant audiences are more likely to convert into loyal customers.
Once you understand the most relevant keywords for your business, their popularity, and user intent, you can create content that answers the questions of your audience.
? How Often Should You Do Keyword Research
Keyword research is not a one-time task. Keywords are the primary building blocks of your website content. And they require periodic evaluation and maintenance.
The way search engines work changes constantly. New keywords emerge as the needs and preferences of your audience evolve. That’s why you should regularly conduct keyword research for SEO.
This includes times when you are starting a new website, revamping an old website, launching a new product, or simply writing a new blog post.
You need to regularly assess the terms people use to search if you want to continue creating content that your audience will love and share. You should not only look for top search phrases but also identify new search patterns.
How to Successfully Conduct Keyword Research for SEO
Now, let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to conduct keyword research for SEO.
. Make a list of relevant topics to target
To begin the keyword research process, think about what a customer would like to learn about your business or niche. Narrow down your list to 5–10 generic topics that you want to rank well for.
Once you have 5–10 topics that are important for your business, it becomes very easy to come up with specific keywords relevant to those topics.
In fact, if your business maintains an active blog, you are probably already creating content on these topics.
You might even speak about these topics every time you explain your product to a potential customer.
For example, let’s say you have an agency that helps companies plan their digital marketing strategies, your topic bucket may look like:
Digital marketing company
Digital marketing strategies
Digital marketing services
Social media marketing
Once you have a list of potential topics, you should check out their search volumes to figure out which topics to invest in.
. Find seed keywords for these topics
Now that you have identified the most relevant topics, it is time to find seed keywords that fall into those topics.
Seed keywords are, basically, the baseline keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your business. Your list of seed keywords will provide the foundation for your entire keyword research.
Once you have a list of topics you want to target, it is extremely easy to come up with relevant seed keywords. You just need to brainstorm how you would search for those topics and for your products/services online.
For instance, if you’re looking for “digital marketing services,” here’s a list of potential search terms you could use:
- Digital marketing services company
- Best digital marketing services
- Digital marketing services in California
- Cheap digital marketing services
- Digital marketing services provider
In this step, you are not making your final list of keywords. Instead, you are making a list of potential phrases that your target customers may use to find your business and your products or services.
You need to narrow down this list to find something concrete. You can then use data-driven tools to find out the search volumes and competition for each keyword. This will help you analyze which keywords you should target first to rank well in the SERPs.
A great way to find keywords is to go the opposite way. Instead of researching keywords that can help you drive traffic to your website, you should study your traffic sources. This will help you find a list of keywords that your website is already ranking for.
There are many web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, that can help you with this. Use their data to identify the keywords that are driving the maximum amount of traffic to your website.
. Related search terms can be tentative keywords, too
This is something you come across every day but probably haven’t paid much attention to.
You might have seen “searches related to keyword” at the bottom of a Google search results page.
Every time you enter a search term on Google, the search engine lists other search phrases related to your search term. These related search phrases can give you ideas for other keywords.