Starting with SEO and searching for an answer to the question “How To Do Keyword Research Effectively?”
Importance of Keyword Research for SEO
In the world of internet marketing, webmasters and users are on two opposite sides of the orbit, connected only by keywords. The keywords, which are typed in the search boxes the most, by the users, need to be correctly identified by the webmasters. Once identified and examined for competition and effectiveness, these keywords need to be incorporated seamlessly into their websites’ codes to deliver the right content at the right time to the right person.
Keyword research is one of the means your website needs to survive and thrive on planet internet. Lack of keyword knowledge means that you’re missing the biggest piece of the SEO puzzle which only your keyword research will complete. This guide will give you an idea on how to search for keywords and rank them for your website.
STEP 1 – Know the Terms
These are terms which you will come across when you embark on the journey of conducting and performing a keyword research exercise.
- Head words/ Head Key Phrases: The most popular one or two word long keywords that are beyond a newbie’s reach to get ranked. Words like finance, credit, business, marketing already have big competition on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). So unless you have a lot of money to get it ranked and have an immensely popular business, steer clear of those and choose long tail keywords.
- Long tail keywords/ Tail key phrases: These are 3 or more words long and perfect for you to start with, on a limited budget. Very specific and precise, long tail keywords like “beginners guide to keyword research” are easier to rank than their single word counterparts.
- Broad Match: It is a matching technique, wherein your keyword will be matched with the words typed in the search box by the users; the words have to be similar or related or even variations, irrespective of their order in the search box.
- For e.g., if shoes is your keyword, then searches for red shoes, running shoes, and even tips to maintain your vegan shoes, or best type of footwear for different occasions will be matched with it.
- Phrase Match: This one is where your keyword phrase will match the search with the same phrase, wherever it occurs, in the same order. The condition is to enter the keyword with quotes (“).
- For e.g. for the keyword running shoes, matches will be “running shoes to buy for the marathon”, “Nike running shoes”, “why choose running shoes for your daily run” etc
- Exact Match: Your keyword will be only matched with the precise search term, not any variations. For that you need to enter it with square brackets ([).
- [Green Scarf] will only be matched with keywords Green Scarf and not scarf in various colours.
- Negative Match: If you don’t want results for say, black hats, add a hyphen (-) before those words, either in a phrase or otherwise. So search for party hats –black hats will give you all hats but black.
- LSI Keywords: Latent Semantic Indexing are synonyms of your keywords that will come up in the search results. A post with keywords cats, feline, pets, and domestic animals can show up for search word cat.
- Competition (AdWords): The number of ads already published with that keyword. The higher the competition, the more you have to pay to get ads for those keywords, if you plan to use Google AdWords.
- Competitors (SEO): The number of other websites that are listed on the SERP with the same keyword as yours.
- Global Monthly Searches/ Local Monthly Searches: Number of search queries for the keyword locally and globally.
STEP 2 – Plan of Action
Keyword research is as comprehensive as it is time-consuming. There are many software which will do the job for you in minutes – LongTail Pro (link to the LongTail Pro tutorial) is one of them.
Here is a step-by-step process to be followed to do keyword research for SEO.
- Come up with a seed keyword, keywords and long tail phrases around that keyword.
- Analyse them with the Google Keywords Tool.
- How To Do Keyword Research with Google Keyword Planner
- Click on search for New Keyword and Ad Group
- Enter your main keyword
- Select the country you want to get your keyword ranked in
- Adjust the Keyword Filter Option
- Change the matching technique to Exact or Phrase
- Choose the number of average monthly searches
- Generate the keywords and export them to an Excel file
- Find out how many other entries does your keyword display on SERP’s first page. Those are your SEO competitors, by the way.
- Undertake an in-depth research of the top competitors’ pages and examine their domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA), age of domain and PageRank.
- This is where the software, SEMRush, would help you big time. Sorting and studying the entire data and adapting it in an actionable format is a bit cumbersome. Nonetheless, here are a few generic indicators of higher competition for your keywords:
- PageRank above 5
- Older domains (You check the age of the domain here)
- DA and PA above 40
- Higher number of backlinks
These metrics aren’t all-encompassing, and can vary from site to site. List down the keywords after a thorough analysis and start optimizing.
We hope this beginners’ guide pn how to do keyword research for SO helps you with getting your keyword research exercise.