Keyword Research for SEO: Your Go-To Guide

keyword research

A lot of pieces need to come together to create the perfect digital marketing campaign. One of the most critical pieces to that perfect campaign is keyword research. Without it, you run the risk of potential customers not knowing about your website or being able to find it.

Keywords are known as the ideas and topics that you include in your campaigns as they relate to your content. They are based off of the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines. AKA: search queries. 

Keyword Research 101

For example, say you owned a plant store in Stuart, Florida and someone searched ‘plant shop in Stuart, Florida’.

If properly optimized, your website would show up first on the search results page.

Without optimizing your website with the proper keyword research, it’s much harder for users to find your site on search engines.

This is why keyword research is so important!

If you’re unsure about how to get started on keyword research and understanding where to use those keywords, we have you covered!

Let this be your go-to guide for finding the right keywords for your website, choosing which ones to use, and understanding where to place them.

The Basics: What is Keyword Research?

Simply put, keyword research is a process a digital marketer goes through. The goal is to find the possible search engine queries that are most likely to be relevant to their target audience.

The process includes first finding these relevant keywords and then going through them to make informed decisions on their prioritization.

As keywords are sorted into groups, they can help to give insights into how you might change existing content or create new content moving forward.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is important for SEO because it has an impact on every search engine optimization task that you perform.

This includes the content topics you choose to write about, what keywords you include in on page SEO, your marketing emails, and your content promotion.

Keywords can be seen as the guidance tool for your SEO campaigns.

They tell you where to go with the content you create and how you can adjust your strategies to make further progress. They can be an indicator on whether or not you’re making progress as well.

Conducting thorough research for keywords is a great way to give yourself a better understanding of your target audience. Keywords provide as the indicators of what your customers are searching for through their own words and phrases.

Understanding Keyword Themes

Keyword themes are important to understand. This is because a certain topic or theme could be relevant to a single piece of content.

This piece of content can then be used to answer all of the needs within that topic. As all relevant keywords are used in this single piece of content, the page becomes optimized for the entire group of keywords. This makes it that much more valuable.

Keyword themes are also known as groups of related keywords. They are groups of individual keywords that give indication there is a similar need or intent by a customer.

This means keyword research should not be seen just as a list. Instead, it should be used to create variations of the same keyword.

For example, say you were writing a blog post about ‘how to create a floral arrangement’.

A keyword theme group could help to satisfy the search intent for all of the keywords that searchers use around that theme.

Phrases you might include in that theme then become:

  • How to create a floral arrangement for spring
  • How to create a Christmas floral arrangement
  • DIY floral arrangement
  • How to create a floral arrangement for Easter
  • How to create a floral arrangement with eucalyptus

While you might not necessarily cover every single topic to do with the specified theme, you can seek to satisfy multiple topics within a single theme group.

Getting Started on Finding Keywords

Now that you have a clear understanding on what keyword research is and why it’s important, it’s time to get started!

Preliminary Keyword Research

Your first step in getting started on keyword research is with keyword exploration and discovery. Take some time to develop a thorough understanding of the business or website that you are conducting keyword research for.

This is especially relevant if you are an outsourced marketer or agency. You won’t have as much of an in-depth understanding as someone who is a part of that business daily.

For both outsourced and in-house marketers, it’s important to develop a clear understanding of the products or services that are being offered–as well as what the needs are of both customers and stakeholders.

Taking these steps will help you to create a list of keywords for that business, and be able to effectively determine their relevance.

After the discovery process, you will gather a list of keywords that can be used to drive traffic to the website. A great place to start is with a keyword program such as Google Ads.

Google Ads Research Tool

Google’s keyword program is a great research tool because it is free, and it pulls results right from its own database.

Using Google Ads is a great wait to get the average monthly search term volumes, keyword difficulties and other metrics that you can use to build your main keyword list.

When you use Google Ads you’ll receive a list of about 100 keywords to investigate further. You can use this list to pull certain keywords and input them as new keywords in order to get even further results.

Depending on the size of your business, 100 keywords may be all you need. Larger sites may need more keywords in order to develop authority, while smaller sites can benefit from focusing on a smaller selection of keywords.

We know that Google Ads can be a beast of a program to figure out which is why we have provided this simple step-by-step guide.

Keyword Assessment

Once Google has generated a list of keywords for you, you’ll need to assess that list to choose the best ones. With this list, you’ll be given a summary of how many searches each keyword phrase obtains each month.

You’ll likely want to avoid keywords that have less than 1000 searches per month. This is because they don’t normally prove to bring in a lot of traffic.

Your next step should be evaluating the competition within your industry. Make sure to choose keyword phrases you have a good chance of ranking for. If there’s too much competition for a certain word, it’s less likely you’ll rank on the first page of search results.

Always be sure to consider how strong the competition is for certain keywords. Google ads will be able to tell you how many of your competitors pages are also using the given phrase in their title.

Where to Use Keywords

Once you have conducted your keyword research, it’s time to incorporate them into your content.

Here are some of the important keywords placements to consider.

Domain Name and URL

URL

Putting your keywords into your domain URL is great for improving your websites ability to rank on the first page of search results. Try to keep from using two of the same words in your domain URL.

You might also consider naming your business, and therefore your URL, based on a keyword in order to help your website rank higher.

Headings

Headings

Headings are an important place to use your keywords. Heading tags separate the different parts of your content. The H1 tag carries the most weight in terms of ranking.

Try to avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ your headings. Instead, use your main keyword once in the H1 tag and a few times within your H2 and H3 tags.

Body Content

Keywords are most commonly used in the body content of your web page and rightfully so!

Try to use your keyword phrase at least twice per page, but again, avoid keyword stuffing. If you use the same keyword phrase too many times, Google is likely to see it as spam.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page search engine optimization is also important to consider as a part of your keyword placement. Ensure that you make use of backlinks throughout your website.

Also be sure to keep a close eye on your anchor text.

Relevancy

Backlinks should always be relevant. This means your backlink should come from a page that’s relevant to what you talk about in your content. It should also relate to your industry.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is known as the text that is used to link from the web page of your choice to another. If you use a certain keyword in your piece of content, then this is the keyword you’ll want to use for most of the anchor text that links to the next page.

Next Steps: Getting Started on Keyword Research

Transforming your campaign into a results driving machine isn’t always as simple as it seems.

Not to mention, it can be a time-consuming task! As experts in the keyword research area, we’ve put together a lot of great campaigns built to deliver.

If you’re looking for help in getting your next campaign started with keyword research, we are here to help! We can provide guidance to get you started in the right direction, or help you with your campaigns all the way from start to finish. Give us a call today to chat!

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Chris Marrano

Chris Marrano

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Our digital marketing strategy is built on the foundation of driving measurable results. We take a full-circle approach to online marketing with a focus on increasing conversions, repeat traffic and generating greater brand loyalty.

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