If you are writing content for your blog or website, it is critical that you perform basic keyword research to target potential customers and search engines. Placing targeted keywords in your content can mean the difference between a site that gets lost in a sea of similar content and a site that gets noticed in search engine results pages (SERPS).
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a search engine optimization technique used to identify search terms that people type in to locate information for a given topic. This can be done through a variety of different methods. By finding popular search terms and including them in your content, you can be sure that you are providing content that readers are actively looking for.
Why Is Keyword Research Important?
Researching keywords is one of the single most important things you can do to improve your search marketing. Tracking and incorporating popular keywords offer the following benefits:
- Keep your finger on the pulse of trends in your industry
- Gain insight into the most popular products and services
- Find out what your customers really want
- Increase quality web traffic to your site
- Better understand marketing conditions
- Obtain a more prominent position in SERPS
It is important to ask yourself some basic questions when deciding which keyword phrases to use in written content.
- Are the keywords you chose directly related to the content? If not, dont use them. It will frustrate and repel visitors who land on your site.
- Will your potential customers find valuable, relevant content on your website or blog related to the keywords they typed into the search box? When you place keywords into your content, back them up with good information related to those keywords.
- Will the website traffic you attract through the use of these keywords produce the results you are looking for (i.e. increased sales)?
How to Perform Basic Keyword Research for SEO
Here are some basic ways to research effective keywords for your blog or website content:
Check out the competition. Go to the major search engines and type your term of choice into the search box. Take note of the paid ads you see displayed at the top or right-hand side of search results. They usually indicate keywords that are high in value.
You can also gain valuable insight into what your competition is ranking for and how difficult it will be to rank using those same terms.
Utilize inexpensive/free keyword research tools. Here are some budget-friendly tools you can use to find high value keywords and related keywords people are searching for that you may not have considered.
- Google Adwords Keyword Tool – This great free keyword research tool gives you a couple of options. First, you can plug in a word, phrase or category to find keyword ideas and see how many people are searching globally and locally certain terms. (Its not exact, but it is a good representation.) Second, you can spy on the competition by typing their web address into the website box. Google Keywords Tools will give you a list of one hundred keywords from their website.
A note about long-tail keywords- when you look at a tool like Google Adwords Keyword tool, you will see that keyword terms are ranked by competition. Be aware that high competition keywords are more popular search terms and are usually very generic. While they have the highest searches per month, they only amount to about one-third of the searches performed. The remaining search terms are referred to as long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are important for several reasons. While they have a lower search volume, they result in better customer conversion rates. Why? Long-tail keyword phrases are longer and more specific. Usually, potential customers will type in these specific terms because they are further along in the conversion or buying cycle and are ready to take action. They may show up as medium or low competition terms on your keyword research tool, but they are very valuable in your content.
In the example below, I typed search engine optimization into the box labeled word or phrase in the Google Adwords Keyword tool. Notice that the term search engine optimization is a high competition keyword. Although a popular search topic, it is quite generic. If you look down the list, you will notice some long-tail keyword phrases including search engine optimization experts. While this keyword phrase does not have nearly as many searches per month, a web searcher that types this specific term into the search box is likely looking to hire a search engine optimization expert to help with website SEO.
- Google Trends – With this free tool, you can plug in terms to see what is hot and how the topic you have chosen is trending. This helps you find out what your audience is interested in. You can even break your analysis down by region. Google Trends also shows you related terms and terms that are rising in popularity.
- Google Blogs – Google Blog search allows you to search for blog topics. This can give you valuable insight into what topics are popular for your industry. Click on competitors blogs and check the comments section to determine the level of interest for a given topic. This is especially beneficial if you have a business blog and are looking for blog topic ideas that will grab the attention of your readers.
- Wordtracker – Wordtracker is a more advanced paid tool (with a basic free keyword tool) that offers some very beneficial data for choosing the best keywords for your business. These include keyword suggestions from both Wordtracker and Google, an expert competition algorithm that provides accurate data of your completion, and a Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) that helps you figure out which keywords are worth incorporating into your site to yield the best results. It takes some of the guesswork out of the process when compared to the free tools listed above.
There are a wide variety of keyword tools out there to help you create content that grabs the attention of your readers and converts them into dedicated patrons of your site. By utilizing these tools, taking cues from the competition, and providing your visitors with valuable information, you will be well on your way to creating copy that increases web traffic.
No time for keyword research? No problem. Our copywriting team and search engine optimization experts in Boston have the tools and the expertise to create website content that will get the results you are looking for. Contact us today to find out how we can provide keyword research services to help you grow your business.
Image © Depositphotos.com/dr911