Each time Google rolls out with a new algorithm, the one and only savior for any inbound marketer is keyword research. Effective keyword research strategy is paramount for all PPC and social media activities, as well as to optimize websites for search.
Albeit keywords aren’t the only thing affecting your digital visibility, but if you are looking for quality organic traffic for your website, you must find out the best-working keywords.
As you know, a great SEO campaign unquestionably depends on proper keyword identification and logically prioritizing them. Novice content marketers must ensure to leverage the right words and phrases while framing content for their sites.
Unraveling Keyword Research and its Significance in Content Marketing
So, what is keyword research, and how do you create a full-proof strategy for it? Well, as per definition, keyword research happens to be an extensive process of finding and categorizing search phrases that people enter into the search engines while searching for specific data. This is done either for SEO or marketing in general.
Now, why is this keyword-finding process so essential for any marketer? Because robust research on these query terms can bring out valuable insights. Such as the search queries one can target, how popular these search terms are, what are their search volume and ranking difficulty, and much more.
The Evolution of SEO and Search Patterns
In the past 10 years, SEO has evolved drastically and words that were redundant 5 years back are now pretty important query phrases. Because now it is all about the intent behind the search and not the word itself. And that’s why keyword research is a crucial integral process that shows you the most searched words globally.
Marketers often seek the best search strategy to define their content marketing, but in reality, there’s no such ‘strategy’. It’s all about the permutation and combination of various processes. You have to keep on experimenting with the processes and find your own custom strategy.
Is SEO and Keywords DEAD?
While some may argue that SEO and keywords are dead for business, well, honestly speaking, as long as people use search engines for their query, finding the right SEO optimized keywords to feature your content/website will be crucial.
Even if the search trends change each year, keywords will continue to hold value as long as people search for something online. Based on which you can sort your content and tackle the topics your audience needs the answer for.
For your quick reference, we are going to layout a few tips and ways of finding the right keyword for your brand. Let’s see if we can frame a full-proof strategy from these.
1. Prepare a List of Relevant Topics based on your Business/Brand
Make a list of keywords and phrases relevant to your nature of business. Use your intuition and discretion for analyzing the search terms or topic buckets that your target audience uses while searching for similar businesses as yours. If you are into IT service or branding, some generic topic buckets can be:
- Email Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Inbound Marketing
- Lead Generation
- Inbound Leads
- Outbound Leads
Also, check their monthly search volumes to analyze how important these are to your audience and how successful your content could be if you leverage these words. And don’t forget sub-topics around these primary keywords. These sub-topics would help you frame your secondary keywords to use in your content or website.
2. Find Related Terms
That’s what I mentioned above. While finding your primary or core keywords, you are likely to get a good many numbers of related terms that you can create your secondary long-tail keywords with.
For e.g., a keyword like “inbound marketing” can lead you to numerous related terms and long-tail keywords, like “inbound lead generation”, “difference between inbound and outbound marketing”, “inbound marketing ideas you can use for your brand”, “inbound marketing strategies”, “inbound marketing tools” – and so on.
The more you implement these keywords in your content, you would make easier for your audience to find it out.
3. Get Keyword Suggestions
You may do this just by Googling the core keywords or searching them on tools like LSIGraph or Soovle. You may put the primary keywords and get ample suggestions of secondary keywords and phrases. Check out the auto-completes of the core words that can spark ideas for other related phrases.
4. Analyze Competition
Invest some quality time in figuring out the competition of the words you select. If you select a keyword with a high search rate, it might not always prove to be useful. As there will be a tough bid on it owing to its search rate or volume; and thus the competition will be fierce.
Instead, you may select a keyword with medium to a low volume within the 300 range, which can set you apart. Understanding the level of competition you are up against is of paramount importance while you create an extensive keyword research strategy.
You may leverage tools like Keywords Everywhere, SEMrush, SpyFu, that show the per month volumes of search of your chosen primary keyword, as well as its CPC.
5. Expand your List Logically
You would need this to enhance the SEO quotient of your content. The more your content has relevant keywords, the more likely it would be featured on the first page of Google search. However, do not overstuff your content; strike a perfect balance of the number of keywords you use.
You may use Google Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, or any such tools to expand your seed word list. Since most of our traffic comes from Google, so you might think of using Google as an authority.
6. Categorize and Prioritize
A basic categorization is highly needed based on the rankings of your selected keywords – whether they are weak or strong. Once you are all set with your primary keywords, start categorizing them into segments to achieve specific goals. This will help you understand the keyword performance.
Also, the impact your SEO efforts are having; how effective the words are in driving conversion. Categorization can be based on brand and non-brand, product type, business group, target audience, sub-brand, customer segment, etc.
And then, make sure you prioritize the keywords before even putting them into use. Without proper prioritization, you may choose the ineffective keywords for your campaign or content and leave the important one behind. Determining the importance of an organic keyword and filtering them helps track your campaign performance and the capability to drive revenue.
7. Identify the Landing Pages of your Choice
So by now, you have categorized, sorted your keywords as per priority. So the next most important step in researching organic keywords is identifying the specific web pages, content material, marketing campaigns, or landing pages the words are most relevant to.
In short, these pages would be your primary focal point for all kinds of SEO and PPC activities concerning your selected primary and secondary keywords. For any on-page optimization activity, like tweaking the page titles, meta tags, meta descriptions, H tags, Alt tags, etc., relevant keywords are a must-have.
You may find that only one or two is/are relevant to a particular landing page amongst your selected keyword universe. You shall continue deducing the right landing page or content for another set of keywords. This way, you can enhance your SEO efforts and implement a variety of long-tail phrases.
And in cases where you find a page is relevant to several of your chosen keywords, use it for conducting A/B testing. Check out which word you must emphasize for better optimization.
8. Create Topic Clusters and Pillar Pages
Another most vital step in the entire keyword R&D process is creating clusters centering around a core topic. Once you finalize your topic clusters, you may come up with similar posts related to the core topic. Topic clusters are extremely helpful for SEO strategy as they cover a specific topic fully and build relationships between keywords.
For a robust topic cluster, you would need to brainstorm subtopics and pillar pages. For e.g., if you select “healthcare and fitness” as your cluster, then brainstorm on the relevant subtopics like why healthcare is important, how fitness goals can be achieved, how are mental fitness and physical fitness co-related – and so on.
Subtopics are pivotal for your audience as well as for your content marketing. Giving them a structure to understand between the topics can offer your audience a greater user experience.
9. Understand the Significance of User Intent and how it Affects Keywords
It goes without saying that user intent is one of the most vital elements for any keyword analysis and keyword research strategy. As we know, different keywords stand for different kinds of underlying emotions and intent. When a user types a search query, the intention behind that search might be to gain knowledge, solve a problem, or even just a random search.
Gauging this intent and coming up with the keywords is a wise way to let prospects discover your product or brand. Categorizing your perfect keywords and phrases based on user intent and user interest will help you a lot in refining and developing your research process.
10. Don’t Forget to Refine Your Keyword List Time to Time
At this point, you have a handful of keywords selected for ranking. Now, you need to refine your list and figure out the best ones. This is extremely crucial for your SEO and content planning, and not at all a one-time activity. Whether or not your chosen keywords satisfy the users’ search intent, you need to look out for these data.
New brands and sub-brands who are just starting with PPC or content marketing must pay heed to this data and analytics to identify new avenues of opportunities. Opportunities might arise through a change in content trends or Google’s latest algorithms.
So while doing this keyword list refining, keep a close eye on the search landscape, category, competition, and semantic grouping to provide a good structure to your SEO program.
Bonus: Leverage Keyword Research Tools, but Moderately
Why am I mentioning this in the end, because using keyword research tools to find keywords needs proper vigilance and flair. One just cannot start depending upon these tools blindly and ignore their intuition.
Take control of the tools and only select the ones you find value in. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, MoxPro, Ubersuggest, BuzzSumo – all of these are highly competent and provides a more or less exact match with the ideas you have generated.
The only cautionary tale in soliciting these keyword research guides is maintaining a balance between AI and your own intelligence.
Building a comprehensive keyword list is one of the essential skills that marketers must hone these days if they wish for long-term gains. Doing a preliminary keyword research strategy is the sign of a smart content creator and a content strategist. Because in the end, Google just tries to replicate the search patterns more humanely way, and the rankings are also based on that pattern.
And if you have made until here, you are already aware of how crucial keywords are for your business and your overall content marketing efforts. You just needed a guide and a nudge to usher you in the right way.
So, hopefully, while you are producing your next set of marketing content, you would keep these rules (read tips) in mind. Don’t stop. Keep evaluating and re-evaluating your keywords and how your SEO and content marketing ventures bring visible results. And any help needed to create a robust content strategy, we are just an email away!