Keyword Research & Analysis has always been a fundamental part of digital marketing whether your focus is on PPC advertising or search engine optimisation. But what constitutes “keywords”, how we target them and how we perform the research to establish the right keywords has changed over the years as Google has become more sophisticated in determining the intent behind people’s searches.
What most digital marketing and SEO consultants mean these days when they talk about “keywords” are actually phrases, and in many cases quite long and specific phrases. As people have become aware of how well Google (in particular) can respond to a specific search their searches themselves have become more sophisticated.
A typical example of a search query from 2 or 3 years ago might have been “SEO consultants” whereas it is much more common to see queries such as “where can I find a technical SEO expert near me” these days.
In many ways the change in search trends means that it is harder to predict exact searches but it is still vital to complete detailed keyword research and analysis to understand user intent and therefore create seo backlinks and web pages that satisfy that intent. Here’s how…
Produce a list oftopics that are important for your business
Sit down with colleagues, friends and family to brainstorm and generate a list of topics related to your business. Also look at what people are saying in customer reviews, on social media and analyse the offerings of your competitors.
This list will form the basis of your keyword research so keep it focused and simple.
Use a Keyword Planner Tool to identify valuable keywords
Now that you have your initial list of keywords use a Keyword Planner Tool such as the one in Google Ads (it’s free so why wouldn’t you use it?). Check first whether people are searching for the terms you have come up with and in what volumes per month. This will help you judge how important each search query is to your target audience.
A keyword planner tool can also be used to generate new ideas based on your initial list so check those too and see if any of the new ideas have search volumes that might make then good target keywords for your business.
As a general rule any search volumes below 250/month won’t generate enough customers to make them worthwhile targeting (although that does depend on your niche).
Note that the Google keyword planner can also help you spot trends in searches. These can be seasonal but could also be an indication of particular searches gaining or losing popularity.
Includea mixture of shortkeywords and longer phrases (long-tail keywords)
Using a mixture of short and long keywordsensures you will create a well-balanced strategy that should result in some quick wins whilst also focusing on longer-term goals with higher-volume, more competitive search terms. If your main digital marketing strategy is focused on SEO (with its benefits of a good ROI this is a sensible approach for any small business that wants to be successful) just remember that it won’t provide instant results. But the results you do achieve will be worth the wait.
Checkwhether competitors are ranking for these keywords
It’s important for every business, large or small, to understand the main competitors so find out whether your competitors are ranking for the keywords you have selected; but also whether there are any gaps that you have not identified or (more importantly) any gaps your competitors have not identified.
There are plenty of SEO tools out there to help you do this such as SEMRush, Majestic SEO, SEO PowerSuite etc.
Conduct regular reviews of keywords
Keyword Research & Analysis is not a one-time process so re-evaluate your selected keywords every few months to see if they still meet the needs of your business, are driving traffic to your website and are converting web visitors to customers.