Keyword Research Q & A
One of the most crucial parts of search engine optimisation is keyword research, to ensure the correct keywords are targeted. In fact, it’s impossible to plan a successful campaign unless you know the appropriate phrases.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is a search engine optimisation (SEO) procedure used by professionals to research and find the commonly-used search terms that people type into search engines. SEO professionals research the keywords to achieve the best rankings in the search engines.
Keyword research, when used properly, provides a basis for the design and creation of a website, to ensure the best content is utilised. Keywords can be broken up and grouped, based on how many words there are in the query phrase. It’s crucial to choose words and phrases that relate directly to your products or services.
Why is keyword research important?
If you’re not using the relevant keywords for your products or services, you won’t attract the appropriate visitors to your website and they will be unlikely to buy. If you don’t optimise your site and content around the correct keyword phrase, it will have little chance of being presented to people carrying out a search.
If incorrect keywords are chosen, optimising your website for keywords that don’t relate directly to your business, traffic may well be directed to your site, but it’s likely to be unqualified traffic. There could be a lot of traffic, but no leads, causing frustration not only for the website owner, but also for site visitors.
For users who have been directed to your site when it’s not actually what they’re looking for, they can simply click the “back” button and a high “bounce” rate is likely which will harm your rankings.
Which is the best keyword research tool?
There are many keyword research tools available, but one that is often recommended by SEO professionals is Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
It has been described as a “workshop” for creating new, or expanding existing, search network campaigns. Use it to search for keyword and ad group suggestions, obtain historical statistics, check out how keyword ideas might perform and multiply lists of keywords together to create a new keyword list.
One of the only disadvantages is that average monthly searches are calculated over a 12-month period, meaning that it’s not a great place to research trending topics. However, you have Google trends for that.
SEMrush is another popular choice, enabling advertisers to get insights into their competitors’ strategies in organic and paid search, display advertising and link building. The tools enable you to combine, cross and visualise SEMrush data, easily comparing competitive domains and estimating keyword difficulty.
Also, you can launch global campaigns for your site, obtaining all the necessary metrics about its competitors and keyword rankings, all in one place.
SEMrush generally receives positive reviews, although one disadvantage voiced by users is that a lot of the information is slightly redundant, in that much of it is a repeat of the same data, but presented in different ways.
Another popular choice is Long Tail Pro, a step-by-step system enabling users to discover thousands of targeted keywords and subsequently calculate keyword competitiveness for just about any market. Its keyword competitiveness score determines the rankings of different keywords in the top 10 Google results. You can add your domain to a project to find out the level of keyword difficulty you need to target with each of your sites.
View metrics to determine page strength, domain strength, indexed URLs, site age and number of links, while the rank value feature works out the profitability of each keyword, whether you’re creating an Amazon site, an Adsense Site, or selling your own product.
The fact Long Tail Pro is software that you need to download is one of its few negatives, as this means it may not be compatible on all devices. It has also been described as “not the most user-friendly platform”, requiring a bit of getting used to.
Keyword research tips
- Create a keyword list related to your business and then use keyword tools to determine how often people search for the terms
- Combine and analyse the results, deciding which ones are relevant to your business, meaning you should focus on them
- Produce a list of search terms scored for relevance and volume, sorted by their total score
- Use your chosen keywords in the URLs, page titles, meta data and the text on the pages
- Pick your keywords – the most important relevant words – and use them on your website.
Learning how to research and use keywords is a vital part of SEO and can directly influence the success or failure of a campaign, so it’s important that you understand and utilise keyword research to its full extent to reap all the benefits.