The key to a successful online presence is driving traffic to your website using good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. SEO research is imperative for determining the correct keywords to use to target your site’s audience. Once completed, the research gives you a blueprint to use to improve lagging pages and expand on pages that are already ranking well.
Comprehensive SEO keyword research also helps drive your content creation and design aspects of your website, which allows you to understand why people are searching for your site and what terms they are entering in Google when they search. The results can help define additional channels you can use to increase your search results and boost traffic.
SEO keyword research is about optimizing your individual website pages to create opportunities for increased marketing efforts. Often you are too close to your own product to fully understand how people think about it. SEO keyword research will also help you to identify “hidden” keywords that people use to find your services or products online.
It’s not only important to build your list of keywords but also analyze them and determine specific attributes so you can use the information you collect wisely. For example, keywords fall into categories like type, searcher intent and volume, difficulty or competition, and also associated SERP features. Defining the attributes of your seed list will help you use it more effectively.
There are three main types of keywords: head, body, and long-tail. Each has a different purpose and accordingly, a varying degree of exposure and usefulness. Different types relate to the sales funnel and conversion rates. Some have higher volumes of traffic and some lower. These attributes also identify which are more difficult to use due to fierce competition.
Searcher intent and volume provide additional information that helps fill in the blanks. It answers questions about why the person is searching. Is it to research a specific product or service? Are they looking to make a purchase or just read reviews? These aspects can clarify your use of the search terms. Keyword difficulty can help you determine those you want to use and those you wish to discard.
Build Your Keyword Seed List
Before beginning your keyword research, you must first have a place to start. That place is your seed list. Consider all the terms that correlate to your product or services. Type each one in Google and see what comes up for related terms. Examine competitor’s websites to see what words they are using for SEO.
Another technique to use is to type your keyword into Google along with the terms “research,” “search,” “SEO,” and “analysis.” This process will help you narrow down even more derivatives of keywords which might work well for your website. The idea of a seed list is merely a springboard to launch other ideas about possible appropriate terms to use for your website.
Eventually, you will craft headings, body content, and metadata that include your keywords to facilitate better search results and drive more traffic to your website. For example, government websites use SEO research extensively so their keywords help people find their resources when they need information that is government-specific.
SEO Prioritization and Reporting
Now that you have your seed list and have done some of the research, you can group the list of keywords you have gathered into subsets. The goal is to determine the level of opportunity the keyword affords you. You might even use a numbered weight for each one to determine their value.
Words that have a high volume of searches might look great on the surface, but if your competitors use them and they rank top in Google, they might not be useful for you. You have to keep in mind competition and how easy or hard it will be to use words that are already successfully used by others. On the other hand, low volume terms carry a high weight of opportunity and could produce results quicker.
After you have analyzed all your terms and decided on groupings, you can compile all your research into reports that clearly outline how you came to your conclusions and the best keywords to use for the most success. Your report should include an introductory area expressing the goals of the work. Don’t forget to add your methodology and takeaways plus a final list of your final keywords.
Keyword Research Tools
When you sit down to do your keyword research, you should have a budget in mind for the process. Some tools are free, there are others which combine free and paid features called “freemium” and then paid options as well.
Some free options to try are Keywords Everywhere, Keywords.io, and SERPs Keyword Research Database. Each resource offers different features and levels of proficiency for what you need. Some freemium options are Google Keyword Planner, SERPWoo’s Keyword Finder, and Keyword Discovery.
If you want to invest more deeply in your SEO keyword research, a paid option might work best. Some offerings are Moz Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, and SEMrush. Regardless of your experience or budget, one of these applications should help you weed out the non-essential words and craft the perfect list of keywords for your business.
Geo-Modifiers for SEO
Although the formula for SEO keyword building is pretty straightforward, you cannot overlook the human aspect. Many search engines like Google now use geo-modifiers to add local specifications to search terms. Not only does this help the searcher find local businesses near them, but it also personalized the search experience.
The same way that people appreciate it when you remember their name, geo-modifiers help to create that close connection between you and your audience. By using local keywords or modified keywords with local extensions, you are inviting them in as a neighbor rather than a stranger. People like doing business with companies near home.
SEO strategy is an art and will continue to change as search engine algorithms evolve. However, these core fundamentals will steer you in the right direction for finding the best, most effective keywords for your website.
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