IN MY LAST POST, WE TALKED ABOUT SITE AUDIT AS THE BEST STARTING POINT FOR YOUR SEO CAMPAIGN. THIS WEEK I WILL TALK ABOUT KEYWORD RESEARCH BECAUSE NO SEO CAMPAIGN CAN BE PERFORMED WITHOUT KNOWING WHICH KEYWORD YOU ARE GOING TO OPTIMIZE FOR.
But first things first, what is keyword research? Keyword research is a way to identify the best keywords for your SEO or PPC campaign and the way you perform research differs depending on if you are going for paid or organic search. This time I’ll be focusing on organic search and later I’ll give you some tips on PPC too.
Most blogs on this topic talk about search volume (how many times keywords are searched per month,) keyword difficulty (how hard it is to win Google ranking for the keyword) and these metrics are extremely important. But when I was a beginner, the hardest part for me was where to start? If two similar keywords have similar metrics, which one do you go for? How many keywords do I need to research?
WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO START?
To identify your keywords for organic search campaign, you will need first go back to your website and look at it very closely. Ask yourself ‘What is the product/service your offer? What makes it slightly different from all the other companies offering the same? Is it the region, the price, model?’ Drill down those so-called long tail keywords, (keywords with more than two words) because chances are you will never rank for the short seed keyword (a short keyword that suggests other related keywords) when you don’t need to.
Here is an example “Used cars” is a seed keyword, while “cheap used cars in Exeter” is our long tail keyword.
The more specific your keyword structure, the more likely you’ll target the right audience for your website, the audience that is more likely to convert. Also, it will reduce bounce rate (when people leave your website immediately after clicking on the search result link.) A high bounce rate gives Google an indication that your website is non-relevant, which can damage your rankings.
Once you’ve put together the list of the main keywords for your business, go through your website page by page and identify the main keywords on what each page offers. You should never make all of your pages try to rank for the same keyword because they will start competing with each other, something known as keyword cannibalisation and that means you will never win against other websites.
Once you’ve done all the above, start looking at metrics, some of them I mentioned earlier. It is also a good idea to search for related keywords people might use. Our blog about useful free plugins has a couple of ideas for the tools you could use to research what other people are searching for. Keyword everywhere plugin gives you instant suggestions for related searches, you can use the Google search bar and see what the suggested searches are, you can use Adwords research tool. This will help you see the volume - how many people search for it, difficulty - how hard it is to beat competitors and CPC - price for a keyword if you decided to perform the paid search.
But here’s the most important part - no tool will do your job for you. You will need to make the final judgment about your keyword list, and that only comes with practice. The fact is each business and each website is different. You need to know your audience - B2B keyword research is radically different from B2C companies and your Search Result Page competitors are different from your actual competitors, so you will need to dig deeper and look closer than just the metrics everyone talks about.
And one last tip, it is always good to look at your competitor's websites and which keywords they rank for. There are some advanced digital marketing tools that can help you find exactly what your competitors are doing, but even by simply looking at their websites and using free tools you could see what they have gone for and identify if there are any gaps you could smartly use.
Keyword research is not as easy as it seems at a glance and takes practice to master, but once you know the website and the industry you are working with, it will eventually get easier and you will be able to make a quick judgment. If you need help with identifying the most optimal keywords for your SEO or PPC campaign, drop us a line and Proven will be happy to help.