Keywords, also known as “SEO keywords,” are words or phrases that users input into a search engine to locate specific information on the internet.
The keyword serves as a bridge that guides individuals to the organic search results and ultimately, to the website where they discover what they are searching for.
The importance of finding the right keywords in SEO lies in adjusting your content strategy and optimization to target the phrases people use when searching for things in your niche. This will ultimately lead to better rankings and increased website traffic.
The process of identifying keywords is accomplished through a technique known as keyword research.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research involves the practice of discovering, evaluating, and implementing the phrases that individuals utilize when searching for information on the internet, as part of SEO.
This means that the process involves familiarizing yourself with the language spoken by your potential visitors and using that understanding to enhance your content.
Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?
The answer to this question is simply a brief one.
Keyword research is beneficial in helping potential customers locate your business.
Reflect on what led you to consult this guide.
Chances are, you inputted a keyword into the Google search engine.
Afterwards, Google generated a list of frequently asked questions to assist you in formulating the appropriate query.
After thinking through each step, you had the possibility to either adhere to your initial question or select a different one from the provided options.
Google generated a list of web pages based on the keyword you entered, using a step-by-step thinking process.
To maximize our guide’s ranking, we need to optimize it for the term “keyword research” or a related phrase that shares the same search intent.
Later in this guide, we will acquire a deeper understanding of search intent.
If we had not used keyword research, or even worse, if we had focused on the wrong keyword, you would not have been able to discover us at all.
Digital marketers often share a popular joke that goes as follows:
The second page of Google is the most ideal location to conceal a deceased individual.
When considering the thought process, keyword research encompasses more than just the benefits it provides for SEO.
In addition to, there are other benefits, which are not restricted to, but encompass:
- Understanding customer behavior.
- Identifying key market trends.
- Optimizing marketing spend.
- Studying your competition.
A very brief history of keyword research
The process of conducting keyword research has changed over time.
During the 2000s, the process of keyword research would typically involve visiting Google Keyword Planner, identifying keywords with the highest search volume, and then incorporating them excessively into the text of the website.
Google responded with multiple algorithm updates over the years to prevent potential misuse and prioritize high-quality content. The primary aim of these updates was to analyze user preferences and deliver optimal search results accordingly.
The keyword research process has been greatly influenced by several significant algorithm updates.
- Google Panda – has penalized thin, low-quality content and duplicate text
- Google Penguin – has penalized unnatural usage of keywords
- Google Hummingbird – has improved semantic search and focus on search intent
Today, keyword research involves more than simply finding the correct keywords and placing them strategically.
Google is continuously improving its ability to understand people’s search queries and provide them with the most relevant content that meets their needs.
Keyword research is increasingly becoming a relevant topic, as it is no longer solely focused on identifying the perfect keyword. Nowadays, it involves comprehending the audience and providing comprehensive coverage of the subject matter.
In simple terms, if the subject is thoroughly addressed, you have the potential to rank for keywords that were not even included in the content.
Stages of keyword research
I have divided the entire process into three main steps for the purpose of this guide.
- Finding the keywords
- Analyzing the keywords
- Using the keywords
My initial recommendation for keyword research would be: Familiarize yourself with your niche!
By conducting keyword research, you can gain a more comprehensive insight into the sub-topics and recurring themes within your particular field of interest.
Assume you have a hiking blog. It is evident that one of the necessary keywords to target for ranking is either “hiking” or “hiking trails”.
The problem with these keywords, which are sometimes referred to as fat head keywords, is that they inherently face significant competition.
However, upon further investigation within the specific field, you will discover that individuals who are keen on hiking might also utilize specific terms known as keywords.
- “GPS watch with heart rate monitor”
- “best android app for geocaching”
- “how long does it take to walk the Appalachian trail”
- “how many calories does hiking burn”
All of these keywords are referred to as long-tail keywords. A regular long-tail keyword possesses these characteristics:
- Consists of 3 or more words
- Has lower search volume but usually also lower competition
- Is more specific = has higher engagement and conversion rates
What are the Different Types of Keywords?
Understanding the different types of keywords is essential in successfully achieving effective keyword research.
Why is it necessary to rephrase the text below while preserving the same meaning?
Different audiences and different goals are targeted by various types of keywords.
And there’s more to it.
Depending on the stage of your business, the keywords you need to optimize for are likely to vary.
Currently, there exist numerous methods to classify keywords.
To keep it simple, let’s examine the three categories of keywords that are classified based on their length and/or specificity.
#1 Head Keywords
Head keywords, also referred to as seed keywords, are terms that have a significant amount of search traffic and competition.
Head keywords are less specific because they usually consist of only one or two words.
Consider it: Consider the following:
If an individual is searching for the main keyword “New York,” they may be seeking accommodations, attractions, or general information about the city.
Head keywords don’t easily convert due to the diverse search intent.
#2 Body Keywords
Body keywords tend to be more precise and usually consist of a greater number of words.
Rephrasing the text while maintaining the same meaning, step by step thinking helps in better understanding the intention of the searcher. It is important not to add any new information or remove any existing information.
One illustration of body keywords is “cafes in New York.”
Based on the available information, it is highly likely that the user is seeking recommendations for cafes to explore within the city.
Although body keywords have a considerable volume, they face significantly less competition compared to head keywords.
#3 Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are comprised of at least four phrases and possess a considerable level of specificity.
These queries are more likely to be used by visitors when they are closer to making a purchase.
A prime instance of a long-tail keyword is “cafe serving New York pizza.”
How to Come Up with Keyword Ideas
The initial stage of keyword research is to generate ideas for keywords.
The most challenging part is often thinking step by step.
You may ask why, thinking step by step, is the text rephrased below while keeping the same meaning. New information should not be added and information should not be removed.
Since it may appear difficult to determine a starting point, it is important to think step by step.
We will guide you through the different steps you can follow to generate keyword ideas.
Understand Your Audience
In order to narrow down on the keywords to target, it is important to first have a clear understanding of your target audience and their specific needs and interests.
This step of keyword research is often skipped by marketers, which is a mistake they often make.
What’s the point if you already know the keywords you want to target, after all?
The things that you desire to be ranked for and the things that your audience desires are entirely distinct.
If a vegan cafe based in New York wants to enhance its SEO rankings, what questions should they ask themselves?
- Who is eating vegan food?
- How old are they?
- Where are they from?
- How are people searching for vegan food?
- What terms are they using?
- What questions are they asking?
- What device are they using?
- Why are people eating vegan food?
- Are they health conscious?
- Are they environmentally conscious?
- What kind of vegan food are people seeking?
- When are people searching for vegan food?
- Are there seasonality trends?
By thinking step by step, you can rephrase the text without adding or removing information, while maintaining the same meaning: The process of thinking systematically will enable you to construct buyer personas specifically tailored for your business.