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February 13, 2020 at 10:38 pm #85774Participant@chinomnso
In one of my articles, I wrote about crawling, indexing and ranking. There, I defined each of those terms and explained in detail how each of them works. For you to set up a good SEO campaign, you need to get your keyword research right. This article focuses on keyword research, explaining how to craft content that meets the needs of those who search the internet and search engines themselves.
For keyword research to be effective, you need to have a good understanding of your target market and how they search for services and products related to your business. When keyword research is properly done, you will be able to ascertain what people are searching for, how many people are searching for it and the format in which they want the information they are searching.
In this article, we will learn about the tools and strategies you can use to find answers to the questions above and learn how to avoid keyword research pitfalls and create good content. Your journey begins at knowing what your audience is searching for.
For you to grow a business by means of search engine optimization, you need to first understand the business thoroughly, get to know the customers and understand the goals of the business. So many people try to cut corners and miss out on this important stage of SEO planning because keyword research is time-consuming. And they may wonder why they need to spend time on keyword research when they already know what their web site ranks for.
What your web site ranks for may be different from what your audience is searching for. Therefore, you need to focus on your audience by using data from keyword research to enrich your SEO campaigns, rather than just using generic keywords.
As an example, imagine that a pizzeria, Jack and Jill’s Pizza wants to use SEO to improve their business and boost sales. They want to show up organically in search results. For you to be able to help them, you need to know their customers better. To do that, you need to know what types of pizza they are searching for. You’ll need to know who’s searching for the search terms – what are their ages? Their gender? Where are they searching from? What words do they use when searching? Are the searches coming from mobile or desktop?
When you get all of this information, you will need to figure out how to provide the best information about pizza for those searching for it. Finding the answers to the questions above is crucial to the planning of your keyword research, and it will help you develop better content.
What Keywords Can You Use?
Very likely, you have some keywords in mind for which you want your website to rank. These keywords will be related to your products, services and other things closely related to your business. You may also want to add keywords related to both your business and the location. For example, “pizzerias in Port Harcourt.”
After getting a number of keywords, the next thing would be to test them using a keyword research tool to ascertain the average monthly search volume and find out similar keywords. During the keyword discovery stage, it would be helpful if you find out variants of your keywords most popular among your intended audience.
Testing your keywords on a keyword research tool will reveal other keywords and phrases, as well as topics that are common to your target audience. This would then influence your content creation, making you include more relevant content on your website.
To see how keyword research tools work, try using this one to search for something like “event planner.” You would discover that it displays related search terms like “plumber around me,” “plumber around my area,” and “a plumber near me.” You would even see ones like “a plumber in (add your location or city here).”
As you discover keywords relevant to your website’s content, you would observe that there is a huge variation between the search volume for those keywords. With this in mind, you may wish to go for keywords with less search volume because in some cases, those ones are less competitive, and ranking high for them is easier. Whether they are high- or low-competition keywords, they can be of help to your website. And having knowledge of what people are searching for gives you a big advantage in terms of strategic planning.
Note, however, that a website does bot rank for keywords. It is the individual pages on a website that do rank. Some big website may have their homepage rank for lots of keywords. But for the average website, it could be different. Many websites get more organic traffic than the home page. Therefore, it is important that each of your pages is properly optimized for the keywords you have chosen for them.
When a keyword or key phrase has high search volumes, ranking high for it takes a lot of work. Some refer to this concept as keyword difficulty. If many search results page features like carousels, thumbnails, knowledge boxes and the like crowd up a keyword’s result page, there will be an increase in keyword difficulty. This is especially so because often, the big brands take up most of the top results on the first page for high-volume keywords. Therefore, it can really be a challenge fighting to be at the top of the search results for those high-volume keywords.
Since paying so much attention to high-volume keywords takes so much work and time for results to be seen, your SEO efforts could be hurt. If you go for keywords with very low search volumes, you also risk not being seen. Therefore, you need to pay attention to highly specific terms with lower competition. These are referred to as “long-tail” keywords.
Understanding Long Tail Keywords
Ranking high for a keyword like “shawarma” would be great! However, such high volume keywords represent a mere fraction of the searches performed on the web. Keywords with very high volumes may indicate that the user does not really know what they are searching for. Using them could attract users to your site whose intents do not tally with your page content.
Looking at the screenshot above, can you tell what the user’s intent was when they searched for “shawarma?” Was it to learn how to make it? Or was it to know its nutritional value? Were they looking for a shawarma hut? Or did they want to order a shawarma?
Try that search term yourself and you would see the “People also search for” section. Based on their algorithms and users’ behaviour, Google may suggest Falafel, Gryo, Kebab and Baba ghanoush. Therefore, you have to go for something more specific. Try things like “order shawarma near me.” Or you could try something like “shawarma prices in Port Harcourt.”
After ascertaining what search terms are relevant to your website’s content and the search volumes for those keywords, you can now start checking out on your competitors and trying to understand how searches may differ because of the location from which they are performed.
Keywords By Season
Getting to understand seasonal trends can be really helpful when crafting your SEO strategy and doing your keyword research. For example, lovers hang out during Valentine season and your pizza hut or shawarma house may be one of their favourite spots. Optimizing your content for Valentine-related searches from the very beginning of February would be a smart thing to do.
Keywords By Competitor
Very likely, you would compile lots of keywords while doing your research. The challenge would be to know which ones to prioritize. Prioritizing high volume keywords that your competitors are not ranking high for would be a smart move. And you could jump into the fray and try to rank high for keywords for which your competitors are already ranking high. Trying to rank high for keywords your competitors have missed is a great way to take advantage of opportunities that have either been ignored or missed by them. And targeting keywords for which your competitors already rank high is an aggressive strategy that might give you a chance to get a lot of traffic from high volume keywords.
Keywords By Region
You can target a specific location by streamlining your keyword research to specific towns, countries or regions. When your research is location-specific, it can help increase the relevance of your content to your audience.
What Search Format Is Best For Your Audience?
Search results are often optimized to help searchers easily find what they are looking for. Google, for example, displays search results depending on what the algorithm perceives to be the intent of the search query. There are lots of search types, but we would take a closer look at five major categories.
Informational Queries: The person searching needs information about a particular thing, person or brand. It could be the position of Real Madrid Football Club on the La Liga table for the current season, Cristiano Ronaldo’s height, or the number of ant species in the world. For such queries, the answers are usually presented clearly before other regular results are displayed.
Navigational Queries: A person searching with a navigational query wants to get to a specific place on the internet like the Wikipedia homepage.
Transactional Queries: The searcher wants to purchase something – a flight ticket, a song, or a pair of shoes.
Commercial Investigation: These searches are performed when someone is trying to compare products to find which is better, or which meets their needs.
Local Queries: These are searches done by internet users when they are trying to find something around their location. It could be a dentist, a coffee shop or a lounge.
Keyword Research Tools
The following tools can help you ascertain how much value a keyword would offer to your website.
Moz Keyword Explorer – When you enter a keyword here, this tool gives you information about monthly search volume and possible search results page features. It extracts accurate search volume data by leveraging on live data. And it also gives you a “difficulty” score for keywords.
Google Keyword Planner – This has been a good entry point for SEO keyword research. When setting up an SEO campaign or an ad campaign, it can help you get to know what others are searching for and target the right customers.
Google Trends – This tool helps you gain an insight into the seasonal fluctuation of keyword search volume.
SpyFu Keyword Research Tool gives insightful keyword data that can help you in ranking high in search results.
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