Effective keyword research

Effective Keyword Research

Keywords Are A Crucial Starting Point

Before you get started writing content for your website you need to consider what keywords to target. After all, how can you develop content for your website unless you have identified these keywords?

One of the first questions I am often asked by business owners is why isn’t their website appearing in the Google results? When I ask what keyword phrases they are aiming to rank for, they have absolutely no clue or idea what I’m talking about. Keyword phrases are what you type into a search engine’s search box when looking for information, so are the crucial starting point of any website.

When discussing keywords with my clients, I ask them to imagine they are sitting at a computer with the Google search screen loaded in their browser ready to do a search. What information or solutions are they hungry for and what search will lead them to your solution? Before you get started, I suggest checking out my buyer persona, unique selling proposition and benefits vs features posts to help you get to know your customers.

Of course there is a whole psychology around keywords and visitor intent which could fill a book but you need to consider what your customer’s focus is and where they are with their buying decisions. So what do I mean by this? Well, your potential customer could be:-

It is important to consider which keywords are suggestive of each and allow for this on your website.

So for example, if I am looking for ways to treat a cold or flu that are drug free, then my search process might be as follows:-

  1. Initial keyword search “flu natural remedies”.
  2. After looking through the results and doing my research I notice a herbal product called “Echinacea”, which by the way is excellent for colds and flu!
  3. I then do a product comparison by doing a “best echinacea” keyword search.
  4. Finally I select a product and find a supplier by doing a “buy (product name)” search.

This example demonstrates how this process often works when your potential customers are conducting their search engine searches. In this example, providing them with a page on your website which is optimised around a keyphrase such as “flu natural remedies” with another page or online store offering of “Echinacea” is one
strategy to boost your sales.

Instead of going for an immediate sale, you could entice your visitors on to your mailing list by offering a downloadable report on flu natural remedies. Once they have read your information and are on your
list, you are then able to regularly send them information and offers which will improve your sales.

It is also important to find a range of keyword phrases and ensure you build your site content around a range of keywords and not just a single selection. This increases your chances of your content being found and you can link internally to other content on your site. So, using my flu natural remedies example, in addition to echinacea, I could also target keywords ideas such as ‘ginger and lemon tea’ and ‘olive leaf extract’. These are very specific and likely to be far less competitive to rank for than flu natural remedies.

Your starting point will be to sit down and brainstorm some of the keywords that your potential customers could be typing into that search box to find you! Remember that customers are not searching for your site but information on how to solve their problems. This is where it is so important to know your buyer persona because it will help you work out what your potential customers are searching for.

Getting Help Finding Your Keywords

If you find yourself stuck for ideas, here are some tips to help you get started.

A listing of possible tools for keyword research would fill a book and is of course constantly changing. There are of course numerous software offerings to help with this process which range from free solutions, to those costing hundreds of dollars or monthly recurring fees.

The Google search auto-complete is an excellent way to get started with your keyword research.
Neil Patel's Ubersuggest tool provides plenty of extremely helpful valuable keyword and other data.

A limited amount is available at no charge or further data is accessible for a monthly charge.

Google's Keyword Planner accessible from within the Google Ads environment provides plenty of helpful data

These tools will enable you to gain statistics on the keyword phrases including such information as the monthly search volume, the level of competition and their commercial intent.

So why are these important? Well you need to select keyword phrases that have:-

  1. A sufficient volume of searches monthly. Is anyone searching for this keyphrase and if so, are the search volumes adequate?
  2. Low levels of competition and/or low strength of competition, i.e. you stand a chance of attaining a good ranking for them. Strength of competition refers to an analysis of the sort of competitors you face.
    You face a far harder challenge outranking websites that are well established, well respected and with lots of content.
  3. Advertisers bidding on them on Google. It is a good indicator that others are generating sales from these key phrases if they are prepared to pay for them.

Look For Long Tail Keywords

You want to come up with a list of long tail keywords to rank for. So what are long tail keywords? Long tail keywords are three to four word keyword phrases that are highly specific to your product or service offering. These are important to find because:-

  • They tend to be exactly what potential customers are looking to purchase.
  • They are often easier to rank for in the search engines with far less competition.

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