"How to Conduct Keyword Research for SEO"
Line Frier, SEO Manager, Reprise Denmark
Keyword research is the foundation of your search engine presence. Without the understanding of which keywords that are beneficial to your business, you could miss out on relevant traffic and potential revenue.
The keyword research is a way for you to work strategically with the keywords that have the greatest potential for your business. The better you know your target group, the more precise you can target your marketing efforts to the right customer segment.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of analyzing and identifying the actual search terms used to find your product or service in the search engines. The research provides valuable insights to what needs and challenges the target audience might face. This can help inform your content strategy. The goal of the keyword analysis is to drive potential customers to your website.
The keyword research uncovers relevant synonyms and search phrases of the various keywords. This will typically give you a grouping of generic and specific keywords, also called ‘short-tail’ and ‘long-tail’ keywords.
Short tail keywords refer to a single word, such as ‘table’. Whereas long tail keywords usually consist of 3-5 words, for example ‘wooden dining table’.
In general, there is higher search traffic for short-tail keywords; however, the competition is also higher. In contrast to short tail keywords, long-tail keywords focus on specific niches, which is why the search traffic typically is lower. Additionally, long tail keywords have a higher conversation rate as they relate to a specific product or service, and not just a general topic.
Use the right tools for your keyword analysis
There are plenty of keyword tools to make use of while working on your keyword research. We recommend combining various tools, as it will give you much better insights into your target audience’s online behavior. As well as valuable information on competitors.
Our five favorite keyword tools:
Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner is part of Google Ads. Use the tool to get inspiration to new search terms and phrases, as well as how many avg. monthly search each keyword has.
This tool is very user friendly. Simply insert a keyword, and you will have a list with related search terms.
Keywordtool.ioKeywordtoo.io is one of the most efficient tools when it comes to generating long-tail keywords. Just insert a keyword, and you will have a long list of long-tail keywords, related search terms and questions associated with your keyword.
A free or paid version of Keywordtool.io is available.
Use Semrush to get a complete overview of your website or to research keywords. As with the two previous tools, you can use Semrush to search for a specific keyword. On top of that, for each keyword you have a list of the domains ranking on that specific search term.
Semrush is the perfect tool to spy on your competitors. Free and paid version are optional.
Answer the public
Usually, users are likely to search for questions they want to have answered. It is crucial to identify the questions related to your product and/or service. Answer the Public is the goldmine for finding relevant questions.
Insert a keyword, click on ‘get questions’ and you will have a whole range of suggestions.
One of the more simple methods to find new or related search terms is Google’s own search bar. Insert a keyword or search phrase and a list of suggestions generates automatically. A quick and easy way to discover new keywords.
Google also provides related searches at the bottom of the search results page.
A 5 step process for keyword research
There is no “right” way of doing a keyword analysis. Different companies have different markets, services and/or products, which affects the keyword research.
Here is a basic strategy for how you can approach a keyword research.
Step 1: Identify the purpose of the keywords
Before you start your keyword analysis, it is crucial to keep in mind the mission of the company. The mission decides the purpose of your website. Thus, ask yourself the following questions:
- What action would you like the user to take?
- Should they buy a product?
- Read a blog post?
- Or should they be informed about new products?
- Maybe sign up for your newsletter?
The above questions should also, to some degree, answer why potential customers should do business with you rather than with the competitors.
Thus, the mission of a company must declare which search terms you would like to be found on and associated with.
Step 2: Find your search terms
When looking for new keywords it is important that you try to understand the mindsets of the users and customers. Are they using the same words as you? Could they use other and less technical terms?
Firstly, you should start by making a comprehensive list of all the keywords that may be relevant for your business. Write down all your keyword ideas, and don’t forget to include both synonyms and variations of the word, to ensure that all potential keywords are included. If necessary, reach out to the employees in sales and customer service, who communicates with your customers daily, to hear if they have any good suggestions.
Once you have your comprehensive keyword list, you can start using the different keyword tools to gain information about each of the keywords. In this step, you should also take a deeper look into which keywords your competitors are ranking on. This will probably be a good way for you to find new keywords, you might not have come up with on you own. It is important that you write everything down, that comes to your mind in this step. The more the merrier.
Step 3: Evaluate and sort
It is now time to map out the potential of each keyword and evaluate how attractive one keyword is compared to the others.
The evaluation of your keywords should be based on four different parameters: search volume, relevance, competition and visitor value.
- Search volume: Look up the search volume for each keyword. If there is no search volume, remove it from the list.
- Relevance: Can you meet the consumers need and intention with the keyword? If not, don’t spend any more time on this keyword.
- Competition: If the competition for ranking on the keyword is high, evaluate how good your chances are of getting on page 1. If page 1 doesn’t seem like an option, use your resources elsewhere.
- Visitor value: The keyword should contribute to your organizational goals, otherwise it has no value.
The analysis of each keyword's potential will give you a solid foundation for choosing which keywords you should continue to work with. The remaining keywords should be deleted from your list.
Step 4: Keyword prioritization
When working with your keyword analysis, it is important that you consider how the keywords should be implemented afterwards. There is not enough space for all your keywords in the important on-page elements. It is therefore recommended, that you divide your keywords into primary and secondary keywords so that you can prioritize the keywords more easily.
Primary Keywords are the most important keywords on a landing page. These keywords directly refer to your business goals.
Secondary keywords comes after the primary keywords and are mainly used to attract additional visitors to your website.
The primary keywords should be incorporated into all the main elements of the page, such as page title, meta description, H1, URL, and internal anchor texts. The secondary keywords should be used where there is a lot of extra space to for text, such as H2's, body text and alt tags on images.
Step 5: Implement the keywords
You should now have a list of all the relevant and valuable keywords for your business. It is now time to get these keywords implemented on your website. This step is one of the most important steps in the entire process, since it is the implemented keywords that enable your customers to find your company in the search results.
It is therefore important that you consider whether it makes best sense to optimize existing landing pages or whether new ones should be created. As a rule of thumb, all primary keywords should have their own landing page. However, this can seem like everlasting task, especially if you have more than 50 keywords.
Fortunately, it is not a necessity that you create all your landing pages right away. You can choose to use keyword analysis as a long-term plan for developing new content.
While it may seem like a lot of content writing, it is important you do not compromise on the content you create. As the content is created with the purpose of being read by your users and potential customers, it is important that it brings value to them. It is based on the content they decide whether to trade with you or not. It is time consuming to do a keyword analysis and subsequent work on implementing the keywords on your website. But a thorough analysis will improve your visibility on the search engines and ensure long-lasting results. It’s important to keep in mind that a keyword analysis is something you should do on a regular basis. The search behavior is constantly changing, which is why you need to keep up to date with trending keywords. You can always check these search trends on Google Trends. However, we recommend that you do a keyword analysis every year.