Although Google keeps us alert with all the algorithm updates they have underway, it has become clear that the most important thing if you want to optimize your website for search is the work of keyword research.
Well, the need to do that keyword research work has always been around. What has changed is the way of doing it.
In this article, we’re going to give you a process you can follow to narrow down a list of terms that you should be targeting. In this way, you will be able to establish and execute a suitable keyword strategy that will help you find the terms that really matter to you.
Step 1: Make a list of important, relevant topics, based on what you know about your business
To start this process, think about the topics you want to address in terms of generic topics. You’re going to imagine 5-10 topics that you think are important to your business, and then we’ll use those topics to help you come up with some specific keywords later in the process.
If you are a blogger, those topics will be the issues that your blog usually addresses most frequently. In a store, they might be the topics that come up most often in sales conversations. For example, in a company dedicated to the sale of marketing software, the topics would be something like: “blogging”, “email marketing”, “SEO”, “social media”, “marketing analytics”, “marketing automation” , etc.
Step 2: Fill those topics with keywords
At the moment you have a few topics that you want to focus on, so now is the time to identify some keywords that should fall into those thematic cubes. There may be keyword phrases that you think are important to categorize on the search engine results pages (the SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages) because your target customers are likely to search based on those specific terms.
Following the example of the company dedicated to the sale of marketing software, if I take the topic “marketing automation”, I can think of a few phrases with keywords that I think my clients can use in their searches:
– Marketing automation tools
– How to use marketing automation software
– What is marketing automation?
– Email marketing automation
And I could think a lot more. This step is not intended to make the final list of keyword phrases. It is impossible to imagine all the combinations of words that your customers can use to do searches related to your business. You could go crazy!
Luckily, more and more keywords are being encrypted by Google every day. So another good idea to find good keywords is to find out what keywords have been used to find our website. For this you need software like Google Analytics.
Repeat this exercise for each topic you have. And remember that if you have trouble finding relevant terms, you can always go to the front-line employees (like Sales or Services) and ask them what kind of terms customers use or what questions are asked most often.
Step 3: Search for terms related to your search
If you can’t stop thinking about which keywords users should use in reference to a specific topic, simply go to Google.com and take a look at the “Related searches” section that appears at the bottom of the page when you enter a keyword in the search box. Those words can give you very valuable ideas of other keywords to consider.
And there is still more. Click on one of those related searches and search for THEIR related searches.
Step 4: Make a mix of short phrases (head terms) and long phrases (long-tail keywords) in each cube
Head terms (short phrases) are keyword phrases, usually no more than three words. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, tend to be phrases that contain more than three words.
It is important to check that you have a mix of both types of phrases because this will give your keyword strategy the right balance. This is due to the fact that head terms tend to be the most used in searches, being more competitive. In contrast, long-tail keywords tend to attract much more desirable traffic.
That is because someone who is looking for something so specific is a much more qualified “search engine” for your product or service than someone who does a more generic search.
Step 5: See how your competitors categorize those keywords
Just because your competition does something doesn’t mean you should. And the same goes for keywords. Just because a keyword is important to your competitor doesn’t mean it has to be important to you. However, understanding which keyword your competition is using can give you a new perspective.
If your competition categorizes certain keywords that are also on your list, that definitely makes your work more meaningful. On the other hand, don’t ignore those words that your competitors seem to despise. This is a great opportunity!
And how can you find out what keywords your competitors are using? Well, a simple solution is to use a tool like SEMrush that allows you a certain number of free reports showing you the main keywords of the domain you enter.
Step 6: Use Google AdWords Keywords Planner to profile your keyword list
You already have the right mix of keywords, so it’s time to round out the list with some more quantitative data. You have a lot of tools at your disposal for this task but I advise you to use Google Ads Keyword Planner in conjunction with Google Trends.
Use Keywords Planner to flag any of the terms on the list that have too little (or too much) search volume, and don’t help maintain a healthy mix. But before you delete anything, take a look at its trend history and projections on Google Trends. You can see, for example, if some of the low volume terms could be something to invest in hoping to make a profit in the future.
Or maybe you’re just looking at a list of terms that is too unwieldy, and you have to limit your search in some way … Google Trends can help you determine which terms are trending upward and therefore you might want to keep .
By following these steps you will have obtained a list of keywords that will help you focus on the correct topics in developing the correct strategy for your business.
Make sure to re-evaluate those keywords every few months!