Keyword research is an essential step in any good SEO strategy. It has to be done wisely when setting up your search engine optimization plan. Are you wondering how to find these keywords and what to do with them once you’ve found them?
In this article, the professionals at our Montreal web agency My Little Big Web guide you through the various steps of keyword research.
What is keyword research?
Before you begin, you need to understand what keyword research is all about. It is an SEO practice that involves finding, analyzing and using the keywords that Internet users enter when performing a search to maximize your online visibility.
But, what is a keyword exactly? A keyword is a word or a series of words that a user will type when searching the web. Search engines, such as the giant Google, constantly update to understand what individuals are looking for so they can present them with the best possible results.
Simply put, keyword research will help you understand the language your potential visitors use and then adapt your content based on these requests to drive more traffic to your website.
Why is keyword research essential for your SEO?
As one of the most important SEO tasks, it is far from trivial! Understanding how your audience makes a request on search engines will empower you to use this knowledge for content optimization and therefore reach a wider audience.
Do you need to do keyword research?
Anyone who wants to optimize their SEO on search engines should do keyword research. You simply can’t achieve good SEO without first doing keyword research.
Whether you are a blogger, website owner or web marketer, this step is the cornerstone of your SEO optimization. You can conduct this research on your own or use an SEO agency.
When should you do keyword research?
Keyword research is typically one of the first steps in optimizing a website for search engines. However, it is very likely that you will have to perform keyword research at other times, for example:
- When searching for new content ideas. If you know what your audience is looking for on Google, you can write articles about it, for example.
- When optimizing your existing content. The world changes and so do Internet users and their way of expressing themselves, which is why you may have to do new keyword research.
How to do keyword research
Before you can write content that will attract visitors to your website, you need to know what they are looking for online.
Keyword research will help you determine the topics your audience is looking for.
Let’s say you have a blog on scuba diving. One of the keywords you will want to position yourself on will probably be “diving” or “scuba diving”. However, these short tail keywords are sometimes overly broad and will therefore face strong competition.
However, if you search a little deeper, you will find that Internet users interested in diving can also use other search terms that exclude the word “diving”:
- What are the effects of deep pressure?
- Where can you dive in July?
- Why do we have to respect decompression stops?
These are called long tail search queries. Here are their specifics:
- They include 3 or more words,
- They have a lower search volume and therefore generally less competition,
- They often generate more commitment and conversions because they are more specific.
The content you write must answer as many questions as possible that an Internet user might have about your business.
Here are some tools that help you find out what keywords Internet users use when they perform searches related to your sector.
Find keyword suggestions with Google
Use Google to guide your keyword research. Type your main keyword in the search bar and look at the suggestions, which show trending queries related to this keyword.
Let’s say you own a hat shop. If you type the word “hat” in the Google search bar, you will find the words that frequently follow the word “hat” in a search.
Google also lets you find searches related to your keyword that Internet users perform. You can use this research to write content that responds to these questions in order to attract traffic to your website.
Research and analyze your keywords with Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner tool is part of the Google Ads advertising platform. It allows you to research and analyze keywords that you can then use in your advertising campaigns.
This tool lets you discover:
- Ideas for relevant keywords related to your products or services,
- The frequency at which users search for certain words,
- Bidding estimates for each word, which will help you define your budget for your advertising campaigns.
Analyze you and your competitors’ keywords with SEMrush
SEMrush is one of the leading tools for keyword research.
This tool, the pro version of which is available for a fee, lets you discover:
- Relevant keywords for your advertising campaigns and SEO,
- Keywords related to your business,
- Long tail keywords, and other information.
Discover the search intent of Internet users with AnswerThePublic
This free tool allows you to test your keyword and see frequently asked questions about it.
Here is what you would get if you wanted to find the search intent for the keyword “hat”.
Naturally, there are many tools. Our SEO experts have only introduced you to some of the most popular ones.
How to use these keywords
After choosing the keywords, it is time to start thinking about how you will use them to increase your search engine ranking.
Organize your content by theme
Here, we are referring to theme clusters that reflect the content structure of your website. Your articles will be organized by theme.
As you can see in the image below, there are two types of content:
- Pillar content, which is the main theme you cover;
- Sub-content, which presents the sub-themes that provide detail to the pillar content.
This template lets you organize your keywords so that pillar content contains a certain list of keywords.
For example, if one of the topic groups in your blog is about chocolate, here’s what your keywords and the titles of the articles in that group might look like:
- Pillar content: Chocolate –> Everything to know about chocolate
- Chocolate recipe –> Prepare the best recipes with chocolate
- Difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate à What is the difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate?
- Best dark chocolate –> What is the best dark chocolate available in Quebec?
This method of organizing your keywords by theme will reinforce the semantics of your articles. This makes it easier for search engines to analyze your website and helps you get content ideas to fully cover the topic.
Focus on one keyword
You can select a keyword that covers your subject and include it in:
- The H1 tag of your page,
- The title tag that appears in search results,
- Your content,
- Some of your Hn tags (H2, H3, etc.),
- The URL of your page.
The integration of your keyword has to make sense. There is no point in putting your keyword everywhere for any reason, it has to be contextualized so that search engines take your page seriously.
Use different LSI keywords
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a mathematical formula for semantic and lexical context analysis that search engines use when analyzing your website. In other words, it is a method of finding your semantically related keywords and establishing a relationship between them.
These LSI keywords are linked to your main keyword.
Use your keywords as anchor text
Using your keywords as anchor text, i.e. text with a link on it, is also an effective way to optimize keywords. This helps search engines understand the subject of the page where the link redirects the user.
Here is an excerpt from an article we wrote for another topic where we inserted a link on a specific keyword:
Keywords at the heart of your SEO strategy
After reading this article, you can no doubt see that keywords are essential for optimizing your search engine ranking and the only way to use them is to include them in your content. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the quality of your content.
Keyword research takes time and knowledge to ensure that you are on the right track. If, however, you need help in your keyword research, you are more than welcome to contact us.