Google is a powerfully intuitive tool that is constantly evolving. Not only do search engines have the ability to point you to the content you’re looking for, but they are also answering queries right in the SERPs (search engine result pages) without the consumer ever needing to click on a website. This concept of a personalized search result makes it extremely important that keyword research should be the very foundation of your SEO plan. Understanding what keywords to use is pivotal to having a successful and thriving online visibility.
What exactly is keyword research?
If you’re stumped at this question, no need to feel defeated. Keyword research is more of an art form than a perfect science. The true definition of keyword research can vary greatly but think of it as a task that involves using phrases or words that people (consumers) type into search engines – and how those rank in search results. The goal of keyword research is to match what the consumer is looking for and to be able to use those words or phrases, so your website shows up in the search results driving traffic to your site. Keyword research, when used effectively, provides the roadmap for both the design and implementation of your website and content.
First Steps to Creating a Keyword Research Plan
First, take a look at your entire search landscape for your website, check your competition, and if you have Google analytics or Google Search Console, take a look at the queries that drove traffic to your site already. These can be the building blocks to what you might want to rank for when creating new or refreshing content.
Another effective tool at figuring out what to rank for is the search engine itself. Once you’ve narrowed down on the subject that you want to conduct keyword research for, start by typing in your targeted keyword in the Google search bar and see what auto-populates. Next, scroll down to the bottom and see what the suggestions are. Put those suggesestions into your favorite keyword tool and sort through to find relevant highly ranking search terms that could be used on your site.
When creating your keyword research plan, keep in mind that it is most often than not difficult to rank well in the SERPs when using only a broad keyword, like ‘shoes’, for example. SEOs need to think in more niche terms than that. Instead, try to create long-tail or medium-tail keywords that capture not only shoes but maybe another qualifier like ‘toddler shoes’. Take it one step further and add ‘toddler shoes for girls’. You get the idea — come up with as many of those terms and you can and again, plop them into your favorite keyword tool and see what the results are. Then add them to your on-page content, like your titles and metas.
Every SEO practitioner has developed a likening to certain tools and processes to conduct their keyword research – and we know, it can seem overwhelming! Here at Moose May, we have professionals ready to get you started on your keyword research plan today!