Thorough keyword research is crucial for SEO success. With Google’s algorithms constantly evolving, you need to identify high-value keywords that align with current search intent.
Conducting keyword research will allow you to optimize your pages around terms people are actually searching for.
Follow this comprehensive guide to perform effective keyword research that will set you up for SEO Strategies in 2023.
- Define Your Goals
First, determine your goals for keyword research.
Are you trying to increase website traffic, generate more leads, boost brand awareness, or target local customers?
Defining your objectives will shape the types of keywords you should target.
If you want more traffic, go after high-volume keywords.
– For leads, identify buyer keywords.
– For awareness, target branded and informational terms. Keep your goals in mind throughout the research process.
- Utilize Keyword Research Tools
Rely on keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools will allow you to identify high-value keywords your competitors are already ranking for along with search volume data.
Google Keyword Planner offers keyword suggestions directly from Google based on real search data.
Other paid tools like Semrush provide additional competitor analysis, search volume accuracy, and filtering options. Use at least two tools to cross-reference data.
- Analyze Your Competition
Conduct competition analysis by running top-ranking domains through keyword tools. This will uncover the terms your competitors are already ranking well for along with their estimated organic traffic from those keywords.
You can then selectively target keywords where there is an opportunity for you to potentially outrank competitors.
Avoid over-competitive terms with established sites dominating. Go after keywords where you can realistically rank in the top 5.
- Brainstorm Keyword Ideas
Take time to brainstorm a list of possible keyword ideas and phrases. Think about words and phrases your target audience may be searching for.
Include common questions, industry terminology, and conversational language. Also, research synonyms and associated words around your primary topics.
Long-tail keywords focusing on specific aspects of a topic often have less competition and convert well. Compile a master list of keyword ideas before validating further.
- Validate With Search Volume Data
Next, take your list of possible keywords and plug them into keyword research tools to view estimated monthly search volume data. This will reveal which terms people are actually searching for the most.
Focus on keywords of your niche with at least 1,000 monthly searches. However, long-tail variations with 100-500 monthly searches can still drive targeted traffic. Eliminate keywords with very low search volume.
- Refine Based on Intent and Relevance
Look at your list of potential keywords and refine further based on search intent and relevance to your products or services. Google wants to match queries with helpful, relevant content.
For example, a lawyer’s website should target informational terms like “car accident law” rather than the broad query “car accident” which has various intents. Make sure keywords directly relate to your offerings.
- Choose Target Keywords
Once you have a refined list of validated keywords, select the primary terms you want to focus on. These will form the backbone of your optimization efforts. Be sure to have a mix of head terms, long-tails, and geo-targeted keywords.
Monitor your ongoing results in Google Search Console to see which keywords drive the most conversions.
Add in new target keywords over time and expand your list. Adapt your strategy based on performance.
- Create Content Around Keywords
With your target keywords selected, create optimized landing pages and content around those terms. Your priority keywords should appear in titles, headers, meta descriptions, image alt text, content, schema markup, and URLs.
Craft compelling content that provides the information searchers are looking for when using your keywords. Optimize for both search engines and real users.
- Track Performance
Monitor your keyword rankings in search engine result pages. Are your target keywords moving up in rank over time? Which keywords brings the most traffic and conversions?
Continue tracking performance to identify new opportunities and inform future keyword research. Research is always ongoing in SEO.