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Keyword research. SEO keyword optimization.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Even though Google constantly rolls out algorithm updates, optimizing a webpage with keywords to rank (or increase your brand awareness) has remained a standard. Therefore, chances are one of the strategies you are implementing is SEO keyword optimization.

Did you know that Ahrefs analysis on long-tail keywords found that 94.74% or more than 3.8 billion keywords have a search volume lower than 10?

And that only 0.0008% or about 31,000 have more than 100,000 searches per month?

That means that without proper keyword research, it’s likely that your content will not generate enough organic traffic.

So, to rank your content for the proper queries, you must learn how to conduct keyword research properly and efficiently.

Why Are Keywords Important?

Keywords tell search engines what your content is about.

People use them to navigate the internet and find fixes and solutions to their questions. When your website is properly optimized with keywords related to your business, your potential customers can find you easily.

Note with keywords written on it. SEO keyword optimization.

In fact, according to Bright Edge Research, organic traffic is outpacing growth in other channels, with 53.3% on average across industries coming from organic search. Thus, it’s rather obvious that organic dominates the digital marketing game – making keyword research a necessary skill for everyone working in digital media.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of discovering how your target audience searches for your content, products, or services. When doing the research, there are three essential aspects you need to focus on:

  • What terms are people searching for (related to what you provide)?
  • How often are people searching for that?
  • Which format content best fits their query?

Remember that doing this research is not a one-time thing.

In fact, with the constant changes in Google’s algorithms, you must constantly search for new, relevant keywords that you can use to increase your ranking.

Why Should You Do Keyword Research?

Though businesses often believe they offer high-quality products or services that people would be interested in, they often don’t get enough traffic or traction to those landing pages. This is due to a mismatch between their targeted keywords and what their target audience uses when searching for their product or service.

This is where keyword research can be a game changer.

Proper keyword research tells you what queries your target clients have. Thus, it enables you to optimize for the same search terms people use and makes the effort of optimizing worthwhile.

The main point of doing the research is to increase the visibility of your website and get more organic traffic to attract customers. To do that, you must focus on getting your website high on the SERP results pages.

Data from the research can help you get higher in the SERP results, which is vital for your business since the first three positions in Google account for about 55% of all clicks, as Backlinko research states.

So, how can you get to those top positions?

Top view of paper with concept words of seo, digital devices, pencil and notebooks on wooden table.

How To Search For SEO Keywords?

Many tools and methods can help you research keywords. And there are also many steps you can take depending on what works for you, but some are inevitable. 

1. Brainstorm Keywords Relevant To Your Business

The first step in keyword research is to consider what search terms people enter in search engines best describe your services or products. You should come up with several topic buckets relevant to your business and decide which ones you will focus on.

The next step is to make a list of keywords for each of the bucket topics. Include words and phrases that you believe will get you to rank for a high SERP position.

This is not when you come up with the final list, but figure out what your target customers type in when looking for what you have to offer them. 

It’s also wise to check if your website is already ranking for specific keywords on your landing pages. You can do this with Google Search Console or other SEO tools like SEMRush, MOZ, and Ahrefs. 

2. Understand Your Target Audience’s Search Intent

Search intent or user intent is the most pivotal factor in ranking high on search engines. Today, search engines give a lot of value to websites that address what a searcher intends to solve with their search query. 

That means you shouldn’t just consider the keyword’s outward aspect but examine its intent.

The easiest way to determine the intent behind a keyword is to enter it into a search engine and look at the results. Ensure that the content format you use for that keyword matches the high-raking SERPs. 

3. Check Out The Related Search Terms

If you are struggling to find keywords, a great approach is to look at the related search terms that appear when you type a query into a search engine. 

You can find the related searches on Google at the bottom of the page. These can serve as ideas for other keywords that you might think are closely associated with your business. 

Another way is to analyze the high-ranking keywords of your competitors. You might not have access to their Google Analytics, but any SEO tool will give you a basic domain overview.

SEO Search engine optimization.

Use Keyword Search Tools To Your Benefit

Keyword search tools can help your research by giving you additional options based on the words and phrases you have already come up with.

Some of the most popular tools include:

How To Choose The Best Keywords?

Once you’ve done your research, the next step is to choose the keywords that are best for your business. This is the most critical step in optimizing your website.

There are three critical metrics that you need to analyze. These will help you decide whether that keyword would be a good choice.

1. Search Volume

A keyword’s search volume shows the number of times people search for it during one month.

Typically, the higher the search volume, the harder it is to reach a high organic ranking because of greater competition. However, if the search volume is too low, only a few people use that keyword, meaning it will not draw any searchers to your website.

Therefore, it’s best to try and find a balance of a keyword that has high volume but lower competition. 

The best approach is to target long-tail keywords because they are more specific. Using long-tail keywords will also help you avoid the possibility of mismatching your keyword with the searcher’s intent.

2. Keyword Difficulty

A keyword’s difficulty shows how difficult it would be to rank for it. Usually, it depends on the niche and the keyword’s popularity.

Basically, if a keyword has more incredible difficulty, it will use up more time and resources. However, if you believe such a keyword will bring you a lot of traffic, you shouldn’t just put it aside. 

Instead, you should develop a long-term plan on how you will target the said keyword, and in the meantime, prioritize less difficult ones to make sure you attract traffic to your website.

Top view alphabet letters and memo note written with KEYWORD.

3. Intent

For each keyword, there is a purpose of a search in a search engine. 

Search engine algorithms read the intent of a keyword to show the proper results for the searcher. 

Typically, there are five types of keyword intent:

  • Informational, when the searcher is looking for information.
  • Navigational, when the searcher wants to go to a particular place on the internet.
  • Transactional, when the searcher wants to do something, such as buy a bus ticket or watch a movie.
  • Commercial, when the searcher wants to compare products and figure out the best for their needs.
  • Local, when the searcher is looking for something in his area, like a bar or theater.

Knowing the intent of a keyword is vital so you can structure the format of your content accordingly. If your content doesn’t match the searcher’s intent, it will likely bounce quickly from your site to another, which can cause issues with CTR. 

Final Thoughts

Keyword research is a crucial part of any sustainable SEO strategy. 

Even though it might sound like tedious work, without it, there is almost no way that you can rank high on the search engine result pages.

When done correctly, your content will attract more organic traffic and engage your readers, leading to more customers.

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Categories:  St. Louis SEO

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Stratigist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a master of Science in Internet Marketing from Full Sail University and a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Missouri. For the past 17 years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy at a St. Louis full-service marketing agency. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

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