Keyword research is an essential part of your SEO strategy. If you want to write high-performing blogs or improve your organic website traffic, you’ll need to harness the power of internet search and drive new leads to your business.
While there are many keyword research tools on the market, having a good tool isn’t the only strategy you need. Considering your consumers, competitors, and the quality of each individual keyword is an important part of making sure you rank.
Below, we’ll outline some of the most important tactics we use when doing keyword research for Brandcamp clients. These tactics, alongside a strong keyword research tool and ongoing optimizations, can mean the difference between invisibility and success in the world of online search.
1. Consider words and phrases used in your sales funnels
The first step in doing effective keyword research is to understand how and why people talk about your business.
While you and your team may have specific words or phrases you use when talking about your business, your customers may use an entirely different vocabulary. It’s important to understand and utilize any nuances in language when doing your keyword research.
Consider your most recent sales conversation. Were there words or phrases that stood out to you? Did your customer use a turn-of-phrase that caught you off guard?
If you’re more of a digital-first business, try reading your online reviews or product comments to see how your customers discuss your business.
Once you have a list of potential keywords, run them through your keyword research tool and see how much traffic each one gets.
2. Conduct consumer keyword research
On top of doing your own customer research, you should also conduct wider consumer research. This can mean researching similar products or services and seeing how consumers discuss these.
Online, you can use websites such as Reddit, Quora, or Amazon (if your business is product-based) to see consumer questions, ideas, and reviews.
At Brandcamp, we like to compile any keywords we find at this stage into a consumer research spreadsheet. We then check these keywords in our keyword research tool and choose the ones that best fit our client’s niche.
3. Conduct competitor keyword research
Understanding what keywords your competitors are targeting and ranking for is a great way to figure out what kind of keywords you should be using.
Many keyword research tools allow you to conduct link research which lets you see the Domain Authority, Linking Domains, Ranking Keywords, and Inbound or Outbound links associated with a website.
Here is an example of this tool in use on Moz.
If you’re using Moz, you can then export this data as a CSV file and input it into an Excel spreadsheet. From there, you can sort your keyword data by Monthly Volume, Difficulty, and Relevancy to ensure you are targeting the most rankable keywords.
You can do this with as many competitors as you like, simply adding their data as tabs to your larger file. Below is an example of this for one of our fashion clients.
4. Use a keyword suggest tool
Once you’ve gathered a list of relevant keywords, it’s a good idea to run them through a keyword suggestion tool to find other satellite keywords that can be used.
This is also a good time to consider your long-tail keywords. Longtail keywords are groups of words or phrases that are often more direct and easier to rank for.
For example, digital marketing is a keyword.
Where to find good digital marketing services in Vancouver is a longtail keyword.
The Moz Keyword Explorer is one such tool that can give you information about satellite keywords.
You can also try Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, the Google Keyword Planner, the Wordstream Keyword tool, Ahrefs, or any other relevant tool that you enjoy using.
When choosing a keyword research tool, be sure to choose one that gives you a wide breadth of data for each keyword. Understanding monthly search volume and keyword competition is an important part of your keyword research.
5. Find keywords with high monthly search volumes and low competition
As I said above, when conducting keyword research it’s important to look for keywords that have:
- high monthly search volume (meaning many people are using these keywords every month) and,
- low competition (meaning not many competitor sites are trying to rank for this keyword)
Ultimately, you want a lot of traffic to your keywords and as little competition for them as possible.
Once I have my keyword data organized in a spreadsheet, I like to go through and highlight the keywords that contain both of these factors.
From there, I create a new page that showcases the most relevant, most rankable keywords and submit those to the client.
Other factors, such as relevancy and solving customer pain points should also be considered when choosing your keywords.
Entity-based SEO vs. keyword-based SEO
As search engines such as Google continue to upgrade their search algorithms, we are beginning to see a shift towards “entity-based SEO”. Entities are categories that contain specific keywords that give search engine bots context for user search.
Essentially, entities are the future of search as they allow search engines to use contextual language to determine the meaning of content.
For example, the keyword Washington could mean a number of things. It could be a state, a city, a president, or a currency type. If a user searches for “Washington” in Google, they may end up with a wide variety of search results.
“Washington” on its own is a keyword with many meanings. In contrast, “President Washington” is an entity that is clearly defined. If you search for this entity, you’ll have a much more detailed results page. There are historical documents, papers, and paintings of this person that can easily be displayed.
For marketers, entity-based SEO opens up an entirely new field of possibilities. Instead of simply focusing on keywords alone, we can trust that Google’s algorithms will understand the topics of our content based on context, not simply keyword integration.
While this does not mean that you should avoid conducting in-depth keyword research, it does mean that your chances of ranking for relevant topics are improved-- especially if you are writing high-quality, relevant content.
How to bring it all together to win online search
While the world of SEO is always changing, there are still basic SEO elements that should be adhered to.
Keywords will still continue to be relevant for a long time.
But, with new updates to search algorithms, we can allow ourselves more creativity in our keyword implementation.
Instead of simply keyword stuffing, build content that is hyper-relevant to user search.
As well, when choosing keywords for your website or blog content, prioritize relevancy over anything else.
Looking for help with your content marketing and SEO? Contact our team and let’s work together.