Doing proper keyword research is essential for optimizing your website for search engines. We all know that Google policies keep changing every few months, which keeps all website owners on their toes in trying to catch up with the latest SEO best practices.
But however many algorithm updates Google makes, one thing always stays consistent: the need to do SEO keyword research as the first step towards optimizing your website for search.
Since SEO keyword analysis is something all website owners need to know about, we have dedicated today’s post to explain how to do keyword research for search engine optimization.
The proper way to do keyword research has evolved over the years. In the earlier years, only simple keywords were all that was required for use in website content. These days we have the core keywords, long-tail keywords, and other related relevant keywords, all of which need to be paid attention to and listed in an organized way for distributing and using in marketing content. In other words, while the need to do SEO keyword research has remained the same, the way to do it is not the same as before.
Let’s define what keyword research is, and after that, we will discuss the steps you can take for a thorough and effective SEO keyword analysis.
What is Keyword Analysis?
Keyword research or keyword analysis is the process of searching for and analyzing the search words and terms that people enter into search engines like Google to find content on a specific topic or niche.
The primary purpose of doing keyword analysis is the search engine optimization of a website or landing page. It is also used for general digital marketing purposes. When a business or brand builds a presence on the internet, it needs to ensure its presence has visibility. In other words, a brand website should always be discoverable, or else it has no value. To make it discoverable, you need to know how to do keyword research, to begin with.
Keyword research helps you uncover the queries you’ll target, the popularity of each query, and their ranking difficulty. It provides valuable insight into the entries people make when they are searching for something on Google. These insights help you form your content marketing strategy as well as your overall marketing strategy.
But one thing is worth mentioning here. Keywords on their own are not as important for SEO anymore as you might assume. In recent years, as SEO practices have evolved, keywords have become a bit less critical for your ability to rank high in search engines. If you speak to SEO professionals, they will tell you that matching a person’s search with the exact keywords you target is no longer the most critical ranking factor to consider. What matters the most is the intent behind the keyword. This makes the correct process of doing keyword research slightly different from before.
Now that doesn’t mean keyword analysis has become a completely outdated process. Keyword research tells you what subjects people care about the most and how popular each topic is among your target audience. When you research keywords with the highest volume of searches every month, you can figure out how to sort your content into these topics. You can then use these topics to determine which keywords you need to optimize your website for.
Let’s lay out the 5 steps you need to take to do SEO keyword research.
1. Make a List of the Relevant Topics
To kick off the process, you first need to think of all the topics you want to rank for. Categorize your list into generic buckets. You can easily come up with 7-15 topic buckets relevant and important for your business niche. Then use these topic buckets to think of specific keywords.
If you are doing keyword research for a blog, you will use these keywords most frequently in your blog articles. If you are running a business to sell physical products, these will be the keywords you use most frequently in your sales conversations. To come up with the most relevant keywords, try to put yourself in the shoes of your buyer persona. Think of the topics they are likely to search for and the terms they will most likely type into a search engine. The closer you get to the topics and terms, the more effective your keyword research will be.
2. Fill In Each Topic Bucket With a Few Keywords
Now that you have prepared your topic buckets, the next step in your keyword research is to identify a small group of keywords to fill up each bucket. These are usually keyword phrases, also known as the long-tail keywords, that are important for ranking high in search engine result pages. These are the exact phrases that your target customers are conducting searches for.
Once you can come up with accurate long-tail keywords, you can consider yourself an SEO keyword analysis expert. That’s why this is a major step in determining how effective your keyword research will be.
3. Understand How Your Intent Impacts Your Keyword Research
As mentioned in the previous section, using specific keywords is the most pivotal factor in search engine optimization. You need to know and address the problem that users intend to solve when they key in certain keywords into search engines. How exactly does that impact your keyword research?
Well, a keyword can have different meanings beneath its surface. You need to figure out the user’s intent when they use a specific keyword to steer your content in the right direction as you use that as your primary keyword. You need to be extra cautious in interpreting the keywords that you target.
4. Find Out the Related Search Terms
If it is difficult for you to think of keywords that your audience might be searching about your topics or niche, you can search for the related search terms instead. This is a creative way of enhancing your keyword research. Related search terms are the terms that appear when you start typing a keyword in the Google search bar.
There is also another way to find related search terms. Google always shows some suggestions for searches that are related to your initial input. These suggestions can be found at the bottom of each page of your search results. These terms can give you ideas for more keywords that you might want to consider and include in your list.
5. Use Keyword Research Tools
There are several keyword research tools available in the market that you can use for your advantage. These can really enhance your process of conducting your SEO keyword analysis. Some of these tools are open source, while others offer limited features in their free plan. Popular examples of such tools include Ahref and SEMrush.
4 Common Mistakes You Could Make With Your Keyword Research
Now that you know how to do keyword research, let’s talk about 4 possible mistakes that can cause your keyword research to go wrong.
You could be asking the wrong questions. It is common for people to assume that their audience is asking or searching for a certain set of queries when in reality, their assumption is wrong. Their audience could actually be using a completely different set of queries.
You could be getting all your keyword data from only one source. This is not a wise way to do your keyword research. You need to use at least 2-3 sources to find the most relevant keywords for the topics you write on.
You might not be answering the question at all. Yes, this is possible. You could be doing extensive keyword analysis only to throw it away at the end of the day because you discover that you were actually focused on a tangentially related question, not on the exact queries your audience is making.
In the end, we would just like to say that search engines should be treated as platforms where users voice their questions on various topics. Some of these questions could be relevant to your business, while most will not be. Each query made in a search engine is a user’s question, so your goal should be to answer that query better than any other website owner or content creator.
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