Competing for the attention of consumers online can be quite challenging. With so many other businesses offering similar products or services, it’s hard to stand out from the rest. Sadly, despite how much more affordable prices or better quality you offer, your competitors still seem to get a bigger share of the market. How are they doing that?
The answer is quite simple.
They are more visible to the consumers. When a prospect goes online to search for what they want or need, they naturally use a search engine. Over 70% go to Google.com, with the rest opting for other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo. The prospect types what he or she needs and relies on the recommendations delivered by search engines.
Consumers trust search engines, but only so long as you appear as one of the top recommendations. Your business should be visible to consumers when they search for a product or service that you offer.
So, how do you do that? By ensuring that you optimize your site for the keywords that consumers typically use. For example, if you run a plumbing business you want your services to be recommended when a person goes online and types “plumber” in a search engine.
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? But there is much more to the process. As a beginner to keyword research, it may be a bit confusing. Especially when you start realizing that all your competitors are also doing everything they can to be shown as the top result for the same search keyword.
To help you better understand the entire process, let’s start with the basics.
What is a Keyword?
In SEO, a keyword is primarily the term or word that a person would use in search queries. For example, a consumer looking to purchase a new mobile phone would often use the model or brand as a keyword. He or she may type iPhone X or iPhone in the search field to find out where he or she can buy the phone or learn of its features.
Search engines search all indexed pages for sites that have this keyword in their content and deliver it back to the consumer on the Search Engine Results Page or SERP. The consumer would now have the option to click on any of the websites. Appearing on the top of the results increases the chances of driving consumers to your site.
Therefore, ensuring your site includes popular keywords is such a necessity. When researching for keywords, you will come across a variety of terms. Below is a list to help you out:
- Seed keywords – these are the simplest form of the keywords. It is basically the foundation of your keyword research. If you sell curtains, then ‘curtains’ would be one of your seed keywords.
- Long tail keywords – these are longer and more specific search terms that a consumer or prospect is likely to use. It is made up of a seed plus a modifier. For example, a longtail keyword for ‘curtains’ can be ‘curtain styles for Christmas’ or ‘curtain decoration for parties.’
- Semantically Related Keywords – These are other keywords that are closely related to what you have optimized. If we use the previous example for curtains, related keywords can be ‘blinds, ‘drapes’ and even ‘beddings’. The reason behind the last keyword is a search engines analysis of what the consumer’s needs are when they launch queries. If a person is looking for curtains, then they may be doing so because they are looking to redecorate their bedroom.
How do you conduct keyword research?
Doing keyword research can be overwhelming especially for beginners. It may feel like there are a lot of variables that need to be considered. To make the whole process easier to manage you will need to choose a reliable SEO tool.
There is still quite a debate about whether a tool is necessary. While it is not impossible to do a keyword research manually, a tool will certainly make it more efficient. However, you do need to make sure that you choose wisely.
Some factors that you would need to look at would be price and features. Keep in mind that the more expensive option isn’t always the best choice. Take advantage of free plans as well as trial periods to determine which tool can meet your needs. Tools can help you build your keyword list by providing you with important data such as who your competitors are, what keywords they are using and what keywords you could benefit from the most.
You can also start the process by deciding on what topics are relevant to your product or service. For example, if you sell sporting goods, then you may want to start listing which sports and products you want to promote. If it’s NBA season, then topics relating to basketball may be the most relevant.
From these topics or products, you can start building your own list of keywords. Start with seed keywords such as ‘basketball’, sneakers or any other product that you have. You can use your tool to get long tail keywords to help you find your niche. After all, there are sure to be hundreds of other sites that sell the same things.
The next step is to research other related keywords.
You can use your tool or do a manual search online to find out what other keywords are closely associated with your seed and long tail keywords you have identified. This is a great way to find other opportunities to rank. You may discover other keywords such as ‘basketball equipment’, ‘basketball equipment in LA’ and ‘basketball gear’ that you may not have thought of initially.
The next step is to check how your competitors are utilizing these keywords to enhance their rating. While this part of the process may seem tedious, keep in mind that this will help you strategize your keyword utilization better.
Researching your competitors will help you determine how much money and time it will need to rank. It will also help you figure out which keywords you can still compete on and which ones you may need to forego. Don’t forget to look at the keywords that other companies may have already lost interest in. These are going to be easier and cheaper to rank on.
While it is important to work on the keywords that your competitors are ranking on, be realistic. Make sure that you have a balance between keywords that are less popular but easier to rank for and ones that have higher search volume and harder to build.
Once you have determined what words to use, you can start working on your content. The results may not be instant, but just hang in there. Go through the process regularly so you can adjust your strategy and you’ll certainly be rewarded.
Keyword research isn’t rocket science. While it does require time and attention, you can certainly efficiently do the process even if you’re a beginner.