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But first, let’s begin by talking about keywords.
Keywords are what the users enter into the search engines. Keyword research is knowing what the users are looking for. So why is this a critical part of your SEO?
By doing keyword research, business owners like you can discover what their target customers are looking for and what they need.
Keyword research reveals what words and phrases people enter into the search engines when they browse for a certain product or topic. And so it helps you figure out the hottest in the marketplace. It gives you terrific insights on how to run your business.
You can think of keyword research as a compass, which tells your business campaigns where to go. This is why some businesses consider keyword research as the first step to their SEO campaigns.
So how do you begin your hunt for the right keywords, which you ought to be using when writing your blogs?
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
Before jumping into keyword data, you must get to know your target audience more. Ask yourself a few questions, such as “What are their interests or topics which relate to your business?”
Doing this helps you decide the essential content to write about. Come up with at least ten general topics or categories.
For example, if you’re into the wedding business, you’d probably come up with “photographers,” “planners,” “giveaways,” etc. These will help you come up with the specific keywords later.
After that, do a monthly search volume (tools are available online) of those topics, and pick the top three or five topics which your audience finds most important. These top picks will be your bucket for the keywords.
Brainstorm and identify the phrases for each keyword research topic.
These specific phrases are what your target customers are likely to use when they conduct searches on Google.
For example, “photographers.” We have to come up with phrases that we think users would key in when they search about wedding photography. Let’s fill in the “wedding photography” with a bucket of such phrases:
- wedding photography
- wedding photographer
- London wedding photographer
- Surrey wedding photography
- Light wedding photographer
- Luxury wedding photographer
- Fine art wedding photography
We are not coming up with a final list just yet. We’re just dumping phrases, which we think our audience will use. Do this to all your buckets. The more, the better, as we shall narrow the list down later.
If you’re struggling with coming up with phrases, try typing in the topic in Google search bar. Then scroll down and read the suggestions and related searches. Take cues and ideas from the suggested phrases.
Make sure that you have a healthy mix of head terms and long-tail keywords.
The difference between the two is the length. Head terms are generic terms that are usually one to three words long. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are often phrases that have more than three or more words.
A balance between them is critical for your keyword strategy. Head terms boast a massive search volume, but they’re also equally harder to rank for. “Wedding photographers” is obviously harder to rank for compared to “wedding photographers in Birmingham.”
But that doesn’t mean that the latter phrase has no value. In fact, it has better value when it comes to traffic quality. The traffic you’re getting from “wedding photographers in Birmingham” is surely more desirable than the “wedding photographers.”
Why? That’s because we can presume that the one who keyed in the long-tail keywords is the more qualified searcher between the two. The difference is between being specific and being generic.
Conclusively, a healthy balance of head terms and long-tail keywords is important. That said, you should try hard at coming up with difficult head terms in the long run.
Study your competitor’s ranking for your listed keywords.
Take notes on the keywords wherein your competitor ranks, so you’d know which keywords you would need to work on. Besides that, take not on what keywords and phrases your competitor is not using. You might take advantage of that by taking over them. There are available toolkits for this online.
Refining your keyword research list.
Now that we’ve listed many keywords and phrases, it’s time to narrow them down. You can get some quantitative data on your listed keywords through some online tools, such as Google Keyword Planner. Weed out those keywords that have too little or too much search volume.
Reminder: there are some low-volume keywords that have the potential for growth. Google Trends can help you determine which are soon to be trending.
Once you’re done, use those words and phrases in your blog and churn out much better content.
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Pri Kruijen is an award-winning SEO and the founder of Brilliantly Visible. With over 10-years experience as an SEO, Pri has worked for well-known brands like Notonthehighstreet and has been featured by the Rising Tide Society.
She is also the SEO expert for a number of leading communities like The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and Small and Mighty Co.
When she’s not teaching SEO to small business owners, she loves to cook up a storm in her kitchen, travel to new destinations and watching Spanish movies on Netflix.