Does keywords really matters to get ranked in search results?
How do I find target keywords for my website?
What keyword research tools are good for keyword research?
How do I select priority keywords for my business out of thousands of keywords?
Have you ever stuck with this kind of queries while writing content for your website? It’s really common, but if you follow the normal keyword research steps than you can find the best keywords for your business and can rank for them as well.
Here we are discussing the complete process of how to do keyword research for SEO in this comprehensive keyword research guide.
# What is a Keyword?
Keywords are the most important part of content, it tell search engines what the page or website is all about, and plays a very crucial role in getting your website rank higher in search results.
Previously keyword played a very important role in ranking but now Google is focusing more on user intent rather than keywords in webpage but still if you are using keywords wisely and optimize than they plays a very important role in search engine optimization of your website.
Keywords are nothing special but just a word or a combination of words.
The importance of keywords is decided on the basis of what it offers to your target audience and how ( like your product or service).
# Keyword Types
Keywords are basically classified as SEO keywords and PPC keywords
What are SEO keywords
Your SEO keywords are the keywords and phrases in your web content that makes it possible for your website to rank well in search results, when any user search for that keyword or any variation of that keyword.
What are PPC keywords
PPC keywords are nothing but the keywords used in Google adwords, to take your ad copy high in search results.
Time have changed, So SEO trends and techniques as well. But I am not worried about this because i am following latest SEO trends and techniques. Trust me this is really amazing.
# What Keyword Research Approach to Use
What approach are you following for your keyword research process is really very important and deciding factor of what you got in the end.
Are you searching keywords for your existing content? It is called content centered keyword research.
Note down all the keywords and their variations from your content and find more keyword suggestions using keyword research tools online.
Find out the keywords people are using to find you or your content and use those keywords on your website.
Are you searching keywords to write a new content? It is called keyword centric keyword research.
There are many profitable keywords with high search volumes so start exploring more keywords, Find out how people are searching queries, and create a keyword list.
Arrange those keywords in themes and find out what topic people are looking for and write content around those keywords.
# Study the whole Business you’re doing Keyword Research for
First rule of SEO, understand the whole website, what is all about. Study all the pages, products, audience category and services.
Studying complete website will give you complete sense of the business, It will help you in finding more keywords for your business.
# What pages of your website you want to rank in search results?
It is really important to decide what pages you want to rank in search results. There are many different page on a website and let the correct pages rank high is really important.
For example user looking for shoes getting any t-shirt page ranking in search results demotivate them to click on it.
Basically a homepage, product page or any blog posts on the website are the pages that everybody want to rank.
Mark your website’s target pages and select specific topics on those pages you want to do keyword research for.
We’ll discuss keyword theme and mapping further in this guide.
# Keyword Match types
For Example : if user is searching for ‘best credit card‘ than “best credit card“is an exact match keyword.
For Example : if user is searching for ‘best credit card‘ than “find best credit card in new york” is a phrase match keyword.
For Example : if user is searching for ‘best credit card‘ than “find best buy credit limit card” is a broad match keyword.
but now keyword planner has changed and it shows only exact match keywords and their search volume.
Use an exact match as it’ll give you more precise data with the number of searches for a particular term and that term only. Don’t use an exact match anchor text keyword for building external links, Why? How it affects? Trust me guys, it’ll ruin your link building profile. Rather use distributed anchor text variations for building links for a good optimized link profile.
# How to find best keywords for your business
This is really very important question, choosing right keywords for your business is really important and the very initial step for your whole seo strategy.
You have already identify all the target pages you want to get rank in search results.
Suppose you have targeted
Homepage – than select keywords or phrases defining your business, service offerings, brand name etc.
Product page – than select terms representing your product name, characteristics etc.
Blog post – than select terms related to article content.
Lets take an example of cosmetic store homepage
Suppose you have a cosmetic store in newyork and you are doing keyword research for your website, than select some keywords for your homepage, you can select more if you want to expand your search and list of keywords.
cosmetic store newyork
Do some competitor research and find out what your competitors are using on their website. In other words you need to find out howpeople are looking for the products, services or information that you offer, and select those keywords for your website SEO in order to make it easier for them to find you.
Let these 3 be the keywords defining your business, but people are not necessarily searching exactly these terms but they may be trying different versions or variations of these keywords.
Write all your keywords and their variations in tool and get ideas for keywords, It will give you keywords searched by users with their average monthly search volume, competition, suggestion bid etc. Download this list, Filter out all the keywords related to your business.
For more you can use many other free and paid tools for keyword research like
Average Monthly Search Volume: is the average number of times a keyword is searched on search engine in a period of month.
Competition : is the measure of competition from your competitors you have to face while ranking for a particular keyword. For example if keyword1 has a competition .95 and keyword2 has competition of .60 than it is easier for you to rank for keyword2 as it has less number of competitors as compared to keyword1.
# How important is search term length?
Search term or keywords can be divided in two types on the basis of length
Short tail keywords contains only 1 or 2 words and the number of short search terms is less around 30% – 40% of total, these are low quality terms and people who search for these terms are aware about the market. These terms generates high traffic.
Short term keywords are not specific, they do not express the user intent exactly so they get you poor traffic or we can say non-targeted traffic.
For example if you are searching for “shoes” or “white shoes”, than it is not specifying whether you want to buy shoes or you are looking out for something else.
Long tail keywords contains 3+ words and the number of long tail search terms is around 60% of total. These keywords are not so much traffic generating but the people doing search using these terms are high in number so its easier to optimize for these terms.
Long term keywords express user intent in a very good way, and get you high quality targeted traffic.
For example if you are searching for “buy fila black mens shoes”, it is expressing user intent of buying shoe, so it brings you targeted quality traffic.
#Categorization of keywords
(here we are taking example of a credit card company Amex)
People searching for these terms are pretty familiar with the brand. They know about the brand and directly search for its products, services etc.
Branded terms have either very high number of impressions and CTR(in case you are a very big brand ex. american express) or very less number of impression (if you are a small brand with very less popularity) but they have very high click through rate as well as conversions. For Example : “american express credit cards”, “amex business cards” etc. are branded terms for american express.
Users searching these terms are familiar about your products but still searching more or better and learning about your products more. Product terms have high CTR as well as conversion rate. For Example : “business gold rewards card”, “plum card” etc. are product terms for american express.
Similar product terms
Users are not searching for your products but they are looking for something similar to your products, they are not aware about the difference. If you are ranking for these terms than there are possibilities that users convert for your products. For Example : “delta credit card”, “delta business card” etc. are terms related to products from american express.
Generic terms or non-branded terms
These are the keywords mostly search by people as they are searching for something but the search query is not precise. they are not aware about the products or brands and they are looking for it on internet. For Example : “business credit cards”, “cashback credit cards” etc. are non-branded terms for american express.
If you have a established brand than you can have clicks and conversions from your branded terms as well as product terms. So your should focus more on non-branded terms with high search volumes because if you are ranking for them then it is easy to get more conversions.
#How to get the best keywords out of hundreds
After completing keyword research the real game starts now is to refine your keyword list and separate out the keywords good for your website seo.
Keyword Competition – A very Important factor
Keyword competition is based on how many competitors are competing for any particular keyword. It defines the strength of a keyword i.e. how effective or we can say how strong a keyword is, and how difficult is to rank for that keyword. Lets find out keyword competition using Google search. For example : lets take 2 keywords “business credit card” & “credit card” and check their competition on Google search. For keyword “business credit card”
For Keyword “credit card”
Search volume business credit card – 2,900
credit card – 74,000 As you can see for “business credit card” keyword there are 948,000,000 competitors while for “credit card” keyword there are 638,000,000 competitors so it is recommended to go for “credit card” keyword because it has high search volume and less competition as compared to “business credit card”. You can rank easily for “credit card” keyword as compared to the other one.
Keyword Planner tool from Google also gives your keyword competition, but it is for adwords purpose. So its better to try MOZ keyword difficulty tool to find out how difficult is to rank for any keyword.
Here you can see the keyword difficulty for “business credit card” is 65% while for “credit card” it is 82%, so there is not much difference, and we’ll go with credit card on account of it’s high search volume and less competitors in Google. Follow these steps
# Create a list of all your keywordswith their search volumes and competition/difficulty # Separate out all the branded terms and product terms for your business.
# Filter all the keywords on the basis of search volumes and remove keywords with 0 or very less search volume (this number depends upon how many keywords you have).
# Remove keywords with very high competition/difficulty and less search volumes.
# Use the low and moderate difficulty keywords with good search volume. # You can also select high difficulty keywords with very high search volumes.
You should always know the user’s search intent, means if anyone is searching for business cards that there are possibilities that they may be searching for plastic business cards also called as visiting cards. so always check on Google what your keywords are showing in results.
# Keyword themeing, bucketing and mapping
Correct mapping of keywords is really very important for any website pages to rank well for its target keywords.
Lets take an example of a website with 3 categories T-shirts, Shoes & Trousers. with every category having 2 sub-pages. Let say you are doing keyword research for T-shirts category than there are two sub-pages for plain t-shirts and graphic t-shirts respectively. So create a theme t-shirt containing two sub-themes plain and graphic.
For example plain t-shirts plain yellow t-shirts plain mens t-shirts plain women tshirts buy plain tshirts buy long plain tshirts cool graphic tshirts graphic tees graphic cartoon tshirts buy graphic tees online cheap graphic tshirt etc. are the final keywords for tshirts theme.
Map plain sub-theme keywords on plain tshirts page and graphic sub-theme keywords on graphic tshairs page.
One thing to remember is don’t insert too many keywords in your content, It is called keyword stuffing and you may got penalized or your rankings will go down for doing this.
# Important Findings
Include keywords in Title, description, H1, H2 tags and up-fold content i.e. try to include keywords in starting of the content like in top 100-150 words.
Do keyword research from the user point of view i.e. think like you are the user than do some research.
Try to understand user search intent, and find the best keywords for your website.
Use different keyword research tools and techniques to explore more keyword options.