Keyword research is one of the most essential aspects of running websites that are looking forward to leveraging search engine traffic.
And if you are a beginner who is looking to head that way, you need to have a good grasp of it so that the effort you put into your website can pay off by helping you get the right audience for your content that will take action on the things you recommend that will then make you successful in the long term.
This is a beginner’s guide to keyword research that will get to you understand everything you should know about keyword research and how to succeed in it.
What is Keyword Research
It’s the process of finding and evaluating search keywords or search phrases that people enter into search engines to make sure they are good to use to create content on your website.
It’s an important step in SEO and content development for a website because it helps you know the direction you want to take with your work as well as help you understand how much demand there is for a specific keyword and hence you are able to optimize your work to meet those needs.
You also get to know who you are competing against and how you can be better than them as well as how difficult it’s going to be for you to rank on a certain topic.
Keyword research affects every SEO task that you perform that is from finding what content you want to put out all the way to how you promote that content.
In addition to this, you also get to know if you are making any progress with your website or not based on how your work is performing on search engines.
It’s important, however, that you know that doing keyword research doesn’t mean that you just check on the number of searches a certain keyword is getting or the competition it has.
You must also comprehend the idea or thinking that goes behind your audience when they research on a topic and with that, you are able to get a feel of how you should deliver on that topic that will answer the questions, satisfy their needs and solve their problems.
How Keyword Research Works
Keyword research involves getting keywords that have high search traffic and low competition.
You should consider high traffic and low competition as your MAIN consideration factors for determining a good keyword because this gives you the best chance against those you are competing with and hence you are able to rank well.
To know these metrics on a keyword you think could be good for content you want to create, you use a keyword tool.
A keyword tool is a tool that helps you get a proper analysis of a keyword, that is traffic and competition, and others, which allows you to see if it is good for your website or not.
Apart from providing metrics on keywords, other keyword tools offer additional provisions such as content analysis for the keyword as used by competitors, backlinking analysis, rank tracking of your competitors, and other features to aid in bettering other areas of your website.
Some of the best keyword tools known include Ahrefs, Jaaxy, Majestic, and SEMrush.
To learn more about keyword tools and how they work and how to get a good one that serves your specific needs, here is a complete guide on keyword tools.
How to Do Keyword Research
There are many approaches people take when carrying out keyword research, and here is the standard approach:
Step one. Analyze your niche
Before you get to the specific keyword that you should use, you should first get to know more about the area you will be covering and understand it better.
You should ask yourself what topics are hot in your niche and what are people normally interested in, in that niche.
You can also ask yourself, if you were interested in that niche that you are in, from your audience’s perspective, what specific area would you want to know about it.
Social media platforms are also a good place to go and get ideas for the topics you should cover on your website.
This way, you will come up with many ideas that will give you some topics and phrases that will act as your foundation for keyword research.
Step two. Come up with a list of suitable topics you want to address
Here, based on the ideas you got, try to make a list of all the relevant topics that you want to write on and also ones that you know you will be searched for on search engines by people who are enthusiastic about the niche you are in.
Step three. Come up with a list of keywords from those topics
Now try to create phrases that you think people looking for the topics you chose in the previous step would use to search for the topics in search engines.
For each topic, create at least 5 to 10 keywords.
You can also use the Google auto-suggest feature to help you get more keyword ideas.
Just hop onto Google and type in one of the topics and as you type in, you will see suggestions of keywords people are using to search for that topic.
And the good thing is, those suggestions are some of the best keywords that carry high traffic, which you will come to confirm in the next step.
Step four. Use your preferred keyword tool to analyze those keywords.
Here, you will need to have a keyword tool in place so that you are able to do a comprehensive analysis of the keywords you have on your list and get to decide if they are good to work with.
Since we all have different needs in terms of websites, I encourage you to read about some of the best keyword research tools, some of which are paid and others free to help you choose one that you feel is the best for you.
Once you have chosen you can proceed with this step.
As I have pointed out many times, I use the Jaaxy keyword research tool as my personal favorite since it works well for me due to its affordability, simple layout, and easy to understand analysis, so I will be using to walk you through keyword analysis for better understanding.
So here’s how you do it.
~ The first step is to log in to your Jaaxy account.
~ Next, you should click on the “keywords” menu item in the top menu and ensure that you have chosen “Search” on top of the keywords item on the same menu. This is going to lead you to the page where the Jaaxy tool is.
~ Now type in the keywords in your list, one by one, and click on the “Find keywords” button. This will make the tool run a search and give you results of various keywords around that topic that are being used to search on that topic.
~ After that, you will now need to analyze the keywords and choose what is the most worthy of using to write your website content.
In Jaaxy, you get to see how much traffic a website gets per month in the AVG column. The competition is in the QSR column and the traffic column shows how many clicks you will be getting to your website if you are ranked in the top positions in Google.
You also have KQI (Keyword Quality Indicator) that is categorized into Great, Poor, and Normal to tell you if a keyword is good to use for your website.
~ If you have a new website, you should choose the keyword that has an AVG (monthly traffic) should be above 200 and QSR (competition) below 100.
This technique will get you keywords that you can easily get ranked within Google on the first page, which is what you should be aiming for.
As you progress and your website gains authority, you can take on the keywords that have much higher competition, above 100, and which also have great traffic.
Now some people may prefer to do otherwise, but this is an approach that has personally helped me rank easy and start getting organic traffic with a new website.
Step five. Further your research
Here, you can take another step of seeing the kind of competition you have for the keyword you have chosen and what they are doing to be ahead. Jaaxy will help you even analyze the content of your competitors and help you see what things you should keep in mind to get to their level and possibly overtake them.
And that is keyword research in a nutshell.
In regard to how often you are supposed to carry out keyword research, it depends on how often you publish content on your website.
There are people who do it on a regular basis as they are publishing frequently while others do it every other time.
It’s important that you keep in mind that keyword trends keep on changing and hence you should do your research as regularly as possible so that you stay updated in your niche and able to provide good content that your audience will enjoy.
It’s also essential that you have a plan on how you are going to do your keyword research based on the time you allocate to it and the keyword tool you are using. This will save you a lot of time.
Benefits of Keyword Research
• Helps you build your authority
Through great and high-quality content, your audience becomes more active and through this, you rank higher in search engines. As a result of this, you get more views for your work as well as help you in building influential links.
• You save a lot of time
This is because keyword tools provide the most essential information about keywords fast and if you have a criterion for analyzing keywords, as previously mentioned, you get high-quality keywords fast
• Helps your website in getting indexed and ranked well on search engines
If you do great keyword research, you are able to find keywords that give you a high chance of being ranked well on various search engines. As a result, your content will be exposed to people who are interested in your content and this contributes to more website traffic.
• Helps you build on your ideas
Through doing keyword research you learn a lot on the topic you have in mind and you are able to add more information to what you already had in mind.
• Helps you understand about your competitors well
This has got be the best thing about keyword research because you get to know who you are competing against, their strengths and weaknesses, and how you can be better than them.
• Helps you properly optimize your content
Once you have good keywords, you are now able to effectively tailor your content so that it meets the needs of your targeted audience giving them exactly what they need while working with good keyword practices like Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords that add SEO value to your website.
• Help you find keywords that actually convert
Long-tail keywords are known to have really awesome conversion rates due to being specific and thus relevant to audiences. And keyword research can give you the chance to uncover them
• Help you get insight on trends
Trending topics in your niche can increase the value of your brand in a big way in terms of exposure, traffic, and even conversions. If you get trending topics and then use keyword tools to research the popular keywords around those trends, you can get a lot of exposure, especially if you are among the first to discuss those topics.
Tips For Good Keyword Research
Here are some tips that help you get more from your keyword research:
√ Look at the common questions your audience has about a certain topic of your niche
This will help you to get ideas that people are actually invested in and you create your content around that and hence you will boost your chances of getting to consumers who are looking for those answers your website has, on search engines.
To find these questions you can do the following;
– Check on Q & A (Question and Answer) sites like Reddit and Quora, the common questions that are asked about a certain topic
– Ask your audience what they would like you to address
√ Make sure that your content is high in quality
Do a better job than what’s already there because then you stand out and your audience will want to read your content since you are more informative and hence get more traffic.
Aim to create the best content which is credible.
√ Use a good keyword tool
They are many keyword research tools out there that you can work with in terms of keyword research. Make sure you get one that works well and is within your price range. Remember, you get what you pay for.
√ Pay attention to your competitors
Your competitors may know more about your niche more than you and taking influence from them can help you build your own brand too. However, don’t copy-paste their ideas.
Seek to know what they are using and doing to be on top and aim to do even better.
Get to know which keywords they are using and why, how their ranking is, how are they accruing traffic and so much more. By doing so, you get to know how you can take advantage of that and get the edge over them.
√ Focus on long-tail keyword phrases
Try to avoid using short tail keywords because they won’t add much value to your website and will actually be hard for you to get ranked well with.
Short tail keywords are more general and the competition on them is over the roof.
For example, if you used the word “Research”, it could mean anything from medical research to problem-solving research, which will get your website categorized under so many related topics which will end up making your website become irrelevant for some people and even fail to get noticed because there is so much competition.
But if you used, “Tips on how to carry out medical research”, you are in a better position to increase your chances of being ranked higher in search engines and get a targeted audience.
√ Monitor traffic trends
This will help you know which type of keywords will drive readers to your site, and also how you can build on that using your future content. Investing time to come up with creative ideas on how you can increase traffic on your site is also a good idea.
√ Avoid targeting too many keywords
Narrow down your keyword lists and if you don’t know what you want to get rid of, critically analyze each keyword based on how profitable and relevant they are to your website. This will help you eliminate unnecessary keywords that will weigh your content down.
√ Connect with other people in your niche
You can learn from them and exchange ideas on how to make your website do better. No man is an island and so you will need help along the way. Some website owners in your niche and forums that discuss your niche could make good resources for you to not only get keywords but also get valuable information to share with your readers.
Common Mistakes in Keyword Research
The following are some of the most common mistakes that people make when carrying out keyword research;
* Failure to pay attention to what your audience is looking for
When you do this, you end up choosing the wrong keyword and thereby confusing your audience. In any case, there is no point in ranking if you are providing the wrong information to your audience.
So, before you get started on a post, critically analyze what your audience needs on that specific topic and keyword, and then from there, match your content to what your audience is looking for.
* Going for traffic rather than ease of ranking
There is always this temptation to want to focus on the keywords that have thousands or tens of thousands of traffic just because they seem popular and forgetting to look at the competition they come with.
This will make you disappointed if you use them because you may not get to enjoy any of that traffic because your content will not be rewarded with good rankings if your website is not authoritative.
It is much better to work with a keyword that has relatively low traffic but low competition than the former because a keyword with fairly low traffic and low competition is easy to rank with and hence you can get a good amount of traffic to your website with it.
Frequently Asked Questions on Keyword Research
Question: How much does keyword research cost?
Answer: You incur different costs through using the various keyword tools and with each tool the prices vary. It could be as much as $999 per month as with Accuranker or do it for free with tools Google Keyword Planner. Either way, you are the one to decide on what you want based on your personal keyword needs.
Question: How often should I use a keyword in my article?
Answer: Well, first, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience by using the keyword too many times in your article because then you reduce the value of your content. With this in mind, try not to exceed five times, spread it out in your content and meta information because this ensures you are balanced.
Question: What does keyword difficulty indicate?
Answer: This is a very important metric in keyword research that shows you how simple or difficult it is going to be for you to rank for a particular keyword. The higher your keyword scores in terms of difficulty the more it’s going to be hard for you to rank for that specific keyword and vice versa.
Question: What is keyword search volume?
Answer: This is the total number of searches for a particular keyword at a given period of time. The bigger the search volume, the more likely it is to bring in traffic to your content, and the lower it is, the less traffic you will get.