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Keyword Research: A Beginners Guide (2024)

Keyword research provides useful insight into the keywords currently searched by your target audience on Google.

Although Google keeps us on our toes with all of the algorithm changes they keep rolling out, one thing for inbound marketers looking to refine their search websites has remained reasonably consistent: keyword research and SEO. Ok, the need to research keywords has stayed the same. How you do it hasn’t. Keyword research provides useful insight into the keywords currently searched by your target audience on Google.

As well as the broader marketing plan, the insight you can get into these actual search terms can help guide content strategy. Keywords themselves, however, may not be as important to SEO as you may believe. To make it easy for you, here is a beginner’s guide to keyword research.

What Is Keywords Research?

Keyword research is simply a process of discovering and evaluating search words that individuals enter into search engines, mostly for search engine optimization (SEO) or general marketing, intending to use the data for a particular purpose. Keyword research will disclose target queries, the importance of these queries, their ranking complexity, and more. We hear more and more about how much SEO has developed over the last 10 years and how unimportant keywords have become our ability to rank well every day for the searches people make.

And to some degree, this is true; it is no longer a significant ranking factor in an SEO professional’s mind to use keywords that exactly fit a person’s quest.  Rather, it’s the meaning behind the keyword and whether or not it solves a piece of content for that reason. But that doesn’t mean research into keywords is an obsolete method. Let me explain: Keyword research tells you which subjects people care about and how famous those subjects are actually within your audience, assuming you use the right SEO method.

The operative term here is subjects—you can classify and sort your content into topics you want to build content on by researching keywords that generate a high volume of searches each month. Then, to dictate which keywords you look for and aim for, you can use these topics. You will ask the questions that most individuals in your audience want to answer by studying keywords for their popularity, search volume, and general purpose.

How To Do Efficient Keyword Research For SEO Strategy?

Below is a keyword research method that you should implement to create your list of words that you should target. That way, you will build and implement a powerful keyword strategy that allows you to find the search terms you care about, making an efficient SEO strategy.

Step 1: Centered on what you know about your company, make a list of interesting, specific subjects.

To start this process, generic buckets, think about the subjects you want to rank for. You’ll develop around 5-10 topic buckets that you think are important to your company. Then you’ll use those subject buckets to help later in the process come up with some particular keywords. These are the things you write about often if you’re a professional blogger. Or maybe they are the subjects in sales conversations that come up the most.

Put yourself in your customer personas’ shoes—what kinds of topics does your target audience look for that you would like your brand to be found for? For instance, if you were a company like Arahoster—providing website hosting services, you might have general subject buckets like:

  • “Best hosting services” (21K)
  • “Website hosting cost” (19K)
  • WordPress hosting services” (30K)
  • “Top hosting” (17K)
  • “Affordable hosting service” (6.2K)
  • “Hosting for WordPress” (8.5K)

In these brackets to the right of each keyword, see those numbers? That’s their volume for monthly searches. This knowledge enables you to measure how relevant these topics will be to your audience and how many specific sub-topics you can need to build content for that keyword to be effective.

Step 2: Fill in the keywords in the subject buckets.

Now that you have a few subject buckets that you want to concentrate on, it’s time for some keywords that come into those buckets to be defined. In the SERPs (search engine results pages), these are keyword phrases that you think are important to rank since your target customer is likely performing searches for those particular words.

For example, if I took the subject bucket for an inbound marketing software company—”marketing automation”—I would brainstorm some keyword phrases relevant to that subject that I think people would type in. Those may include:

  • Tools for Marketing Automation
  • How to use tools for Marketing Automation
  • What is Email Marketing?
  • How to say if I need software for marketing automation

The purpose of this step is not to come up with your final roster of phrases for keywords. You would just like to end up with such a brain dump of keywords that you think could be used by prospective consumers to scan for material relevant to that specific subject bucket. Later in the process, we can narrow the lists down to don’t have anything too unwieldy.

Although Google encrypts more and more keywords every day, another clever thing to follow up with search terms is to discover the keywords for which your site is already being identified. You’ll need some analytics tools such as Google Analytics to do this. Drill down into your site’s traffic sources and browse through your organic search traffic collection to find the keywords that people use to get to your site.

Step 3: Consider and evaluate how intent impacts keyword research.

User intent is one of the most essential variables in your potential to rank well on Google’s search engines. Today, it is more vital to answer the issue a searcher wants to tackle on your website page than to simply hold the keyword used by the searcher. So, how does the keyword research that you do affect this? Using keywords for the face value is very simple, and unfortunately, under the surface, keywords can have several different meanings.

Since the purpose behind a search is so essential to your ranking prospects, how you perceive the keywords you pursue must be extra careful. Let’s say, for example, for an article you want to write, you’re exploring the keyword ‘how to start a blog.’ “Blog” can literally mean a blog post or the website itself, and the course of your article will be affected by what a searcher’s intent is behind such a keyword.

Would the searcher like to learn how a specific blog post can be started? Or would they want to learn how to simply launch a domain for blogging purposes on a website? If your content strategy is only aimed at people interested in the above, you would need to be sure of the intent of the keyword before committing to it. It’s a good idea to simply insert this keyword into a search engine to verify the intent of a user in a keyword and see what kinds of results come up. Ensure that Google’s content category is strongly related to what you’d like to build with the keyword.

Step 4: Search words correlated with the research.

When doing keyword research, this is an innovative move you might have already thought of. If not, it’s a perfect way to get those lists filled out. If you’re finding it hard to think of more keywords that users might be looking for on a particular topic, start by looking at the related search terms that arise when you insert a keyword into Google.

You’ll find some search recommendations relevant to your original feedback when you type in your term and scroll down right to the end of Google’s results. For other keywords that you may want to take into account, these keywords will spark ideas.

Step 5: Use keyword research tools.

Keyword research and SEO tools such as Adwords, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest will help you develop more ideas for keywords based on precise matching keywords and phrase match keywords based on the idea you have created to this stage. This exercise might provide you with alternatives you may not have anticipated.

Step 6: In each bucket, look for a mixture of head terms and long-tail keywords.

Let me clarify if you don’t understand the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords. Head terms are phrases with keywords that are usually shorter and more generic—depending on who you speak to, they’re normally only one to three words in duration. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that typically contain three or more words.

Checking that you have a mixture of head terms and long-tail terms is critical because it will give you a keyword approach that is well integrated with long-term goals and short-term gains. That is because head terms are usually searched more often, making them much more competitive and difficult to rank for than long-tail terms, sometimes (not always, but sometimes).

Step 7: See how those keywords are ranked by competitors.

Just because something is being done by your rival doesn’t mean you need to. For keywords, the same goes for them. Just because your competitor has an important keyword doesn’t mean it’s important to you. Understanding what keywords your rivals are trying to rank for, however, is a great way to help you offer another assessment of your list of keywords. If your rival also ranks for those keywords on your list, it certainly makes sense to work to boost your ranking for those keywords.

Don’t neglect the ones that your rivals don’t seem to care about, though. For you, this might be a perfect chance to own market share on substantial terms, too. Compared to those terms that are a little more practical, knowing the balance of terms that may be a little more complicated due to competition can help you achieve a similar balance that the combination of long-tail and head terms make. Note, the aim is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some easy wins and help you make progress towards greater SEO strategies that are more difficult.

Step 8: Cut down your keyword list by using Google’s Keyword Planner.

Now that you have the right combination of keywords, it’s time for some more quantitative data to narrow down your list. To do this, you have a lot of instruments at your disposal, but let me share my favorite technique. I prefer to use a Google Keyword Planner mix (for this, you’ll need to set up an Advertising account, but before you pay any money, you can turn off your example ad) and Google Trends. You will get search volume and traffic forecasts for keywords you are considering in the Keyword Planner.

Then, take the details you learn from the Keyword Planner and fill in some blanks using Google Trends. Use the Keyword Planner to check any search volume words on your list that have either too little or too much and don’t help you keep a good balance, as we’ve talked about above. But before you uninstall something, check out Google Trends for their trend history and predictions. You will see if, say, any low-volume terms might potentially be something that you can invest in now—and later reaps the benefits.

Best SEO Keywords

Know that there are no “best” keywords, just those that your audience is interested in. It’s up to you to craft a plan with this in mind that will enable you to rank sites and drive traffic. Relevance, authority, and volume can take into account the best keywords for your SEO strategy. You want to find widely searched keywords for which you can compete fairly based on:

  • The level of rivalry you’re up against.
  • Your ability to create content that exceeds what’s currently rated in quality.

And, you’re done! Oh, congratulations! You now have a list of healthy keywords that will allow you to concentrate on the right issues for your company and make some short-term and long-term gains. Every six months, make sure to re-evaluate these keywords — once a quarter is a decent benchmark. Still, some organizations tend to do it even more frequently than that.

Suppose you gain even more power in the SERPs. In that case, you can find that as you focus on sustaining your current presence, you will add ever more keywords to your lists to deal with and then expand on top of that in new areas.

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