What is Keyword Research

Keyword research helps you find out what search terms your audience are using so that you can optimise your individual webpages around those keywords (using techniques such as keywords in the content) with the aim of getting your website to the top of the rankings when someone types in that keyword.

Objective of keyword research for online marketing

The objective is to find keywords that have lots of monthly searches but limited competition so it’s easier for you to achieve higher ranking in search engines. The downside of this practice is that usually keywords that have very little competition aren’t searched for very often while those who get millions of searches per month are very difficult to rank for.

Why keyword research matters even if you have no website

Keyword research is about identify the language that your target audience uses and most importantly helping you discover what their problems are. When they sit down or increasingly search on the go with their mobile device what are they really looking for, how can your product or service resolve their problems? Keyword research helps you to understand your market and even segment your market – for example where they are in the buying process – research, buying, telling others.

How to go about keyword research

A bit of history – keyword stuffing- one keyword per page. Don’t do it anymore! Now focus on queries that are asked naturally because

  • That’s how people think
  • Google hummingbird update – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning—is taken into account, rather than particular words. Now the focus is on the users, not the keywords. You should focus on answering questions.
  • Growth of voice activation search using services such as Google Now or Siri where people ask full questions not individual keywords

So we need to identify both:

  • longer-tail keywords eg “women wetsuits” might now be “best womens triathlon wetsuit” and;
  • semantic keywords – synonyms and plurals of your main keywords. So if I’m an architect, I also want to use keywords like architecture and architects.

How to do keyword research

Here’s some ways to get a list of keywords:

  • Start with your customers. What problems are they having that you can solve? This should provide you with some basic keywords.
  • Ask your customers – get feedback.
  • Use your brain: Come up with as many associations that you can.
  • Check competitors’ sites and blogs (you can look at their meta tags).
  • Type into Google search box and see what the auto-complete comes up with
  • Social media – see what your potential customers are discussing on Twitter (research hashtags and use Twitter search to find potential opportunities) and LinkedIn (join groups in your niche to discover hot topics and conversations).
  • Forum discussions
  • Dictionaries and thesaurus
  • Your analytics and Webmaster Tools are also decent sources to discover keyword opportunities.

Good keywords tools to use:

Google keyword planner – you’ll need a Google adwords account but you don’t need to activate it or pay any fees.

Keywordtool.io This is becoming one of the more popular free keyword suggestion tools. With a single search, this tool can generate hundreds of keyword suggestions from Google, YouTube, Bing and even the App Store.

Niche Laboratory Free keyword tool good for finding related keywords. It crawls the top 10 search results for any search term you enter and displays a list of keyword ideas.

Übersuggest Gives many variations of a keyword or phrase

Answer The Public A visual search tool that throws out loads of suggestions

Group the words together into the same meanings/intent.

Two searchers may be using two different terms or phrases but if both of them have exactly the same intent they will want the same answers from the website and their query is going to be resolved by the same content, so we want to give them one page to serve those.

Want to find out more? Here’s a full run down on how to do keyword research.

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