Digital marketer working on keyword research

No-BS Guide to Keyword Research to Maximize Your SEO Efforts

At Yak Media, we believe in the power of keyword research as a cornerstone of any effective SEO strategy. Whether you’re optimizing for search engines, fine-tuning your YouTube presence, or enhancing your SEM campaigns, a rigorous keyword research process is key to your success. This comprehensive guide goes into the methodologies and tools essential for unearthing impactful keywords that can drive your brand or business forward. Remember, these aren’t just words on a page; this is the same hands-on approach that we utilize when working with our clients across the board.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a pivotal part of SEO involves identifying and analyzing search terms that users type into search engines. The goal is to understand the intent behind these queries, and then optimize your content to meet the needs of users and, consequently, improve your visibility on search engine ranking pages. It’s a fundamental process within SEO that helps to drive organic traffic, boost site visibility, and potentially increase conversions.

The Importance of Keyword Research

Keyword research forms the solid foundation of a successful digital marketing strategy. It enables businesses to understand their target audience’s search behavior and optimize their online content accordingly. The process involves analyzing search volumes, competition, and user intent to uncover the most relevant and effective keywords for inclusion in your content and online campaigns.

With proper keywords, you as a business or web creator can improve their organic search rankings and attract potential customers to their websites. As such, keyword research plays an important role in driving organic traffic growth. By identifying and targeting the most fitting keywords for your content, you enhance your chances of getting higher search engine rankings, and consequently, increase your website traffic. There are a couple of things to consider before you start your keyword research.

Competitive Landscape

Look at your competitors first. By analyzing their top-ranking pages for your chosen keywords, you can gain insights into the total search traffic they receive from variations of those keywords. This knowledge enables you to refine your content strategy and capitalize on keyword opportunities.

Focusing on High Search Volume Keywords

Focusing on keywords with high search volumes that align with your target customer’s search intent will allow you to create content that not only attracts potential customers but also converts them. Incorporating these keywords into blog posts, product descriptions, and other pieces of content will help boost your organic search rankings. But this is only the only thing to do!

Shifting Focus from High-Volume Keywords

Traditional keyword research focused on finding high-volume keywords with the aim of capturing as much search traffic as possible. However, this approach often disregards the quality of the traffic and its ability to convert into customers. A more effective approach is to consider search intent, which involves analyzing the intent behind specific search queries and tailoring content to meet the needs of searchers. We will touch upon search intent several more times below (this is how important it is!).

Estimating the Business Value of Keywords

To estimate the business value of keywords, it’s crucial to assess their potential conversion rate. For example, a keyword with a lower search volume but high commercial intent may generate more conversions compared to a high-volume keyword with lower intent. By prioritizing keywords based on their potential to acquire customers, businesses can enhance their SEO copywriting strategy and allocate resources more effectively.

Key Elements of Keyword Research

Now after we have covered the bases, let’s dive into the elements of keyword research and how they can impact your online presence.

Search Volume

With any keyword search tool, you will want to understant search volume for the keywords that you may target. Search volume refers to the average number of searches per month for a particular keyword. It is essential to consider search volume when conducting keyword research as it indicates the level of interest and demand for a specific keyword. Higher search volumes usually have more potential to drive organic traffic to your site (if your rankings are high enough).

Search volume provides valuable insights into the popularity and demand for specific keywords. However, you should remember that the number of searches may not necessarily reflect the number of individuals conducting those searches. A single user might perform multiple searches for the same keyword, artificially inflating the volume.

Search Intent

Search intent comes again! Understanding the search intent behind keywords is vital for delivering the right content to your target audience. Search intent refers to the motive or goal behind a user’s search query. By tailoring your site’s content and targeting keywords that align with the search intent of your target customers, you can provide valuable and relevant information, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty or KD refers to the level of competition for a specific keyword. It indicates how challenging it would be to rank organically in search results for that keyword. By considering keyword difficulty, you can prioritize your keyword targeting and focus on keywords that have a reasonable chance of ranking (aka, low to mid KD).

Relevance in Keyword Research

Relevance is another crucial factor in keyword research. It refers to the suitability and significance of a keyword in relation to a specific piece of content or the overall theme of a website. By choosing relevant keywords, content creators can increase the likelihood of their content being ranked higher on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Focus Keyword

When it comes to optimizing content for search engines, choosing the right focus keyword is an important task. This keyword is a key reference point for search engines to understand the main topic of your content. To identify the focus keyword, start with your primary keyword, which is the main topic or theme your content revolves around.

Long-tail Keywords

The use of long-tail keywords is another factor to consider. Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific and typically consist of three or more words. They are highly valuable as they target niche audiences with specific search intents, leading to higher conversion rates.

How to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy

You can now see that researching keywords is an essential part of any effective SEO strategy. With the right keywords, you can optimize your website or content to improve your search engine rankings and attract more targeted traffic. Now we have 5 easy steps involved in researching keywords for your SEO strategy.

Step 1: List Important and Relevant Topics

Before starting your keyword research, think about your target audience and their needs. By knowing who your potential customers are, you can identify the topics they are interested in, and words and phrases they are likely to use when searching for the products or services you offer.

Step 2: Fill in Those Topic Buckets with Keywords

Once you have a list of relevant topics, the next step is to fill in these topic buckets with keywords. Start by brainstorming keyword phrases that are related to each topic. These phrases should reflect the language and terms that your target audience is likely to use.

Step 3: Understand How Intent Affects Your Keywords

Understanding how intent affects your keyword research is crucial for conducting effective keyword analysis. Determine what your target user may be looking for, and identify their needs and expectations. This analysis can help align your content strategy to deliver the most valuable and relevant information to your potential customers.

Step 4: Research Related Search Terms

Researching related search terms is another step in the keyword research process. By finding related keywords, you can refine your list of potential keywords and gain a deeper understanding of what your target customers are also searching for.

Step 5: Use Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools can streamline and enhance your keyword research process. These tools provide valuable data such as search volumes and keyword difficulty, helping you prioritize and select the most relevant and valuable keywords.

Useful Keyword Tools

Here are several useful keyword tools (which are free!). These tools provide valuable insights into keyword search volumes, keyword difficulty, and keyword suggestions. You can also try paid keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz. Despite the wealth of paid keyword tools available out there, we only list free tools that you can get started with today.

Google Trends

Google Trends Screenshot

Google Trends is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into how a topic performs over time in search engines. By using Google Trends, users can analyze the popularity of keywords and search terms, allowing them to make informed decisions for their SEO strategies.

One of the key features of Google Trends is its ability to showcase trending topics. This feature enables users to identify hot topics and capitalize on them by creating relevant and timely content. Additionally, Google Trends provides interest scores, which indicate the popularity of a particular search term over a specific period.

Another useful feature of Google Trends is the display of related queries. This allows users to identify relevant keywords and understand what users are searching for in relation to their chosen topic. By analyzing trends and related queries, users can choose keywords with high growth potential and optimize their content accordingly.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner screenshot

Google Keyword Planner, which we already mentioned above, is a powerful tool for conducting keyword research and is an essential part of any SEO or SEM strategy. It provides valuable insights into search volume, competition, and seasonal trends, helping marketers find the most effective keywords to target.

To access Google Keyword Planner, you need a Google Ads account. Once logged in, navigate to the “Tools & Settings” option in the upper right corner, then click on “Keyword Planner” under the “Planning” section.

There are several ways to use this tool. First, you can enter a broad topic or seed keyword to generate specific keyword ideas. The tool will provide a list of relevant keywords along with their search volume, competition, and potential impressions.

Furthermore, Google Keyword Planner allows you to analyze your competitors’ bidding and ranking keywords. By entering their website or landing page, you can obtain insights into the keywords they are targeting and even discover new keyword opportunities.

Finally, the tool provides insights into seasonal trends, helping you identify keywords that experience a surge in search volume during specific times of the year. This information can be particularly useful for planning seasonal campaigns or optimizing content for peak search periods.

Google Autocomplete

Google Autocomplete screenshot

Google Autocomplete is a valuable tool for generating keyword ideas and understanding user search behavior. This feature predicts popular search terms as users type into the Google search bar, making it an effective tool for keyword research.

So as to use Google Autocomplete effectively, start with a few seed keywords related to your content or industry. As you type these keywords into the search bar, Google Autocomplete generates a drop-down list of suggested search terms. These suggestions are based on real search queries made by users, providing insight into popular topics and search trends. You can also try Yoast Suggest as an alternative tool to get such keywords.

WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool

Wordstream free keyword tool

When it comes to effective keyword research, WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool is a powerful resource to consider. This tool provides comprehensive information that can help you identify the best keywords to target for your website or content.

One of the key features of WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool is its ability to generate a wide range of keyword ideas. By simply entering a seed keyword or topic, the tool will provide you with a list of relevant keyword suggestions. These suggestions are based on actual search terms used by potential customers, giving you valuable insights into popular search queries.

Next Steps

After conducting thorough keyword research, it’s time to take the next steps in creating content based on your findings. With a solid understanding of the intent behind each keyword and a list of relevant phrases to include, you are well-equipped to start writing content for your pages, articles, and blog posts that rank highly in search engines. If you need more support with keyword research or content creation for SEO, get in touch with our team!

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