How to Do Keyword Research for Your Content Marketing
Your website content is what attracts search engines and readers to your site, but how do you know what search terms people use to find your site? Keyword research helps you find phrases to target search terms used by search engine users. Keyword research is the process of finding search terms, search volume and competition and using this data to create new website content. You should always write naturally and avoid targeting bots, but keyword research can help you find topics and phrases for content that increases search impressions and traffic. Keyword research is time consuming and tedious, but it can greatly improve your SEO efforts.
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Start with Vague Phrases
You know your business better than anyone else, so you have some idea of what phrases should be used for your website content. Start with some vague phrases for a general search. For instance, suppose you sell real estate in Las Vegas. You could start your research with the term Las Vegas Real Estate to start off. Come up with about 10-20 phrases and write them down. The more phrases you come up with, the better your chances of finding additional phrases for your site. Another phrase might be “Las Vegas Homes” or “Las Vegas Condos” or “Las Vegas Luxury”. You could drop the local and find general search terms such as “real estate”, “real estate listings”, “real estate market” and add your local into your keyword phrases after you have determined the phrases.
The next step involves Adwords or Google Keyword Planner. If you don’t already have an Adwords account, you should get one. Adwords is Google’s pay-per-click advertising network. You pay for each ad click. Adwords has a keyword research tool you can use to find search volume. Adwords is the best tool for this research, but you can also use third-party tools.
Use Vague Phrases to Find More Specific Phrases
Whether you use Adwords / Google Keyword Planner or another tool, you now need to find more specific phrases. These phrases are called “long-tail phrases.” The reason you don’t want to keep the vague phrases for content ideas is because they are extremely competitive. Most vague, simple phrases have millions and even billions of pages indexed. All of these indexed pages are your competitors. Long-tail phrases are targeted by fewer site owners, so they aren’t as competitive. Phrases with fewer competitors make it easier for you to get seen in search engine results.
Type your vague ideas into the research tool of your choice. These keyword research tools display other phrases similar to what you’ve typed. Notice that they are more specific, but you get several dozen variances of the vague term. With the Google Keyword Planner, a list of numeric values is shown to the right of the search term. This value is the search volume. Search volume is important when you want to figure out how many impressions you’ll get from a specific term and how much traffic it can give you. You should choose a term that has at least 500 search impressions. Some SEO experts suggest finding phrases that have at least 1000 search impressions. You can experiment with different search volumes to figure out which minimum to stick with.
Adwords gives you ideas for phrases and search volume, but it does not tell you what kind of competition you have. Adwords shows a list of prices next to a search phrase. These phrases indicate how much you pay for each ad click. You can assume that phrases with high-priced clicks are probably competitive for organic search as well. Personally, I like low and medium competition long-tail phrases when I’m focusing on a target marketed niche. Best way to get on Google fast is through a hyperlocal or niche focus.
Moz is the go-to tool for identifying low competition phrases. Moz has a percentage assigned to each phrase. You type your phrase into Moz’s keyword research tool, and it gives you a competition percentage. You should find phrases that aren’t higher than 60% in competition. The Moz tool isn’t perfect, but it can help you filter out phrases that have good search volume but are too much competition for a new site owner. If you have a strong organic search presence already, you might be able to use more competitive terms. However, if you’re a new site owner, highly competitive terms with strong websites already in the search engines will bury you and leave you without traffic.
Search the Phrase Yourself
Even with high competition in the Moz tool, some phrases are still useful when determining target keywords. Open a Chrome window in incognito mode. An incognito Chrome window lets you search without Google’s personalizing, so you get a better idea of what sites rank for your potential customers.
Use Google to search your phrase. Take note of the sites that already rank for those phrases. Do they look like strong, well-written pages? Do they have plenty of content that draws you in and gives you the information you’re looking for? If the answer is yes, then you should probably look for another phrase. Be very objective when searching for competitors. Instead of asking yourself why you should rank for terms, ask yourself if the sites that already rank give users what they are searching for. If they do, then it will be very difficult to bump your competitors down the ranks. For difficult terms, you might need to use Adwords ads instead.
Write Natural, High Quality Content
After you determine your phrases, you’re ready to write your content. Some site owners write content specifically for keywords and focus too much on tricking a bot. Instead of focusing on keyword density and other SEO nonsense, write content naturally and write it well. Bring your expertise to the screen, so users prefer your content over your competitors. Good content will rank long-term, but keyword stuffed content that is written for search engines will harm your site’s rank. As soon as Google’s algorithm catches up with keyword stuffed content, your pages will drop hundreds of positions behind your competitor. Know your topic, check that your ideal keyword phrase is in there 2 or 3 times and leave the rest alone. Here’s how you can tell if you “stuffing”. Read the article out loud or have a friend read it for you. If you are or they are tripping over the words because they sound unnatural, you are probably stuffing.
If you have the time, you should write at least one article each day. Most business owners don’t have the time to write high quality content every day, so find a freelance writer who understands your niche well. However, always edit content before allowing user-generate content on your site.
Keyword research is just a stepping stone for good website rank and SEO, but it greatly improves your target organic search phrases you can use to increase traffic. Always write naturally and avoid any content tricks such as spinning or plagiarism. Using good content, you’ll gain natural backlinks, improve your search engine rank, and increase sales from search engine traffic.[recent_products per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”] [show-testimonials orderby=’rand’ order=’ASC’ limit=’7′ layout=’grid’ options=’theme:flat,info-position:info-left,text-alignment:left,columns:1,review_title:on,read-more:on,display-image:on,image-size:ttshowcase_normal,image-shape:round,image-effect:shadow-highlight,image-link:on’]