Keyword research is the foundation of any digital marketing strategy. Without the right keywords driving targeted traffic to your site, you won’t have leads, sales or any audience at all for your content, products or services.
According to a study by Ahrefs, 90.63% of pages on the internet have never received any organic traffic from Google. That’s a lot of competition for what little traffic is out there!
To determine which keywords are driving traffic to your site, you need to perform keyword research.
In this article, we will cover why keyword research is important, how to do it, and what tools are available to help you out along the way.
History of Keyword Research
AltaVista (the pioneer search engine) first introduced the term “keyword” in the mid-1990s. At that time AltaVista used a keyword meta tag to understand the relevance of a web page to a user’s search query.
The keyword tag could include multiple keywords and keyword phrases. Since then, many search engines have come and gone, but keywords are still essential for SEO.
Keywords have evolved from simple words and phrases to include long-tail keywords with multiple words, such as “how does google work”. Long-tail keywords are especially valuable to marketers because they are often more specific and less competitive than general terms like “google”.
How Keyword Research Benefits Your Business
Why does it matter for marketing? It’s simple. If you aren’t using these terms in your content, search engines won’t know what pages on your website to show when someone searches for them.
Keywords help people find you online. They also help you gain an understanding of how people are searching for you. For example, if you run a small ecommerce shop that sells jewelry and someone searches “jewelry store,” they probably aren’t looking for a physical location to visit. Keyword research can show you that more people are searching “online jewelry store” instead—which would be more beneficial for marketing purposes.
Knowing which keywords drive traffic and conversions is essential to creating content that will help connect with customers and boost sales.
How to find the right keywords for your website
If you’ve ever done a Google search, you know that it’s not always the easiest thing to find exactly what you’re looking for. So if you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to come up with the right keywords for your website, consider this your lucky day: I’m going to show you how it’s done!
Brainstorm keyword ideas
Brainstorm keyword ideas. First, you have to figure out what kinds of words or phrases people might be using when they’re looking for websites like yours. You can use tools like UberSuggest and Google Trends to see what people are searching for and what’s popular, but it’s also helpful to just sit down and brainstorm on your own!
Discover more Ideas with Keyword Research Tools
There are lots of tools that can help you find keywords related to the ones you’ve already found or discovered new words or phrases that people are looking for online. You’ll want to use these tools as much as possible so that there aren’t any gaps in your research.
These tools will show you the search volume and competition (how many other people are using this phrase) for different phrases. Try narrowing down your options —and don’t forget about long-tail keywords!
Analyze the competition
You probably know who your main competitors are, but it’s important not just to know who they are but also what kind of keywords they’re using and how well those keywords rank in search engines like Google or Bing.
There are several tools you can use for this strategy including SEMRush and Ahrefs. With these tools, you can analyse the keywords of your competitors and adjust your digital marketing plan accordingly to more directly target your competition.
The 6 Best Keyword Research Tools For Google
Google owns 92% of internet searches. So everything you do for Google will absolutely work well with Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
Google Trends is a tool that allows you to see how often users search for a specific keyword. You can enter the keyword you want to research and Google will show you how often it was searched for over the last year, as well as the location of the people who searched for it and related keywords.
You can also use Google Trends to compare multiple keywords at once so you can see which is more popular. Also, you can use Google’s autofill feature to get a list of keyword suggestions. The tool also offers a browser extension so you can easily perform keyword research while browsing your favorite sites.
Ubersuggest is one of the best tools for doing keyword research on Google. It’s completely free, easy to use and has many features including an autocomplete feature which makes it easy to find new keywords based on what people are already searching for.
WordTracker is another popular tool used for keyword research. It offers both a free trial and paid subscription options. The tool uses an algorithm to analyze the top 100 sites in your chosen category, and then evaluate their keyword density to determine which words are most likely to get traffic from Google searches.
Wordstream’s Keyword Tool is an online advertising platform that helps businesses find new keywords to optimize their ads for. You can enter any word or phrase into the tool and it will show you a list of related keywords along with their popularity and suggested bid price.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer is another popular keyword research tool that offers an easy-to-use interface. It helps you find keywords based on their popularity or competition level among advertisers. Moreover, it provides data about the relevance of a keyword to its actual search volume. So you can focus your efforts on words that will bring in more traffic to your site.
SEMrush is one of the most popular keyword research tools on the market today. It has a large database of over 200 million keywords.
Essentially, it provides detailed information about each one including search volume, competition level, CPC (cost per click), and more. The tool also lets you see how many people have searched for your term in Google over time. Therefore, you can track changes in popularity or interest level for specific terms over time.
Note: If you have a larger budget and want in-depth analysis, paid tools like Moz Pro or SEMrush are worth the investment. While Moz Pro offers more features, SEMrush offers more robust keyword data and is easier to understand (though less detailed). WordStream also has an impressive paid tool that’s worth a try.
Effective ways on how to use keywords in your articles or blog posts
If you want to make your content more engaging and compelling, then it’s important to have a plan.
There are many ways to use keywords in your blog posts or articles. Here are some effective ways on how to do so:
- Stop Words
These are common words that you can read with the most common ones as “A”, “an”, “and” and “the”. If you have used these in between your longer stringed keywords, don’t stress. In fact, Google’s Hummingbird update allowed more proficiency in seeing past these and identifying what is most important in a page’s content.
You should also try adding some punctuation in between your keywords for better results. For example, if you have an article about cats and dogs then instead of just saying “cats” “dogs” use commas or periods between these words like so: Cats; dogs!
This will help with SEO because it makes it easier for Google’s algorithm to pick out relevant content from what might otherwise look like one big blob.
- Adding keywords in your alt text, headings, meta data, and URL
These are important elements in your content, especially when it comes to SEO. Keep your titles clean and add keywords whenever necessary to improve your on-page SEO.
- Alt-text: When you add an image, don’t forget to add the alt text. This is where you describe the image. Adding keywords in this section will help search engines find you and can help you rank higher.
- Headings: In any article or blog post, headings are used to break up blocks of copy and make it easier to read. These headings should not only be descriptive but also include keywords that are relevant to your content. This will help readers and search engines understand what the page is about.
- Meta data: The meta description should be between 150-160 characters long and include one or two keywords from your title tag or header. It does not need to be a full sentence or have proper grammar, but it should be enticing for users to click through to read more about the topic covered in your article or blog post.
- URL: Your URL should include one keyword from either your title or heading.
- Using LSI Keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It is a way to find keywords that are closely related to your main keyword.
In order to find LSI keywords, you must first type your keyword in Google and scroll down to the bottom of the page. You will see a list of LSI keywords that Google shows you there.
Once you have a list of LSI keywords, you can use them inside your content to make it more relevant and boost your rankings.
- Use White-Hat SEO Techniques
Do you want to use the right keywords in your content? Then, you should follow white-hat SEO techniques.
White-hat SEO means following the best practices of search engine optimization as opposed to black-hat SEO that deliberately uses tactics that are against the rules of search engines like Google.
It’s a way to write powerful content that ranks high on search engines like Google and Bing. By writing informative, relevant content for your users without following techniques to “trick” Google, your ranking will climb and most importantly remain there for months and years to come.
Things not to do to get penalized by Google
- Keyword Stuffing
No matter how much technology has evolved, or how many updates Google rolls out, one thing remains true: people HATE to be manipulated. Google is no exception.
That’s why keyword stuffing is such a big NO-NO when it comes to SEO. By loading your website with keywords to try and manipulate your search rankings, you’re essentially doing the equivalent of shoving your content down Google’s throat. And that’s not going to win you any fans.
Here’s an example of bad keyword stuffing: “Want to buy women’s shoes? Shop our women’s shoe selection now! We have great women’s shoes for women who love women’s shoes!”
This is bad because it doesn’t sound natural at all. It just sounds like someone trying very hard to say the same thing over and over again in order to get their search ranking up. While this might have worked back in the early days, Google has gotten too smart for that trick.
You can find out how many times you’ve used a keyword in a given document by checking your “word count” in Microsoft Word. Ideally, you want a keyword density of about 1-2%, which means that for every 50-100 words on your page, your keyword should appear one time.
- Adding irrelevant keywords to your text
On the other hand, if your products refer to plumbing services, you don’t have to add irrelevant keywords like Valentine’s Day or football. Focus on your industry to avoid being tagged by Google as spam – just keep it natural!
- Picking keywords with no traffic
Don’t put too much effort on keywords that do not have search volume. People usually go with their instincts when searching for anything online. Always do your keyword research.
- Focusing on a Single Keyword or Phrase
Making just one keyword a priority focus of your website is a huge mistake you will regret in the future. Don’t get too focused with just one keyword as this can actually kill your rankings and in the long run, your website too.
Common mistakes you need to avoid
Using the Wrong Keyword Tool
There are a lot of keyword tools out there and they’re not all effective. Make sure you’re using a tool that can give you accurate data. Many tools will give you inaccurate information because they’re based on old data.
Ignoring Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords make up 70% of all search queries. They give you a more detailed picture of what people are searching for, which can help you develop better content that’s more likely to get ranked higher by search engines.
Only Targeting One Search Engine (Google)
Don’t forget about leveraging other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo! in your keyword research—or better yet, consider targeting them directly with your content strategy.
Now that you have a basic understanding on keywords and the dos and dont’s of keyword research, you can ensure that your keywords will be highly relevant for your website, especially your target audience.