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Now that you’ve learnt what SEO is and how to get your website showing up in search engine results, it’s time to learn about how you can strategically use keywords to target the content on your website in a way that satisfies both computers and humans alike. 

The key to success in keyword research lies in – you guessed it – having an innate understanding of your audience; knowing how they research and what solutions they’re seeking that you can provide. Your keyword research should reveal to you what your audience is searching for, how many people are searching for it and what format they like to receive that information. 

This blog post will cover the tools and strategies you need to help uncover the information you need for prime keyword optimisation, as well as highlight a few foibles to avoid.

Knowing Your Customers

Before you even start thinking about building your keyword and SEO strategy, you need to first know who your audience is and what they’re after. While you might have ideas and thoughts on who your ideal customer avatar is, if you haven’t taken the time to ask them questions, you can’t be 100% sure who they are exactly and what they’re after.

While it sounds simple, if you’re unsure of how to gather this information, the best way that you can get these answers is to ask. For example, whenever I’m thinking about a new service offering or looking at ways in which I can optimise my current offerings, I’ll conduct market research. I send out a form with questions to those in my audience and conduct 1:1 video calls after if the responder is willing to do so. Honestly, the information you collect from conducting this kind of research is like gold dust!

By conducting this kind of research and asking questions to those in your target audience, you’ll be soon equipped with the information on what problems your customers are having, what solutions they’re looking for, what a dream solution would look and the type of language they use (sidenote: this is key for keyword use!).

Too often this crucial component of planning is skimmed over or skipped entirely. However, if you want to rank for the queries that your customers are searching for, you need to focus on your audience and then use that data to hone in on those insights; making for a much more successful campaign.

What Are People Searching For?

While you may have particular words or phrases that you use to describe what you do/offer, your audience may use different language. Knowing the answer to this question is a crucial first step in your keyword research.

How to Find Relevant Keywords

No doubt, you’ve got a few keywords in mind that you’d like to rank for. These could be things like your product, services and other topics that you/your website address. These keywords are a great starting point for your keyword research and make for good seed keywords (yay!).

In order to discover other related keywords, you can simply enter your seed keywords into a keyword research tool. These tools should reveal what average monthly search volume is like, as well as any other similar keywords. When you start researching your seed keywords, you’ll also get information on other keywords, common questions and topics that you could use for content.

You might notice that throughout your keyword research, the search volume of your relevant keywords vary greatly. It’s important to note that while you want to target terms that your audience are searching for, in some cases, it can be more advantageous to target terms that have a lower search volume as they are less competitive. In fact, including keywords that are both high and low in search volume is beneficial for your website. However, learning more about search volume will help you in prioritizing keywords and using those that will be the most strategically advantageous to your site.

Understanding Search Volume

Generally speaking, the higher the search volume of a keyword, the more effort that will be required to achieve higher rankings. This is what is described as keyword difficulty

You’ll often find that big brands will take out the top ten search engine results page (SERP) placings. So, if you’re just starting out on the web and are targeting the same keywords, it’ll take upwards of years to begin to see results.

As a standard rule of thumb; the higher the search volume, the greater the competition. Thus, the greater effort that is required to achieve organic ranking success. However, it’s also important to note that if you opt for keywords that are too low in search volume, you risk not drawing visitors to your website.

So what’s the right balance?

In most cases, the most advantageous keywords to target are those which are highly specific and lower in search volume. These are called long-tail keywords.

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

There are three different types of keywords:

  • Short keywords: 1 – 2 words
  • Medium keywords: 2 – 3 words
  • Long-tail keywords: 3+ words

As mentioned above, when undertaking keyword research, there are a few key factors that you need to consider, including competition and search volume. You need to ensure that the keywords you use are relevant to your niche, searched but with low competition and conversion.

While it’s optimal practice to include a variety of all three different types of keywords, focusing on using long-tail keywords provides many benefits, as they are generally more relevant to your niche, searched for with little competition and are converting keywords.

How to Strategically Target Keywords

Once you’ve discovered your relevant keywords and understand search volume, you can strategically venture even further by looking at your competitors and researching how search results may differ according to season and location.

Keywords by Competitors

Knowing which keywords to tackle first can be tricky. However, a good starting point would be to focus on the high volume keywords that your competitors aren’t currently ranking for. This is great for if you want to take advantage of your competition’s missed opportunities. However, if you’re after a more aggressive approach, you could also prioritise keywords that your competition is already ranking for.

Keywords by Season

When creating your overall content strategy, knowing about seasonal trends can be super helpful! Let’s say, for example, if you have an e-Commerce website where you sell products to consumers, you might notice that ‘Christmas delivery’ starts to pick up in October. So, you can use this information to plan to start a push using this keyword in the months leading up to it.

Keywords by Region

You can get even more strategic with your keywords by narrowing down your keyword research to specific locations. This can be as specific as country, state or even town. You can research keyword relevance by region by selecting ‘interest by subregion’ in Google Trends. Researching keywords by geographic location is beneficial as it helps to make your content even more relevant to your target audience.

KEY TAKE AWAY POINTS

When undertaking keyword research, these are the factors that you need to consider:

  • Competition
  • Different search volume
  • Find low competition keywords
  • You want your keywords to be:
    • Relevant to your niche
    • Searched keywords
    • Low competition
    • Conversion keywords
  • Different types of keywords

There are three different types of keywords that your keyword research should focus on:

  • Short keywords (1 – 2 words)
  • Medium keywords (2 – 3 words)
  • Long-tail keywords (3+ words)

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