Tips for Keyword Research & Usage
Is it more important to write for users or for Google? Many webmasters do not understand why, despite the high-quality content, they are unable to increase visits to their site.
Publishing content that is engaging and full of useful information is essential, no one doubts it. However, if the goal is to receive organic traffic, you can not do without searching for keywords to find out how to optimize the pages of your site.
The questions you need to ask yourself before starting the analysis are:
1. What is the purpose of the web page I am about to create?
2. What are the keywords users are looking for in relation to the page topic?
3. Once the user arrives on my page, what kind of content do you expect to find? What information is best for your research intent?
If you aren’t familiar with keywords and their purpose, here’s a definition according to Moz.com:
Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.” If you boil everything on your page — all the images, video, copy, etc. — down to simple words and phrases, those are your primary keywords.
As a website owner and content creator, you want the keywords on your page to be relevant to what people are searching for so they have a better chance of finding your content among the results.
Finding the right keywords to use on your website can make the difference between a successful site and one that will never be able to generate useful traffic. This is why keyword analysis is one of the most important SEO activities, and often one of the most underrated.
In fact, consider that if your content can be of quality, you will have more chances to get organic visits, only thanks to a systematic use of the most fruitful keywords for your business.
How to estimate the value of a keyword?
During your analysis, you may not resist the temptation to choose only those words that generate thousands of searches every month, what we call high-frequency keywords. The reasoning that many content writers offer is: “This word is searched 10,000 times a month, so I have to choose it to optimize my content”.
Big mistake! In fact, as it is logical, the higher the search volumes, the higher the competition.
To see at a glance the competition of a particular keyword, try searching for it on Google. Do you notice many sponsored ads? If so, the word you’ve been looking for is probably a high-value keyword, and will, therefore, have a very high competition.
Imagine managing an e-commerce site, perhaps recently created, that sells clothing. Do you think it’s easy to appear on the front page for keywords like “t-shirts” or “jeans”? Your competitors will be Zalando, Benetton and other brands that you will probably never be able to compete against. That’s why keyword research is essential in an SEO analysis.
The importance of long-tail keywords
Before proceeding to the description of the best tools for the analysis of the keywords, it is right to mention the so-called long-tailed keywords. These are keywords generally consisting of 3 or more words, and represent over 70% of the searches made by users. Despite the generally lower search volumes, the advantages of optimizing your site using long queues are twofold:
1. Greater specificity: the user who is looking for “jeans” has not yet decided which type of jeans he wants to buy (as long as his research has the intent of buying!). The query “men’s black jeans skinny”, instead, denotes a rather defined intent: the user is looking for this product and is potentially just a few clicks away from the purchase.
2. Less competition: it is obvious that, for high-frequency keywords, Google will tend to favor the most authoritative sites. The use of long queries instead is ideal for those sites that can not afford to compete with the giants of their industry, and therefore would benefit more from the use of more specific keys.
The best tools for keyword research
There are several tools that can help you choose the best keywords to use on your site. Among these, the most used by SEO professionals are Keyword Planner, Answer the Public, Google Trends, or SEMrush.
Keyword Planner and the search for keywords
Keyword Planner is a tool provided by Google. It is used to plan Adwords campaigns, but it is also a great free tool that offers different features. Among these we are particularly interested in those that allow:
1. Finding ideas for new keywords
2. Show research volumes
Finding ideas with the Keyword Planner
The first option allows you to enter, within the appropriate field, one or more keywords. For example, we write “T-shirts”. We select the targeting that interests us and then click on “Find ideas”.
The results of the research will be shown in two tabs: “Ideas for keywords” will show a list of keywords sorted by relevance, with related search volume, level of competition and cost per suggested click (if you want to start a paid campaign) ; “Ad group ideas”, on the other hand, will group keywords into thematic groups, giving the advertiser the ability to start a campaign immediately.
In any case, I advise you to download the report (by clicking on “Download”, above the table) and to consult the keywords in Excel. Now you can choose the best keywords by following this process:
1. Discard the less relevant keywords with your industry
2. Consider long-tail keywords
3. Select the keywords with the best volume/competition ratio
This is a particularly time-consuming job, but over time you will become familiar with the tool and you will be able to speed up the keyword analysis process. If you want to discover some of the advanced features of the Google keyword tool, however, we encourage you to watch this video:
In the above video by Brian Dean, he provides a 5-step approach to finding keywords that aren’t as competitive but that are more relevant to the user. By going to places where people ask questions and have discussions, you can learn a lot about how the average person might be searching for specific topics before submitting your info into the Keyword Planner.
This feature is especially useful when you already have an extensive list of keywords, and you want to know the search volumes. It will be particularly useful when we talk about the next tools, as Keyword Planner not longer supplies specific search volume info.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is an interesting tool that allows you to find variants and completions of a keyword, especially useful when writing an editorial SEO plan . Simply enter the keyword in the field, select the language and then click on “Get questions”. The tool will provide an extensive list of keywords from which to take inspiration for the optimization of your site.
Answer the Public is, therefore, the ideal tool for creating an SEO editorial plan or, more simply, for identifying issues that may be of potential interest to your users.
Search volume is a good indicator, but you also have to consider the trending popularity of a search term. Using Google Trends allows you a see how a query is moving over a period of time and makes it easier to compare keywords.
Here is an explanation of how it works according to Google Trends Help:
Search results are proportionate to the time and location of a query by the following process:
- Each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and time range it represents to compare relative popularity. Otherwise, places with the most search volume would always be ranked highest.
- The resulting numbers are then scaled on a range of 0 to 100 based on a topic’s proportion to all searches on all topics.
- Different regions that show the same search interest for a term don’t always have the same total search volumes.
Where Trends data comes from
Google Trends data is an unbiased sample of Google search data. Only a percentage of searches are used to compile Trends data.
There are 2 types of Trends data:
- Realtime data is a random sample of searches from the last 7 days
- Non-realtime data is a random sample of Google search data that can be pulled from as far back as 2004 and up to 36 hours before your search
After search data is collected, we categorize it, connect it to a topic, and remove any personal information.
The tool only shows data for popular trends and not terms with low search count, duplicate searches from the same IP, and queries with special characters.
SEMRush and Keyword Analysis
A fundamental step in the search for keywords is to identify the keywords for which you place the pages of your competitors. The trick is to search Google for the keyword you want to be found with, and then analyze the URLs you find in SERP using a tool like SEMrush, one of the best keyword research tools.
On SEMrush, set the “organic search” function to the side of the search field and enter the URL you want to analyze: you will discover the best keywords used by your competitors. Keep in mind that, since this is a paid tool, the results you get will be limited to a limited extent in the free version.
Repeat the process for the main URLs of the first page and, from time to time, export the list of keywords found, so as to create a single large list of keywords that also includes the search volumes. Give S&S Pro Services a call to learn more about how we can help your business stand out with content that keeps them coming back for more.