SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of getting certain pages on a website to rank higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If you’ve never heard of SEO, be sure to read about what SEO is and why it’s important for modern business.
Why Keyword Research Matters
Today we’ll be talking about a cornerstone of SEO, keyword research. If your SEO efforts are successful and you start to rank for your targeted keywords, but you chose poor keywords, you won’t generate any revenue from your SEO. Therefore, this post will walk through the most important steps involved in keyword research
The keywords you want to rank for are called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific than the most commonly searched terms. Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords are less popular than more general keywords/searches. Because they have a lower search volume, it’s easier to rank for them using organic SEO tactics.
In addition to being less competitive, you want to target long-tail keywords because they’re better at generating conversions than higher volume more general keywords. For example, if someone searched “computer” on a search engine they could be looking for a ton of different things (computer parts, a desktop computer, a laptop computer, etc.) On the other hand, if someone searched “15 inch Apple MacBook”, they’re a lot closer to making that purchase. Targeting that customer would be much more likely to result in a sale.
Effective keyword research requires some sort of keyword research tool. There are a ton of free keyword research tools out there. Use those tools to analyze search volume, demographics, and more.
Things to Look for When Doing Keyword Research
- The keyword should have a relatively low volume of searches. What’s considered “low volume” is arbitrary, but aim for less than 2000 monthly searches.
- The keyword should have a good conversion rate. To determine if a keyword has a good conversion rate, ask yourself, “Does this keyword signal specific intent on the part of the customer?”. Another good thing to do is to search the keyword you’re considering and to analyze the top search results. Are they selling or promoting a product/service similar to your own? If not, your keyword may be too broad.
- Analyze the competition. You can use tools such as Moz’s free MozBar to analyze the top ranking sites for the keywords you’re considering targeting. This tool will tell you the Domain Authority of a website along with how many backlinks the page that appeared on the SERP has. Look at the top three sites that are organically ranking for that term. If the top pages ranking for a keyword have hundreds of links and a high domain authority, there’s probably too much competition for you to rank organically.
- Once you have a few keywords you plan on targeting, make sure to come up with some variations for those keywords. For example, if your goal is to rank for “chemistry tutoring”, you would want to target slight variations of “chemistry tutoring’ that have the same intent. Chemistry lessons and online chemistry tutoring are some examples. If you succeed in ranking for your main long-tail keyword, include the lower volume variations in your content as it’s very likely you will rank for them too.
Once you’ve found the keywords you want to target, you have to start creating high-value content with those keywords. Creating high-value content is time-consuming, but will pay off in the long run.