Ways to Make Your Keyword Research Count
If you’re new to search engine optimization, then you’ve probably heard the term “keyword research” thrown around but don’t know the true value of the practice.
Keyword research is essential to SEO and can boost your site rankings to the first page when the right practices are taken.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of uncovering search terms and phrases people use when searching for answers in Google or other search engines.
Knowing what specifically audiences are searching for helps site managers and brands target content, PPC ads and social media towards what audiences actually want; in many cases, leading to a sale.
How Does Keyword Research Help Your SEO?
Keyword research is hard work and is something you’ll always have to keep tabs on if you want your SEO to excel.
Fortunately, great keyword research practices pay off and can bring the following benefit to your website:
- Your audience builds trust with your brand because you consistently pop up in their search results
- Your site gains organic clicks that could lead to conversions and/or positive audience engagement
- Increased site visits and conversions open Google’s eyes to your industry influence. Therefore, great keyword research boosts your online authority.
- Increased authority leads to increased appearances on relevant search results for the clients your brand wants to sell to.
6 Ways to Make Your Keyword Research Count
Keyword research has a massive influence on your SEO’s success. However, it’s not something that happens by accident.
Making your keyword research count is a concentrated effort that combines these six SEO tips.
1. Invest in Keyword Research Tools
If you’re starting keyword research from scratch, investing in some keyword research tools can save you time and help you understand the types of keywords your content needs to rank for.
Most keyword research tools on the market will display the current trending keywords related to your target keywords, the search volume and difficulty of keywords, and how your site currently ranks for certain keywords.
They’re invaluable resources that can help you leap forward in your efforts, especially at the start.
Some of the best keyword research tools to look into are:
- Keywords Everywhere
- Google Keyword Planner
2. Think Like Your Audience, Match Their Intent
You want your keywords and targeted phrases to connect with your target audience. Before starting initial keyword research, perform some audience research that reveals exactly what people searching your industry are looking for.
Once you know what problems your audience has, how your services or products can solve them, and what the latest “it” topic is in your field, it’ll be easier to map out how to approach keyword research in the most effective way possible.
This is one area where many agencies fall short though it is a critical step to results that equate to business growth. The keyword tools are very effective, though they are only as good as the data input. Working with an agency that always makes this extra step can give you the edge over the competition and increase qualified leads.
3. Focus on Local Keywords
When you’re starting keyword research, it’s awfully tempting to kick off your plan with a bang and reach for those national keyword results.
Yes, those are commendable efforts, but the truth is that there are likely national brands out there who have been practicing SEO for decades and taking market share away from those larger brands will take time. Along the way, it is critical to take advantage of short-term gains that add up to impactful growth.
National audiences are a large target, and it requires time to build consumer trust. So, assuming you have a local audience, it’s best to keep the national keywords as a long-term strategy and put your main focus on locally based keywords to start.
You want to market your business where your audience lives. So, if you’re a Mexican restaurant in Tempe, Arizona, keywords like “Mexican restaurant in Tempe” or “Mexican restaurant near ASU” would be beneficial search targets that actually bring in qualified leads.
4. Keep Volume in Mind
Sometimes writing industry-specific keywords may be too specific and leave your keyword research going nowhere.
Much like matching your audience’s intent, make sure that the keywords you aim for are phrases that people are actually typing in search.
“East-asian-dining-establishment” will be searched far less than “Asian Restaurant Near Me” searches in a local area.
Find out what vernacular people are using to search in your industry and base your research and content off of those terms.
5. Check Out the Competition
Performing your own research is a great move, but solo research alone won’t always get you ahead of the game.
Sometimes your competitors have inside information about a product or service or have just been in the SEO game longer than you.
If you find yourself getting outranked by the competition, it never hurts to check in on the keywords they’re ranking for and subtly tweak your original content to get yourself back in the local running.
6. Continuous Research
Audience interest is a fickle thing, making the value of keywords just as complex.
Just because your rank is good for one keyword now, doesn’t mean it’s going to be valuable within the next year or even month. As audience interests shift, so does the value of industry keywords.
You don’t want your SEO efforts to stall out in neutral. So, researching your keywords every few months can help you refresh your strategy and update content where necessary.
How Do You Know Your Research Is Working?
One of the easiest ways to tell if your keyword research is working is through monthly analytic checks of the keywords you rank for, how targeted pages are performing, and overall site visits for a specific amount of time.
If you see your numbers rising, your research is on the right track. Yet, if you’re facing a constant plateau or drop drastically, it’s time to get with your SEO team and find a new way to target your keywords.
Some more subtle ways that indicate keyword research success are:
- Increases in backlinks to your site
- Increased referrals from other websites to your site
- Social media buzz
- Brand mentions around the internet
- Increased traffic and conversions
How Can a Digital Marketing Agency Help?
Specializing in keyword research goes beyond the seven tips we’ve provided above. In fact, keyword research can even be a full-time job (just look at the SEO industry)!
It can be difficult for a business owner to toy around with keywords, content, and reviewing analytics, while juggling their daily operational responsibilities.
A digital marketing agency like Atlantic Digital Marketing can alleviate SEO stress and help your business start its keyword research initiative.
We are a premier SEO service agency and have helped businesses from many industries rank for target keywords.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our digital marketing experts.