Are you familiar with the most recent recommendations for keyword research? Knowing what keywords to use is a fundamental component of SEO and content optimisation, plus it’s beneficial for email marketing.
With so many shifts in user search patterns and Google’s search criteria over the past few years, selecting the best keywords for your website can take time.
Researching and incorporating appropriate keywords into your web pages, content marketing, and email marketing is essential for achieving optimal results.
This guide aims to comprehensively comprehend keyword research, from shifts in querying to using keywords for better content development and advertisement. Get yourself a cup of coffee since we put in all the knowledge you should have. We also added a table of contents for easy navigation when needed:
Discover how to achieve top rankings on Google and drive more traffic to your website with our Ultimate Guide to SEO.
Are you ready? Let’s get going!
words and phrases that identify what people are searching for
words and phrases that describe the topics you write about
The ideal scenario is for keywords to match the interests of your target audience, thereby bridging the gap and helping them discover your content.
Identifying relevant search terms that people enter into search engines is essential in web page design, content creation, and marketing – otherwise known as keyword research.
Keyword research is an essential part of SEO. Accurately selected keywords are a significant factor that Google considers when ranking pages in search engine results. Correct keywords will help Google comprehend the content and make it easier to appear when relevant searches are done.
Understanding what your customers are looking for can help you create helpful content. To get into their heads, keyword research can be used to find topics that will inform your content strategy. Optimise your content so it provides the answers they need.
Keyword research benefits more than content creation—it also supports email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and competitive analysis. Overall, it is a powerful tool for any promotional effort.
Investigating the keywords, your opponents are concentrating on can assist you with refining your own substance technique. Our tools segment contains devices that can help you with rival keyword examinations.
People sometimes question whether it is worth the time to perform keyword research. The answer is yes, but only if you have an up-to-date SEO approach.
Previously, keyword research was focused on including certain words as many times as possible to try and rank websites in search engine results. Quality was a low priority – only having specific keywords included mattered.
That strategy is no longer effective and might even lead to harsh penalties. Google regularly updates its search algorithms to give users the most relevant results possible.
As we progress through the guide, we’ll examine this in more detail; here are a few features of modern searches:
As people become more reliant on digital assistants, they can use natural language and ask questions when searching by voice from their mobile devices.
Google’s Answer Boxes attempt to answer queries quickly, with the content being highly optimised and pertinent.
Now, semantically-related keywords are essential. You should optimise content for specific target phrases and related phrases with the same meaning. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Ultimately, keyword research ensures that your content is optimised for people first before search engine algorithms.
Knowing how to group keywords is critical before beginning keyword research.
One way to describe them is head, body and long tail keywords:
Head keywords are usually just 1 or 2 words with high search volume.
Body keywords are 2 to 3-word phrases with a good search volume, not high, not low.
Long tail keywords consist of four or more words with a low search volume. These account for the bulk of web traffic.
You may also hear these as the head, modifier, and tail keywords or short, medium, and long tail keywords.
Keyword specificity is essential in this process; the more specific the keyword phrase, the fewer results when someone performs a search.
This Backlinko graphic demonstrates how it works.
Here’s what we mean:
If you search for “t-shirts,” you’ll get millions of search results.
If you search for “blue t-shirts,” you’ll likely get hundreds of thousands.
If you search for “blue American Apparel t-shirts,” you’ll get much fewer results that more closely match what you’re really looking for.
When searching, providing more details in the query will result in more accurate results from the user’s perspective.
Semantic keywords are linked to latent semantic indexing (LSI). LSI is a way for search engines to understand what you need based on your words.
For example, when you search for “Titanic”, the search engine uses the context of other terms to determine if you are looking for the ship or the famous film.
Effective keyword research involves discovering LSI keywords to include in your content because LSI optimises search engines’ results when users query them. To observe LSI in operation, look at the autocomplete selections when you enter something into Google’s search bar. This list varies as more words are provided for context.
A list of related terms is at the bottom of your search results. Be aware that this will disappear if you alter your search terms.
LSIGraph is an effective tool for finding latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords and provides more than just the eight that usually come with a Google search. A few of them may be confusing, yet others trigger ideas for content writing. Incorporating semantic keywords could increase your content’s reach and relevance.
While keywords are commonly classified according to length, it takes more than this to make the most of them in marketing, content creation and SEO. To
As usual, there are different ways of describing keyword intent. For example,
Practical Ecommerce identifies four types:
Navigational, where users search for a particular website.
Informational, where users search for the answer to a question.
Investigational, where users search for information that may eventually lead to a transaction.
Transactional, where users are ready to buy.
To distinguish between the two, a description of the regular search process can be helpful. Say you are thinking of purchasing a phone. To start, you’d enter informational keywords to determine what forms are on the market. These usually take the form of question terms such as where, why and how.
While looking up information, you could come across some exciting companies. You may type in their name in the search bar to look for their website. This is an example of a navigational search.
It is likely a research-based search if you are looking for comparisons. However, there is also still some information involved.
Keywords related to purchasing, such as “buy”, “purchase”, etc., are considered transactional. Meanwhile, commercial intent keywords are more connected to your company and can attract people interested in purchasing.
If you’re running an eCommerce business, Search Engine Journal lists the most popular keyword categories as:
Comparisons with competitors
Searches for discounts
Ratings and reviews
Searches for coupon codes
Searches for sales
Moz differentiates keywords based on Google’s search quality evaluation guidelines:
Navigational keywords stay constant, but transactional and informational keywords vary depending on whether you use a web search engine or voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri or Cortana.
The 2017 version of Google’s search evaluation quality guidelines lists 4 types of search queries:
Know(including Know Simple). Know is about finding information, while Know Simple is about finding a specific answer to a question, like a fact.
Do(including Device Action). These involve performing an action or accomplishing a goal. If you search for a game, you may want to install it.
Website. This is a query aimed at locating and visiting a website.
Visit-in-Person, where mobile device users are planning a physical action based on search results, like finding a nearby Italian restaurant to visit.
To effectively use the keywords you’ve gathered in your research, categorising them can help you craft a content strategy that meets users’ needs and appears on various platforms.
As evident, keywords link your requirements with those of the searchers. Ultimately, both benefit from this connection. With people finding what they need in search results and converting to your website, it’s a win-win situation.
How can you develop a list of suitable words and phrases to use?
The initial phase is straightforward: brainstorming.
If you are familiar with your niche, you will likely be able to comprehend the information individuals want during each connection point with you. If not, think about what you would search for in that situation. Use that as an origin for a list. A spreadsheet might be helpful since most of your tools can transfer data as Excel or CSV files.
Additionally, consider using seed keywords. These phrases do not have any modifiers and will form the foundation of your keyword list. For instance, “health insurance” is a seed keyword, while “health insurance benefits calculator” is a long tail.
LSIGraph can help you discover related terms. Just enter the search term in the box, which will give you a huge list of related terms that can be added to your list.
You can uncover which search terms drive traffic to your website using Google Analytics and Search Console. You can then use this data to help with SEO, content creation and marketing strategies.
In Google Analytics, navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, then click on Organic Search in the table to find keywords.
“not provided” appears most frequently on the list, which are searches encrypted by the browser.
To view more detailed search console data within Analytics, connect a Google Search Console account to your Analytics account and then navigate to Acquisition » Search Console » Queries. This will allow you to see fewer “not set” keywords.
Finally, there are a few other places where you can start identifying keywords, including:
Blog comments, making a note of when people ask about specific topics.
Social media hashtags are essential keywords, so see what people use when sharing your content.
Book titles and categories on Amazon.
You should also consider a local search when improving your website’s SEO. If you offer services in a specific location, include that place name as part of your keyword repertoire. Similarly, consider seasonal search terms when optimising your website for search engines.
Following the above steps is a great start. Still, to go deeper into your research, you may need to use particular tools designed solely for keyword analysis to further explore already familiar keywords and uncover new ones.
The Best Keyword Research Tools
From search volume to ranking difficulty to competition and more, these tools (listed below) will help you analyse the performance of your website. Even if you
Ahrefsis a complete suite of keyword research, content and SEO tools.
Answer the Public breaks down its results by type of question so that you can target content to provide the answers.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner lets you evaluate monthly global and local search volumes for keywords, competition levels and an estimated cost per click. To get keyword ideas, log in and go to tools» Keyword Planner, and choose one of the options under Find New Keywords and Search Volume.
SEMrushprovides keyword data and helps you find keywords related to your main search terms. This paid tool has many other features, but you can try a free keyword search on this page.
The SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool provides search volumes, related terms, estimated value and more.
Learn more about these keyword research tools by reading our guide.
Keyword Research: What Comes Next
After utilising some keyword tools, you’ll have many terms to help people locate your site. Once determined, how do you decide which to use where?
To make the most out of your keywords for ads, plug them into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and find the ones that will give you the best results. Although famous words can be pricey, considering adjacent, less popular search terms can also be efficient.
Suppose you want to use keywords for SEO, content development, and marketing. In that case, you’ll need to know how difficult it is to rank well with those keywords (keyword difficulty) and whether you can even rank at all (keyword opportunity).
Grouping keywords according to their relevance to your business, user intent, and topics can be an intelligent strategy for making your list.
Remember to make content that lines up with different types of intent when mulling over keyword intent. Don’t concentrate merely on commercial keywords; individuals use other keywords before buying. A solid content and marketing plan should incorporate all types.