Keywords drive SEO and are central to creating campaigns, which makes it mandatory to do some research for finding out the most workable keywords to provide impetus to the campaign. Regardless of the scale and nature of Search Engine Optimization that you want to do, doing keyword research is a must. Besides creating high-quality content that is relevant to the audience, you must focus on the keyword or topic that you want to rank for. Keyword research has now become easy as there are many resources, tools, and processes available. However, it is never easy to select keywords and topics that are easy to work upon and produces the desired results. The real difference in SEO performance can happen from the keywords that you choose.
Conducting keyword research might appear simple, but it needs professional expertise to apply the underlying principles with a systematic approach. Right keywords can inject new life into the campaign and drive it in the right direction.
It needs no reiteration that you must first set the goals of keyword research by understanding what you want to achieve. You must be clear about the path ahead by knowing what you want to accomplish, both at the business and organizational level, and then evaluate how the search would impact it. Typically, businesses set the goal of increasing leads, engagement, sales, and other business metrics based on which they must set the target for traffic flow and conversions that should help to realize the goals. For generating the desired traffic volume, it becomes necessary to strengthen SEO by selecting suitable keywords and topics.
Take the stakeholders in confidence
SEO is not a one-man show, and its success depends on the involvement of the stakeholders as each team member must remain committed to the cause in the same way. The journey for finding the right keywords begin after you have set the goals. Now that you have a list of seed keywords ready organize brainstorming sessions with the stakeholders, including members of the sales and marketing team, for gathering ideas and insights. You must also talk to the C-suite and the customers and prospects who can contribute to the process. Ask them about the search terms that they would typically use for finding your business online or any of the products and services. Collect as much information as possible with an open mind and preserve every piece of information carefully, hoping that it could be useful in the future.
Look at the competition and analyze competitors
Knowing what your competitors are doing should help to understand the kind of approach they are taking, which keywords and topics they are using, and what kind of returns they get from it. Are the traditional competitors ranking better than you by offering the same type of products and services as yours? If yes, then there is undoubtedly something that you can learn from them. Carefully look at the topics they use for creating content that helps to earn high ranks and even look at the finer details like meta descriptions and titles as well as what they are doing on social media, their public relations, etc.
Undertake keyword research
By gaining access to the right resources, you can gather knowledge about how to conduct keyword research that you can use in paid and organic searches. Firstly, you must use the right tools for organic and paid searches, and secondly, you must look up at the match types. While any research will generate keywords, before starting the exercise, you must be aware of the pitfalls so that you can avoid it and further disappointment later. The biggest caution is not to use Google Keyword Planner at this stage because it can distract your focus and ruin your efforts. The seed keywords gathered from the brainstorming sessions and other interactions with the stakeholders should be of good use to bolster the results of the research.
On completing keyword research, you will have a sizeable inventory of keywords and phrases that becomes your capital for moving to the next stage that involves identifying topics which are no less important than the keywords. Instead of creating a single page for every keyword, the best way is to generate topics based on keywords that you can begin by using the existing content on the website. As part of your SEO campaign, you must have already decided about grouping content into topical structures that connect with the products and services. If you already have some depth of content, it could be a resource for generating topics and themes that you should be confident about. Another stream of topics would originate naturally from the results of the keyword research. Make sure that your keyword list should generate a meaningful group of topics.
Topic relevance and alignment
Having zeroed down on topics and themes, you must validate the keywords to ensure that these are the right ones. For example, a car dealership can bank on the keyword ‘cars’ for generating organic traffic, but it can never be the right one as an SEO investment for paid search. From a broader perspective, ‘cars’ are relevant to the car dealership but only at a superficial level, and to connect to the business more closely, you must go deeper down to explore more specific search terms. To derive maximum value from the clicks, you must maintain an inventory of the most searched brands that are only possible when you know the particular search terms.
Review the SERP
How the keywords perform in the SERPs matter most, and you must run a manual check by entering the top keywords and topics in the search box to see the kind of result it displays. Pay attention to the positions of the paid and organic listings to see if see the competitors who you expect to appear in the result are showing up. If the result belies your expectation, then review the keywords and topics that you have included in your strategy.
On implementing your SEO plans and the paid search, you can generate data to understand the effectiveness of the chosen keywords.
Guest post courtesy of Trudy Seeger