Over the years of doing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for small businesses I’ve been asked a lot of questions about keyword research. The questions include things like: “What’s the point of having keywords?” So I’ve decided to answer my customers commonly asked questions in this blog post.
This is my first blog post of 2015 and I plan to do regular posts from now on so please check back for more. If you would like to receive email updates of my latest blog posts please sign up to my newsletter for: Online marketing tips for small businesses.
This is Part 1 of the series: ‘How to do keyword research for SEO’. In this article I hope to give you a better understanding of what keyword research is. I will also explain why it’s important and how to use it for your online marketing strategy.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a part of search engine optimisation(SEO) and is usually the first and most important stage of the overall SEO strategy. It’s very similar to doing market research for your business. It is used to find out which terms and questions people are typing into search engines such as Google. Once you find words that suit your market you can then use them to find other similar words. These words are known as Keywords.
Keyword suggestion tools are essential to help speed up the research process and to find suggestions, along with the number of searches for each of those keywords. You can use all of this information to help you decide on a list of important keywords to target for your website and SEO.
Why keyword research is important
The words you use on your website content are what the search engines such as Google use to rank your website. Search engines are the way in which most people find information on the internet. Think about how you use search engines to find answers and solutions by asking Google questions almost everyday. I know I do anyway. It’s also highly likely your customers are doing the exact same. The great thing about doing keyword research is that you’ll have a clearer understanding of exactly how many times specific keywords are searched for. This way you can target the keywords that customers use most when they search for your products or services.
So it’s very important to think about this when you are setting up a new website or writing a new blog article. It’s important for you to understand exactly what keywords you are targeting before you have a SEO strategy. Without knowing your keywords you could be using the wrong keywords and phrases that no one is searching for. In this case you would be ranking highly on Google for keywords that bring no customers to your website and no business. The aim is to do the exact opposite and ensure you are showing up in front of your customers. To do this you need to find out what they are searching for.
Benefits of Keyword Research
There are many great benefits of understanding what your keywords are and having clarity over your SEO goals. Once you have your list of keywords I recommend having a maximum of 12 to start with, it can help a lot with your online marketing. Having a set list of keywords makes it quicker and easier for you any time you are asked to insert keywords into social media profiles, directories and advertising campaigns. You can create content based around them and most importantly add them to your website pages and blog posts. Knowing that your keywords are ones you’ve researched gives you confidence that you’re not wasting time and that people are actually searching for them. Once you have added your keywords to your website and web pages, you can then check your website’s progress on the search results. This can be done by searching for your keywords in Google and recording your websites position. Don’t be surprised if your website doesn’t show up at all for your keywords to begin with. I recommend recording your websites position on Google up to page 13, then checking back for progress monthly.
Keyword Research Tools
Google Keyword Planner (Free)
The Google Keyword Planner (once known as The Google Keyword Tool) is a free online keyword suggestion tool. This tool is provided by Google themselves. The keyword tool was originally set up for Google Adwords advertisers. SEO professionals like myself found it to be a useful tool for doing keyword research for SEO purposes. This tool has many features including a thesaurus which will suggest related keywords and keyword phrases based on what you search for. It also shows you the number of times particular keywords get searched for every month. The tool also shows you how hard the competition is and the cost per click for Google advertisers and much more.
Keyword Canine (Paid)
Keyword Canine is used by many SEO professionals including myself. It’s an online keyword research and competition research tool with many great features to help your SEO. The software combines a mixture of information from Google’s keyword planner but also scrapes information from other sources such as social media sites. Keyword Canine gives you much more in-depth research on the keywords and competition than other free tools. This tool is a massive time saver and I highly recommend it but with all great tools it comes at a price. This software is a paid service but well worth it to find some hidden gems and keywords you might not find with just the Google keyword planner.
In conclusion, keyword research is the best place to start when it comes to SEO. I hope I have helped you understand what keyword research is and how you can use keywords to improve the SEO results of your website.
In my next post I will be sharing more keyword research tips and how to target quality keywords that generate more sales.
Feel free to ask any questions or leave suggestions in the comments section below.