Why is Keyword Research so important for SEO and how to do it the right way

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 18, 2024
Keyword research is a critical part of SEO, helping your website rank higher in search results and attract more visitors. In this article we'll provide a quick guide on why it's essential and how to do it the right way.

Keyword research is a critical part of SEO, helping your website rank higher in search results and attract more visitors. Here’s a quick guide on why it’s essential and how to do it right:

  • Understand your audience: Identify what they’re searching for online.
  • Discover valuable keywords: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find keywords with high search volume but low competition.
  • Types of keywords: Know the difference between informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional keywords.
  • Long-tail vs. Short-tail keywords: Use a mix to reach a broad audience and target specific searches.
  • On-Page Optimization: Incorporate keywords naturally in your content, titles, and meta descriptions.
  • Tracking and Adapting: Regularly monitor keyword performance and adjust your strategy to stay ahead of trends.

Effective keyword research and optimization can significantly improve your site’s visibility and user engagement. Start by creating a diverse list of relevant keywords, then use SEO tools to refine your choices. Focus on keywords that match user intent and have the potential to convert visitors into customers. Keep your content updated and aligned with current search trends to maintain a competitive edge.

The Role of Keyword Research

Doing good keyword research helps you understand what people are searching for so you can create content that matches. It’s great for:

  • Finding keywords that a lot of people are searching for but not many other sites are using.
  • Helping decide what kind of content to make.
  • Figuring out what words people use at different stages of deciding to buy something.
  • Keeping up with changes in what people are searching for.

By focusing on the right keywords, you can make content that’s exactly what people want to find. This is why it’s important to keep looking for new keywords to stay ahead.

Understanding Keyword Research

The image shows a person in a business suit holding a magnifying glass close to a set of digital keywords that are highlighted and connected by network-like lines, suggesting a concept of searching or focusing on keywords, likely in the context of digital marketing or search engine optimization.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is about finding out what words or phrases people type into Google or other search engines when they’re looking for something. It’s all about getting into the heads of your audience to figure out what they’re interested in and how they talk about it.

By doing keyword research, you can:

  • Figure out the best words to use so your website shows up higher in search results.
  • Understand what your audience likes and the words they use when they search.
  • Spot areas where you don’t have much information and find new topics to talk about.
  • See how many people are looking for certain things and how tough the competition is.

Doing keyword research right means not just looking at how many people search for a term, but also thinking about what those terms mean, how they fit into what you offer, and how you can use them in your website and articles.

Types of Keywords

There are four main types of keywords:

  • Informational – These are broad terms people use when they want to learn something. Example: “what is search engine optimization”
  • Commercial – These terms are about products or services, like when someone wants to compare prices. Example: “seo services cost”
  • Navigational – These are about finding a specific brand or product. Example: “Moz SEO software”
  • Transactional – These are very specific and often include words about buying. Example: “hire freelance seo consultant remote”

Knowing these types helps you understand why people are searching and lets you create content that answers their questions.

Long-Tail vs Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are broad and general like “software” or “coffee”. They’re searched a lot but have a lot of competition.

Long-tail keywords are more specific and usually longer, like “user-friendly link building software” or “organic fair trade coffee beans wholesale”. They have less competition and are easier to rank for. Plus, they’re more likely to bring in people who are ready to buy or learn exactly what you offer.

Using a mix of long-tail and short-tail keywords is smart. It helps you reach more people while also targeting those who are most interested in what you have.

The Importance of Keyword Research

The image features a graphical representation of an online search bar with a 'Search' button and a mouse cursor hovering over it, set against a solid purple background. The design is minimalistic and modern, commonly used to represent internet searches and digital query input fields.

Keyword research is super important for making sure your website gets noticed. It helps you understand what people are typing into Google when they’re looking for something you offer. Let’s break down why it’s so crucial.

Discover Valuable Keywords
  • By looking for keywords, you can find out what terms and questions people are actually searching for. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can show you how many people are looking for certain things each month. This way, you can spot special keywords that not many people are using yet.
  • If you use these less common keywords in your content, your pages might show up higher in search results, bringing more people to your site.
  • Keeping an eye on what people are searching for can also help you find new topics that people are interested in but aren’t finding much information on.
Understand User Intent
  • Looking at more than just how many people search for a keyword can tell you what they really want to know. Are they just looking for information, or are they trying to buy something?
  • Making content that fits what people are looking for means they’re more likely to click on your site and stick around. For example, if they’re just looking for info, a simple guide might be best.
  • Getting what people want right means you can help them out just when they need it, which could lead to them choosing your product or service.
Gain a Competitive Edge
  • Keeping track of what keywords are popular can also show you what your competitors are doing. If they’re doing well in areas you haven’t covered much, it might be a good chance for you to dive into those topics.
  • Being up-to-date with the latest search trends and what people are interested in can help you stay one step ahead of the competition.

In short, doing your homework on keywords means you can make content that people are really looking for, which helps your site grow naturally.

Conducting Effective Keyword Research

The image displays a magnifying glass resting on a laptop keyboard, with the glass part directly over some of the keys, possibly indicating a detailed search or investigation on the computer. The image captures a common metaphor for scrutiny or close examination in the digital realm.

Develop a Keyword List

Start by thinking about what your audience might be looking for online related to what you offer. Write down words and phrases that come to mind. Think about the questions they might have or the specific words they might use.

Here’s how to come up with a good list of keywords:

  • Write down words that are related to what you sell or do.
  • Think about longer phrases that people might type in, like “best software for x” or “how to do x”.
  • Try using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to get more ideas.
  • Look at your website’s data to see what words are already bringing people to your site.

Remember to think about all the steps a customer takes, from just looking around to actually buying something. Your goal is to have a big list of words and phrases to check out.

Leverage Keyword Research Tools

Now, use free tools to see how popular these keywords are and how hard it might be to show up in search results with them. Some useful tools are:

  • Google Trends – Shows how often a keyword is searched.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer – Tells you how many people are looking for a keyword and how tough the competition is.
  • Semrush – Lets you see how you stack up against others who are using the same keywords.
  • Ubersuggest – Gives you ideas for related keywords and how much traffic they could bring.

Look at keywords that a lot of people are searching for but also consider ones that not many people are looking for. Sometimes, these less popular keywords can be really good for getting the right kind of visitors to your site.

Assess Keywords

With the info from these tools, decide which keywords are the best to focus on. Think about:

  • Search volume – More searches are usually better, but don’t ignore keywords that don’t get a lot of searches.
  • Competition – Is it realistic for you to rank higher than others using this keyword?
  • Relevance – Does the keyword fit well with what you offer?
  • User intent – Is your content what people are actually looking for when they use this keyword?

Choose keywords that are very relevant, have a good amount of searches, and not too much competition.

Prioritize Target Keywords

Now, pick your top keywords to focus on. You should have:

  • A few main keywords that seem the most valuable.
  • Some secondary keywords that are a bit more specific.
  • A bunch of long-tail keywords that cover a wide range of topics.

Also, think about areas your site might be missing out on and use keywords to fill those gaps. This can help you get more visitors.

Next, use these keywords in your website’s content, like in blog posts or product descriptions. Make sure they fit naturally and don’t stick them in where they don’t make sense.

By following these steps, you can find the best keywords for your site and create content that will help you show up in search results and attract the right kind of visitors.

Optimizing with Keywords

The image shows a person's hands, one using a smartphone and the other holding a pen, with a laptop in the background. Floating between the devices are graphical representations of digital marketing concepts such as keywords, content, hashtag, feedback, research, target, and analysis. Icons representing communication, documents, and analytics are also present. This scene suggests a professional setting focused on digital marketing or social media strategy planning.

On-Page Optimization

After you find the right keywords, the next step is to add them to your website in a way that search engines can understand. This is how you can do it:

  • Put keywords in your text: Try to include your main keywords in the headings and the first few lines of your page. Also, add them to the descriptions of your images. But make sure it sounds natural.
  • Use keywords in your page addresses and links: It’s good to have your keywords in the web address of your page and when you link to other pages on your site.
  • Make your page titles and descriptions interesting: Write titles and short summaries (meta descriptions) for your pages that have your keywords and make people want to click.
  • Emphasize keywords: You can make some keywords bold or italic to show they’re important, but don’t go overboard.
  • Check how often you use keywords: There are tools that can help you make sure you’re using keywords just enough, not too much or too little.

Finding the right way to show keywords to your visitors without making your page hard to read takes some trying. Keep testing to see what works best.

Meta Tags & URL Optimization

It’s also important to get your page titles, meta data, and web addresses (URLs) right for search engines:

Page Titles:

  • Start your titles with the main keyword(s).
  • Keep titles short, no more than 60 characters.
  • Make sure the title makes people want to click.

Meta Descriptions:

  • Add your main and secondary keywords to the short summaries (meta descriptions) of your pages.
  • Keep it under 160 characters and make sure it clearly explains what’s on the page.

URLs:

  • Use dashes between words in your web address.
  • Don’t cram in too many keywords. Keep it simple and clear.
  • The keywords in your web address should match what’s on the page.

Getting these parts right can help more people find and click on your pages. Try different keyword combinations to see what brings the best results.

Tracking & Improving Over Time

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Measure Keyword Effectiveness

It’s important to keep an eye on how well your keywords are doing. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Use Google Analytics to track your main keywords. Look at things like:
    • Click-through rate (CTR) – if people are clicking on your site after they search
    • Bounce rate – if people leave your site quickly
    • Conversion rate – if people are buying or signing up
  • Use tools like SEMrush to check if you’re moving up in search rankings over time. Moving up usually means more people are visiting your site.
  • Keep an eye out for new keywords that are starting to bring in visitors. This can help you find new things to talk about.
  • Look closely at your data by keyword, page, and time to see what’s happening.

Keeping track of how your keywords are doing helps you make better decisions about what to focus on.

Adapt to Changing Trends

What people search for changes all the time, so you need to keep updating your keyword list:

  • Plan to look for new keywords every 3 months. Google Trends can show you what’s getting popular.
  • If the keywords you’re using aren’t as popular anymore or there’s more competition, think about focusing on different keywords that aren’t as crowded.
  • Use your keyword research to find topics that people are interested in but can’t find much information on. This can help you rank higher.
  • Focus on keywords that lead to sales or sign-ups and make sure your site is optimized for these.

Staying up-to-date with what’s trending and keeping an eye on your performance helps you keep bringing in the right visitors.

Conclusion

Key Takeaways

Finding the right keywords for your website is super important if you want more people to find and like your content. It’s like knowing exactly what your audience is curious about and giving them the answers they’re looking for.

Here’s why finding and using the right keywords matters a lot:

  • It helps you understand what people are actually searching for so you can make content that they want to read. This means more people clicking on your stuff.
  • You can see what your competitors might not be talking about and fill that space with your own content.
  • You can discover specific, less common phrases (long-tail keywords) that are easier to rank for in search results.
  • It keeps your content fresh and relevant because you’re always up to date with what people want to know.

To make the most of keywords:

  • Try different tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Ubersuggest to come up with a big list of keywords. Look at things like how many people are searching for them and how tough the competition is.
  • Choose keywords that are really about what people want to know, and don’t forget to include some of those specific, long-tail options.
  • Make sure to use the keywords in a natural way in your content, like in headings or the first few sentences, and even in image descriptions.
  • Keep an eye on how well your keywords are doing by checking things like if people are actually clicking on your content and staying around.

By sticking to these steps, you can drive more people to your site and keep your content interesting and useful. It’s all about connecting with what people are searching for and making sure your site pops up as an answer.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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