The 7 Steps to Keyword Research
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Both SEO and content creation strategies cannot be implemented successfully without keyword research. Creating content that is ranking and speaks to the intent and needs of your ideal audience requires an understanding of which keywords matter to the relevant searches.
Keyword research is a critical first step to establishing a successful marketing maturity model. While it’s worth investing some time and effort in the process, it need not be arduous or difficult. In fact, I have some tips to help you conduct simple, effective keyword research.
Who will know your business better than you? Hopefully no one. That’s why a great first step in keyword research is to sit down and brainstorm terms and questions your business answers for clients.
You should have a solid idea of what your business does and what people ask for. Are there certain questions their sales team gets all the time? Is there a consistent piece of feedback you get in reviews about what you did differently from your competition?
Do your best to focus on what customers ask for and stay away from any industry jargon. You are looking for the words and phrases that customers would use to describe your goods and services.
Part of the brainstorming process should also include understanding the types of customers you’re hoping to attract. What do you want to be known for, and what related terms should you focus on?
2. Turn to Google Keyword Suggest
Google Ads does have a keyword research tool, but I find it easier to just go to the search engine itself and run some test searches. Their autosuggest tool is a powerful way to generate keyword ideas that reflect what people are actually searching for.
Let’s say you own a home remodeling business. If you go to Google and type in “home remodel” check out the suggestions you get.
While some people are looking for specific companies, it seems most turn to Google when they’re in the early design stages. They’re on the hunt for ideas. Others still are looking for an app or software to help them begin the planning process; and that makes sense—it’s easier to commit to an expensive remodeling process if you’ve been able to run some scenarios in advance and are certain it’s worth it. And of course, because the home remodel process is expensive, you see questions about loans coming up close to the top as well.
From this one simple search, you now have a goldmine of information and lots of SEO and content ideas. Maybe write a post outlining how to budget for and finance renovations. Perhaps you can create a video showcasing your favorite free design tools where prospects can test out remodeling ideas.
You can also check out the “People also ask” box featured in the middle of the SERPs and the “Searches related to…” links at the bottom of the page for more ideas.
3. Keywords Everywhere Extension
While you’re on Google, why not check out what the Keywords Everywhere extension can tell you? Designed to work on Chrome and Firefox browsers, this extension will tell you even more about the search terms you enter.
Once you type in your search term, the extension will display related keywords on the Google page. It will also pull in Google advertising data, showing you the search volume, cost per click, and Ads competition.
4. YouTube Suggests
While YouTube is owned by Google, it’s still worthwhile to pop on over to their homepage to check out their autosuggests on your relevant keywords.
While the search term might be the same, the results you’ll get are often radically different. That’s because people use Google and YouTube in very different ways. Folks often turn to YouTube for tutorials and other types of content, which means you’ll get to see a whole other side of keyword possibilities by checking out autosuggestions on both Google and YouTube.
Another angle to explore is everyone’s favorite online research tool: Wikipedia. Type in your keyword there, and you’ll find a table of contents at the top of the page. This gives you a whole new list of ways to explore your client’s area of expertise. Take again the home remodel example.
The table of contents on home improvement dives into the reasons one may undertake a home renovation project. Perhaps there’s a way for you to build out content around each of these areas. Create a podcast episode around energy-saving renovations, with information about replacing windows, updating insulation, and walking listeners through alternative energy sources, like solar and geothermal. Write a blog post about how to incorporate safety and emergency preparedness measures into a home improvement project, from fire and burglary alarm systems to back up generators that supply power during an outage.
6. Answer the Public
When you’re looking for popular questions related to your search term, I suggest you check out Answer the Public. Simply type in your search term on the homepage, and the tool will create a visual representation of related questions and phrases, and will even provide you with an alphabetical list of related terms.
7. Analyze All Existing Content and Create Your Hub Pages
Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to take a look at the content you already have. How does that content align with the relevant keywords you found along the way? Are there ways to tweak the content to speak more directly to searchers’ intent? Are there gaps in the content you can fill with new content that will better address those most relevant search terms?
From here, you can begin to build out hub pages. These pages serve as the go-to guides on a given topic, and it’s easy to hone in on the best topics for hub pages once you’ve done your keyword research and understand what people are really searching for when they research your industry or field. Hub pages have major benefits from both an SEO and content perspective, so creating a handful of effective hub pages should be the ultimate goal of your keyword research.
Keyword research is never done in a vacuum. Great keyword research is at the heart of strong SEO and content creation strategies. It will drive your editorial calendar creation and help you get ranking in SERPs. By following the steps above, you’ll be sure to cover all of your bases and give yourself the greatest shot at happening upon unique keywords that can help you get noticed in a crowded marketplace.
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