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Keyword Research: Understand What Your Audience Wants

Alekh Verma | February 2, 2024
Chapter 3

Let’s determine which strategic keywords to target in the content of your website and how to create that material in a way that will appeal to users and search engines alike.

You can use keyword research to your advantage if you are aware of your target market’s search habits and how they locate your content, products, or services. You can utilize keyword ideas to address problems like these by finding exact search information.

  • What do people look for online?
  • How many people are looking for it?
  • How do they want that information presented?

You will learn how to obtain that knowledge in this chapter, as well as how to develop engaging content and steer clear of common keyword related errors. As soon as you understand how your target audience finds your content, a whole new world of strategic SEO becomes accessible.

Ask Questions Prior to Conducting Keyword Research.

First and foremost, you must have a thorough understanding of the firm, its clients, and its goals before you can use SEO to help a business flourish. However, many people neglect this crucial planning stage because keyword research takes time. But if you are already aware of the terms you want to rank for, why waste time?

The truth is that what you want to rank for and what your audience actually wants are two very different things. Thus, campaigns that focus on your audience and then use keyword data to hone those insights will be a lot more successful than ones that focus on just any old keywords.

For instance, if you have an ice cream store and finally want to adopt SEO to promote your business, then you’d be looking for assistance to increase the frequency and prominence of your store’s appearance in organic search results. In order to help their SEO, you must first learn a little more about their clients. You could achieve this by posting queries like:

  • What products are people searching for?
  • Who exactly is searching for these products?
  • When are people searching for these products? (Are these products seasonally trendy or popular throughout the year?)
  • How are people searching for these products? (Such as- what words are they using to search for the product? What questions are they asking? What devices are they using to make these searches?)
  • Why are people looking for these products?
  • Where are this brand’s potential customers located- whether they are local, national, or international?

Focusing on these queries is an essential part of your planning phase. Doing so would nudge you in the right direction which would lead to the creation of superior content.

What Search Terms are People Using?

You as a business owner would know what your business offers, but you need to ensure your audience also understand your product and be able to find the goods, services, or knowledge you offer. The first stage of this process is-

-Identifying Keywords

Ideally, you'd like to rank for a few target keywords that you have in mind. Start with them since they are great starting points for your research because they relate to the products, services, or other topics that your website covers. You can insert those keywords wanted into a keyword research tool to learn the average monthly search volume and related terms. During the discovery stage, it can be helpful to know which variations of your keywords are most popular with searchers; we'll go into more detail about search volume in the next section.

Soon you’ll start identifying other keywords, content ideas, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you might have missed if you’d taken the route of entering your seed keywords in a keyword research tool.

Use the example of a wedding-focused florist as an example. When you enter the keywords "wedding" and "florist" into a keyword research tool, you might find highly relevant and sought-after related terms like:

  • Bridal bouquets
  • wedding flowers
  • Florist for weddings

While looking for relevant search phrases for your content, you'll certainly discover that the search volume of the keywords varies greatly. You definitely want to choose terms that your audience is searching for, but in some cases, it may be more advantageous to target phrases with lower search volume because they are far less competitive.

Learning more about search volume will help you prioritize keywords and choose the ones that will give your website the most strategic advantage since both high- and low-competition keywords can be beneficial for your website.

How Frequently are Those Terms Looked Up?

  • Finding the search volume

The more popular a particular keyword or keyword phrase is in searches; the more work is frequently required to rank higher. This is sometimes referred to as keyword difficulty and might contain SERP components; for example, the difficulty will increase if a keyword's result page is overburdened with SERP features (such as featured snippets, knowledge graphs, carousels, etc.).

Big businesses usually occupy the top 10 results, so if you're just starting out online and seeking the same keywords, the uphill struggle for a position can take years of labor.

In general, as search traffic grows, so do the competition and effort required to achieve a high organic position. However, if you set it too low, you run the risk of losing search engine visits. Very specific, low-competition search terms can often be targeted for the most benefit. In SEO, those are known as long-tail keywords.

  • Having knowledge of the long tail keywords

It would be amazing to be the first result for the term "shoes," or would it? Even well-known search terms only make up a small part of total web searches, while it's good to deal with phrases that get 50,000 or even 5,000 hits each month. In fact, keywords with a high volume of searches could even suggest ambiguous intent, putting you at risk of luring visitors to your site whose goals don't match the content on your page.

Consider these less well-known terms instead. Long tail keywords with lesser search volume usually convert better since people are more targeted and thoughtful in their searches. For instance, a person searching for "shoes" is probably just looking around. On the other hand, the individual looking for the "best cheap red women's size 7 running shoe" almost certainly has their wallet out.

Making Smart Use of Search Volume

After identifying the pertinent search phrases for your website and the accompanying search volumes, you can get even more strategic by analyzing your rivals and determining how searches might be different on the basis of different locations or times of the year.

  • Competitor Keywords

You'll likely compile a large number of keywords. Which should you begin working on first, and how? Prioritizing high-volume keywords for which your competitors do not yet have a ranking could be a wise move. On the other side, you could also check your list of keywords to see which ones your competitors are already ranking for and give those a higher priority. The former is good when you want to capitalize on your competitors' missed opportunities, but the latter is an aggressive strategy that puts you to compete for keywords your competitors are already performing well for.

  • Search terms by season

Knowing seasonal trends may help when deciding on a content strategy. For instance, if you are aware that the "Christmas box" starts to increase in the United Kingdom around those months, you can produce material months in advance and give it a strong push between the months of October and December.

  • Regional keywords

You can more strategically target a specific region by concentrating your keyword research on certain cities, counties, or states in the Google Keyword Planner or by examining "interest by subregion" in Google Trends. Geo-specific research can help you make your content more relevant to your target audience. For instance, you might discover that when referring to large vehicles, "big rig" is preferred in Texas but "tractor trailer" is preferred in New York.

Which Format More Closely Matches the Searcher's Objectives?

We’ve already discussed search engine result pages (SERP) in Chapter 2. This context will help us understand how people who are searching for a particular keyword prefer to consume information. The way in which Google search presents results will vary depending on the purpose of the inquiry. These intents are categorized by Google as "know" (learn information), "do" (reach a goal), "website" (find a specific website), or "visit-in-person" in their Quality Rater Guidelines (visit a local business).

 Despite the enormous variety of search types, let's concentrate on the five main major intent categories:

  • Informational: The searcher is looking for information, such as the height of the Empire State Building or the name of a band.
  • Navigational queries: The searcher wants to travel to a certain website, such as Facebook or the NFL's home page.
  • Transactional queries: In this case, the searcher is looking towards performing a certain task such as buying a flight ticket or listening to music.
  • Commercial investigation: The searcher wants to evaluate different items to determine which is best for their own requirements.
  • The searcher is looking locally for things like a nearby coffee shop, physician, or music venue.

A critical step in the keyword research process is looking at the SERP environment for the phrase you want to target in order to better comprehend searcher intent. To learn what kind of material your target audience enjoys, check the SERPs. Google has carefully analyzed the behavior of billions of searches to provide the most pertinent content for each unique keyword search.

Google may also provide the "refine by" feature in situations where a searcher's intent is murky to assist them in limiting their possibilities. By doing this, the search engine may produce results that will help the user carry out their task more successfully.

If you want to target a phrase, you should check the SERP to see what kind of content you should create because Google might provide many different types of results based on the query.

Also Read: Guide to Google Search Console

Tools for Calculating a Keyword's Value

How much would a keyword raise your website's value? These tools are great additions to your arsenal for conducting keyword research since they can help you respond to that inquiry:

1. The most common place to start when conducting keyword research for SEO has historically been Google's AdWords Keyword Planner. However, Keyword Planner does restrict search volume numbers by combining phrases into broad search volume range buckets. For more details, go to Dirty Secrets of Google Keyword Planner.

google keyword planner
Source: Google Support

2. A great tool for spotting seasonal keyword changes is Google Trends. For instance, searches for "funny Halloween costume ideas" will rise in the weeks preceding Halloween, or "resume keywords" will rise when a large number of firms are hiring like during the months of July and August.

3. AnswerThePublic - This free resource lists frequently asked queries concerning a specific topic. Bonus! You can arrange ATP's suggestions according to search volume by integrating this tool with another free one, Keywords Everywhere.

4. The SpyFu Keyword Research Tool offers some quite intriguing competitive keyword information.

The next stage is to create sites that people will enjoy and search engines can understand now that you have discovered what and how frequently your target audience is searching. Let’s move to Chapter 4 now to understand On-Site optimization.

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