If you’re new to running an online business or want your existing website to rank better in Google or Bing then you need to understand how to do keyword research for SEO. While this isn’t the only ranking factor, keyword research plays a vital part in the search engine optimisation (SEO) process.
Before you populate your website with valuable content, you need to know what search terms your audience uses. When we talk about search terms, we mean the phrases that a person types into a search engine to find a particular piece of information. These key phrases are your keywords!
Based on these keywords you can then write great content that is both value-driven and SEO driven.
Why keyword research matters?
Keyword research is important because it dictates pretty much everything your website is based on. As an example – just imagine that you run a business renting out vacation cottages.
Understandably, you might consider structuring your content around the key-phrase “vacation cottage rentals Sydney”. But while you may rank well for the said keyword, the truth is that very few people search directly for the term ‘vacation cottages’ instead preferring the term ‘vacation homes.’
We know this because the monthly search volume for the former is a lot less than the latter.
So despite the high ranking for ‘vacation cottages in Sydney’, you won’t generate much traffic because very few people are looking for this key term.
In essence, it doesn’t make sense to optimise content for search terms that people don’t use.
This is why good keyword research matters.
So how is the keyword research process done?
Step 1 – Second-guessing your audience
The first step when carrying out keyword research is to get into the heads of your target audience. So let’s say that you’re an implant dentist in Melbourne. You need to think about what key search phrases your target audience will enter to find you. So consider phrases like
- Implant dentist Melbourne
- Affordable implant dentist Melbourne
- Dental implant dentist near me
- Best implant dentist Melbourne
- Implant dentist Melbourne CBD etc…
Write down as many as you can think of taking into account your niche or industry, your location and your unique selling proposition (the things that stand you out from your competition). These are the key terms that you really want to be found for.
Once you have a comprehensive list of key phrases, you’re ready to move onto the next stage.
Step 2 – Research your keywords
The next step in how to do keyword research for SEO is to start delving deeper into your created keyword list. A good starting point is to type those exact phrases into Google one by one and check the searches that Google suggests while typing.
For instance, when you start to type in the word ‘Google’ a plethora of suggested key phrases are returned. This is known as Google Search prediction and is a handy tool for gathering even more key phrases. Take into account both short and long-tail key phrases and add these to your list as well where applicable.
Step 3 – Search intent
As alluded to earlier in this article, keywords are only ever worth pursuing if there is sufficient monthly search volume to warrant their inclusion. Remember you don’t want to spend time basing content around key phrases that your target audience aren’t using.
Therefore, it pays to keep a close eye on the average monthly search volume. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner are free to use and are a very popular way to see the monthly search volume of all your keywords. The only downside is that you will need to have a Google Ads account – although again, this is free. Other tools include AHREF’s Keyword Generator or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. While not free, they both offer free trials for a limited period.
Do bear in mind that in many cases, the higher the search volume, the greater the competition so you want to find that sweet spot between a decent monthly search volume and one without too much competition.
Step 4 – Keyword research analysis
By now you should have a list of key phrases with a monthly search volume. The next stage of the keyword research process is to carry out keyword analysis. Enter each search term into Google and take a look at the search engine results pages (SERP’s). These are the websites you’ll be competing against if you decide to use a particular key phrase.
Do you see company websites, corporate companies or large conglomerates? Are you equal to or better than these companies?
It pays to take a look at their content to see if it’s been well written and adds value. If not, then maybe it’s an area where you can excel. You may have greater knowledge or experience and can produce better content that will help your target audience.
If you can, then you might have a chance of outranking them.
Another indicator of a good keyword is Google ads.
People pay to place their ads in Google and typically wouldn’t build an ad around a preferred keyword or key phrase if their particular keyword research didn’t yield profitable results.
So, if you enter a key phrase and see a ton of adverts, it’s usually a good sign that a keyword is worth pursuing.
How to do keyword research for SEO – What to do now?
By now, if you’ve followed the keyword research process, you’ll have sorted out the wheat from the chaff and refined your list to only include quality keywords that have some form of monthly search volume. So what do you do with them now?
The best way to start is to sort out your top key phrases found when carrying out your keyword research process. By this, we mean key phrases that;
- Contain a good amount of monthly searches
- Have some competition but are not overly competitive and
- Have paid advertising
Use these key phrases to create your cornerstone content. This is your absolute best and most informative pieces, articles, pages or blog posts that offer invaluable information. Then, any connected keywords can be used to create content that links back to your cornerstone content. This should be part of your internal link strategy – another important Google ranking factor.
Having a solid understanding of how to do keyword research for SEO is invaluable so even if you don’t have the time to carry it out yourself, you know what’s involved in this key process.
Here at Mediboost, we specialise in medical and dental marketing here in Australia. Our SEO and keyword research experts will work with you to bring more leads to your practice. Want to know more?
Call us now on 1300 163 058 or book a free strategy consultation today.