The main thing to remember is that your goal is to be found for the searches which you want to be found for and that the right customers find you. It sounds obvious, but there can be so much confusion around SEO and keyword strategies that people sometimes become overwhelmed with conflicting ideas and lose focus. Although Google keeps updating its algorithms and altering SEO requirements, the need for keyword research has remained consistent. There are some basic steps which you need to take in order to get your SEO keyword research heading in the right direction.
The first step is to list all the important, relevant topics which relate to your business. These are general words and phrases which shouldn’t have too much detail yet. So if you run a computer sales business in Melbourne, then you should list ‘computer sales’, ‘Melbourne business services’ or whatever feels right.
Next, you should consider which phrases you think will help you rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). For each general phrase, elaborate with plenty of related phrases that you think your customers might search for. Under the ‘Melbourne business services’ topic, you could list ‘computers in Melbourne’, for example. A good way to come up with keyword ideas is to discover which keywords your website is already getting found for. To do this, you’ll need website analytics software like Google Analytics or HubSpot’s Sources tool. Search your website’s traffic sources, and sift through your organic search traffic to find the keywords people are using to arrive at your site. Repeat this exercise for as many topic headings as you have.
The third step is to research related search terms. You might find that you have already thought of many of these when doing keyword research, but it’s a great way to expand the lists. If you go to Google.com and type in your phrase, and then scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, you’ll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original phrase. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration. You could then type in some of those related search terms and look at the related search terms for the new ones.
Next you should check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each list. Head terms are keyword phrases that are shorter and more generic – one to three words in length. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words. It’s important to check that you have both head terms and long-tail terms, because it’ll give you a keyword strategy that’s well balanced with long-term goals and short-term results. Head terms are generally searched more frequently, making them much more competitive and harder to rank for than long-tail terms. Imagine these search terms: ‘desktop pc’ or ‘desktop pc for sale in Melbourne’. Obviously the first one will be highly competitive, but you can still use it. If you use the second one and someone searches for it, however, then you have a much greater chance of converting the visit into a sale. Search engine optimisation can be quickly effective when it brings highly targeted visitors, but you might as well have general browsers as well as you try to reach more difficult and broader markets.
You can also check your competition. Remember that just because your competitor is doing something it doesn’t mean you need to, and this goes for keywords too, but understanding what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a great way to check your own. SEMrush is a useful tool that allows you to run some free keyword reports on any domain.
Finally, use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner or HubSpot’s Keywords App to refine your keyword list, and you should be off to a great start.