Keyword Research Services for SEO Beginners
We’ve all been there; you’ve got some great insight to share, or a great idea to get out to the world, and you want to make sure you get it in front of as many people as possible. But, you’re not quite sure about the best way to get it to rank on Google, or how to gain valuable insight into what your audience is searching for. Well, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. What you need to be thinking about is hitting the right keywords, and this all starts with a little research…
The What and the Why of keyword research
Before we dive into the fundamentals of keyword research, let’s explain what it is. Keyword research is the process of understanding what your target audience is already searching for. Essentially, what terms and phrases are they actually typing into search engines. by knowing this, you can start working on content that really delivers what your audience wants.
In a nutshell – Google thinks of a search as a ‘question’ (or query) and wants to show this user the best ‘answer’. If you know exactly what they’re searching for, you can start thinking of the best content for this user by working on the best ‘answer’ for their question. Part of this is making sure to play back the question accurately to the user. If your keywords answer their queries, you have a better chance of getting seen on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Core elements of keyword research
When carrying out your research, there are four core elements that you should think about.
- Relevance: Google’s search algorithm focuses particularly on content relevance, it will only rank and score sites that are meeting the audience’s needs. BUT, that isn’t the only hurdle. Your content not only has to be relevant, but it also needs to be the best resource for that audience’s questions.
- Authority: Domain authority is a measure that Google gives to sites based on how ‘good’ it thinks they are. There are a ton of factors that go into influencing this, including the number of quality back and internal links you have within your content. Having relevant backlinks supports your domain authority as it means people are referencing your content, adding credibility and showing Google that you are of value. It’s also important to include internal links so you can demonstrate that your site’s pillar pages and content are connected, demonstrating that you have authority over content across your site. The more authority you have, the more chances you have to be found.
- Search volume: Search volume is the number of times a word/s or question is entered into Google – basically, this is how popular a search is. You might rank on the first page for a keyword, but that won’t be useful unless people are searching for it. It would be like opening up a business in a ghost town!
- Keyword Difficulty: Keyword difficulty is a measurement of how hard it is to rank for a keyword. The higher the search volume and the more valuable this term is to businesses, the more likely lots of people are providing quality content and the harder it will be to rank. It’s all about finding the sweet spot. A good place to start is longtail keywords (which we will explore later) that has a reasonable amount of search volume but also has a lower difficulty. Aim for a search volume and keyword difficulty of under 40%. If the difficulty is over 60% then generally it’s too competitive to rank for that term – unless, of course, you have the budget to compete with the big boys!
Now let’s jump into the different types of keywords. Three to be exact: head, body and longtail phrases.
Head refers to a keyword that is one or two words in length. They are simple and highly competitive, resulting in a plethora of search results. A great example of a head keyword is “birthday card”.
Body keywords are longer, reaching up to two or even three words. If we used “birthday card” as the head keyword example, then the body keyword would be “mum’s birthday card”. This instantly streamlines the search allowing for fewer results that are more specific to what the user is searching for.
The final keyword is long-tail phrases. These keywords are more focused, therefore adding value to the search. The conversion rate for these is higher than that of the head keywords. There is less competition and as a result, there’s a better chance of standing out. For example, “mum’s 50th birthday card”.
There is no set rule to say that the keywords above can’t be used in the same piece of copy, but we prefer using them strategically to connect the site’s content. Try using the head keyword on the pillar page, for instance, a core page that defines SEO solutions, which is the core piece of your content topic. Then use longtail keywords to help bridge the relevant content together.
Such as best SEO solutions, or Bristol SEO solutions, whether that be in the form of a case study, blog or further reading on the topic.
Analysing the competition
We have all heard the term “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” and in this instance, it really is the case. Looking at your competitors is a great way to discover the best keywords that would work for you and your business.
Some of this is plain old fashioned research – view your competitor’s website – what terms stand out to you? Google the terms you think you want to rank for and see who is beating you to the number one spot. Don’t forget to look at the competitor Google Ads that appear for your search term too (PPC keyword research is another topic!) as these are all great sources of inspiration. But, you must also be pragmatic when choosing who to compete with – are they light years ahead of you in their SEO journey or do you have a realistic chance of competing?
The best part is that there are tools out there that can help you. For instance, SEMRush has a great feature whereby you can analyse your competitor’s domains, ranging anything from their website traffic to their domain authority. You can use tools like this to understand the ranking position: what type of content are they creating? What keywords are they focusing on? Then with that information, you can use it to strengthen your strategy.
So, hopefully now that you have a better understanding of keyword research, you’re ready to start finding some of your own. But remember, the digital world is constantly changing and it’s vital that you re-evaluate every few months to stay on top of the game and your competitors. It’s a never-ending job!
SEO is a complex beast and if you’re looking for a hand incorporating SEO into your wider content and / or marketing strategies check out our video and feel free to reach out and say hello! We’d love to chat.