So where does keyword research come into our lives? Well, keyword research plays a significant role if you do any kind of online marketing. And you are probably doing that if you run your own business, work for an organisation and help them with digital marketing or perhaps you help out with a charity.
The term “keyword” can be misleading I know because in most instances for small businesses it will be wiser to select a keyword phrase rather than a singular word. So when people refer to keyword they probably mean keywords. So a keyword I used recently was “installing WordPress”.
And who is bothered with the keywords you use on your website, blog or social media platform? The answer to that is the people you want to read what you produce. Google, Facebook and Twitter are the ones who assess what you write and present it to your intended audience.
So here are the 5 steps that I use in my keyword research to find powerful keywords.
STEP 1 IN KEYWORD RESEARCH: ASK PEOPLE
This is something that I was reminded about recently. And in the busyness of life it can easily get forgotten. So ask people you meet, maybe at business networking events, or training courses, what they put into Google when they want help or advice with the what you have to offer.
STEP 2 IN KEYWORD RESEARCH: CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION
You are probably doing this anyway in your business and there are tools where you can see what keywords your competitors are using. But when I say “check out the competition” I am referring to what websites come on the first page for the phrase you are thinking of using. For instance if I use “wordpress tutorial” as my keyword I see that the organisations I would be competing with are massive and I would have to spend thousands in ads to beat them. And since I don’t want to do that I will use another keyword phrase.
STEP 3 IN KEYWORD RESEARCH: ASSESS THE RELEVANCY
This can be a hard one. When you do your research, and perhaps use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest, you will see terms that are closely related to what you are writing but not precisely on topic as they say. So it depends if you write your posts first and then do your keyword research or vice versa. I am writing posts at the moment to cover the questions I regularly get asked about web design, WordPress and SEO. So I am focusing on what people want to learn about and then using highly relevant keywords.
it might be easier to understand if I give you an example: Let’s say I am writing a blog post with 7 SEO tips. I have used Google’s Keyword Planner to get keyword ideas having entered “SEO Tips” as the seed word. In the research I see that people search Google for “SEO agency” on average about 1900 times a month. This phrase seems tempting – there are enough searches a month to suggest there are people who are looking for SEO information. However, I am not an SEO agency and Google will know this from my activity online. So even though I am tempted to use “SEO agency” as the keyword phrase on my post about SEO tips I won’t use it has it is not directly relevant either to my organisation or to the blog post. The phrase “SEO tips” has 720 monthly searches, is directly relevant to the post and my organisation.
So that is the decision made – I will be writing a post using the keyword phrase “SEO tips”, even though the number of searches is less than that for the phrase “SEO agency”.
STEP 4 IN KEYWORD RESEARCH: BE VERY NICHE TO GOOGLE
Or be very nice to Google and choose keyword phrases that are focused in on the questions you are answering or the products/services you provide. For instance if you are selling wedding shoes it may be better to use the keyword “blue wedding shoes” rather than just “wedding shoes”. And then of course you can write about your “red wedding shoes” and so on in other posts.
STEP 5 IN KEYWORD RESEARCH: DELVE INTO THE STATS
Sorry to say there aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to numbers. If you use Google’s Keyword Planner you can see how many monthly searches there are for your chosen keyword and you can get an idea of what Google judges to be the competition. So there may be no point in using a keyword with 5 searches a month. On the other hand, a keyword with 246,000 searches a month (“WordPress”), that Google says is low competition seems ideal. But I won’t be using it as when I put the term “WordPress” into the Google search engine all I see are web pages from WordPress themselves -and it would be very hard for me to rank a new web page higher than pages from WordPress.
It takes some experience and maybe a few months to get your head around all of this but it is something that is well worth investing the time in.
UPDATE 27 July 2017
The Google Keyword Planner tool is now not giving very helpful data. The data returned is now showing very broad numbers like 1000 to 1000,000. There are many other tools that may help. A free one that is suitable for small business is called Serpstat – you may want to check that out.
Happy keyword researching!
There is a 6th step that I do in my keyword research.
If you would like to read about it just click The Sixth Step in Keyword Research….nothing bad will happen. I won’t ask for your email address – honest!