Before delving into the topic of the benefits of keyword research and how to best to proceed to build your keyword lists let’s define what are keywords and how they impact on a website performance in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s).
Keywords are everyday words used within the content of your website which help the search engines to define the topical weighting of the content of a page whether that page is an informational page or offers products or services.
Keywords used in a website’s copy fall into three primary groups, single-word keywords, body keywords (two-three word phrases) and long-tail keywords (four or more word phrases).
Ranking for single keywords or keyword phrases is harder than ranking for long-tail keywords. This is because the fewer keywords used, the more significant the number of search results and the higher the competition.
While long-tail keywords have lower search traffic, they can be extremely productive as they target a particular niche or audience demographic.
Consider this, approximately 33% of organic click-throughs occur from position one of the search results and CTR’s dramatically drop-off from position two onwards. Obtaining just one competitive phrase in your industries niche can significantly impact your overall organic search traffic and conversion ratio.
Knowing the relevant industry keywords and how they drive traffic within your market is extremely important. Having a good keyword list could be best described with the analogy of a fisherman who casts his net, the bigger the net, the larger the catchment area available and the likelihood he has of capturing more fish. When considering keywords, a well-defined list formulated to capture all opportunities within your market yields better results.
When it comes to targeting keywords in your marketing strategy, it quickly becomes apparent of the importance of keyword research. Finding the optimum keywords in your industry or niche to convert your website audience into paying customers can be complicated and perplexing for the inexperienced.
Keyword research can be extremely rewarding for your business; if you have never performed a thorough market analysis of your industry or niche, careful analysis can open up many new opportunities within your marketplace that you may have never previously considered. Keep in mind the research you do is not only beneficial for improving your websites organic results but also useful for any pay-per-click campaigns you might run in the future.
Before you commence, it is important to consider what your objectives are and write them down. For instance, a business-owner whose target is to build active and purposeful content for an upcoming website launch will differ in approach to those with an existing website which needs merely to broaden its target market or improve the quality of its content. How you incorporate your keyword research into your marketing strategy does vary considerably for every business dependant on its size, budget and target market.
When it comes to keyword research, business-owners and marketing professionals have an incredible array of tools available which can make the process seem to be more complicated than what it is. I like to understand an industry from the grass-roots and to this end I do not rely solely on tools to determine the depth of my research but instead, use them to complement it.
As there is an abundance of quality tools available in the internet sphere, it is not our intention to single-out and recommend a particular tool but rather to focus on the process of generating a keyword list. We look into some practical methods to start your generative thought processes flowing, as well as some free and affordable tools which we think are more than adequate for the majority who are determined to improve their website’s competitiveness in the search results.
As with all tasks, there is often more than one way to tackle them; your objectives may determine whether you conduct a broad analysis of your entire industry or focus on a particular niche within your marketplace, either way, the process should include these primary steps;
When analysing potential keywords look at the search volume, the higher the monthly volume, the higher the potential click-throughs you can expect if you achieve a page #1 ranking. List all high competition and low competition keywords, take note of their competition level, cost per click, page and domain authority of competitor websites, the more detailed your keyword list is, the more objectively it’s possible to determine which keywords best to target.
The greater the competition for a particular keyword; the harder it is for you to successfully compete for that keyword, as mentioned earlier in this article, long-tail keywords will provide you better competitive opportunity and sometimes can be more fruitful as far as converting click-throughs to paying customers.
An important consideration when looking at search volume is that volume doesn’t directly translate into an equal click-through amount. Search volume represents the number of searches for that query, if you achieve the top position in the search engine results, you can expect roughly 33% of that amount to translate to click-throughs, and the amount reduces significantly for positions two and so forth.
Other factors which can determine click-through rate is how well written and targeted your page titles, and meta descriptions are formulated, as well as the inclusion of rich snippet data; it is possible that a well-optimised position three listing can achieve greater click-throughs than a place above it.
Correct assimilation of your keyword list and implementation of keyword data within your meta titles, descriptions and on-page content along with other metrics will determine how effectively your website ranks for a particular keyword.
When it comes to keyword and website analytical tools, there is an abundance of them, however, if your budget conscientious like most of us you are probably would like to know what provides you with the best leverage for your dollar without spending a fortune.
The tools listed below are my unbiased opinion, my only motive here is to let you know of their existence and how they can help you.
Below is a short-list of incredibly useful tools to get you on your way to creating your keyword list;
A tool that I particularly like and an ideal place to start your keyword research is Ubersuggest; type in a keyword and Ubersuggest generates you a list of short and long-tail related keywords, along with their search volume, CPC, and level of competition. An added plus is the ability to filter by keyword or filter out negative words within your list.
That’s not a typo!, this great tool which has been inappropriately named the Keyword Shitter delivers both exact match and broad match keyword search results.
A browser extension available for either Chrome or Firefox is the Keywords Everywhere extension; it displays search metrics in your browser’s search box for any keywords you enter, metrics like search volume, CPC and competition, a handy tool that can produce some great insights. If you already have a keyword list there is an online version which allows you to check metrics in bulk then export the results in either PDF or spreadsheet format, that tool is available here.
When it comes to features, paid tools always deliver the goods, but buyer beware, careful analysis is needed to navigate the sea of options available for the best tool for your current needs, without the necessary research you could end up paying a lot more for features that you don’t need.
For straightforward, practical, in-depth keyword research that enables you to formulate keyword lists at an affordable price-point quickly, the Keyword Revealer is my favourite. Simple to use, easy to understand and easy on the eyes, Keyword Revealer excels by providing you quality keyword research results and combines additional website metrics that makes this a good allrounder SEO tool.
Even from the free version a wealth of information can be amassed; however, it limits the amount of research and brainstorming available on a daily basis. Paid subscription plans start as low as $9.97 per month and worth every penny.
Type in a keyword and Keyword Revealer generates you a list of short and long-tail related keywords, as well as other metrics like search volume and CPC. Dive a little deeper into the results by clicking on the evaluate button to reveal parameters like keyword difficulty, search trend, competitor’s domain strength plus other indicators to gauge competitive difficulty. We suggest you check out all the features of Keyword Revealer has to offer.
Lastly, but not least, a tool that seemingly handles all the SEO metrics you might need is SEMRush; with authoritative analytical and reporting tools SEMRush has earned a reputation as a leader in the field. Functionality is limited in the free version which makes purchasing a subscription a necessity rather than an option, with subscription plans starting at USD$99.95.
Keyword research is without a doubt crucial to your businesses ability to effectively target keywords either in the organic search results or PPC advertising. Without keyword research, your ability to focus on short and long-tail keywords is impacted significantly.
Creating a good keyword list is just a starting point which directly impacts the collective effectiveness of SEO, marketing and content writing, neither one of these can effectively exist without first garnering a definitive keyword list. Writing compelling headlines and copy not only engages your audience but adaptly enables the search engines to determine what your website page is targeting.
We encourage you to read our article “Why You Should Stop Wasting Your Time Writing!” for more tips on how to formulate effective website copy.