If you’re new to search engine optimization (SEO), your idea of Google keyword research may include opening up a Google keyword planner tool and picking whatever keywords you see. The truth behind successful keyword research is that you shouldn’t select search terms based on how much search volume it receives.
Instead, the success of your SEO campaign will depend on how well you choose your targeted keywords. If you want to improve the online visibility of your website, selecting lucrative keyword opportunities is key. Below, you’ll learn everything there is to know about choosing the right keywords for your SEO campaign.
Put Yourself in the Shoes of Your Audience
The first step in discovering the right keyword phrases to use is figuring out how potential customers will find your website. For example, let’s say that you’re a plumber based in Los Angeles. How do you think your potential customers will search for a plumber in your region?
Will they type “plumbers in Los Angeles” into their Google search bar? Or, will they instead type “plumbers near me”? This is the entire point of keyword research. The better you understand your target audience, the more informed decisions you’ll make regarding your keyword planning.
Study Your Competition
Another aspect of conducting proper keyword research is finding out the keywords your competitors are using. By using keyword research tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, you can perform competitor research. This will allow you to:
- See how well your competitors are ranking for specific keywords
- Understand the gap between you and your fiercest competitors on the search engine result pages (SERPs)
- Receiver insider information on how to close the gap and surpass your competitors
If your competitors’ websites are performing better than yours, seeing which keywords they’re excelling in can help you attract similar business. On the flip side, you can also take a look at their weaknesses and capitalize on them.
Prioritize Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are elaborate search terms that are usually three words or more. Examples of long-tail keywords are:
- “experienced plumbers near me”
- “how to cook steak in under five minutes”
- “where to find the best hiking gear”
Long-tail keywords are more conversational than generic search terms, and there is an infinite number of combinations you can try. Most of the time, competitors will compete for shorter keyword terms, making it necessary for you to find other opportunities to lead internet users to your website.
This is where researching long-tail keywords comes in.
For example, if “plumbers near me” is attracting 45,000 internet users but has a high keyword difficulty, you can try ranking for long-tail keywords, such as:
- “experienced plumbers near me”
- “best places to hire plumbers”
- “plumbers near me cheap”
As you can see, long-tail keywords will make or break your SEO campaign. As such, use them wisely.
Factor In Search Intent
Here’s the unfortunate truth—you can choose a great combination of long-tail keywords and still completely miss the mark. If you choose a keyword and create the wrong content, Google won’t rank your page. It doesn’t matter how optimized and well-written your content is.
Google will only rank content that’s relevant for its search queries. This is why search intent is important. Search intent is what a person wants to see when they search for a keyword.
The good news is finding search intent is very simple. Before crafting content, perform a search for your list of keywords and see what kinds of content come up. For example, if you want to rank for “Mexican cooking recipes”, check to see if the top-ranking pages are lists or videos.
This will help you create content that Google and your audience want to see.
Map the Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey is a sales funnel that maps the journey of a person to become a customer. Here are the basic stages of the Buyer’s Journey:
- Awareness: This is the stage where a person has a need but doesn’t know what they’re looking for.
- Interest: This is the stage where a prospect knows what they need and are exploring their options.
- Decision: This is the stage where the prospect is narrowing their decisions.
At a first glance, you may be wondering how the Buyer’s Journey has anything to do with keyword research. Depending on a prospect’s position in the Buyer’s Journey, they’ll use different keywords.
Here’s an example:
- Awareness: I need to hire an accountant (keywords: accountant near me, accountants in Los Angeles)
- Interest: What types of accountants are there (keywords: different types of accountants)
- Decision: Which type of accountant is best for small businesses (keywords: best accountant for SMBs)
Always Assess the Level of Competition
Certain keywords have search traffic in the millions. However, you can’t afford to get your hopes up by investing your time and resources in ranking for these keywords.
While it’s great to chase popular keywords, it’s best to temporarily target the low-hanging fruit first. Keywords with low to medium difficulty are the best ones to shoot for. Rank for these keywords first to build online real estate immediately.
As your online visibility increases, then you can gun for the most popular search terms in your industry.
Create Your List of Keywords
Finally, once your research is done, you’ll need to create an extensive list of all the keywords you plan on targeting. This is essential for two main reasons. Keyword lists keep marketing teams organized and on the same page.
Creating a keyword list will also allow you to track your progress in how well your campaign is going. Once you establish a keyword list, make sure you list other helpful information to keep collaborators on track, such as:
- Keyword difficulty
- Search volume
- Level of competition
- Long-tail keyword combinations
Change Your Google Keyword Research Strategy
Keyword research isn’t as one-dimensional as many would think. SEOs perform many steps to make sure they find and choose the right keywords for their campaigns. Following the tips above will help you gain an advantage over your top competitors and elevate your website’s online presence.