This is 2017. What worked in 2012 will not work today. Five years is a very long time as far as technology is concerned. Therefore, your SEO Keyword Research strategy for 2017 should be different from what you did in 2012.
2012 is a significant year in keyword research. Google introduced the Penguin Update in 2012 that revolutionized the SEO by revamping it completely. Prior to 2012, keyword research was easy and unregulated. You had the liberty of writing the content and then insert the keywords. Today, the scene has reversed. You have to do your research for the keywords first before writing the content.
Keywords are vital to the success of the website. With Google tightening its screws in providing information to web owners, it has become imperative for you to do your keyword research thoroughly. You need this research to survive in this competitive market.
How to do the right kind of SEO keyword research in 2017.
1. Warm up for a brainstorming session
Rack your brains and start coming up with general topics. Identify the generic phrases that describe your industry. Let us take a simple example of an online retail store selling shoes. Write down anything that comes to your mind. It could be “buy shoes online”, “men’s shoes”, etc. These are the normal words people type in the search bar. Make your list as long as possible. Write whatever keywords that comes to your mind. This is the basic step of an SEO keyword research.
The next step is to take your keywords to the next level. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Imagine what goes in his mind. He might need the shoes for a particular occasion. It could be a formal or an informal one. Expand the keywords that you have written out such as “buy men’s formal shoes online” or “but men sports shoes online”. This will help you to categorize the keywords. Now, you have a category that is interested in formal shoes or sports shoes. Each of these categories can form a separate page on your website.
2. Examine your current traffic
This research will take you a bit deeper into this situation. Analyze your existing website for the most common keywords used by customers. You need web analytics services to do so. Google Analytics is one of them. You can also try out Google Search Console. Both these tools are effective in helping you find the right keywords that traffic to your website. Refining the categories is the next thing to do. You know where the preferences of your customers lie. This analysis will also help you to understand which pages of your website do well on the search engine.
Image Source: Kissmetrics
3. Know what your competitors are doing
Step No 2 works when you have an existing website. What if you do not have one? You can spy on your competitor’s website and collect the same data. You will not be able to use Google Analytics on his website but you can certainly come up with keywords they target. You should never miss this step in any case. You get a truckload of information that can prove useful to you later on. This step is very useful to find the right keywords. Nowadays, it can be difficult to research your competitor’s keywords. However, keyword research tool can help you in the matter.
4. Traverse the off beaten track
Try out the old fashioned keyword research ideas as well. You can involve everyone in your business set up right from the boy who serves the beverages to the customer service representatives. They interact with people every day. Hence, they are the best people who have an idea about customer preferences. This approach will allow you to approach this issue from a customer’s perspective. The results might be different from what analytics say. Nevertheless, they are important because these preferences are the actual preferences. They might just present you with a different angle. These ploys work even today in 2017.
5. Keyword Research tools are vital
Now that you have done your brainstorming, it has become conditioned for the sterner tests ahead. People who are conversant with the intricacies of software programs can directly start from this step. However, it benefits to start from scratch. Why should you use the best keyword research tools?
The main reason behind using them is that it provides an objective point of view as compared to the subjective point of view you had until now. These tools analyze the actual data and hence come up with concrete results.
You get many free tools in the market. Some of them are LSI Graph, Keyword.io, and Ubersuggest. They are good but it always pays to have a paid keyword research tool to help you out. This video will help you understand the use of the keyword research tools better.
6. Prioritize your keywords
You have a list of manually prepared keywords and those marked with priority scores as per the keyword research tools. The next step is to sort your keywords from this huge pile. While doing so, you should separate the smaller generic keywords from the longer specific ones. Sort them into two main categories, “Head” queries and “Long tail” queries.
Going through this list you will find that the long tail queries might just occupy a page or so. It is admittedly difficult to prepare a list of long tail queries because the preference of each person is different. However, you can come close to your area of interest.
One should give more importance to the commonly used spelling of the word especially when prioritizing keywords. Let us take a simple example. Instead of using the word ‘television’ the more commonly used word is ‘TV’. Hence, your keyword should cater to this requirement. This is a very important aspect of keyword research for SEO.
7. Consumer preference should take precedence over everything else
After all, it boils down to the fact of customer preference. All your research comes to naught if the customer does not prefer the use of the keyword. This explains the importance of going the traditional way. It keeps your options open.
The intention of the user is of prime importance. For example, a person intent on buying sports shoes will not search for shoe repairs whereas a person looking out for shoe repairs would glance upon new shoes as well.
The prioritization of keywords assumes great significance at this point. Each prioritized keyword faces tough competition in each category. However, every prioritized keyword is important. It may not have much use today but tomorrow is a different day altogether. You might just need them. This is the basic requirement of an SEO keyword research.
What will you do with the keyword research results?
This is a million dollar question. However, we have some suggestions to help you out in this matter. The following points suggest how to use your priority keywords. You can also use these suggestions as SEO Keyword research tips for bloggers.
- Inform the persons responsible for designing the site layout, navigation, and other inner pages of your website
- Help in sorting out the headers, metadata, titles, and descriptions
- Tremendous help in formulating a strong and effective content marketing strategy
- Improves your keyword vocabulary especially when you design new pages
- Refines your business models so that you are on par with the best in your niche
- Helps you to initiate a PPC campaign that can help you get more traffic
Advantages of doing keyword research
You are now done with your SEO keyword research. It is now time to understand the advantages of doing this research.
- You become capable to engage your audience in a better manner. This research gives you an insight into what the audience prefers. This can help tweak your products and services to suit their preferences. Knowing the audience preferences helps you to formulate appropriate content.
- If you do your homework properly, you are bound to see an increase in the conversion levels. The number of visitors and conversions will witness a steady rise.
- You can increase your knowledge of the marketing trends prevalent at the particular moment. This can help you to analyze consumer behavior in a better manner. Your customer service will improve a great deal.
- When you prioritize your keywords, you learn to ignore the keywords with less priority and concentrate on the ones that drive traffic towards your website. This can improve your bottom line.
- You get an insight into the extensive use of the long tail keywords. In fact, this aspect makes for 70% of the search traffic. This activity can strengthen your visibility a lot.
- Identifying the right keywords is akin to winning more than half the battle. This will no doubt lead to a successful business endeavor.
Doing your SEO Keyword research entails that there is no need for you to guess the moves of your customer. You have analyzed data in front of you that can predict his preferences accurately.