3 Step Guide to Keyword Research

In my previous digital marketing posts, previously we looked at creating an actionable 6 step SEO strategy to support a specific campaign from content creation, keyword research, social media, implementation and measurement.

This post looks more specifically into keyword research and creating a 3 step guide to use. There is a library of information that you can find on the subject of keyword research but if you’re keen to dig deeper on this subject, I would recommend The Beginners Guide to SEO created by SEOMoz who provide an excellent account of the benefits and reasons why keyword research is the foundation to any SEO strategy.

Let’s briefly go back to the basics of why Keyword research is important to any SEO strategy and the importance of Relevancy and Popularity.

1) Relevancy meaning that the relevance of a document increases if the terms or phrase shows up in the title of the work, or in headlines, subheadings, or if links to the page come from relevant pages and use relevant anchor text

2) Popularity measures the how the work is referenced by other work. Therefore the popularity increases with every document referencing it through links.

So to stand a chance of ticking both of the above boxes, you need to ensure the content you are creating is taking into account the most relevant keywords and phrases associated to the subject. How to do this? Well below is a 3 step guide providing you with some insights to ensure you are on the right track when researching the keywords of choice. So, you have identified the content, now what?

Step 1: Selecting the Keywords

  • Brainstorm list of ideas of words/phrases – speak to your co-workers, friends, suppliers to your business of keywords and phrases they would associate to the content you are looking to create
  • Imagine you are the customer – Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What types of keywords and phrases are you going to refer to? Phone or email your customers, be open with them and ask them for their thoughts and ideas too
  • Competitors – This is a great resource tool. List out all your competitors who are selling the same product/service and begin to form research into the words and phrases they are targeting. Check out the source code of your competitors website products page – here you can search for Meta Keyword and Description tags where they may provide you with hints on keywords they are targeting.
  • Analytics – Consult your analytics and make a note of all the relevant keywords users have used to arrive at your website relating to the specific product/service.
  • Define your list – By now you should have a list of keywords form this research you can now take forward. Do not make the list to exhaustive, try and look to define and identify 10-15 keywords.

Step 2: Defining the List

  • From the initial selection of keywords in Step 1, now you need to define the list of keywords you want to target that you see as relevant and popular for search tactics.
  • Sign into the Google Keyword Tool – this provides you with an insight into the search volume available for the range of keywords you have identified through Google e.g. how many searches are conducted on a monthly basis for that specific word or phrase. Take a look at this blog about the how to use the keyword tool for SEO.
  • Copy and Paste the keyword list you created in Step 1 into the keyword tool and choose Exact match and set the region you are looking to target.
  • Record results – The Keyword tool will then generate a list of keyword search volume generated for a monthly average.

Step 3: Choosing the Keywords

  • Analyse Local monthly Searches – If you login to your Google account this will then break down the keywords by a monthly average figure and by region (Local) rather than Global. From here you can check to see peaks in search volume throughout the year
  • Monitor Keyword ideas – underneath the keywords you included, Google will also provide a keyword ideas section- this is a list of alternative and associated keywords you might also want to consider that too drive potential search volume
  • Do the keywords match your content? This is an important step, make sure the keywords you are looking to take forward match the content you have on your website. There is no point identifying keywords with lots of potential search volume if you don’t have the content available on the website to support this.
Hopefully this provides you with an actionable 3 step guide to creating and defining a list of keywords for your SEO campaign, I would be keen to hear your thoughts and ideas you may use.


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