SEO keyword research is one of the most important parts of building a website that ranks. Here’s a beginner’s guide that will walk you through what to do.
However, understanding how to research the right keywords is not always clear. If your website doesn’t rank for the correct keywords, your chances of performing at the top of Google aren’t high.
The key is to learn which SEO keyword tools to adopt, how to research the right words, and how to execute the plan you come up with.
Here’s a beginner’s guide that will walk you through what to do.
Make a List of Basic Keywords
Start by asking two simple questions: What is your website about? And, what do you want your website to rank for on search engines?
With those two answers in mind, write 5 to 10 basic keywords that your site could potentially rank for.
For example, if you run a dog grooming business, your keywords could be things like dog, grooming, grooming services, pets, and dog brushing.
This list is just a place for you to start, so don’t worry too much about the initial list. The key is to make sure they’re related to your business or brand.
Do SEO Keyword Research
There are many different strategies people use when it comes to how to find SEO keywords. But for the most part, downloading a free tool or investing a little money to gain access to one is your best bet.
Keyword research tools like AhRefs, SEMRush, Google Search and Google Trends, SpyFu, and BuzzSumo are some of the popular tools.
Type your initial keywords into the tool and see which words come back with ranking data. Basic keywords should have a high keyword volume (at least a couple hundred searches per month, but ideally much more). Words that don’t have any searches behind them can be left alone for now.
If you have a budget and want to delegate this type of work, look into a good SEO services company. They’ll not only research the keywords but put a plan together and create content to help your website rank.
Create a List of Umbrella Words
Here’s where many go wrong with their SEO keyword research. They believe those basic keywords are enough to rank. But that’s rarely the case unless you occupy some very obscure niche.
Consider a basic keyword like “fitness.” With hundreds of thousands of searches per month, the chances of your website ever ranking high under that keyword are very low. The websites ranking on the first several pages not only have established websites, but also powerful SEO teams pulling the strings behind the scenes.
So next, you’ll want to create a list of relevant umbrella words under each basic keyword.
For example, “grooming services” could expand into keywords like
“grooming services for puppies” or “Miami grooming services.”
These longer-tail keywords may not get as many searches, but you stand a much higher chance of ranking for them.
Focus On Local Keywords
This tip may not apply if your business or platform is solely online (Dropshipping, for example). But if you are trying to gain business in a local community, any SEO agency or expert will tell you that it’s worth investing in local keyword research.
Tapping into local keywords helps you rank for highly targeted searches in your community. Fewer people Google “Miami grooming services,” but you can be pretty confident those who live nearby and are in the market for your services.
On top of local keyword research, SEO services and agencies often provide other local SEO guidance as well. For example, they can help get you set up on Google My Business and Yelp! in your community.
Understand User Intent
Today, user intent is about as important as any other area of SEO keyword research. Using relevant keywords that people search for is important, but what problem is your content solving?
User intent states the goal of the searcher who types in the keyword you wish to rank for. Remember, language can be subjective and even a minor tweak can change the question a person is asking.
Intent helps search engines categorize vast amounts of data into buckets that can be more easily presented to their users.
Typically, intent can be broken down into one of three categories: navigation, information, and transaction. Is this a keyword your users are searching to find relevant data? Educate themselves? Or purchase something?
Google’s shift towards user intent helps weed out people who keyword “stuff” (type relevant keywords into a blog post so that it will rank). It also helps them identify who’s content is valuable for other people.
Create Great, Relevant Content
With great keywords and clear user intent in mind, the last (and arguably most important) step is to create valuable content.
No amount of gaming the system can help you rank high in search engines if your content isn’t valuable to users. And even if it does, Google and other engines work effortlessly to weed out websites that try to “hack” their way to the top.
Keywords in blog articles should be used appropriately—at the beginning of an article, several times in the body of it, and then again in the conclusion. Adding them in ten extra times is not a good idea.
If you’re creating video or audio content, you might consider having your work transcribed. Giving Google a written component helps them sort through your website and may give them a reason to rank you higher.
Beginner’s Guide to SEO Keyword Research
Doing great SEO keyword research is about being relevant, diligent, and clear on what you want your audience to find on your website.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand keyword research is to think about Google’s goal. They want your site to be great because that allows them to do their job of redirecting searchers your way.
Start by making a basic list of keywords and work your way down the list. Create great content and see what happens.
For more SEO tips, check out the rest of our blog.