4 Steps for Better Keyword Research

By September 25, 2016SEO Tips

The core of any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is keyword identification and analysis. Keywords are the fundamental drivers of any strategy. Content and structure are crafted to target the words or phrases entered by the users to find information and to ultimately land them on your website.

This is why keyword research is a vital part of SEO. As a website owner, you must ensure to do this correctly. This is a crucial undertaking that can make or break the execution of your SEO campaign.

Steps To Do Better Keyword Research

Step 1: Identify the topics you intend to focus on

Before you can prepare a list of possible target keywords, you need to identify what topics you aim to discuss in your articles. These topics should be related to your business or to the particular niche or category to which your website belongs.

For instance, if you are in the retail industry that sells children’s apparel, your broad topics may include “children’s shoes,” “clothes for toddlers,” “infant clothing,” and similar terms. These are broad topics that you can later fill in with possible keywords.

Step 2: Make an initial list of keywords

The next step is to fill in those broad topics with probable keywords or phrases you think your target audience may type into the search box. You can prepare an initial list of these terms. In the example above, some of the keywords may be “school shoes for kids,” “summer clothes for toddlers,” “dresses for newborns” and so on.

Take note that this is not the final list because these phrases still appear too broad and are likely to be highly competitive. You will still have to narrow down to more specific phrases.

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Step 3: Research related terms

If you’re struggling to come up with terms for your broad topics or if the keywords that come to mind appear repetitive or general, you can search for related keywords. To do this, just go to Google and enter your listed keywords. At the bottom of the SERP, you will find a list of “related searches.” These are terms used by customers to find similar information. Study those keywords and consider them in expanding your keyword list.

Another way to find related terms is to plug in your list of keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner. Not only will the search reveal additional related terms, but it will also show you the monthly estimated traffic volume for each keyword or phrase. This will help you refine your list of targeted terms.

Step 4: Include both head terms and long-tail keywords

Head terms refer to keywords that are shorter and more generic. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are longer phrases and are used to find more specific information. An example of a head term is “children’s shoes” while a long-term keyword example is “children’s leather school shoes.”

While long-tail keywords are more beneficial in attracting quality traffic, it is good to include both types of terms because people search differently. At times, a user will first enter a generic term and will later refine his search by typing a phrase with different keyword combinations. Thus, it is a good practice to have a balanced strategy.

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As with everything else in the SEO world, keyword trends are constantly shifting. Users get smarter with their choices of keyword combinations because they want to find information as soon as possible.

It is important to review your keywords’ monthly traffic volume so you can refine your list regularly and revise your content accordingly. Make keyword research a part of your SEO routine tasks to keep your website current and optimized.

Cory Teese

Author Cory Teese

Cory resides along the Pacific Coast with his cat, Mississippi. In his free time, Cory enjoys riding his motorcycle and watching the Golden State Warriors.

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