What is keyword research?
At their core, keywords are one of — if not the most — single important component of a successful SEO campaign. Keywords refer to the words typed into a search box – be it on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. However, there is much more to keywords than just that. The keywords typed into a search box reveal certain details about customers and how they go about searching for things. Knowing this, it’s important to target keywords that mimic your customer’s minds and search tendencies.
Simply put, keyword research is the process of researching the keywords that search engine users are typing into search bars to find a certain service, product, or solution. In order to find the best keywords to target for your site, one must think like the customer and explore the keywords customers actually use to hopefully find their desired result. In a way, keyword research is a process that, by strategically choosing keywords, ultimately assists users to find what they’re looking for.
Keyword research is less about targeting search terms that talk about what your site provides and more about bringing the right visitors to your site. By targeting the motivations of customers and where they are in their buyer’s journey, keyword research can be a bridge between a company and their potential customers.
Another aspect of the theory behind keyword research is targeting keywords that are related to more general keywords known as “head terms” or longtail keywords. While long tail keywords get searched less than head terms, they actually make up a majority of searches conducted every day. In fact, they make up around 70% of the keywords used in search queries, making long tail keywords an incredibly effective way to gain traffic if targeted correctly.
Long tail keywords are related to more general keywords but are more specific than the general keyword. For instance, searching for “cars” on Google will provide a huge amount of results that are probably too general for a user to actually find the car they’re looking for. Instead, targeting long tail keywords related to “cars” such as, “Mercedes-Benz 230”, is a much more effective way to rank for search terms that a user actually searches for with buyer’s intent.
Why is keyword research important?
Keyword research is important for a number of reasons. In fact, it’s necessary for SEO campaign.
Keyword research is a driving force of any SEO campaign. Multiple aspects of an SEO campaign — from internal linking to SEO syndicated content, to content creation and more — are designed around the targeted keywords of a campaign. This is why at Victorious, we provide thematic keyword research.
Thematic keyword research helps sites rank more efficiently for keywords that are related to head terms. When a site targets certain keywords by creating relevant and related content, the themes in that content are indexed by search engine spiders, which are then more visible to Google as being relevant and authoritative in regards to that respective theme. The more relevant and authoritative Google sees a site, the better it ranks on search engine result pages (SERPs). Implementing targeted keywords into on page optimization and off page optimization efforts can thoroughly increase rankings on SERPs and drive more traffic and conversions.
How does keyword research effect SEO
The benefits of thematic keyword research make their way into almost all SEO efforts. As it helps one aspect, another aspect is helped in response. However, thematic keyword research’s biggest effect is the way in drives the way an SEO campaign is mapped out from the start.
First off is content creation. Our thematic keyword research reveals the keywords and search tendencies that users are entering into search engines. We take these high volume keywords and begin to develop content that is focused around that keyword and relevant topics around it. This helps to rid the possibility of creating pointless content and provides users relevant content that actually benefits them by being topical and informative. Creating unique, relevant content to your site and core pages on your site help by increasing the authority Google perceives your site to have over the topic and keyword theme. Two birds, one stone.
The second way that thematic keyword research drives our SEO campaigns is by supplying target keywords with appropriate volume and difficulty to use for anchor text when internally linking. Using those specific URLs that we pair with a theme of keywords, we internally link to core pages with certain keywords so those pages begin to communicate to Google that the pages are relevant to the term. By thematically internally linking throughout your website with topical keywords, it creates a daisy chain of links that communicates to an authoritative stance of your site and those topics to Google.
The third way thematic keyword research benefits other SEO efforts is through meta descriptions and image alt text. Ensuring that targeted keywords are strategically placed in meta descriptions and image alt text maximizes the opportunities for a site to rank for the targeted keywords.
We aren’t reinventing the keyword research wheel, we’re just making it better.
Why Victorious is different
To fully grasp the theory and reasoning behind Victorious’s keyword research, it’s necessary to understand what bad keyword research looks like. The most common causes of bad keyword research consist of an SEO “specialist” opening Google Keyword Planner, putting in a head term, running a search, exporting the list that Google provides, and sending it off to the client as “done”.
First off, where’s the research? Second, are these keywords relevant or thematic to what a site is offering or their product? Taking this direction with keyword research doesn’t take the user into consideration at all, allowing a bigger margin of missing the actual keywords that users are searching for.
Victorious approaches keyword research differently. When we begin our keyword research, we map out keyword themes based on specific URLs that could better drive traffic and convert site visitors. From these themes and URLs, we begin to target relevant long tail keywords that have a certain volume and keyword difficulty threshold and pair those keywords to URLs. Not only is this a more effective way to boost a site’s rank and drive traffic to the site, but it also is the way we begin to map out the key terms and phrases we’ll target throughout an SEO campaign.
By doing keyword research this way, it sets up an SEO campaign for success by ensuring any keyword cannibalization possibilities are avoided, as well as having a site rank for keywords that aren’t entirely relevant or meaningful.