In this digital era, a business website is an absolute must for your company’s success. It plays a vital role as a gateway or a storefront online, making it easy for customers to find and buy your products in the long term. To make the most out of the website that you have, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in handy.
According to a 2019 study by Brightedge Research, 53.3% of all website traffic comes from search engines like Google, and SEO drives 1,000%+ more traffic than organic social media. Most importantly, SEO increases FREE traffic to the website for months or even years to come.
And for SEO to meet its full potential, well-thought-out keyword research is necessary. In this article, we will guide you through the keyword research process in plain language to step up your content marketing game.
What Are Keywords?
Also known as search queries or SEO keywords, they are the words and phrases that people type into search engines. Keyword research is the process that SEO professionals use to discover keywords and phrases that people use in search engines.
Why Is Keyword Research Important?
Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. If nobody is searching for what you’re writing about, you won’t get traffic from Google no matter how hard you try.
Keyword research is the only way to figure out what people are typing into search engines. You need to know this to avoid creating content about things that nobody is searching for. Many website owners make that mistake, and it’s likely a big part of the reason why 90.63% of pages get no traffic from Google, according to Ahrefs study.
Keyword research also helps you to answer questions like:
- How hard will it be to rank for this keyword?
- How much traffic am I likely to get if I rank for this keyword?
- What kind of content should I create to rank for this keyword?
- Are people searching for this keyword likely to become my customers?
Finding the right answers to these questions will help you pick your battles wisely.
How to Tell Which Keyword to Use?
The keyword should match the product offered or the intent of each page. The more the keyword relates to what you offer, the more likely it is for visitors to turn into customers.
2. Search Volume
Most people have misconceptions that a good keyword is solely the one that perfectly describes the product or service in the proper language. Actually, that is not the case. The good keyword is the one that people really search for, even the misspelt ones like “life streaming”, as long as the search volume is high. You need to know your target audience and the language they speak and use it to find the right keyword for your purpose.
The keyword you aim for should have a chance at competing for pages 1-2 of the SERP. When you use keyword research tools, they will analyse how hard it is to compete, or Keyword Difficulty, into numbers or colour bars. Keyword difficulty is determined by domain authority compared with other websites. You might need to start investing in ads or buying more backlinks to increase your authority. With that in mind, you might need to consider if more investment would be worthwhile to compete in certain keywords.
Types of Keywords
Now that you know what keyword research is, the next step is to know the many types of keywords we use for SEO. This stage is where we try to find the exact words and phrases (search queries) that customers type in the search engine when they look for something. Search queries tend to fall into 3 categories.
Seed Keywords are search queries that people use to find a product or certain purpose in a broader sense, such as "air fryer". Seed keywords normally have high search volume, because even in longer search queries typically contain these seed keywords as their foundation. Every keyword research tool asks for a seed keyword, which it then uses to generate a list of keyword ideas.
On the other hand, Niche Keywords are the queries that extend further to cover a bit more detail of the search intent, such as "Phillips air fryer". Niche keywords could be used as a category page of your website as they define the ‘group’ of products you offer.
For SEO newcomers, we recommend focusing on Long-tail Keywords to get a better head start. Basically, long-tail keywords are search queries with 3+ words. Usually, they contain specific models, price ranges, and colours. They could be "Phillips HD9218 air fryer black" instead of just "air fryer".
They usually have less search volume and are relatively less competitive compared to generic single-word queries.
Optimizing your website around each type of keyword will make it land on more SERPs. Your website will show up when a customer searches for your product AND when they are NOT.
Keyword Research Tools & Keyword Planner
There are many useful keyword research tools on the internet. If you already run a Google Ad Campaign, check out Google Keyword Planner. If not, there are still many other great tools out there, such as Ahrefs and Ubersuggest. Some of them are free as well.
There are various benefits of utilising keyword research tools. They show you the search volume per month for each keyword. They determine the difficulty if you want to compete for certain key words. They even help you calculate CPC and bidding price if you plan to run search ads for that keyword. They also suggest more word recommendations you can use with or instead of the one you looked for. Most importantly, most keyword planners can help audit your website’s SEO performance, such as traffic and keyword ranking.
Whichever keyword planner you pick, there are basic metrics you should get familiarised with, as you need to know which keywords would fit and work best for your purpose.
Here are some basic metrics you should know
- Search Volume: the number of users searching for each keyword per month. Search volume may vary depending on the type of content and the industry on each website.
- Keyword Difficulty (KD): determines the organic competition rate of each keyword. The higher the number the harder it is to compete for the top spot.
- Cost Per Click (CPC): the price you pay for each time a user clicks on your link on the SERP in case you run Google Ads for that key word.
- Paid Difficulty (PD/PPD): the difficulty for Search Ads, yes, search ads have to compete with other ads as well.
- Estimated Visits per Month (EV): the number of times users are expected to visit your site through that keyword. You can see competitor’s websites with high EV to analyse why they can attract so many visitors and how you can improve.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of keywords?
There are four types of search terms. Broad. Broad keywords are considered the default keyword type. Broad match modifiers are keywords with a '+' in them. Phrases are keywords that are put in "quotations." And finally, Exact.
How do you use keywords?
It's a good idea to use your main keyword in the first couple of sentences of your text. Next, use the variations of that word throughout the content. The best practice is to include LSI Keywords rather than the exact ones every time.
Can you use phrases?
When the first search engines were launched many users used single words for their searches due to relatively simple algorithms. These days, however, large key phrases with at least two or more words are now supported by search engines.
What is the difference between keywords and keyphrases?
The only obvious difference between them is that keywords are single words, while keyphrases are made up of a few words.
How many keywords should you target?
It's a good idea for most small businesses to start with about 5 keywords with about 100+ monthly search volume each. That might not seem a lot, but targeting 5 keywords doesn't mean that your website will only rank for these 5 keywords and none other.
How do I find my LSI keywords?
Search engines are one of the easiest ways to find LSI Keywords. You can find relevant LSI Keywords and search terms by typing a specific phrase in the search box. If you search for the term "Website", you will find LSI keywords like "website builder" or "website design," for instance.
Need Help Planning SEO Strategy in Thailand?
Does your brand need help with SEO Marketing? Our team at Sphere Agency is here to help you optimize your website for the highest ranking on Google. Check out our SEO Services for more information and contact us today.