A Brief Beginner’s Guide to SEO Keyword Research

The purpose keyword research is to determine the words that potential customers or clients are typing into their search engine when they’re searching for a service or product that you offer.

Once you know the what keywords are being used most often in searches relevant to your company, you can create content relevant to those keywords. This content will serve 2 purposes:

1. It will provide readers with relevant information and answers to their questions.

2. It will attract the attention of search engines and be ranked highly in their search results.

Relevant and informative content is the cornerstone of effective SEO. The right keywords are the foundation of that content.


How to Find Your Keywords

There are many free keyword research tools available to help you find the relevant keywords that are used most often. Two of the most popular ones are Google Adword’s Keyword Planner (you need an account to use it) and Wordstream.

But the best place to start is with a little thought and brainstorming. How do people currently find your site? If they’re coming from Google, what keywords are they using in their search queries? You can find a lot of this information in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for your website.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

If you were searching for your own product or service, what query would you use? Go ahead and type it into Google search and see what you get. If you don’t see you’re company in the results, you have some SEO work to do.

Let’s take an example. If you’re a shoe seller, your first thought might be to try and target the keyword “shoes”. Chances are the major brands and retailers already are organically ranking for that word, and there’s almost no way you’ll break their hold. You might decide to use Adwords to target “shoes”, but it’ll probably cost you much more than it’s worth.

Think a bit more about how people search for shoes. They probably type in something more descriptive and specific, like “black dress shoes” or maybe even something even longer like “Rockport brown dress shoes that are waterproof and lightweight”.

These longer sized queries are called “long tailed keyword phrases”. According to research,  70% of all web searches use “long tailed” queries. These queries also have a much higher rate of conversion, because the searcher is looking for something specific and is probably more ready to buy that product than someone searching for something general like “shoes”.

Ranking for long tailed keyword phrases in your particular industry or field is much more attainable with the right content and SEO.

Another way of increasing your chances of getting found is to add location to your keywords. If you sell shoes in “Smalltown, NJ” you might have great results by targeting the keyword phrase “Shoes in Smalltown, NJ”.

The bottom line is that the more targeted your keywords to the specific thing that someone is searching for, the better your chances of ranking highly.

Another thing to do is to check out your competition and see how they are ranking for various keyword phrases. Are they showing up on page one for your keywords?

With some hard work, you might be able leap in front of them. But realize that they might be putting in the work to. That’s what makes SEO so competitive and unpredictable, and why you need an SEO company that can give you an advantage.