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An introduction to keyword research

Kerry Owston

Content Marketing Marketing SEO

Table of Contents

There are some tasks that are key to your SEO strategy and Keyword research is one of these. 

Keyword research is a task that involves researching the typical words and phrases that people enter into search engines when they are searching for a particular thing online. This can help website managers work out which keywords and phrases their website is ranking well for and which ones need more focus.

Many website managers optimize their content by applying their keyword research to reference keywords strategically on a web page. This can be in page content, headers, images or much more.

Some keywords are high in demand, a women's clothing retailer may want to rank well for women's fashion. Unfortunately so do a great deal of other women's clothing retailers. For this reason ranking high for certain keywords can get cut-throat competitive.

Alternatively, some keywords are very low in demand, but when you optimize content for many low in demand keywords your pages can still be optimized for a large number of people. The kinds of keywords are called long tail keywords and are generally easier to rank for.

An enormous amount of information can be obtained through keyword research. Ultimately this not only informs a website keyword strategy but a content strategy too. This is because keyword research is about more than just the particular phrases but also the lingo and language people use around a certain topic. It will help you learn more about how your audience interacts with your topic and it will help inspire your future blog posts.

This will help more of your visitors convert - converting means completing the action you want them to complete.

As people and trends change, and probably your topic too, it means naturally over time these keywords will change. This means that keyword research is not a one time only task, a common mistake of website managers is to not understand this.

Good times for keyword research include:

  • When you want to promote new products and services
  • When you want to promote to a new demographic of people or a new location
  • When you want to find inspiration on content based on how your target audience is currently engaging with your chosen topic

Make use of keyword research

it is true that keyword research is challenging but the learning curve is not too steep to require any advanced prior knowledge.

You can get started with your keyword research with a topic idea and spreadsheet to store your research data.
First, add the kinds of words you think your audience would use to find content relating to your topic.

If your topic is home decoration you might expect your users to search for interior design ideas or wallpaper patterns.

Start by scouring websites that cover similar topics and look at the phrases they use. Extend this to online forums and groups about your topic. by the end of this task, you may have discovered some interesting phrases.

Here are a few I uncovered using this method just by observing the kind of questions asked by looking through the content of an interior design community website:

  • How do I design a small living room interior?
  • Interior design with floor tiles
  • Interior design and psychology

Each of these has potential to be a blog post and to appear in the page content.

Before you get started with creating content around these keywords you're going to want to find out how effective they are and how difficult it would be to rank for them in google.

This is done using keyword research tools. Some can be free like Keyword In or Answer the Public and others like Moz Pro need a cash investment. Results may vary.

These tools can show you multiple metrics like:

  • How many people have searched with a particular phrase?
  • How frequently searches were made?
  • How much competition there is with a particular phrase?
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