Keywords are simply the search terms people are using to find your products or services online. Keyword research is a piece of the larger SEO puzzle, and also the first step to getting ranked higher in Google, which translates into more traffic, leads, and sales.
Keywords are the foundation of SEO, as it couldn’t exist without them. You can also think of it as 21st-century market research, as doing keyword research will give you a broader picture of your business and its place in your market. Also, keep in mind that keyword research is the first step for any business, whether it’s related to Bitcoin and blockchain currencies or a local coffee shop.
Placement of keywords is also important, as some areas carry more weight with Google, but our focus today is just on the research part, and that begins by building a seed list. Don’t discount the effects keyword research and SEO can have. They helped Pradeep Goyal build a profitable blog that now generates more than $3,000 per month.
Building a Seed List
As with most things in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way. So, too, is there a place to begin any process. Page One Power recommends using these five steps to building a seed list ― the first step to optimizing your business for search:
- Find terms directly associated with your business. Take a look at your website and some competitors’ sites, and create a list of all the important words you would use to search for your business.
- Find terms your audience is using. To do this, scour your blog comments, if applicable, social media post comments, forums, online communities like Reddit and Quora ― anywhere people are talking about your product or service — and write down those relevant terms.
- Use Google’s related search feature. Enter one of your search terms into Google’s search engine and scroll to the bottom. Those are the searches people are doing that are related to that word or phrase. If relevant, write those down as well.
- Use the Google Search Console. Take a look at the search terms that your business is already ranking for. You can also use SEMrush. Write down all potential keywords and phrases you can use later.
- Look at competitor keywords. Again, using SEMrush, get a list of your competitors and write down what keywords they’re ranking for. You share the same audience, so it makes sense that you’ll also share the same keywords.
Continue plugging those keywords into Google and see what related search terms they give you. After all that, you should have a pretty good seed list, and then it’s about refining and prioritizing those keywords.
Refine Your Keyword List
You’re not going to able to use all the words on your list, as this will likely come off as gibberish to readers. You always have to write for humans, but at the same time keep SEO in mind as you do. Limit your keywords to a specific theme; you can’t rank for everything in your field.
The next step is refining your keyword list and coming up with the best of the bunch. To do this, Search Engine Watch recommends using two Google tools: Keyword Planner and Trends.
In Google AdWords Keyword Planner you’ll want to look at the search volume and traffic estimates for each keyword phrase in your seed list. Terms with too little traffic or too much traffic should be eliminated. Instead, you want to focus on a mix of good traffic and less competition.
If terms are too competitive, ranking for them will be difficult, and if there’s very little traffic, it doesn’t pay to optimize for them, which is why you want to find that middle ground.
Next, input these terms into Google Trends. Trends will provide a history for those terms as well as projections. Keep in mind that some of those keywords with lower traffic you find in Keyword Planner may be trending upward in the not-too-distant future, which means getting in early could reap benefits later.
After eliminating keywords with too little traffic and those that are too competitive, you should have a great list of keywords to focus on as you create your copy. It’s wise to evaluate those keywords every few months.
If you’re not sure how big your keyword list should be, that really depends on the size and scope of your business, but erring on the side of smaller is better. Keyword research is vital to the health of your SEO, and one of many things every business owner and startup founder should know how to do.
Check out Hubspot Academy’s free SEO training course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth to help you build an SEO strategy for your business.