Keyword Research for SEO: 2018 Guide

keyword-research-seo-complete-guide

Have you ever wondered how keyword research for SEO is done? For the beginners, keyword research is the process of identifying critical keywords for your website, business or campaign. People search the internet for information using search queries. These search queries can be grouped together under common abstraction in order to process the search queries. Therefore, keywords signify the abstract idea of search queries.

Keyword research is very important part of Search Engine Optimization. Google ranks your website based on the keywords and its relevance. If your articles or pages don’t have a relevant keyword, chances are that your page won’t come up even in the third or fourth page in the SERP.

The first step to come up with good content is to do a thorough keyword research. Keyword research will allow you to identify those critical keywords that can help you in terms of SEO. A good research not only gives you high ranking and traffic but also helps to rise above the competition.

Go through this Keyword Research Guide for SEO 2018 to learn and master the art of keyword research.

 Steps to do Keyword Research for SEO 2018

1. Research the topic or theme

The first and the foremost thing is to identify what your content is. Your content should focus on a theme or a topic. This helps you to identify the necessary keywords to include in the content. The topic or theme can be related to your business or niche, a product or service or it can be anything you want. The important thing is that you should focus on a single theme or niche. This adds clarity and attracts quality readers and provides value to your business.

Based on the theme or topic, try to think of search queries that you as a reader will try. Stepping into the shoes of your target audience is the key to a successful keyword research for SEO. Try searching these queries on Google and you will be amazed to find ideas for your content. This gives you a list of Seed Keywords to start with!

2. Identify Seed Keywords

Seed keywords form the base of your keyword research. They define your theme or topics and helps to analyze the competition in your niche. To start with seeding, first search the queries related to your topic on Google. The bottom of the result page (SERP) gives you suggestion related to your search. If applicable, choose these keywords and make a list of it. Similarly, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Everywhere, Keyword Shitter, Ahref, UberSuggest and others to do the work.

Read: 10 Free SEO Tools from Google

If you are using Google Keyword Planner, log into your Adwords account. Select Keyword Planner from the Dashboard. Select “Search for new keywords, phrases, website or category” and enter your selected keywords, topics or website (where you want ideas, related to your niche). Click “Get Ideas” and get the list of keywords.

Similarly, you can use the tools mentioned above to get the list of the keywords. This way, from a few seed keywords you can get a lot of keywords for your content.

3. Find all the keyword for the topic

Don’t stop your search in the first try. Select and filter keywords of desired volume and competition and feed it to the tools. For example, in Google Keyword Planner, the first iteration using seed keywords gives you a list of about 700 keywords. From this list filter relevant keywords and search again. Do this for 8-10 iterations and you will get almost 8000-12000 keywords, depending on your niche. This is where you to need to reach.

With this hell number of keywords, all you need to do is filter the keywords by various Keyword Metrics.

4. Understand keyword metrics

Understanding keyword metrics is very important. With a list of thousands of keywords, it will be confusing to select the relevant keywords. Keyword metrics will help to filter your list and choose the most relevant keywords for your content. This also helps with your keyword research for SEO.

■ Search Volume

This metrics shows the average monthly search volume of the keyword. If the volume is high, then more people search for this keyword. A low search volume means the search for that keyword is low. Search volume metrics allows selecting those keywords with good volume for your contents. this ensures traffic to your site.

Pro Tip: Do not believe the data from Google Keyword Planner, especially the search volume metrics. Google groups similar keywords together under the main keyword. This can be spelling errors of the keyword to alternate syntax. 

If you look for the search volume for Seo and Search Engine Optimization, most probably Google gives the same volume for both. But in reality, the search volume for both differs. You can use Ahref or Moz Keyword Explorer to get exact volume for related keywords.

■ Keyword Difficulty

Moz and Ahref give the difficulty score for keywords. This metric takes into consideration how difficult a keyword to rank on the first page of SERP. Also, these tools specify the number of backlinks required to rank on the first page. The score comes between 0 to 100. A score of 100 signifies high difficulty.

■ Clicks

Clicks determine how many clicks a keyword gets monthly. These metrics are a measure of traffic a keyword can generate. Tools like Ahref gives the stats for paid clicks and organic clicks. With the use of Knowledge graph, featured snippets etc some keywords steal traffic. For example, for a query like “Age of Ronaldo”. the Google displays answer on the top position. This can be a good thing for users (they don’t need to further click on results) and bad for websites (loss of traffic). This no click data can be seen in Ahref result.

Therefore, pay attention to the type of click the keyword received – paid, organic or no click. This helps to further fine tune your keywords to select those keywords with required clicks. For advertisers, stats for paid click can help. For those you want to rank organically, the stats for organic clicks can help.

■ Competition

The Google Keyword Planner provides a competition metric for AdWords. This is very beneficial for advertisers. Competition metric is not Keyword difficulty, instead, it reflects the number of advertisers bidding on a keyword across Google.

This metrics is not helpful for SEO point of view. Google uses sophisticated algorithms to rank a keyword and competition is far from it. For example, a search for “cat funny videos” is very competitive in the organic SERP, but not many people are bidding on it.

■ Cost Per Click (CPC)

This metric is mainly important for advertisers. Many marketers who want organic ranking avoid this metrics, which is not good. CPC indicates the commercial intent for a keyword. This helps marketers to understand the competition of the keyword.  Competitive keywords will be bid high and its cost will be high too.

Pro Tip: CPC is highly volatile metric. The value can change pretty much any minute. Third party tools show the stats for a certain timeframe. To get the exact data, you may need to use AdWords. 

5. The Head, Body, and Tail

Keywords can be classified based on the length of the words it has. As the number of phrase increases, the competition goes down and conversion goes up. A single word keyword is very broad and therefore has a high search volume. For example, the keyword “Shirts” is a very broad term compared to the keyword “Buy Black Denim Shirt”.

The length of the keyword also determines the intent. The intent is the purpose of the search term, i.e, what a searcher is looking for. The keyword “insurance” can mean car insurance or health insurance. Single keywords lack intent or specificity.

Keyword-types-search-engine-nation

■ Head Keywords (Short Tail Keywords)

These are single word keywords with a high search volume and competition. Since the intent of the keyword is ambiguous, these keywords generally don’t convert much.

■ Body Keywords (Medium Tail Keywords)

Medium tail keywords are 2-3 word phrases that have moderate search volume (more than 2,000 searches per month). These keywords are more specific than Head keywords. Keywords like “health insurance” or “buy shirt online” are some examples of Body keywords.

■ Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are longer the other keyword types. These keywords have  3+ word phrases and are very specific. Phrases like “affordable health insurance for young adults” and “buy brown denim jacket online” are examples of long tail keywords. These keywords may not have huge search volume but have more conversion rate than others.

6. Keyword Match Types

Keyword match types tell Google to limit or restrict keywords matching to the search terms while creating ads on AdWords. There are basically four match types. Google AdWords allows you to select broad match, modified broad matchphrase match, or exact match for keywords for your ad copy.

keyword-match-types-search-engine-nation

Broad match

All the keywords are assigned broad match by default. Broad match allows ads to show up on searches with spelling errors and synonyms. So if your keyword is “men’s shirt”, searchers might see your ad for “buy gents shirt”.

Broad match modifier

Adding a plus sign (+) to the keyword can modify a broad match keyword. Ads can show up on searches with modified broad match keywords. For example, searching +Men’s +shirt can result in a search “shirts for men”. The search results for modifier can include close variation but not synonyms and that too in any order.

Phrase match

Phrase match results in the exact phrase keyword. The order of the words does not change. You can use ” ” for a phrase modifier, for instance, a phrase match keyword men’s shirtscan result in a search: buy men’s shirts.

Exact match

Exact match returns the search for the exact term or close variations of that exact term.  Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. The search also results in close variations of the exact term which include reordering of the term or addition of propositions and other functions which do not change the intent of the term You can use square bracts: [ ] for exact modifiers. For example, keyword [men’s shirt] results in a  search: shirt for men.

Negative match

You can also exclude certain keywords. For that using minus symbol (-) before term excludes that term from the results.  So, if you’re a hat company but you don’t sell cricket hats, you could add “cricket hats” as a negative keyword so that your ads don’t show for searches for cricket hats.

7. Analyse your competitors

Analysing your major competitors can give you an upper edge for keyword analysis. Chances are that your competitors have done a thorough keyword analysis and you can use that information for your purpose. Checking your competitors also provides insight into what keywords they use and how their keywords perform.

You can use keyword research tools to look into the keywords used by your competitors. Keyword Everywhere is a free browser add-on that can analyze competitors’ web pages for keywords. Don’t blindly copy those keywords, instead, research on those keywords and choose the relevant ones.

Conclusion

Keyword research for SEO is mandatory for both paid and organic optimization. A good keyword analysis helps to create contents that are appealing to both users and search engines. Using the right keywords in the content can help to rank web pages in the first page of the SERP. This increases traffic to the site and subsequently gives higher conversions.

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