Pain-free SEO Part 1: Keyword Research and Analysis
February 25, 2022 ,
Welcome to our second, Cemoh digital marketing review guide! It’s time to crack open a thesaurus, boot up AhRefs and analyse some keywords.
Keyword research and analysis are optional steps in your digital marketing review, but if SEO or blogging are important to your strategy, they’re well worth your time and not all SEO is the same. For example, you have Enterprise SEO, Local SEO and eCommerce SEO.
You may be wondering, why should I bother with this SEO and Keyword stuff when PPC is an option? Well, 70% of marketers agree SEO is more effective than PPC alone. Not every client will require thought-out keyword research, but it can generate leads with very high ROI. In other words, if the website needs to rank well in Google, figuring out the right keywords should be a priority early on in the process.
Without further ado, let’s start with the basics:
What (the heck) are Keywords?
Keywords are well, key to making your website and content available to the right audiences. Whenever someone searches a particular term or query through Google, for instance, Google returns pages that contain SEO targeting the term, which will be present in the webpage’s body, and metadata like titles and descriptions. Of course, other factors influence a website’s position among those returned pages (more on that below). Simply put, they’re terms that connect your website with potential customers on the lookout for a particular product, service or information. You can embed keywords into webpage content, blog posts, URLs and even PPC ads.
The fun thing about keywords is they correlate with each step of the customer journey. Brief, short-tail keywords related to your client business’ services (like ‘mattresses’ or ‘labour hire’) cast a wide net, reaching many unconverted leads. Whereas specific, detailed long-tail keywords tend to receive less hits, but reach customers further along the lifecycle and looking to make a purchase. In between the two, we have mid-tail key words, usually spanning two-to-three words (eg. ‘labour hire sydney’).
Organic Keyword Research
Different keyword types reflect prospective leads’ needs and intent. We can cater keywords to match those needs and make webpages accessible to prospective customers.
Keyword research involves cursory searches, keeping an eye out for which competitor sites tend to return for your relevant keywords. Basically, spend time in a potential lead’s shoes; what would you search for if you were looking your client’s website?
Here’s a sentence you thought you’d never read outside of primary school: let’s create a mind-map. Once you have your primary keyword, you can expand and weave additional detail into it, growing your mind map . A good rule of thumb is to create three mid-tail and two long-tail keywords derived from the primary. This is where that thesaurus comes in handy. Play around with synonyms and like terms during your keyword research, or consider another way to epitomise your clients’ business in one or two words.
Begin with a few ‘market segment’ words and use them as the core of each mind-map.You’ll want to assign a primary, short-tail keyword for each webpage or blog post (including metadata like titles and descriptions). If you’re following along from our previous digital marketing guide on scope documents, this step will be super quick.
Market Segment Keywords — Often the first, primary key words you’ll conceptualise. These keywords cover products, industries or brands related your client’s business in brief, non-specific terms.
Product & Brand — These reference brands your client may stock, like ‘Adidas running shoes’. You may include trigger words like ‘buy’, ‘discount’, or ‘coupon’.
Customer-defining — Focused on a profession or gender, cultural or age group. Eg. ‘kids swimming lessons’, or ‘tools for tradies’.
Geo-targeted —These mention target locations , reflecting the scope of your client’s business. May include a local town name, region or state name, or mention entire countries.
Navigational —These keywords include the name of your clients’ brand alongside specific features or pages of their website. When the brand has garnered a considerable user base and advertising presence, potential leads may search terms like ‘[brand name] login’, or ‘[brand name] store’.
Informational — These keywords reflect questions customers may search. Although, customers may not specifically include the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, or ‘how’. These powerful terms underlie all inquiries and your informational web pages or blog posts. Eg. ‘[what is the] right amount of sugar for making cupcakes?’
Comparative — Similar to informational key words, these terms request specific information. However, comparative terms seek information comparing products or services between businesses. Think, ‘best electrician in my area’, or ‘Mac vs. PC for graphic design’.
It’s time to assess your pool of keywords. There should be 10 to 20 primary keywords that we’re focusing on when building the site. Keyword analysis concerns refining your list of possible keywords and catering to what people are searching.
The key questions we want to consider at the keyword analysis stage are how many people are searching this and how frequently? Free, online tools like Google Trends, or SEMRush can provide information regarding keyword search volume and frequency.
Some short-tail, primary keywords are bound to have low returns from the start. Also, you may find some medium-and long-tail keyword types have a smaller search volume than others; log your findings and focus on building content around customer intent. However, keep in mind that Google’s AI can match synonyms for simple search terms to website content on its own.
Keywords and PPC
Keywords aren’t only for fostering organic growth, they help target your paid ads, too. If PPC is your prerogative, it’s definitely worth shelling out the extra dough for a complete SEO optimisation suite like Ahrefs because they provide cost-per-click information, a useful metric for assessing how which keywords are receiving the most traffic. However, powerful, free alternatives exist like Microsoft Keyword Planner and Google Keyword Planner.
Just like organic keywords, there are several PPC keyword ‘types’ (we have an in-depth blog post on PPC keywords as well). Likewise, you should run them through keyword research and analyses phases like organics. In summary, the four types are:
Broad — Similar to primary keywords for organic, these terms are non-specific – the ad will show up when searching loosely related words and long-tail queries.
Phrase — These keywords make it so ads may show up when searching for phrases that include the keyword(s).
Exact Match — These make it so your ad is more likely to show up when searching for terms that are direct synonyms with your keyword(s).
Negative — These keywords exclude your ads from showing up for certain queries. There’s a negative version for each of the three types above.
Content Creation and Beyond…
A quick summary: keyword research consists of finding the right words using dictionaries and thesauruses. Keyword analysis is using software to determine whether these keywords are actually showing up in searches.
Now you’ve got the creative juices flowing, you can begin to list ideas for content based on your keywords (if needed). Content is a great way to make use of those long-tail search inquiries and answer peoples’ burning questions. Exciting, informative and surprising content will increase your chances of developing authority and trust, placing your pages higher in SERPs.
A bonus of garnering high levels of authority and trust is one of the website pages being featured in a Google search snippet.
That was quite a lot to cover! But we hope you learned some useful tips for improving your digital marketing game. You can always hire a Cemoh for quick, SEO solutions and digital marketing expertise delivered straight to your business. Tune in next week for part 2 of our SEO guide to learn about creating sitemaps!
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