If you are neglecting keyword research as part of your SEO and content creation, it’s not too late for you to implement it as an integral and successful component of your marketing strategies. Keyword research is essential for one primary reason: it lets you know how your target audience is searching for words and phrases that are relevant to your online content. Voice searches via mobile devices have made keyword research even more important because people are using more conversational and natural language queries, rather than short and stilted searches with limited relevance to their wants and needs.
This means that long-tail keywords have become increasingly important. For example, if your content discusses five-minute meals for individuals with sugar-free diets, you’ll draw more traffic with “quick sugar-free meals” than you would with “healthy meals.” You can include both, of course, but you want the longer, more specific keywords to populate your content so it will attract the audience that is most interested, rather than those who may just be window-shopping.
With that in mind, here are several tips to help you refine your keyword research to produce the most effective words and phrases for your content:
- Don’t make assumptions. Just because you may search for content using a particular set of words or phrases, that does not mean your target audience will be using the same ones. Let the research tell you how your users are looking for your content.
- Evaluate your competition. If there are websites that provide content similar to yours, analyze their material to find out what keywords they are using and how competitive those words are.
- Choose words and phrases that have a moderate to high query rate but as little actual usage as possible.
- Include long-tail keywords as much as possible, especially those with minimal competition. Again, think in more specific terms when researching long-tail keywords, like “light-weight folding beach chair” rather than “beach accessories.”
- Expand your list of potential keywords from one or two primary root words or phrases. Always make sure the root words are relevant to your content and then create an expanded list of words or phrases that include the root. For example, if your root word is “content,” your list could include keywords like “content marketing,” “content creation,” “how to create amazing content,” or “content writing tips for people with little writing experience.”
- Know what your target audience’s interests are. In essence, keywords are particular words and phrases that your audience is interested in, so you have to know what your audience wants before you can select keywords that put your content on their screen.
- Include keywords in your anchor text, especially if it links to other pages within your website.
- Find out how your current keywords are ranking and recycle the ones that are doing well, but only if they can be added to your content in a contextually relevant way.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Not only can it result in penalties from search engines, but most of your audience will be able to tell that you’re simply spamming them with keywords to attempt to increase your ranking on search results.
- Ensure that your calls to action are visible and encouraging without an aggressive sales pitch. Your content and keywords should point your audience toward your CTAs and solicit the desired action from them (click, sign up, buy, etc.). Don’t waste good content and keyword choices on CTAs that have to be hunted down, because most users won’t bother to do so.
- Choose a single topic for each page. If you have dozens of different keywords on one page of content, it can imply to a search engine that your content has little merit in terms of meeting the needs of a searcher. Pick one topic and choose relevant keywords.
- There are plenty of keyword research and analysis tools available online, so use them. Don’t avoid using tools and apps to help your content succeed simply because you think you do not need them. They can provide you with valuable data on which keywords to choose, how certain words and phrases are ranking, and how well your own keywords are performing, plus a great deal of other useful data.
- Keep an eye on your keywords after you’ve published your content. Monitor the performance of your chosen words and phrases and continue conducting research to see if other keywords may have more value to your content at any given time.
One of the most important tips you can follow, above all others, is to always make sure you are creating the highest-quality content possible. No matter how accurate your keyword research may be, it won’t be successful if you cannot provide your audience with content that meets their needs in a useful, valuable, informative, and engaging way. Keyword research is a step that will help you attract your audience’s attention, but the quality of your content is what will keep them on the page and wanting more.