You know that you need to use keywords to improve your search rankings, but it’s hard to know where to start and how to make sure you’re targeting the right ones.
One way to ensure that you’re using appropriate keywords is through effective keyword research.
Not doing keyword research is like shooting an arrow blindfolded – you might hit your target, or you might not.
And even if you do, it’s possible that your competition is using better keywords than you, meaning they’ll be getting more traffic and ultimately ranking higher than you in the long run.
The more relevant your keywords are, the more likely your content is to be found on appropriate search engine results pages (SERPs).
This also increases your chances of higher rankings on SERPs and attracting your ideal prospects.
In this section, we are going to discuss what keywords are, why they are important and how you can implement them.
Let’s get started!
What Are keywords?
Simply put keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines.
What is Keyword Research?
To find out what people are searching for online, you need to conduct keyword research.
Keyword research is understanding the terms that potential customers are using in their search engine queries and then identifying which ones would be good keywords to use for your website or blog posts.
Why Are Keywords Important?
Keyword research is important because:
It helps you identify what your target audience is searching for. People go to search engines like Google when they want to know more about a specific topic or to help them solve a problem.
- Keyword research can help you pinpoint the exact keywords potential customers are searching for, letting you know what topics they are interested in and the types of questions that they are currently asking.
- This research shows how many people (measured as “search volume”) are searching for that specific term and topic and how difficult it currently is to rank for that keyword.
- With this knowledge, you can determine what content you want to write about, which keywords you want to rank for, and the strategy you will need to take to get there.
The difference between doing keyword research and not doing keyword research is that:
- When you do keyword research, you are able to know precisely what customers are searching for and to create content based on that. This allows you to create the right message and share it with the right person at the right time.
- When you don’t do keyword research, you are flying blind. You are likely to be playing the guessing game on what customers want. It is important to merge assumptions with data as search engine optimisation (SEO) takes a lot of time, effort, and money.
We will discuss step-by-step how to do keyword research, but before we do let’s explain what the different types of keywords are.
Different Types of Keywords
Semrush has created a graphic which illustratesthe three different types of keywords:
- Short-tail Keywords (Fat Head)
Short-tail keywords are between 1-2 words. For example, “tomato plant’’, “weather tomorrow” or “buy shoes”. These keywords tend to have high search volumes meaning that there are a lot of competing websites using those keywords which makes it harder to rank for them.
- Body Keywords (Chunky Middle)
Body keywords are between 2-3 words. For example, “tomato planting season’’, “winter weather Johannesburg” or “buy red shoes”. These keywords are in the middle and are likely to have medium difficulty when ranking.
- Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are 4 or more words. For example, “why are tomato plants turning yellow”, “does it snow in Johannesburg” or where to buy red leather stilettos”. These keywords tend to have a low search volume and are likely easier to rank for. They also now increasingly account for the majority of searches online.
Now that we know the difference, we can begin learning how to conduct keyword research.
How to Do Keyword Research?
There are various keyword research tools, but our favourite is Semrush so we will illustrate how to do keyword research using their tool.
However, here is a list of other keyword tools that you can use:
- Google Related Searches (and autosuggestion)
- Google Keyword Planner
- Answer the Public
- Alo Asked
- Keyword Surfer (Chrome extension)
- Keywords Everywhere (Chrome extension)
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Using a keyword tool to conduct your keyword research is crucial as it helps you to base your decisions on data.
Keyword research can seem daunting at first; that’s why we created this article. It can actually be quite simple once you get the hang of it.
But once you have done the hard work, you are likely to have a long list of keywords that can help guide you on your outlines which greatly reduces writing time and is likely to increase search rankings.
Let’s break it down.
Step 1: Select a keyword that you want to rank for.
Think of a term or phrase that you would like to rank for. Go to Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool, and type it into the search bar.
So for this exercise, we are going to use the keyword ‘tomato plant’
A lot of information is going to pop up once you press search. So for now we are going to focus on keyword variations, questions, and related keywords.
Step 2: Take a look at the types of keyword variations, questions and related keywords.
Keyword variations show different alternatives to the keyword you typed in. While questions show how people are searching for that term in the form of a question. And related keywords show keywords that are similar to yours.
As you can see the results show both short-tail, body, and long-tail keywords.
Keywords with low search volume and competition can make your article rank higher on the first page of Google. The more relevant they are, the better!
A rough guide would be to target keywords with a search volume between 300 – 2000 as a beginner.
So for the keyword example of ‘tomato plant’ Semrush shows that it is relatively difficult to rank for this particular keyword as you will need a lot of domains linking back to it as well as fully optimised content.
This keyword has a search volume of 22.2k which explains why it is difficult to rank for in addition to it being a short-tail keyword.
However, for the keyword ‘pruning tomato plants’ Semrush states that it is possible to rank for this particular keyword with well structured and unique content. The challenge here is making sure that the keyword is related to your overall business.
“Pruning tomato plants” has a search volume of 6.6k which is much less than “tomato plants” (22.2k search volume) Hence it should be theoretically easier to rank for this keyword rather than the other.
Step 3: Consolidate keywords
Now collect all the keywords that are relevant to your business, with each keyword’s search volume and keyword difficulty.
Later you can arrange them in order of importance and this will guide your content strategy.
Voila, now you know what keywords are and how to choose the right ones.
Keyword research is essential for any SEO strategy.
It’s the process of finding and targeting the right keywords so that your site can rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
And it’s not just about finding a few high-traffic, low competition keywords – you need to target keywords that are relevant to your business and audience.
Fortunately, you just learnt how to find and choose the right keywords.
Now that you know how to do this, you can start to implement them into your SEO strategy. Proceed to the next section of the KAMG SEO Content Hub to begin to learn what search intent is and how you can analyse it.
Need some help with SEO? Our team of experts are here for you.
Contact us today for a free consultation!