December 5, 2021

Keyword Research For SEO: Best Tips and Practices

Want to find high intention keywords using proven and effective methods?

Would you like to build a simple yet powerful keyword strategy to help your target audience find you faster?

You can, especially if you deeply understand your audience and create a solid keyword strategy based on intent.

On November 3rd, I hosted a Sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Zack Kadish, Sr. SEO Success Manager at Conductor.

He gave a revealing crash course in keyword intent research techniques, tips and tactics.

Here’s a quick recap of the webinar presentation. If you want to dig deeper into the details, fill out the form to access the full webinar.

Let’s take a look at how Zack broke down some of the best practices for choosing the right keyword and where to put those keywords to make sure you can increase your organic visibility.

The head and tail of creating keyword strategies

Keyword research = discovery + targeting relevant words that matter to your audience

Understanding the basics of keywords and incorporating them into an intention-based strategy creates the foundation for success.

Keyword Research Tip # 1: Know How To Target All The Right Keyword Types

To drive qualified traffic to your site, make sure you incorporate each of the four basic key elements into your research, including:

  • Search volume.
  • Relevance.
  • Main Keywords.
  • Long tail keywords.

1. Search volume

Search volume is the average number of times a person searches for a specific phrase each month.

Typically, you select a keyword with high search volume. But remember: this keyword should be relevant to the needs of your audience.

Pro tip: Find a balance between high search volume and keywords relevant to your business.

2. Relevance

Relevance helps your website appear at the right time in the right search.

Put yourself in the shoes of your future visitors. What questions would they ask? What do they need to know before deciding to convert?

Pro Tip: For maximum impact and best results, select a keyword that matches the needs of your target audience, has moderate search volume, and matches the intent of your landing page.

RSVP → Learn how to discover relevant keywords that convert.

3. Main keywords

Primary keywords are words and phrases that have high search volume.

These necessary keywords are great for driving traffic, but they can be harder to rank for successfully due to the heavy competition.

Let’s look at the keyword [reading glasses], which has 116,000 / MSV (monthly search volume). We see that:

  • This vague phrase is desirable because hundreds of thousands of people search for this keyword.
  • It is difficult to rank because many other sites are also trying to rank for the same phrase.

Pro Tip: Balance both main and long tail keywords in your keyword strategy.

4. Long-tail keywords

Long tail keywords generally have lower competition and volume, but they can be easier to rank for.

Screenshot by author, November 2021

If we go down from the main keyword phrase [reading glasses] to the long tail keyword phrase [lightweight reading glasses], which has 480 / MSV, we will learn:

  • Long-tail keywords can collectively represent 50% or more of the overall site traffic.
  • Users searching for this long tail keyword are more likely to make a purchase.

Pro tip: Use long tail keywords in your product page, service, or conversion strategy. End customers are ready to make a purchase and will use these keywords to locate your website.

RSVP → Learn how to successfully incorporate high competition, long tail keywords into your strategy.

Keyword research for SEOScreenshot by author, November 2021

Keyword Research Tip # 2: Consider the Customer Journey and User Intent

Do the keyword phrases you selected match what your client is trying to accomplish? Do they match the position of your visitors in the buyer’s journey?

The stronger and more relevant your keywords are to your users and their place in the buyer’s journey, the greater the potential for increasing your traffic.

Pro tip: You can add specific phrases to your keywords to help them match what your potential customer may be looking for. These intent phrases can help you be authoritative for each type of buyer on their journey.

Early stage clients: awareness – information intention

Early stage customers want to consume content and they want to learn. At this point, your goal is to become an authoritative source for future customers, which increases your chances of future conversion.

Pro tip: Think about how you would research your product or services if you didn’t know they exist. What problems does your business solve? Create content by adding the following informational intent phrases to your keywords to capture customers at an early stage.

Early stage keyword phrases:

  • Who.
  • What.
  • When.
  • Or.
  • Why.
  • How? ‘Or’ What.
Keyword research for SEOImage source: conductor

Intermediary customers: comparison: intention of information to transactional

Be there for your future customers when they are considering a purchase. Create content that provides clarity around which article or service is the best choice.

Pro tip: Think about what you would do with research if you had to choose between multiple services or products. Create that same content for your potential audience. Add the following transactional intent phrases to your keywords to capture intermediary customers.

Intermediate keyword phrases:

  • Comparison.
  • Better.
  • Versus.
  • Better.
Keyword research for SEOImage source: conductor

End-stage customers: conversions – transactional intent

End customers are buyers who convert to sales or leads. All of your keyword searches in the previous stages of the buyer’s journey accumulate up to this point.

Pro tip: pretend you’ve done your research and are ready to buy. What do you type in Google? Your customers are doing the same. Add these transactional phrases to your keywords.

RSVP → Get a transactional keyword list that converts end-stage buyers into customers.

Keyword research for SEOImage source: conductor

Keyword Research Tip # 3: Use Competitive Data to Discover Semantically Relevant Keywords

Sometimes it can be difficult to know which words are really related.

Competitive data can help you increase your relevance around a topic.

When you know why your competition is ranking, you will know what keywords to use in your content to make sure you are found. (If it’s relevant, of course.)

RSVP → Learn to discover the keywords used by your competitors.

How to put it all together

Ideation of the subject: For each page of content, discover topics that resonate with your audience. Put your customers first!

    1. Consider where your customer is in the buyer’s journey.
    2. Match your topic ideas to their research intent.

Keyword discovery: Plan to target 2-3 main keywords per page.

    1. Main keyword – target keyword.
    2. Secondary Keyword – Support keyword.
    3. Tertiary keyword – support keyword.

Keyword Rating: Keep in mind – search volume, competition, and stage of the journey.

    1. Research and align your potential high volume keywords and long tail keywords with searcher intent in mind.
    2. Add intent phrases to help your content appear at the right time.

Optimizing our content is only half the story. Then you will need to:

  • Monitor keyword rankings and organic traffic.
  • Analyze underperforming or underperforming pages.

Make sure your content and keywords are tracked to demonstrate how profitable keyword research is for your business

RSVP → See an example of a successful keyword strategy.

[Slides] Keyword Research For SEO: Best Tips and Practices

Check out the presentation slides below:

Join us for our next webinar!

SMS Vacation Marketing: 8 Tips to Increase Your Audience and Reach

Want to get the most out of your holiday marketing campaigns? Want to develop your SMS lists and optimize your conversions? Attend our next webinar on Wednesday, November 17 at 2 p.m. ET and get practical tips on how to get the most out of your holiday SMS strategy.


Image credits
Featured Image: Sammby / Shutterstock
Post Image # 1: Zack Kadish / Conductor


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