Most people know that keywords play a pretty big role in the search engine results for their business, but keywords are capable of a lot more than just that. They can help you come up with new and engaging content, better understand what your audience is looking for, optimize your social media posts, and more. The important part is that not every keyword makes sense for your business, and not every search question related to your niche is actually going to be a highly searched keyword.
This is where keyword research comes into play. Researching keywords is how you narrow down on the most relevant and profitable keywords for you and your unique business. It’s a lot, but we’re here to help break it down.
What Are Keywords, Really?
Keywords are words or phrases that people use to search for things online. You might look up “coffee shops near me,” “creative ways to make money,” or “how to choose a marketing agency”—these are all keyword phrases that give you results for relevant content.
Keywords are most commonly used for SEO (search engine optimization), in the form of optimizing website content by using specific target keywords. You’d typically use keywords in your webpage copy, meta tags, product descriptions, social and blog posts, image alt text, etc. And knowing what keywords to use improves your chances of being discovered by someone looking for what you do.
What Does Keyword Research Do for You?
Keyword research is essential for SEO of course, but it has other great uses in a variety of other areas. For example, knowing your target audience is a crucial part of all aspects of digital marketing—you have to know who you’re marketing to, right? Keyword research helps you understand more about who your audience is, how they think (and type), and what they’re looking for.
Keyword research is also great for developing your content strategy, because it can help you identify the best and most engaging blog topics. You’ll find out what your audience is already searching for, so you can turn around and give it to them. Start by searching some broad terms and see what the top results are—whatever comes up is doing well in your industry. Brainstorming relevant content and unique twists on existing perspectives is a breeze once you know what your audience wants.
Try conducting some keyword research using branded keywords (making sure to include common typos—i.e. “Macy’s” versus “Macys”) to discover the most common search terms people are using to find out about you. Do this on social media, too, so you can find out what people are saying about your brand. This is a great way to measure people’s feelings toward your brand as a whole.
And check out your competitors! There’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you don’t copy them. You can conduct similar branded keyword research on your competitors to know what people search for when looking for them, as well as how people feel about their brand a whole. Doing this will help you get very specific about where your competition stands, and how they measure up to you.
So, How Do You Do It?
First thing’s first—make a quick list of relevant topics. Don’t think too hard about this part, just write down the first things that come to mind when you think about your industry. As a digital marketer, our list might look something like this:
- Social media marketing
- Brand awareness campaign
- Email marketing
These aren’t keywords yet—just broad topics to get more specific with later. Google can help you with this part, too! Type in something like “social media…” and see what Google suggests you finish the phrase with. That will give you a good idea of what’s on people’s minds. Another helpful thing to look at is the very bottom of the search page—there you’ll see searches related to whatever it is you searched.
After you have a broad list of ideas, it’s time to narrow things down a bit. This is where you need actual, hard data to figure out which keywords will perform the best. Even at this point, when you have a full list of sought-after topics, not all of them will perform equally. If you have an AdWords account, you’re golden. Google Keyword Planner is your best friend. You just enter the keywords from your list, and the tool will provide you with search volumes and traffic estimates for all of them. This way, you can get an estimate of how many clicks and impressions you can get for each search term. You can try some keywords, see how they perform, and adjust accordingly.
Finding yourself without enough time or an AdWords account? That’s where we come in. Give us a call, and we can chat more about keyword research.