Today, keyword research holds a different value than it did years ago. Ever since the launch of Google algorithms Hummingbird and Rankbrain, the way people find information online are changing with the development of intuitive conversational search. This means search engines are becoming better at understanding the intent behind a search query instead of focusing only on words inputted.
How does the change affect keyword research? It changes the way we optimize our websites for search. Today, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is no longer just about rankings. SEO has evolved to become a UX (User Experience) oriented practice. Keyword research for SEO places more emphasis on connecting the right website content to what people, not search engines, are looking for.
Why is SEO Keyword Research Important for Website Content and Traffic?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the organic or natural way to bring traffic to your website without spending money to advertise for it.
The main objective of SEO keyword research is to find out what your potential audiences are typing into search engines like Google to look up your products or services. By identifying these keywords and incorporating them into website content, you are creating better visibility for your website and making it found through search engines.
The bottom line is, proper keyword research puts your content out there in front of more people and drives free search traffic to your website.
How to do SEO Keyword Research
Find high search volume keywords for your content can be easily done with the right keyword research tools. You can always start your keyword research for free with Google Search console. As your website grows, it is a good idea to look into advanced keyword research tools that give you more information.
Through advanced keyword research tools such as SEMRush, you can easily discover what keywords your competitors are ranking for, as well as what kind of backlinks they are receiving. This in-depth data can help you understand where you stand and how to improve and capture more market share. To learn more, refer to our complete step-by-step guide on how to do SEO keyword research.
For example purposes, we will do a quick keyword research demonstration with SEMRush.
How to do SEO Keyword Research with SEMRush
- Make a list of keywords for a certain piece of content you wish to optimize
- Type into the search bar one keyword at a time to get results
- Refer to “Volume” under “Organic Search”
- Refer to the “Related Keyword” and identify low competition keyword variations that have high search volume
- Additionally, under “Organic Search Results”, the tool provides a list of top 100 websites that rank for the keyword you’ve just searched
- The rule of thumb is to pick the keyword variation with the highest search volume and the lowest competition
- Repeat the process for every keyword you wish to rank for
3 Ways SEO Keyword Research Improves Website Traffic
#1. Keyword Research Makes Content Discoverable
Content is one of the most important components that drives traffic to your website, and keyword research is the key to search optimized content. Keyword targeted content can help your website receive desired exposure through search results. So your website can gain traffic over time.
Content optimization does not equal to keyword stuffing. In fact, repeating or overusing keywords can result in adverse effects. Google Webmaster Quality Guideline specifically spells out the wrong practices that can get you into serious trouble.
The right way to do keyword research is to first focus on creating quality content. Then build a bucket list of words that represent the main idea of this content. Refine this list with keyword research tools such as SEMRush to make your content discoverable through search.
Ultimately, keyword research and content optimization go hand in hand. There is really no trick or tactic that can guarantee you instant winning. However, with a consistent effort to keyword optimize content, you are on the right track to long-term SEO success.
#2. Keyword Research Opens Up New Target Market
Take advantage of long-tail keywords to help you discover lucrative new markets. Long-tail keywords are short phrases made up of three or more words. Unlike head terms (single term keywords), long-tail keywords are usually less competitive and targets more specific search queries.
Long-tail keywords are a telltale sign that the user knows what he or she is looking for. For example, someone searching for an “organic gourmet vegan cupcake” is more likely to engage with the targeted content than someone looking up “cupcake”.
Therefore, take the time to find these long-term keywords applicable to your business and add them to your keyword list. You can run a quick keyword research below with SEMRush and test it out yourself. Try searching for a long-tail keyword related to your product or service, and see what potential markets you can uncover.
#3. Keyword Research Improves Organic Traffic
Earning top keyword rankings in organic traffic is the ultimate goal of every online marketer. More “organic” or free traffic means you do not need to spend on advertising for the keywords you are already winning.
Use keyword research tools to find words or phrases with high search volume that are product or service-specific keywords as well as industry keywords. For example, if you sell toy cars, in addition to trying to win the market for the models you carry, think terms that can relate to a broader audience. So if you are selling BMW i3 and i8 toy cars, incorporate words such as “hybrid” or “all electric” as head terms or long-tail keywords.
Track your keyword research results and note the markets where you gain momentum. Periodically access your original keyword list while test for new ones as your website gains authority. You can observe a steady growth of the website’s organic traffic as you continue to check and refine the keyword lists.
Balance Your SEO Strategies
Keyword research is only half the battle, but it is nevertheless a great start. Learn more about SEO strategies to drive long-term traffic to your website.