For most (SEO) search engine optimization experts, they will tell you this much: keyword research is possibly the most important aspect of SEO.
Even though Google may not outrightly state it, their algorithm pays much attention to keywords, perhaps not their habitual use, but their placement on the different areas of your website elements, and your keyword-optimized content that are helpful to your audience.
Every user searches start with a keyword- that is the nature of the search. For instance, if a user wants to learn about “weights loss”. They will head over to their browser, go to Google, and type “weight loss”, in this instance, the keywords are “weight” and “loss”.
To appear on the first page of Google SERP (search engine result page) for the keywords “weight loss” or any other keyword of your choice, you must optimize your website content around these keywords.
This is to make sure Google spiders pick up the keywords to index and rank your website to give the best results to people searching those words.
Using Keywords is the epitome of search engine optimization. Without the keywords, Search Engine index would be non-existent because there will be nothing to indicate what people are searching for.
First off let’s look at what exactly are keywords?
What are Keywords?
The Keywords are the search terms you type into your Google search bar when you are looking for information on the internet.
Keywords and their uses on your website will determine how visible your website is on the search engines and how many traffic it generates.
Note: The excessive use of Keywords (keyword stuffing) can get your website penalized and de-index by Google.
The Types of Keywords
There are 4 main categories of keywords you can use on your website:
- Head Term Keywords,
- Informational keywords,
- Transactional keywords,
- Long Tail keywords.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
The Head Term Keywords – Head term keywords are short and usually consist of 1-2 words. These types of keywords are often generic in use; as such, they are highly competitive as thousands of websites do use them in one way or the other.
For example, using keywords such as “healthy food”, “artwork design”, “online business”, “health”, “fitness”, “pet” etc. are the head term keywords and they do have tons of search volume.
However, because of their generic and competitive use, – it is not practical trying to rank with the head term keyword.
Unless if you don’t mind appearing somewhere near the last pages of search results (especially if your website is not an authority site).
Information Keywords – The Informational keywords are exactly what their name suggests and use for. They are the keywords used for searching for information on a specific subject.
Depending on your niche, informational keywords often have great search volume. However, because they are informational in usage, they don’t have a very good conversion rate.
Examples of Informational keywords contain the following phrases: “how and how-to”, “learn”, “where”, “what”, and the many other question words.
Long Tail Keywords – The Long tail keywords are more like phrases, or sentences. Long tail keywords are very specific and well targeted.
For instance, using our “weight loss” example, we can write the following long tail keywords like this: “Diet for weight loss”, “Natural ways for weight loss”, “Daily exercises for weight loss”, and “Weight loss program for diabetic patients”.
As you can see they are specific, and users using them to search for information are specific about what information they are searching for.
Long tail keywords are often the best keywords to rank your website because they’re well defined to drive targeted traffic and good conversion rate.
Transaction Keywords – The Transactional keywords are exactly transactional in usage. Users using these types of keywords as their search queries are looking to make a purchase.
Thus, on top of being targeted keywords, these types of keywords are the best converters, and therefore ideal for your commercial or affiliate sites.
Transactional keywords contain the phrases “buy, for sale, bargain, purchase, shop, subscribe”, and any other phrase indicating someone with the intention of buying something.
A Step-By-Step, Keyword Research Guide For Top Google Ranking
Now we shall look at the simple guide you can use to generate a massive list of Keywords for your website to rank for on Google and other search engines.
When using Keywords, it is best practice to integrate a healthy mix of all the types of keywords into your website, that is to say, it is best you don’t concentrate only on transactional keywords, or head term keywords, but to use a healthy ratio of the four-keywords categories for perfect optimization.
With that said, here is your systematic keyword research guide.
Step 1: Create a Spreadsheet and Brainstorm For Keyword Ideas On your website Niche
keyword research process always starts with understanding your website niche to help you brainstorm on the possible keyword ideas your target audience would use when searching for information online.
So once you understand your niche and your target audience common problems, create a time for yourself, sit down and draw up a list of 20-30 Keywords users will possibly use for searching relative information on your website.
How To Research on a List of Keywords
This doesn’t require you to be specific on any keyword; the idea here is for you to come up with a rough list of popular, relevant, and frequently used keywords in your niche.
If you cannot come up with a list of 30 keywords on your own, you can make use of keywordtool.io/google to find out what people interested in your topic are searching for.
1: Using the Keyword Tool and Google Suggestion: The Keyword Tool method is very easy and straightforward to use. Visit keywordtool.io/google and type in your keyword. For our examples, we shall continue to use the “weight loss” as our favorite head term Keywords and use it to discover the popular searches for that topic.
Once you get to the Keyword Tool search bar, type in your own preferred keyword topic and click on the search icon.
Keyword Tool will let you find out in an ascending order, the popular words, phrases, examples, and prepositions users type into their search bars for information. Use the Keyword Tool to come up with your own rough list of Keywords.
For using Google suggest, head over to Google.com and type in your desired keyword, once you get the result, look at the bottom of the Google result page for suggestions of possible keywords.
Using the “weight loss” Keywords example, we visit Google.com, type in the Keywords, and scroll to the bottom of the page for suggestions.
Once you finish creating your rough draft of keywords research list, place them into your spreadsheet.
For using a spreadsheet, you can do with Google Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel. The Google Spreadsheet comes with a cloud function that allows you to access your keyword research data from any device on the internet, and so might be best suited for you.
2: Use Synonyms: This is another useful way to generate a massive list of keywords in your niche and luckily for you, there are free synonyms dictionary you can make use of. We visit thesaurus.com and type in “fitness” as our seed word.
As you can see from the list of alternative words and phrases some users might use when searching for that topic.
The interesting idea behind using synonyms is for you to generate a list of alternative words users may use when searching for information relative to your keyword.
Not everyone is going to use the same words when searching the net, so make a healthy list of keywords and put them on your spreadsheet. Once you have that, move over to the next step.
Step 2: Expand On Your List Keyword
Once you obtain your generic keyword research list, the next thing is to determine which keywords are worth the content and optimization creation effort.
To determine that, you need to focus on the keyword list, expand on it, and identify easy to rank keywords and content ideas. For this purpose, you can use keyword shitter.
The Keyword Shitter – may sound silly, but it is among the best Keyword research tool you can use for free. Keyword shitter produces long tail Keyword ideas and function by placing your seed keyword into the search box and click the ‘shit keywords’ button.
For example, using the “keyword research” spreadsheet created earlier, by placing your keywords in Keyword Shitter, you can get a ton of expanded ideas of topics you can create rich content for your users.
There’s the option to download your list of keywords results if you so desire.
While this step may seem far-fetched, it is an important step that will help you create a sort of relative searches your potential clients and targeted audience are making.
And also while the list you create will not be your final keyword list, it will give you a firm understanding on which key areas of your niche you should pay more attention to.
Using Google Search Console on your website is another way to cut down your list. The “Search analytics” on the Search Console dashboard will show which Keyword phrases your website is already ranking for, to hone in on related topics or Keywords.
Step 3: See What The Competition Is Doing
After you have expanded your keyword list and getting to know the potential contents you should be creating for your audience, you will want to do one other thing before you start publishing articles.
Carry out research on other websites ranking for your intended keywords, and luckily for you, there’s a free tool available for that purpose – The Google Keyword Planner (GKP).
How to Use the GKP Hack To see What Your Competition Is Ranking For
In order to use the Google Keyword Planner, you will need to have a Google Ads account. Do register and follow the prompts, enter the information about yourself and your business, and you are good to go.
Note: you don’t have to pay for an ad campaign to start using Google Keyword Planner, all you need is an active Google Ads Account.
With that said, competitor analysis will let you know the possibilities of ranking for your intended keywords. Here is how to use the Google Keyword Planner (GKP) to observe your competition.
First, equipped with your intended optimization keyword, head over to Google and type in your desired keyword. For example, if we use ” SEO” as our seed keyword, from the results copy the URL of a competing website.
On your GKP homepage, click on the “find keywords” button which would prompt you to enter words, phrase, or a URL related to your business.
Paste the URL of the competitor page and click on the “get started button” to unveil all the unique and good ranking keywords they are using to appear on the first page of Google SERP.
Note: There are lots of other pages from your related niche website you can use for the GKP Hack, this includes their – blog posts, podcast transcripts, news stories, and the about pages of influencers within your business.
This useful hack will allow you a glimpse of keywords your competitor is ranking for and their competition. If there are important keywords you don’t have on your list, feel free to grab them and add them to your spreadsheet.
Step 4: Use Your Keyword Research Tool to Focus Your List
The last three steps explain how to come up with an excellent list of possible keywords, analyze their competitiveness, observe how easy to rank for them, and find out how competing websites are using these keywords, as well as to discover other low competition keywords the competitions are overlooking.
In this step, we will be looking at how to narrow down your list of possible Keywords as a final decision-making step before starting to work on optimization.
Using your list of keywords, (you certainly must have a huge list of possible keywords by now), and the research data from the competitor analyses we explained in step 3.
You can start to eliminate duplicate keywords phrases, Keywords that do not naturally fit into your website content, keywords that have very low search volumes, and the keywords that are highly competitive.
Google Keyword Planner has a lot of features and can be used for this purpose to provide you with an estimate of the specific monthly searches the keywords you intend to use have.
Click on the “filter” icon after searching for a keyword idea, there’s the option to set your average monthly search, exclude unwanted keywords from your plan, set the competition range for keywords you’ll like to see, and so many cool features to help you focus your keyword research list.
The idea here is to choose keywords that have healthy search volumes, and are moderate competition.
The keywords should have the following criteria:
Highly Relevant To Your Niche: Good keywords should be highly relevant. They should accurately tell the content of your website to limit high bounce rate.
“The bounce rate is how often people get off your site after landing on it”, and are another external ranking factor for your site.
By being specific, your keywords and their subsequent use on your website would make it certain for people to find answers to their questions once they visit your page.
Healthy Search Volume: A good niche specific keywords have healthy search volumes. This is very important for you if you want to rank your website within the shortest time.
Unless your planned Keyword has low search volumes that you intend to build up to large traffic when collated, it will be unproductive to write articles for some Keywords that gets 1-10 monthly searches.
Likewise, trying to rank for highly competitive keywords (overcrowded Keywords) with high-quality authority pages on the first page of Google SERP will be so much difficult for you. So, do choose your niche Keywords wisely.
In conclusion: using the systematic keyword research process we have explained, you should have a healthy list of keywords ready for implementation and optimization on your website.
On a side note, Keywords are very important, and simply using the most profitable ones will not grant you an easy ranking. How well you optimize the keywords into the website pages and your content is what will help you rank your site.