Content marketing is a tried and tested way of building brand awareness, authority, and credibility. It helps you win the trust of your potential customers and convert them into loyal brand advocates. However, the fate of your content marketing strategy depends on various factors.
First, you need a deep understanding of your marketing objectives and target audience. This specifically means that you need to put together a summary of your ideal customer profiles (ICPs). Define who these buyer types are. Name them. Identify what their challenges are and where they go to find solutions. What’s their title at work? Are they decision-makers or influencers (side note: don’t forget about the stakeholders or influencers – they are often the people doing the research to find your solution and recommend it to their bosses who make the decisions.
From here, you will have a clear understanding of who your customers are and what their needs are. Then, you put together your content plan around how your solution solves their problems.
In the end, the content that you write should address your audience’s pain points or resolve their problems.
However, the most critical piece of this puzzle is creating topic clusters and doing the keyword research that supports those topic clusters. It helps your website climb up the ladder of search engine ranking. Keyword research lays the foundation for building your marketing strategy across various channels including search engines, social media, blogs, etc.
In this blog, we’ll outline a comprehensive keyword research guide:
- What is Keyword Research?
- 6 Steps to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy
- How to Keep Track of Keywords, Rankings, and Your Competitors
Let’s first take a closer look at the concept.
What is Keyword Research?
Keywords are the terms and phrases that your target audience will likely use in their search queries. Keyword research is the process of identifying the most relevant and popular keywords in your niche.
Once you’ve made a tentative list of target keywords, it’s crucial to analyze and validate them. It’s also essential to tweak keywords according to the latest trends and preferences of your audience.
It’s now time for us to delve deeper into the process of keyword research.
How to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do keyword research:
1. List Core Terms
Start your keyword research by preparing a list of the core terms that your website/business focuses on. These are just generic words and phrases that explain what your website is all about. Once you’ve identified these terms, you can modify them to achieve more specific keyword suggestions.
Let’s say you run a blog about vegan food. Here are a few core terms for your blog:
- Organic food
- Vegan recipes
- Plant-based diet
- Vegan diet
2. Expand Core Terms
The next step is to transform your core terms into more specific keywords. The simplest way is to select a core term that is most relevant to your goals and audience and enter it in the Google search box. Take a look at the list of suggestions that appears just under the search box.
Let’s go back to the example in the first step and assume that you enter “vegan recipes” in the Google search box.
Image via Google
It isn’t mandatory to focus on all the keywords suggestions from this list. You should judiciously pick the ones that resonate best with your audience. For instance, if your target audience includes new-age mothers, “vegan recipes for kids” is a potential keyword.
Next, run a quick Google search with your selected core term. Scroll down to the bottom of the search results and look at the “Searches related to” section.
Image via Google
You should also leverage Google Trends to identify popular search queries related to a specific core term. Take a look at the “related queries” section and filter your results using “Top” and “Related” criteria.
Image via Google
Likewise, you can use Google Keyword Planner for more keyword suggestions.
Image via Google
3. Identify Keywords Your Already Rank for
If your website has been around for a while, it might already be showing up in SERPs for a few search queries. It’s a good idea to focus on these keywords and improve your website’s search engine ranking. It’s often easier and less time-consuming than doing keyword research from scratch.
You can use Google Search Console for this purpose. Head to the “Search Analytics” section under “Search Traffic”. Make sure you check the “Position” option and sort your results by “Position”.
Image via Webmasters Stack Exchange
4. Monitor Your Competitors
When it comes to content marketing and SEO, spying on your competitors might be a wise idea. If they are targeting certain keywords to improve search engine ranking, these keywords will work for you too. Run a quick Google search with one of your tentative keywords and take a look at the top few results. Head to their websites and analyze their content to identify the keywords they’re targeting.
5. Prioritize Voice Search
The most crucial factors that distinguish voice search queries are their length and structure. They are longer than conventional search queries and framed as questions. Considering the popularity of virtual assistants, it’s a good idea to focus on these queries too. Understand your audience’s pain points and identify the questions they’ll likely ask.
Additionally, take a look at the “People also ask” section of Google search results.
Image via Google
6. Validate your Keyword Research
The final step is to determine whether it’s worth optimizing your content for the selected keywords. Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Moz for this purpose. Additionally, you should run a Google search with each keyword and find out if the search results list any big brands. If your focus keyword is being targeted by an established brand, they’ll likely outrank you due to domain authority.
How to Keep Track of Keywords, Rankings, and Your Competitors
Keyword research is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and modification. Once you’ve optimized your content using a specific keyword, use Google Analytics to track your website traffic. You can also run Google searches using various keywords to find out where your website stands. Moreover, you should use Google Search Console to monitor your rankings and keywords.
It’s also essential to watch out for any new keywords your competitors might be targeting. This is particularly useful when you want to renew your keyword research.
Creating top-notch content without optimizing it for the right keywords is like shooting in the dark. If you want your content to garner traction and drive conversions, you need rock-solid keyword research. Make sure you have a deep understanding of your audience and identify the questions they’ll likely ask. Thereafter, you can use various keyword research tools to identify your focus keywords.
Have any tips that you’ve seen work in your keyword research? Comment below and let us know. If you’re not sure where to start with ranking for specific keywords that will drive the best traffic to your site, give us a shout!