Guide to SEO - Keyword Research

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In this blog, we will talk about why keyword research is required. Why is it best practice to do keyword research before you start any SEO work? The answer is

fairly simple if you don't know which words and phrases people type into Google, YouTube, Amazon, or Bing whatever search engine you're optimizing for, you are not going to be able to know how to structure your content. Because of which you won't be able to get into the searcher's brain to understand what they actually want from your content. And you probably target the right keywords which will mean your competitors who are doing keyword research are choosing terms and phrases that searchers are actually looking for. You might unfortunately end up optimizing for words and phrases that very few or no one is actually looking for, or that are much more difficult than what you can actually rank for.

Goals of keyword research

Search demand

First we need to understand the search demand landscape so we can craft better SEO strategies. It is important to check the search volume for keywords. Sometimes generic keywords may not have enough search volume, and so will not get you the results you are looking for. Instead, specific long tail keywords may have a good search volume, so you can target your efforts towards these keywords. Always look for keywords that have a good search volume. 

SEO can apply to different goals, one where there is a need to build a brand, where a business will need to go out into a marketplace and create demand. And the other one is where there is a need to serve existing demand. So you've got to understand your search demand landscape so that you can set the right expectations showcasing how much demand there is and what you can serve today versus we need to grow our brand.

List of terms and phrases matching marketing goals

Build a list of terms and phrases that coincide with your marketing goals to achieve rankings for the right keywords. These are keywords that have high demand that you can optimize and potentially rank. In the case where that's not true, they're too difficult to rank for, or organic results don't really show up, you should go after paid or maps or images or videos or some other type of search result. You should also prioritize those keyword investments so you are doing the highest ROI work first. 

It’s best to go after keywords that can bring quick results with SEO, rather than difficult keywords with little or no results for a long period. The difficult keywords can first be targeted with paid ads and later with organic SEO.  

Matching keywords to content

Finally take all the keywords that matter and match them to the pages on our site. If you don't have matches then you need to create that content. If you have matches but they are sub-optimal and not doing a great job of answering that searcher's query, you need to optimize that content to answer the search query. If you have a page that matches but you haven't done keyword optimization you must optimize the content for keywords. 

An important part of understanding how search engines work is to have an understanding that when you perform a query on a mobile device or a desktop device Google shows you a vast variety of results. 10 to 15 years ago this was not the case, if you searched for soccer jerseys, you would get 10 blue links. Ranking was simple and the algorithm was not complex. Things are different today. How do I rank number one is the only question and the answer is not that simple. There are many factors. 

SEO is of different kinds, there are shopping results, sponsored results, local search results, organic results. It is important to understand and convey correctly what you are optimizing for before you start optimizing for SEO. For example, local SEO and classic SERPs need different styles of optimization. 

Another important and critical thing to understand about the keyword research universe and how we do keyword research is that there's a search demand curve. For any given keyword there is essentially a small number, maybe a few to a few dozen keywords that have millions or hundreds of thousands of searches every month. Something like ‘soccer’ or ‘seattle sounders’ those have thousands even

millions of searches every month in the United States. But people searching for ‘Sounders fc jersey customizable’ there are very few searches per month. There are millions, even billions of keywords like this where the search volume is low. 

These keywords comprise the long tail of search demand, essentially billions of keywords that are only searched for a few times per month. The next layer is the chunky middle in the SEO world, this is where there are tens of thousands of keywords that have between 50 and a few hundred searches per month. And then the fathead has only a few keywords. These are usually single keywords like soccer or small phrases like soccer jersey, which are probably more like the chunky middle but they have hundreds of thousands or millions of searches. The fathead is higher competition and broader intent. 

Broader intent means when someone performs a search for soccer you don't know what exactly they're looking for, the likelihood that they want a customizable soccer jersey is very very small they're probably looking for something much broader and it's hard to know exactly. However, as you drift down into the chunky middle and into the long tail where there's more keywords but fewer searches for each keyword.

Your competition gets much lower, there's fewer people trying to compete and rank for those because there's more specific intent, you can identify exactly what they want. 

Once you understand specific intent you need to figure out the search intent of your target audience. Once you understand that you can build a list of keywords that you want to target for SEO. Prioritize keywords on this list on the basis of volume, competition, and search intent to order the keywords you want to target first and later. 

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