To optimise your website for great search rankings you must first know how people are looking for the products, services or information that you offer.
Why Keyword Research?
Nowadays, everyone knows what keywords are: single words or phrases that make it possible for people to find your website and content through search engines.
But how do you find those keywords in the first place?
Why is Keyword Research important?
Put simply, if you know exactly what people search for when they’re looking for something you can offer them, you will be able to use that information to specifically target your website to those people.
This means more people actually looking for your products or services visiting your website.
All because of keyword research!
Another reason to carry out keyword research is to distinguish yourself from competitors. If you use the same keywords as your rivals, you’re definitely not going to stand out.
By conducting a little keyword research you’ll be able to make yourself noticeable to the right people.
What to look for when doing Keyword Research
When doing keyword research there will be certain things you should look out for. Keyword Research is about finding out what people are actually searching for, not what you ‘think’ they are searching for.
Let’s say you’re a company that sells Golf Clubs in Sheffield. You might rightfully think a good keyword would be “Golf Supplies Sheffield”. However, some keyword research might well show that what people actually search for is “Sheffield Pro Golf” (590 searches per month in the Sheffield area). This is what people are actually looking for and is where Focus Keywords come in.
However, there may be a lot of competition for your focus keywords and lots of other people using them. What do you do now?
The Long Tail
It is useful to have some pages optimised for your focus keywords, however there are a few other options. One option is using something called the long tail.
Searching is made up of three different types of keywords: the fat head, chunky middle and long tail.
The fat head would be things such as “Pro Golf” and would turn up millions of results in a search engine. This typically makes up about 20% of all search activity. The chunky middle makes up another 10%.
That means the long tail makes up 70% of all search terms!
sheffield pro golf – 590 searches per month – Fat head
golfbidder – 320 searches per month – The Chunky Middle
Now the long tail..
golf direct – 260
online golf – 210
golf clubs – 210
ping golf – 140
titleist – 140
golf clubs for sale 90
golf bidder – 90
golf online – 70
discount golf – 50
If you total up the number of searches for the long tail, it will far exceed the fat head and the chunky middle.
So it therefore makes sense to optimise a few pages using keywords from the long tail.
A long tail search term might also be something quite specific such as “golf watch with gps”. People using this search term are much more likely to buy a product as they are further along the buying/conversion cycle.
Combining long tail keywords with focus keywords can lead to being successfully high-ranked on search engines.
What tools are available for Keyword Research?
The idea of researching keywords can be daunting but there are many free tools available that can help you along in the process.
Google Trends is a dedicated section of Google that provides in-depth information on what the most popular searches are. The search functions are powerful and you can search for specific regions, business sectors, interests and even certain periods of time. This should be a part of any keyword research strategy.
WordStream has a selection of free tools to help you with keyword research. One of the more interesting ones is the ‘Free Keyword Niche Finder’ which will help you identify more specific keywords relevant to you and your customers.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
If you already use Google AdWords, this is a great tool that can help you identify keywords, phrases and groups for your website.
How do I use my Keywords once I have them?
Once you’ve done your keyword research, you have to use those keywords to your advantage.
A few things you can do to maximise the effect of your keywords are to include them in page titles, page descriptions, URLs and the body content of your website.
Don’t overuse them though – anywhere between three and six times per page is a good target.
And don’t forget to vary your keywords!