If your content lacks the correct SEO (search engine optimization), it’s almost like shouting into the abyss. The internet is a pretty big place, and with a Tsunami of content, using the right keyword research is crucial to people even seeing your content, let alone engaging with it.
Writing content isn’t as easy as you’d think. A lot of it is cramming in as many keywords as possible without sounding too much like a robot. Creatives and writers across the globe might despair at the idea of letting go of creativity, but it’s Catch 22. No one will see your writing without utilising that good ol’ SEO. So, we’ve put together a quick guide of the do’s and don’ts of keyword research so you can make the most out of your content.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What is Keyword Research?
To put it simply, SEO keyword research revolves around finding out what your audience is searching for and incorporating that into any content you create. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website rankable on Google. The higher you rank, the more likely users will interact with your site.
According to Conductor, the definition of Keyword research is: “...the process by which you research popular search terms people type into search engines like Google, and include them strategically in your content so that your content appears higher on a search engine results page (SERP)”.
Types of Keywords
The most common types of keywords are described by their length:
Short tail keywords - These are between one to two words in length. They have the highest search volume and are also the most competitive. Unless you’re a large, established brand, it’s best to skip these keywords.
Middle tail keywords - These are usually three to four-word phrases with average competition, for example, ‘vintage vinyl records’. These keywords are generally an untapped area of SEO and have a high search volume.
Long tail keywords - When creating a new website, this kind of keyword search effectively generates traffic, improves your SEO quickly and creates more sales.
The Do’s of SEO & Keyword Research:
DO: Make a List of Relevant Topics
The first step in keyword research is to create a list of all possible keywords, phrases, topics and sub-topics that relate to your business. Whilst you’re compiling these keywords, it’s good to think about search intent. Understanding what your audience is searching for, their needs and wants is crucial to targeting them.
DO: Understand Types of Search Intent
If you’re entirely new to the world of SEO, we’ve broken down the four different types of search intent. We all need to start somewhere:
Information Intent Informational intent does what it says on the tin. The majority of searches conducted on the internet are people looking for information, for example, the weather, recipes or their weekend outfit. Google’s understanding goes way further than just showing information related to a certain term.
Let’s say you’re searching for the keyword phrase, “Pasta sauce”. Google’s algorithm knows that you’re probably looking for recipes and not a deep dive into the history of pasta sauce and will therefore target you with relevant blogs, recipes and content.
Transactional intent is all about searching for an item online to purchase. If you’ve got an occasion on the horizon and want to find *the* perfect outfit for it, Google will take your keyphrase, for example, “Black dress”, and target you with shopping ads most relevant to you.
This is a kind of search intent with the main goal of finding a specific website. For example, people who search for [Twitter] are most likely on their way to the Twitter website. To rank highly for a navigational term, it’s essential to make sure your website is easily identifiable for anyone searching for it.
DO: Make Use of FREE SEO & Keyword Tools
Now that you know the ins and outs of basic keyword research, we’ve compiled some of the best SEO tools you can be using for your brand (and did we mention, they’re all free?!). To optimize your content to its best ability, it's worth auditing your site at least once a year to resolve any problems - these handy keyword research tools will have your site ranking highly in no time.
GDoc SEO Assistant
GDoc SEO Assistant is a free keyword research tool that you can use on your Google Docs. The tool helps to optimize your text with SEO best practices via highlighting keywords to include formatting, readability and search intent.
Google Keyword Planner Yet another functional and free SEO tool from Miss Google herself; Google Keyword Planner. This is typically used for Google ads and is an effective way to gather monthly searches for specific keywords. It’s not always the most accurate of tools, but it’s worth a try!
Keywords Everywhere For a free tool, Keywords Everywhere does a whole lot. From trend data and related keywords to search queries, Keywords Everywhere has you covered. The software is a strong go-to for showing monthly CPC and competition data on multiple websites. Download it here.
The Don’ts of SEO & Keyword Research:
DON’T: Buy Backlinks
Just like buying followers is bad for organic social accounts, buying backlinks is a big no go for SEO. If you begin buying backlinks to boost your website ranking, you could actually receive a penalty from Google. Not only would you be completely wasting your money, you could also ruin your site's ranking indefinitely.
DON’T: Overlook Mobile Traffic
With the whole of the internet at our fingertips, mobile devices now make up 50% of all traffic, crazy right? Google identifies this traffic and therefore favours mobile-friendly websites. To keep on top of this, website optimization for mobile is crucial! Small steps such as making your load time less than three seconds and creating a mobile-friendly user experience will make all the difference.
DON’T: Forget to Set Goals
And finally, another big no when it comes to keyword research is forgetting to follow your set goals. Or not even having goals in the first place. Before you start out on your SEO journey, think about your end goal. Whether you want to increase organic traffic, drive up search intent or promote your brand further, it’s best practice to have a solid plan in place beforehand!