The Essentials of SEO Keyword Research

The Essentials of SEO Keyword Research

Search engines are basically constantly flooded with queries. For SEO, only focusing on carefully selected handful of keywords will result in a traffic increase.

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Nowadays increasingly complex phrases instead of simple one-word keywords are used for googling. This allows the users to search for a very specific information, product or service. To get the people to visit our website, SEO needs to be focused on the right keywords. Proper keyword research is therefore crucial for an effective SEO. It is at the same time one of the first phases of the SEO process and it required a lot of precision.

Keywords research basics – how to choose the right keywords?

Keyword research should begin with an in-depth analysis of a given website. Taking the time to analyze the website thoroughly pays off. See what makes the website in question stand out, then try to come up with keywords that describe the site best. Start from the very general ones and move on to specific, complex phrases. Come up with an initial concept of the purpose for which users may want to visit the website.

For research purposes, a following typology, distinguishing several types of keywords, might be useful:

General keywords

Composed of one, two words max. Used by a the type of users undecided yet about what they want to search for. For example, when searching for pants, those users simply google “pants” or “women’s pants”. This type of keywords’ hallmark is a very strong competition. Therefore, you’ll do better if you don’t fixate on them only. The general rule of thumb here is the more general the keyword, the more pages swarm to rank high for it.

Long tail keywords

They consist of two words or more. They are thus way more informative than the general keywords. And they’re perfect for users knowing precisely what information they’re after. Those users often google the same words, only altering the order. Long tail focused SEO is easier, because the competition is not so strong and choosing the right keywords considerably pays off.

Brand keywords

Those words are often used to refer to a particular website when the exact domain name is unknown. It may be the name of the company or part of the URL. Don’t forget to include them in your SEO process! The reason is that duplications or similarities across the web happen, with one letter difference, sometimes. The risk is that the user won’t visit our website, but the one with similar URL.

Local keywords

They include the names of cities or geographical regions. Focusing your SEO on local keywords sometimes makes much sense, since local keywords are far less competitive and the users googling them are also more likely to convert.

Questions or customer feedback as keywords

These are the words usually typed by users searching for opinions on a certain topic. For instance, he or she is looking for a product feedback, service rating or for more details that would dispel the pre-purchase doubts. SEO focused on this type of keywords works great for ecommerces, especially those that additionally write a blog. For such cases, this type of query is likely to cause our website to frequently pop up in the search results. Also, focusing on those keywords allows to find out about the user’s expectations or doubts. These information may be useful for further phases of our SEO process.

Places to put your keywords in on your website

Emphasizing the keywords on the website is crucial for an effective SEO. Choosing the right places will result in increased search engine visibility and higher organic traffic. Search engine robots scan the website from top to bottom, so the best places to put the keywords in are in the upper segments of the page, starting with:

  • The name of the website
  • A page description, especially the first two headings (H1 and H2).
  • Keywords in Meta Tags
  • Names of image files posted on the site and their alternative descriptions
  • Anchor text – any clickable text in a hyperlink

To deepen your knowledge about the keyword research and the best number of focus keywords for SEO, read this article: How many keywords for SEO?

Are search engines case or grammar sensitive in respect to keywords?

Unequivocally, no. Search engines are entirely not case sensitive – it doesn’t matter if uppercase or lowercase letters are used in a keyword. When it comes to grammatical case, gender etc., the answer is still no, however, using diverse forms makes keywords more attractive and their descriptions will be different from each other.

Keywords and competition

Two types of keywords can be distinguished in regard to the time it takes before the effects of SEO show:

  • Long-term
  • Short-term

For long-term keywords it takes time before SEO effects appear, but the final result can be very satisfactory. On the other hand, short-term keywords have less competition, therefore a SEO focused on them can proceed faster and the effects are likely to appear sooner. On top of that, short-term keywords support users’ decision-making processes. therefore, in general, they contribute to a more efficient SEO process.

Competitiveness of a given keyword is determined by many factors. The more competitors in the industry sector there are in general, the harder it is to break through. If our competitors’ SEO is more advanced than ours, we are likely to face a considerable challenge. When the valuable links are already claimed by the competition, it’s generally more difficult to rank high.

One way to assess how competitive a keyword is, is to simply google it, but in quotation marks. This will get us a general overview, including information about the quality of other websites and the number of competitors.

Additionally, Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a definitely useful tool. It allows us to determine the competitiveness of a given keyword and tell us how high it ranks.

Correct keyword building

Fortunately, a number of tools can help us build keywords relevant to our website and helpful for our SEO process. Many of them will try to get us more clicks, too. Here are the details about some of them:

Google Search Console

A free tool allowing us to fully monitor the website. Has plenty of useful features – a must-have for an effective website traffic management. Among other features, it allows us to control our website in Google search results. The “Search Analytics” feature generates an in-depth report providing accurate data about the website’s Google search engine visibility. Use this feature to check how high your website ranks for specific keywords, the number of clicks and page impressions in the search engine. Here you’ll find out about the ratio of clicks to the number of impressions (CTR) and alternative ways to reach the potential users. The Google Search Console report shows the full picture of our website current keyword ranking situation.

Google AdWords

Another free tool from Google. Its features allow us to research the keywords the most relevant to our website. AdWords helps us to determine which keywords will be the most effective for our website SEO-wise, by showing us a list of suggested keywords relevant to our website and relevant to the keywords already associated with it. Its analytics and statistical features inform us about the number of searches, thus supporting a more data-driven keyword research and their final selection. Another very helpful feature is a keyword forecast – an assessment of future search volume of a given keyword. Tool’s forecast and metrics allow us to comprehensively determine the competitiveness of a given keyword.

Soolve

An easy-to-use tool, providing information about keywords suggested by Google, Yahoo, Bing and Youtube search engines. Simply enter the keyword to find out all about the word completion suggestions from all the aforementioned search engines. This feature makes it easier to find subsequent words that turn a general keyword into a precise long tail phrase. For example, typing a word “hammer” in Soovle results in a list of suggestions on completion the word “hammer”, instantly giving us a list of possible long tail keywords.

Keywords research at soovle

Ubersuggest

This free tool offers lists of long-term phrase suggestions, based upon a core keyword of our choice. This allows us to gain information about similar keywords preferred by users – a definitely useful knowledge for a SEO process. Ubersuggest is extremely helpful in building lists of long tail keywords. It even suggests the keyword completions according to the language used by users and various grammatical forms of those. On top of that, the tool is at the same time very simple and extraordinarily effective in the initial stages of brainstorming, when all the ideas for keywords seem to run out.

KeywordTool

Another easy-to-use, yet powerful tool. Its main feature is generating lists of new long tail key phrases. The tips we get from KeywordTool come from Google search itself. If a long tail phrase is listed, it’s because the users have used it to google stuff. The tool’s engine works on a Google algorithm. But its greatest advantage is the coverage it offers – the core features covers 193 Google domains and supports 83 languages. Using the program is, again, totally uncomplicated – just type the keyword and it generates a list of key phrases. Another feature of KeywordTool is suggesting questions that the users type in the search engine. This allows us to focus our SEO process precisely on the potential users’ queries. For example, in response to the word “gate” we get hundreds of combinations that can be used in our SEO keyword research. Those pretty much exhaust all the possibilities, helping us to make the website more responsive to the wide range of users’ needs.

Keyword tool

Answer The Public

Another tool, immensely helpful when searching for questions that the users ask the internet search engine. Simply type a keyword or phrase, and see the whole set of relevant search queries that were used for a search engine. For example, by entering the word “coffee” we are able to find out that users seek to answer to “why coffee is bitter?” This gives us an insight into the actual topics that the users find interesting – an essential blog writing information. Answering those questions will likely give us a serious traffic boost.

Dress Answer The Public keyword tool

Conclusion

A right keyword research and final selection is crucial for any effective SEO process, for any industry, any sector. Careful determination of the keywords most relevant to our website is basically the cornerstone of effective optimization and linkbuilding, too. A thorough analysis of the whole website, pages included, is essential for a proper keyword research, allowing the keywords finally selected to be actually relevant. Let’s assume the users’ POV and think about what phrases in the search engine they may want to type to find the information. An effective SEO needs to be a constant improvement process – this includes the key phrases, too, which need to be monitored, and corrected quickly, should there by any emergency.

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Author
Head of SEO & SEM - Matt Calik

Head of SEO & SEM

Technical SEO specialist experienced in creating scalable processes based on agile methodologies. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has strongly analytical approach to online marketing supported by over 12 years of experience. Previously associated with IT, motorsport, tobacco and financial markets. He has been building Delante for 5 years where he is Head of SEO and SEM department.
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