What are keyword research best practices?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - keyword research

Keywords are the most active ranking factors for SEO. Search engines are always looking for strong keywords to crawl and index on a website. They are the “key” words that a search engine algorithm uses to analyse and match against others. In other words, keywords and phrases act as connectors for search engines because they connect users with the quality page results they are looking for.

Technical Distinctions in Keyword Research

SEO in addition to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) have grown more intricate over the years. The ability to focus your keyword strategy on any position of the overall market has given SEO specialists a strong lever in order to boost profits for their clients.

Keyword metrics need to be analysed, especially when you can tell the difference between the number of searches which are carried out on the exact phrase or term as opposed to a broad match or phrase match search. This could have serious implications on your overall search strategy. It is a waste of time, effort and money to optimise a page with a particular search term that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic.

With geo-targeting becoming a popular trend, we are increasingly seeing local businesses rank high on search results for their target audience, who are locally based. Seemingly minor factors such as a regional domain name or hosting your site on a server that is physically located in the same country could impact the search engine ranking you as secure for geographically targeted searches.

Keywords are also influenced by typographic errors, regional spelling variations, local dialects and jargon, when users type their search queries. You site must be optimised for all of these variations in order to rank high on those searches.

As a rule of thumb, follow this process when conducting keyword research:

Create a seed list of starting terms

  • Expand your list using keyword research tools
  • Refine your list with competitive research

Targeting the Right Keywords as Keyword Research Best Practices

Some keywords will work better for your site than others. Use the following categories to help you brainstorm effective keyword variations:

  • Brand terms: People who are familiar with your brand are the easiest to convert. In terms of volume, this category of keywords might not produce the most impressions or page views, but they will normally have the best conversion rate (in both paid and natural search).
  • Product terms: This is what your product is or does and what problems it solves.
  • Competitor terms: There was a time when competitor terms were second only to brand terms for conversion rate and CPA efficiency.
  • Substitute product terms: This is a product customers may use in place of yours.
  • Complementary product terms: These are items that can accompany each other. For example, a mouse if your company sells computers.
  • Audience terms: This category covers any other terms that your target audience might be searching for.

Keyword research is a moving target. This means that it is vital to re-evaluate your keywords every couple of months. Keep an eye on your progress in Google search console. As you begin to gain authoring in SERPs don’t stop with updating your keyword list to include new keywords as well as phrases to the list. In terms of keyword research, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy which works for everyone. This means that you need to keep exploring until you find something that works for your business.

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