Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?
When it comes to marketing a website or business online, one of the most important factors is ranking in search engines. And while there are many different ranking factors, keyword research is still one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Here’s why:
1. It helps you understand what people are actually searching for
If you want to rank for a certain keyword, it’s important to first understand what people are actually searching for. Keyword research can help you uncover long-tail and related keywords that you may not have thought of.
For example, your business sells residential air conditioning in Hamilton. But is that what people are searching for in Google?
A quick look in Google’s keyword planners shows the following:
In New Zealand, when it comes to our homes, we tend to search for heat pumps rather than air conditioning. In Australia they search for aircon, split systems or reverse-cycle air conditioning.
When kiwis search for air conditioning, they are generally referring to an office or commercial situation.
It’s all the same thing, and Google knows it’s the same thing – but Google is heavily invested in showing the best results for what it believes.
So, designing your website around a specific keyword has huge implications.
Keeping with the example above, the keyword research shows that more people search for heat pumps Hamilton than residential air conditioning in Hamilton.
Searching for “heat pumps” could give Google the impression you are looking for information on what heat pumps are, or how they work. Because you appear to be looking for information, Google will give you technical info sites. Adding “Hamilton” indicates you are looking for a heat pump installer near you. There is a lot more intent to purchase in that search phrase. So, choose keywords that match your business goals with searcher intent.
2. It helps you create better content
Creating content is only half the battle when it comes to getting ranked in search engines and driving traffic to your website. The other half is selecting the right keywords—the words and phrases potential customers use when they perform a search.
The goal of keyword research is to help you understand what your customers are searching for so you can create content that is relevant to their needs.
Keyword research helps you understand your customers
In order to create content that resonates with your target audience, you need to first understand what they’re looking for. Keyword research can help you uncover the phrases and terms your potential customers are using when they search for information online.
For example, keyword planner shows that people searching for apps for tradesman regularly use the following search terms:
Invoicing software for tradies
Job costing software for tradies
They are also interested in the following features:
Job costing & quoting
Managing stock and materials
Keyword research helps you to know what content your customers are looking for, so that you can create articles that resonate and compel them to purchase.
Keyword research can help you generate new content ideas
Once you know what your customers are searching for, you can use that information to generate new content ideas. For example, let’s say you sell women’s running shoes. After conducting keyword research, you discover that many of your potential customers are searching for “running shoes for women with wide feet.”
Create content around long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are search queries with three or more words that are specific to what you are selling. For example, “red shoes size 12” is a long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are great for ecommerce because they help you target a specific product that your customer is looking for. Typically, there is usually less competition for long-tail keywords, so you can get ranked higher, quicker this way.
You could then create a blog post or product page specifically targeting that keyword phrase. Not only would this be relevant to your target audience, but it would also give you a better chance of ranking in search engines for that particular keyword.
Keyword research helps you improve your content’s reach
The more targeted and relevant your content is, the more likely it is to be shared and linked to. This will help you reach a wider audience and attract more traffic to your website.
Keyword research can help increase your conversion rate
If you create content that is closely related to the keywords your customers are searching for, you’re more likely to grab their attention and persuade them to take action.
3. It helps you stay ahead of the competition
You need to have a competitive edge if you want to stay ahead of the competition. There are many ways to get this edge, but it all starts with an understanding of what your competition is up to.
This doesn’t mean you need to copy what they are doing. Currently it is trendy for electricians in Christchurch to promote the merits of solar power, in a bid to reduce smog and dependence on fossil fuels for heating. Heat pumps are also popular in Christchurch for the same reason.
By knowing that these things are happening, you can review what approach you want to take in order to stay ahead of them.
Here are three ways to stay ahead of the competition:
Know your competition
You can’t out-compete someone if you don’t know who they are or what they’re doing. Keep tabs on your competition by following them on social media, subscribing to their email lists, and reading their blog posts.
When it comes to creating content, spend some time look at the pages and blogs of the top 3-5 competitors for your keywords. Not only will this give you ideas of what you should be writing about, but it can also give you vital clues as to how you can make content that is twice as good. Google loves this, as they are always trying to find the websites that answer the most relevant questions in the most helpful and trustworthy way.
Offer something unique
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to offer something that they don’t. This could be a unique product, service, or even just a different approach to business.
The world of business is constantly changing, and you need to be able to change with it. Be responsive to the needs of your customers and the market, and you’ll be able to stay ahead of the competition.
4. It helps you understand the SERPs
The SERPs (search engine results pages) are what show up when someone searches for a specific term on a search engine, and they are constantly changing. By understanding what keywords are ranking and why, you can adapt your SEO strategies to stay ahead of the curve.
One of the best ways to understand the SERPs is to use a keyword research tool. There are a number of different keyword research tools available, both free and paid. The most obvious one is Google Keyword Planner.
These tools will allow you to enter in a keyword and see how that keyword is being used on the SERPs. You can see how many people are searching for that keyword, what the competition is like, and what the average cost-per-click (CPC) for paid ads is.
The CPC is something that you should pay attention to when you are doing keyword research. The CPC is the amount that advertisers are willing to pay for each click on their ad. If the CPC is high, that means that there is a lot of competition for that keyword and it will be difficult to rank for. However, if the CPC is low, it means that there is less competition and you may have a better chance of ranking for that keyword.
When you are doing keyword research, you want to try and find keywords that have high search volume, but low to medium difficulty/competition. These keywords will be easier to rank for and will help you get more traffic to your website.
You can see from Keyword planner that truck parts Auckland has the highest search volume and only medium competition. This is great for a company that sells a wide range of truck parts. If you were selling Mitsubishi truck parts in Auckland you have much higher competition over much lower search volume.
How to do keyword research
There are a number of different methods you can use to do keyword research. Here are a few of the most popular:
Use keyword research tools
There are a number of different keyword research tools available online, including Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools allow you to enter a keyword or phrase and see how often it’s being searched for, as well as related keywords and phrases.
Look at your website’s search data
If you have a website, you can also use your own search data to do keyword research. Simply take a look at the terms people are searching for on your website and then create content that is relevant to those terms.
Use Google Suggest
When you start to type a search query into Google, you’ll notice that Google suggests similar searches (People Also Ask). These suggested searches can be valuable when you’re trying to come up with new content ideas.
Use social media
Social media is also a great place to look for content ideas. Simply take a look at the popular hashtags in your industry and then create content that is relevant to those hashtags.
Ask your customers
One of the best ways to understand what your customers are looking for is to simply ask them. You can do this by conducting customer surveys or by talking to them directly.
It’s an ongoing process
Keyword research is not a one-time thing. As your business grows and changes, so too will your keyword needs. That’s why it’s important to keep keyword research as an ongoing part of your SEO strategy.
While there are many different ranking factors, keyword research is still one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. By understanding what people are searching for, you can create better content, stay ahead of the competition, and adapt to the ever-changing SERPs.