SEO Keywords: Research for Beginners and Pros

SEO keywords can make sure your website and business get discovered by the right people who are interested in your product or service.

You can have the best website in the world, but at the end of the day, it isn’t going to be any good if no one sees it. The key to making sure that your website is discoverable is making sure that you have high SEO rankings and that your website is loaded with the right keywords. The term SEO is one of the most important ones around as it pertains to your website’s discoverability.

Read on for more information on keywords, SEO, and how to make sure that search engines can lead customers your way.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords – also known as search queries or search terms – are things entered by users in order to find a website or content on the internet. A person who is looking for a specific type of content will enter a keyword. If you want your website to be found, it has to contain that keyword. Ranking high for a keyword on a search query can help make sure that the right people are finding your website.

What Is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimization, and this is one of the most important items on the internet today. Simply put, your web page needs to be found. Having a website with high SEO means that other people will find your website in a Google search or when using some other search engine. Search volume must point people towards your website.

As you will soon find out by reading this article, there are many ways that you can increase your site’s SEO. It is a labor-intensive process and one that constantly requires engaging in practices that improve the ability of your target audience to find your website.

As such, you have to be prepared to engage in extensive keyword research, find long-tail keywords, and be sure you are keeping an eye out for new keywords.

What Is SEO Keyword Research?

SEO keyword research involves searching for relevant keywords for your business. When you use the right keyword research tools, you can find what keywords people look for when looking for content like yours. You can then include those keywords in the content of your website. Doing so ensures that people will find your website in the course of making a search query.

The more monthly search volume there is for a certain keyword of the content area, the more likely it is that your website will capture those queries. Furthermore, having relevant keywords on your website can improve your positioning on the search engine results page (SERP), thus making sure that searchers will find your content easily and without scrolling through a page. Keep in mind that there are a variety of types of keywords:

  • Seed keywords are only one or two words. They have very high search volumes, and ranking high for popular seed keywords can be difficult.
  • Long-tail keywords are keywords that are much longer and highly specific. This makes their search volume lower, but it also creates an opportunity for you to try to dominate a search for a specific long-tail keyword. 

Why Is Keyword Research Important for Any Business?

As you can imagine, keyword research is of critical importance to any business that is attempting to increase its SEO and the ability of potential customers to find it on the internet.

This can be a difficult balancing act: On the one hand, you want to make sure that you are using the best keywords for high search volume queries. On the other hand, breaking into these areas can be tough, and that may mean finding related keywords that deal with your search but don’t have the same extensive competition. All of this leads back to the importance of keyword research and understanding the search terms that your customers are using.

  • Trend Insight: When you conduct appropriate keyword research, you can spot trends that may be relevant to your digital marketing strategy or business. This means that you will know what your customers are looking for and develop a better understanding of how to position your website to take advantage of these trends. 
  • Growing Traffic: Keyword research will mean you have better knowledge of who your customers are and what sort of content search terms they are using. This, in turn, should lead to growing traffic levels when your customers type in a specific keyword. 
  • Customer Acquisition: Customers can only become your customers if they can find you. This means that you have to take advantage of all necessary SEO tactics and understand how the search engine algorithms work if you want to ensure that you can be easily discovered. 
  • Brand Awareness: By learning the right keywords that your customers or potential customers may be using, you can develop a better idea of how you need to structure your website content in order to be discovered. This also enables you to better understand where you are putting your limited marketing dollars, particularly if you want to purchase Google Ads or other PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements. These transactional services can enhance your SEO, but it also exists in a different search-related form. 

What Are the Elements of Keyword Research?

Keyword research can be extremely useful for generating good content ideas and making sure that you can organically use keywords without resorting to keyword stuffing. However, to be done right, keyword research should stick to the appropriate principles while still keeping to the specific topic in question. These principles include:

  • Relevance: Keyword relevance refers to how relevant a specific term is to your website and to the content that you have on it. For example, just about every website has certain words, like “and” or “the” on their website. With that said, unless you’re an English or dictionary website that actually specializes in the use of these words, the odds are good that they won’t be relevant for SEO purposes. More broadly if you seel Hawaiian shirts, you probably shouldn’t have a blog that focused on air conditioning repair. Obviously AC repair content has nothing to do – and is not relevant at all – to your core business.
  • Authority: Search algorithms try to give a higher ranking to websites that speak with authority. This, of course, can be tough to determine, but generally speaking, search engines will attempt to rank those with expert credentials higher than people who may be amateurs in a certain field. Authority can be determined by a variety of factors, including backlinks, domain names, and other relevant content. This helps to explain why googling certain items – like health conditions – will result in medical pages appearing first. 
  • Volume: How many times a specific query is searched for on a monthly basis. This helps to show how relevant a keyword and a website is. 

How Do SEO Keywords Help With a Content Calendar?

A content calendar is a literal calendar that your office can use in order to plan out what content you will be pushing on your website. If you conduct appropriate SEO keyword research, you can use this for content marketing purposes, creating content that fits your overall SEO strategy.

Content calendars are excellent planning tools. When used right, they can not only be helpful for purposes of generating the right content but can help you plan what content to use and when to use it. This means that you and your staff don’t need to panic about getting content ready for whatever is happening at the moment. Instead, your content calendar helps you determine what you are going to say and when.

There are many examples of this idea. If you are involved in ecommerce and have products that are relevant to current events, you can slant your social media content so that it is relevant to the current events of the moment.

How to Start Your Research:

  • Make a list of relevant topics: Working with your staff and other relevant marketing agencies, brainstorm the relevant topics and keywords that you believe people are using to find your website. This can be an excellent starting point in your keyword research. 
  • Go Deeper: Think of keywords or phrases that relate to those topics. This may involve using the internet and searching related terms. It will unquestionably involve using the tools below that can help you better determine how people are using your website. This involves coming up with the right keywords and head terms (search terms that are short, relevant, and popular). 
  • Think About Intent: Why Would Someone Be Searching for These Keywords? Once you have figured out intent, you may be better positioned to research and discover other keywords that you can use to bring people to your website.
  • Research Related Search Terms: Researching related search terms can be a good way of ensuring that keyword difficulty doesn’t stop someone from finding your website. Again, using Google, check out what search terms are related to the content that you are using to ensure that people find your website. 
  • Use Keyword Research Tools: There is no shortage of keyword research tools out there that you can use, and many of these tools are either free or extremely low-cost. Examples include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Semrush, Ahrefs, and more. All of these tools can help you find keywords that fit your search needs and help make sure that you are using the right metrics to judge the success of your SEO strategy. 

Finding Keywords and Implementing a Strategy

  • Use Google Keyword Planner to make a list: Google’s Keyword Planner can help you determine relevant content by showing you how often keywords are searched for and websites that do well in these searches. This, in turn, can help you better create content that matches the search queries of potential users.
  • Start with easier keywords first: Easier keywords and relevant long-tail keywords create more opportunities for you to get a high ranking. As you master easier keywords, your SEO authority will improve, putting you in a better position to rank high in more difficult and popular searches. 
  • Keep an Eye on Monthly Search Volume: Google and other websites have a variety of free tools that make it easy for you to track what keywords are being looked for. However, this content can change over time, depending on consumer trends and world events. You need to keep an eye on this content and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. 

What Is SERP?

SERP is short for search engine results page. It specifically refers to how high on a search engine results page your website appears. It goes without saying that you want to appear as high as possible, if not actually holding the top spot for relevant keywords. This is highly important on any search engine results, including for pages like Google and Amazon.

Holding a higher SERP position – including at the top of the first page – means doing all of the above. You must conduct keyword research and make sure that your website contains the list of keywords that is relevant to whatever keywords you are attempting to rank in. It involves having a deep understanding of your customers and what piece of content they want to find.

​Other Factors

Keep in mind that the strategy behind increasing your SEO is about much more than just using the right content and keywords. You also have to make sure that all facets of your website are using appropriate tags, keywords, and more. For example, every website should have a meta description. This is a small description of the content on a page, but one that is no more than 160 characters. You should make sure that this description accurately summarizes the content on a website and is loaded with the right keywords. Furthermore, your website should take advantage of title tags, including Page & SEO titles, that can help to steer users towards your website. Other strategies include:

  • Images: Images can be very helpful for SEO purposes, as they can provide nice additional content that can increase engagement and keep users on your page longer. Furthermore, images must have the right alt text, meaning text that appears if an image fails to load on your website. This alt text can be captured by search engines, and thus help to bring people to your website. 
  • Paragraph Snippets: Paragraph snippets are search results that appear in the form of question boxes in a Google search. They will appear in response to questions that are asked in SEO, with Google’s algorithms grabbing what appears to be the most relevant content. This means that you have to structure your content in such a way that it will appear to answer these paragraph snippets, as doing so can pull in people to your website. This can exist on the main page of your website, or in a blog. 
  • List Snippets: List snippets may also appear at the top of a search result. This is determined by the keywords on the website and the specifics of a search inquiry. Having your page appear in a list snippet means having the right content in terms of keywords and lists on your website.
  • Videos: Videos can be highly useful to pulling in new visitors, provided that the content is relevant. This means that the videos need to be appropriately titled and that they have the right meta tags. 

Keep An Eye on Your Competitors

As you conduct research into various types of content, you have to keep an eye on your competitors and make sure that they are not outranking you on related searches or for relevant content.

As such, you have to keep an eye on what they are ranking for. This means that you need to identify your competition and conduct the same research on them that you are conducting on your own websites.

How are they ranking in organic searches? Are they using Google ads? What sort of new content are they creating as part of a content marketing strategy, and is there any type of content you can emulate on your website as part of your keyword strategy?

How Does a Link-Building Strategy Help SEO Keywords?

A huge part of any content strategy is about much more than content. It also means working with relevant websites to ensure that they are linking to you and that you are linking to them. Within the SEO world, link-building is viewed as a proxy for determining the credibility of a website.

As such, you want to create websites that have extensive backlinks, which means that others link to your website. To some extent, this can happen naturally if you have a relevant, credible content strategy that matches the needs of your customers.

If your content is good, others will link to it, and you will be better positioned to steer users towards you. However, link-building also requires active effort. Particularly when your website is just getting started, you may need to actually reach out to content creators and ask them to link to your website, offering to do the same for them.

This type of strategy can be a win-win, as it allows both of you to boost the visibility of your website. As you can see, SEO keywords are critical to the success of your website – and thus your business. You must understand the search intent of your customers, learn how to dig deeper for trends, and understand the basics of keyword search. Fortunately, with expert advice, you can understand SEO and how to make your website more easily discoverable.