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A Beginner’s Guide to SEO Keyword Research: 4 Essential Steps

25 Oct

Just like the big decisions, your SEO strategy should be backed up by a coherent plan and a well-thought-out strategy.

You can’t run a business by the seat of your pants. To do so is essentially inviting disaster to your business!

And that starts by doing keyword research and devising a thorough keyword and SEO strategy.

What is keyword research, and why is it important for my SEO strategy?

Keyword research is when you research and find out exactly what search terms your customers are typing into search engines like Google.

This knowledge helps inform not only your SEO strategy, but your short- and long-term content marketing strategy, as well.

Knowing what to target matters because successful SEO campaigns don’t aim for hyper-competitive search terms right off the bat.

Instead, successful SEO strategies focus on:

  1. Identifying a niche that your business falls under
  2. Highlighting keywords your site is already ranking for
  3. Investigating how much competition and traffic is associated with each keyword

From there, we can determine which services to push and which search terms to prioritise. It’s a long-term strategy that helps turn your business’s website into a sustainable lead generator.

Most businesses won’t have the weight to compete head-to-head with big players right off the bat.

Pouring money into competing with a business the size of Kmart is a waste of money for most businesses.

Hence, targeting more specific keywords. Not only are they more likely to yield results, but more often than not, they’re also more relevant to your business!

What do we look for during SEO keyword research?

So that’s why keyword research is important. Now for the next question: where to begin?

Step 1: figure out what your business is about

To begin, think about what your business does, and which keywords you want to rank for.

You’ll want to break your business down into its main areas – you’ll use these later to further divide that into specific search terms you want to be found for.

For now though, the name of the game is setting a direction for the rest of your SEO strategy.

Look at things from multiple perspectives, and not just your own. Think about your customers:

  • What do they want?
  • Where are they?
  • What solutions do they seek?
  • What credibility factors do they look out for?

We dive into all these questions (and more) during our strategy workshop with clients.

Step 2: come up with relevant keywords

Once you know what you want your business to be found for, it’s time to start looking into specific keywords.

A quick and easy way to get an idea is to come up with what you think your customers are searching for. Start with “seed” keywords.

These are more general searches that describe your services and products at a higher, broader level.

Type them into Google – at the bottom of the page, you’ll see a number of suggested results, which you can use to fill out your list of more specific search terms.

For example, a “seed” search for a plumber might be “plumber Melbourne”. From there, we might narrow in on terms like “gas plumber Melbourne” or “burst pipes Brighton”

You can repeat this experiment as many times as you need until you have a comprehensive list of searches.

Magnifying glass button

Step 3: look at your current search terms

Alternatively, if you already have an existing site, you can just use the searches you’re currently popping up for as a jump-off point.

If you have a Google Business Listing, you’re eligible for a free account with Google Search Console. This free tool tells you just about everything you need to know SEO-wise:

  • What searches your site is currently ranking for
  • What position your pages hold by search
  • How many searches are being made
  • Click-through rates and traffic by page

This information helps you pick searches that your website is more likely to rank for.

It’ll help identify keywords that are relevant to you, and which you can compete in.

Additionally, it also helps figure out which terms you should prioritise.

Step 4: carve out a niche for yourself

Now we have our list of relevant keywords. Now, we cull it.

While ideally you’d want to rank highly for everything on the list, it’s simply not feasible.

  1. That would take considerable amounts of time and effort
  2. Some keywords are too tough to crack
  3. Others keywords might only be loosely linked to your business

Simply put, you need to get selective.

Start by figuring out your niche. What makes you different from your competitors? Is it your location? Do you offer something unique that they don’t? What problems do your customers face on a daily basis?

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, too. For example, in addition to optimising for specific conditions, injuries, and locations, a physiotherapist might decide to chase searches like these for blog posts or specific content pages:

  1. “How long does a sprain take to heal?”
  2. “Neck pain from poor posture”
  3. “Sore shoulder after playing tennis”

Like we mentioned above, Google Search Console is a great way of whittling down your list.

Looking at the data, you can sort the searches you’re turning up for based on search volume, your current position and number of results.

This can give you an idea of which keywords on your list are worth pushing.

Need SEO in Melbourne?

Get in touch with iformat SEO Agency today!

Our SEO strategies are built from the ground-up to achieve the goals you want.

And that starts with in-depth keyword research.

iformat’s SEO strategies begin with a deep dive into your online marketplace. Looking at your business, your competitors and your budget, our keyword research picks out search terms that get you the results you want.

Find out more about our unique SEO techniques and strategies to find out how we can help your business: give us a call on 1300 88 64 50 or fill in this form and we’ll be in touch.