Keyword Research. What I believe to be the first step any SEO consultant should undertake for a client.
Keyword research allows you to understand how users are utilising search engines. When you conduct thorough keyword research you’ll be able to understand the intent behind a search query and create amazing content that fulfils that users search intent requirement.
I suppose there’s 3 main things keyword research helps you identify. The first is what people are searching for, the second is how many people are searching for it, and lastly, what way people want to consume the content they’re looking for.
How Important is Keyword Research?
Not investing enough time on keyword research can end up costing you a lot of time, money and effort.
If you invest time, resources and energy into creating a piece of content that no one is looking for you’re not going to gain a whole lot of attention, traffic or revenue.
This is why keyword research is so important.
A search engines main focus and business objective is to provide a user with information that satisfies the user’s query.
Your goal while conducting keyword research is to figure out what the user wants and provide something 10 times better.
What are the Basics of Keyword Research? [Beginners Section]
We might as well start with some basics. For anyone reading this section I’m not sure what level of online marketing expertise you have at the moment, you could be a beginner, an intermediate or an expert. If you’re an expert you’ll have completely skipped over this section.
As I’ve said, you need to understand the users intent and try and fulfil the best content possible. So I’m going to go very broad in this section.
Let’s start with some terminology and a brief explanation:
What is a keyword?
A keyword is a particular keyword a user feels will bring up the best information from a search engine pertaining to their search.
An example of a keyword I might use in search engines if I was looking for my favourite sports team would be ‘Munster Rugby’.
In the past Google would have shown me Munster Rugby’s website straight away.
The SERP’s (Search Engines Results Page) show me a variety of information surrounding Munster Rugby.
Firstly we have the News Carousel from top authority news websites, followed by instant news from Twitter and then the Munster Rugby website. The website itself is barely above the fold. On mobile it’s at least three scrolls.
You’ll also see the Knowledge Graph on the right hand column of a desktop screen outlining basic information from wikipedia, stats, social profiles and People also search for.
The reason these results show up is because Google is trying to guess my intent around my keyword. If I type in ‘Munster Rugby Website’ I get exactly what I’m searching for. Google knows I’m looking for the official website.
Google tries to match keywords with intent to ensure the user gets exactly what they want. It’s your job as a marketer to ensure your content solves the answer to the users query.
Keyword Research and Intent
Ok, so a keyword is easy enough to understand, but to do successful keyword research you need to figure out the intent behind a users search query.
The SEO & Digital Marketing Industry breaks down intent into three main categories.
This is when the user is trying to find a particular website or a particular page within that website.
Example: ‘munster rugby team page’
The user is trying to find information about a topic, service or product and wants doesn’t care what site is displayed.
Example: ‘what time is the Munster game kicking off at?’
The user has the intent to buy, rent or use a particular product or service.
Example: ‘buy the new munster rugby jersey online’
Where Should I Start My Keyword Research?
You need a document to keep a track of your keywords. You can decide on the structure yourself if you want but I love to use Google Spreadsheets.
You can start off with your basic spreadsheet columns and get more advanced as you develop your skills and get to know the different tools available in your research arsenal.
When you start using different tools you’ll find metrics you like yourself but this is a general guideline.