Keyword research guide
Understanding how to undertake smart keyword research is one of the most important skills a digital marketer can learn. Whilst it’s sometimes true that it can be a laborious process, with the right approach and effective techniques, it doesn’t need to be that way.
A Basic Approach for Keyword Research
The internet isn’t short of keyword research guides, but they all tend to share the same, or very similar information: create a list, expand it and then refine it. Those three steps contain sound advice that we will come back to later, but there is an enhanced approach that comes from understanding that some keywords will be more effective than others.
Different Types of Keywords
Keywords can be broken down into six different categories:
– Brand – converting those already familiar with your brand.
– Product – what your product/service does and how it will enhance the lives of your customers.
– Competitor – be aware that these terms may not be worth the investment.
– Substitute product – businesses specialising in pencils could also optimise for pens, for example.
– Complementary product – accessories or additional features that can enhance your product/service.
– Audience – terms searched by your target audience.
Each category is important, but initially investing the majority of your time and available funds into keywords under the brand umbrella is typically the best option.
The Creation of Your Initial List
Keeping those six categories in mind, it’s time to think about, research and identify appropriate keywords. To do this, you should begin by thoroughly researching your audience and understanding the terms they are using to describe the services or products you provide. Concentrate on the queries you receive from your customers, online forums and comments on social media.
You should also use your analytics data to identify specific terms currently being searched for by your audience to access your website, as well as looking at what your direct competition is doing to see if they have identified something you haven’t.
Expanding Your List
Now is the time to access the keyword research tool you are most comfortable and familiar with. Here you will be able to group keywords by topic and filter by location and language. If you’re grouping keywords, remember that accuracy is key. If you sell ketchup and mustard, for example, ketchup should have its own entry with terms such as ‘Dijon mustard’ and ‘mustard’ grouped together.
Refining and Enhancing Your List
You should now have an extensive list that requires editing to identify the best and most useful keywords. Although there aren’t any immoveable rules for this process, your final list should contain only the most interesting keywords.
Closely considering those six different categories will help you to focus on exactly what you want to achieve with each keyword. Say, for example, you specialise in selling financial products. If you’re focusing on product keywords, the term ‘financial management’ could be useful, whereas ‘jobs in financial management’ is a term more suited to the audience category, so it can therefore be eliminated.
We recommend starting small with a core list of keywords that result in successful conversions. This will be better than throwing money at a long list that doesn’t achieve results.