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How To Do Keyword Research for Content That Generates Traffic?

Keyword research is the method of looking for search terms that people feed into the search engines intending to use that data for an exclusive purpose, usually for search engine optimization (SEO) or general marketing. Keyword research can find the targeted questions, the popularity of those questions, their ranking challenges, and miscellaneous queries.

It also helps the owners to prioritize their keyword strategy by understanding how challenging it can be for their site to rank for specific keywords. Keyword research is a critical part of any organic or paid search marketing workflow.

Keyword Research for SEO: The Definitive Guide (2021 Update)

Significance of Keyword Research

Keyword research offers precious insights into the questions that your audience is looking for on Google. The perception that can get into the actual search terms can assist in informing about the content strategy as a greater marketing strategy. Nonetheless, keywords might not be as substantial to SEO as you could think.

Process of Keyword Research for Content That Generates Traffic

The process of keyword research can assist in generating a list of terms that should be targeted. Therefore, it can create a strong keyword strategy to facilitate you to appear in the search terms. 

Step 1: Create a list of major, relevant topics depending on the awareness of your business.

To start, select topics you want to sort in terms of generic buckets. You may come up with 10-15 topic buckets you think are significant to your business, and then you will use those topic buckets to facilitate coming up with keywords later in the process.

If you are a frequent blogger, there are some prospective topics you write about frequently. Or maybe these topics can help in generating the most sales conversations. Think from the perspective of the buyer personas—which things would the target market be interested in and search for and what you would want the businesses to get found for. Suppose you are in a business like HubSpot, i.e., selling marketing software, you would have a generic topic bucket list like

  • Marketing analytics (6.2K)
  • Marketing automation (8.5K)
  • Lead generation (17K)
  • Blogging (19K)
  • Inbound Marketing (21K)
  • Email Marketing (30K)
  • Social Media Marketing (71K)
  • SEO (214K)

The number in the parenthesis in the above list represents the monthly search volume. The data helps you gauge the important topic, and the variety of subtopics you would require creating content on to be successful with the keyword. You will further learn about the subtopics in the ahead sections.

Step 2: Fill the Topic Bucket Lists with Keywords.

If you are unacquainted with the difference between long-tail keywords and head terms, then this will greatly help you. Head terms are keyword phrases that are generally more generic and shorter—usually, one to three words in length, depends on who you talk to.  Long Tail keywords, on the contrary, are longer keyword phrases generally composed of three or more words.

It is essential to have a mix of head terms and longtail terms as it provides a keyword strategy that is balanced with long-term goals and short-term wins. It is because head terms are typically searched more often, thus, making them harder to rank and more competitive than the long-term tails. Imagine the following terms and without even viewing search volume or difficulty, what would be hard to rank

  1. Blogging
  2. How to write a great blog post?

If your answer is blogging, then you are right. However, don’t get disheartened. As head terms usually boast much search volume (meaning higher potential to send you traffic), honestly, the traffic you will get from the term “how to write a great blog post” is typically more popular.

It is because the audience who is searching for something that specific is the more qualified searcher for your service (considering you are in the blogging space) than someone searching for something more generic. Furthermore, long-tail keywords are typically more explicit, it is normally easy to tell what the people are searching for depending on the keywords. Suppose anybody is searching for the head term “blogging”, on the contrary, is likely to be searching for this keyword for numerous reasons, which are unassociated with the business.

Consequently, recheck your lists of keywords to ensure you have a healthy balance of the long-tail keywords and head terms. Ideally, you would want a fast solution that long-tail keywords will cost you, but you should also try to remove the challenging head terms.

Step 3: Research the Competitors’ Ranking for These Keywords.

Just because your competitor is doing something, does not necessarily mean you need to do the same. The same applies to the keywords. You don’t need to use a keyword for your business, just because your competitor thinks a certain keyword was important to their business. Nevertheless, identifying the keywords your competitors are aiming to rank for is an important way to support you in the reevaluation of your list of keywords.

Suppose the competitor has a ranking for specific keywords that are also on your list, it is reasonable to improve your ranking for the keywords. However, don’t overlook the keywords your competitors don’t care about. It could be a significant opportunity for your business to market share on key terms.

Understanding the balance of terms can be a bit challenging because of the competition, versus the more realistic terms, which will facilitate in maintaining a similar balance that the mixture of head terms and long-tail terms permitted. 

Now it is time to figure out the keywords your competitors are ranking for. Apart from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, Ahrefs helps you to run several free reports that show the top keywords for the domain you enter. It is a fast way to get a sense of the type of terms your competitors are ranking.

Step 4: Use Google’s Keyword Planner to cut down your Keyword List.

It is time to narrow your lists with some more quantitative data. You’ll have various tools available, but let’s share the most applied methodology.

You can use a mix of Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends. In the Keyword Planner, search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you are considering. Then, take the information you get from Keyword Planner and use Google Trends to fill in some blanks.

Use the Keyword Planner to flag any terms in your list that have too little search volume, and don’t help you establish a healthy mix. However, before deleting anything, check the trend history and projections in Google Trends. You may see some low volume terms might be something you should invest in now—and reap the benefits for later.

Google Trends can then help you determine the terms trending upwards and thus worth more of the focus.

Best Keywords for SEO

It is critical to know that there are no best keywords, but the ones that are more frequently search by the target audience. It is up to you to make a strategy to help you rank the pages and generate more traffic for your page/blog.

The best keywords for the SEO strategy need to take into consideration authority, relevance, and volume. You would want to find highly searched keywords that can be compatible depending on the following:

  1. The competition level you are against.
  2. Your ability to create content that exceeds in quality what is currently ranking.

Bonus Tips to Generating More Traffic to Your Pages

As far as content optimization is concerned, the following recommendations can help in keyword research to good use. 

  • Write content that targets featured snippets. If there is not an already existing snippet for a specific query, try to update and optimize the older post to target the SERP feature.
  • Design and test persuasive content titles and meta descriptions. The meta description is shown beneath the title of the page. Paired with an appropriate headline, you are more likely to attract people to click.
  • Create Variety of Content Types. This may include presentations, videos, case studies, pdfs, infographics, image galleries, reports, etc.
  • Compose using language that speaks for the target audience. Use the style and tone your audience will prefer as far as the content consumption is concerned. You are most expected to win when you prioritize the buyers’ personas over the search engines.
  • Direct the qualified traffic to the pages through paid search campaigns. If you need little extra promotions to kick things off, paid ads can be your companion.

Key Takeaway

In a nutshell, you can generate a list of keywords using the above-mentioned procedure. It will help you emphasize the right topics for business and give you the long-term and short-term advantages. 

All you need to do is to ensure you have reevaluated the keywords after a few months—quarterly reevaluation is a good standard, however, some businesses do it more frequently. As you get more authority in the SERP, you will find that you can include more keywords in the lists to handle as you work on maintaining the current presence and later growing in the new areas on top of that. 

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