“One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind” – Sylvia Plath
This quote should be every content marketer’s motto and it surely fits well in the context of this article. Research (which is often considered the lackluster part of marketing) is the key for businesses to make informed and intelligent content for their target audience. with the advent of SEO, we can now peep into the minds of consumers and see what they are searching for in your niche. And it is exciting times for businesses, to say the least, to stay informed and develop content that will definitely NOT go unnoticed.
I believe this subject is agreeable to most, but a recent discussion on an online forum made me realize that Keyword research is not always an easy actionable in the to-do list. The breaking point could lie anywhere between How to begin? to what to select? from the inundating excel sheets.
While there is no cookie cutter approach to keyword research but here is simple step-by-step guide for beginners to help ramp-up your content.
Case in Point – Zeina who is a budding interior designer has a slightly neglected blog. She wants to know what the potential customers are searching online regarding interior designing services and use the keywords and phrases in her website content for better search engine ranking.
This is how she would do it…
1. Choose possible keywords to start with
While Zeina doesn’t know what exact terms people are searching online, she can take a a guess what the searches might be like. So she decided to start with the following:
- Interior decoration service
- Home interior tips
- Latest interior decoration trends
- Office interior designing
Putting the starting keywords in a spreadsheet will help maintain the clarity and organization of the proceeding steps. With the initial step done, Zeina is good to go to the next step.
2. Determine the score of your keywords
She can use Google Keyword Tool to search about her selected keywords first. She will now evaluate her keyword choices basis the following parameters:
- Average monthly searches – shows the average number of searches for this keyword and its close variants based on the targeting settings and date ranges that you’ve selected. You can use this information to see how popular your keywords are during different times of the year
- Competition – shows how competitive ad placement is for a keyword, specific to the location and Search Network targeting options that you’ve selected. The level of competition – low, medium or high – is determined by the number of advertisers bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google
As you can see,three of her keywords fall in different categories of avg. monthly sales and competition. For global market topics it is essential that the average monthly search should be at least 100,000 which means that particular topic is in high demand.Therefore she can cross off the first two keywords as they are low-volume ones. The third underlined topic is a widely searched one but is also is high competition type which means there is already a lot of content available for this and it will be a challenge to highlight hers.
So, she should be looking for High average monthly search & low/medium competition keywords in the next step.
3. Discover other related keywords
The best part of using Google keyword planner is that it will suggest a whole of related keywords similar to your search. a thorough research of related keywords and their score is critical and is the step 3 of the process.
After multiple words pairing, mix and matching Zeina could research 5 keywords that had high average monthly searches as well as low competition. She entered the following streamlined keywords in the spreadsheet along with the competition and search scores;
- house decoration
- room design
- interior design
- house designs
4. Check the trending data on your keywords
Now that Zeina has shortlisted the most preferred keywords for her blog basis keyword research she can now check what the projected outlook of the shortlisted terms.
Google Trends is a free tool to research the projection. she started with “room design” and “interior design” to start comparison in Google Trends:
clearly, interior design is a more trending search term in comparison to room design and therefore will get a better weightage. Similar comparisons of two or more keywords will provide a relative comparison of keyword importance for Zeina’s blog.
5. Keyword research in social media environment
Zeina knows that researching social media networks for the keywords is an equally important exercise to know how, when and in what context are people using these keywords in their social media conversations.
she uses twitter to search first. In her search for the keyword “house design, she realized that this term was used mostly in architectural context and involved architecture expertise rather than interior designing!
She then runs the same test in Google+ and Facebook to see more such trends on the keywords while she is noting her findings in the spreadsheet.
After these 5 simple steps, Zeina is left with a detailed research of keywords that will allow her to filter out the best ones to start with. Including a similar research on competitors can give her an added advantage to make her keyword selection competitive.
Again, keyword research is NOT a one time thing that guarantees life long success for your content. A continuous addition of relevant keywords and keyword performance review is required to sustain the performance of Zeina’s blog.
Like Zeina, I hope you can also get cracking on some engaging content for your business using keyword research!