Keyword Research: What Is It & How Do You Do It?

If you have a website, blog, or any other searchable digital resource, then SEO is one of your top priorities, whether you’re making it one or not. You may have heard this term in one of our previous blogs or from a digital marketing guru but it may not be something you’ve been dying to dip your toes into. However, if you’ve made it this far, then you’re at least thinking about it! 

What is SEO exactly?

In one of our latest blogs, What is SEO & 5 Reasons Your Business Needs it, we did a deeper dive into what exactly this acronym means and how it will benefit your business to pay attention to it in 2023. To quote ourselves quoting Semrush, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is “a set of processes aimed at improving your website’s visibility in search engines (such as Google). All with the goal of getting more organic traffic.” By paying attention to your SEO, you make yourself, your organization, and your content more searchable and findable by internet users, specifically your target audience. 

If you want to first start by discovering sure-fire ways to improve your SEO, then you can check out this article.

What is keyword research?

If you chose to give that article a gander, then you would have found that one of the most important steps in effectively improving your SEO is to perform keyword research. If you did not, you may be wondering, “What are keywords?” or, “What is keyword research?” According to Semrush, keywords “(also known as “SEO keywords,” “keyphrases,” or “search queries”) are words and phrases that users type into search engines to find information on a particular topic.” You can (and should) use both short-tail and long-tail keywords, and you can learn more about them here.

Keyword Research, then, is “a process of finding words, queries, and phrases that users are searching for, which means a keyword that has search volume.” Without it, it’s difficult to know which words are truly keywords and which ones will actually deliver results. How to effectively perform keyword research could sound like, and be, an overwhelming task, but we’re going to break it down into steps that will (hopefully) make it a little easier and less daunting for you. 

1. Know what you’re looking for

Your first step is to know what the specific “elements of keyword research” are so you know what it is that you’re looking for. According to Hubspot, there are three things you’re going to be paying attention to:

  • Relevance: The way that Google ranks search results is by determining how relevant it is to internet searchers based on the keywords they’re using in their queries
  • Authority: Websites will prioritize content and landing pages that come from more authoritative websites. You can build your authority by, “enriching your site with helpful, information content and promoting that content to earn social signals and backlinks.” Find more information here.
  • Volume: MSV (monthly search volume), is how volume is measured and determines how often specific keywords are searched in a given month “across all audiences” and will help ensure you use keywords people are actuallyusing in their queries. 

2. Determine your topic buckets

There are an endless number of keywords, which means a lot of keyword research any time you want to post a new blog or make a couple of updates to your website. A good way to reel that in is by creating a list of “5-10 topic buckets” that best fit into what your business is about. Knowing each of their MSVs will ensure they are truly going to help your organization and content appear often on SERPs

Once you’ve determined your main topic buckets, you can brainstorm keywords and phrases that you believe users and target audience members are searching for. Each search term, keyword, keyphrase, etc. that you come up with will help you fill up each bucket. Hubspot notes that the main goal of this step is to, “end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket.”

Using marketing tools like this one will help you figure out what keywords you are already ranking highly for, which can help guide you in finding your brain dump of keywords and phrases. You can also type in some of the keywords you’ve already come up with into a search engine to see what other keywords and phrases are related to your originals. 

3. Understanding user intent

It’s obviously great to have a list of keywords and phrases that will help you write website copy, blog posts, and articles moving forward, but they’re going to be entirely useless if you don’t understand user intent. User intent helps you determine why users are using any given search term. For example, you may have the keyword “website,” but are people wanting to look up companies that make websites, or are they trying to learn how to make their own? 

One easy way to determine how the search term is being used is to type the word alone into Google to see what the search engine results page gives you. Knowing how users are using keywords in their search queries will help guide you in howyou use your keywords throughout your content. 

4. Use the keyword research tools

Performing keyword research isn’t always easy and doesn’t always bare the fruit you were hoping for. Keyword research tools are here to help you find exactly what you need to successfully optimize your content for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines your target audience may be using for their research. 

You can also contact us to learn more about how we can help you with your keyword research and other marketing efforts.