What is keyword research?

Keyword research

Keyword research is the process by which you research popular search terms people type into search engines like Google and include them strategically in your content so that it appears higher on a search engine results page (SERP). Keyword research is a fundamental practice in search engine optimization (SEO).

The process for doing keyword research for SEO involves choosing a topic for your content that is focused on a set of targeted keywords that you want your content to rank for.

The history of keyword research:

SEOs have performed keyword research for algorithms since 2005. But keyword research as a practice has evolved a lot since then. Now search engines prioritize well-written content aligned with search intent when ranking content. Keyword density—how often you place a keyword in your content—is no longer the most important factor for search engine optimization. Keyword research tactics have adapted and continue to adapt to ever-changing search engine algorithms.

Generally, keyword research takes place in the early stages of campaigns and can provide a foundation for future projects, campaigns, or content. You can use keyword research to help you ideate around a new piece of content you’re writing, decide how to name your product features, or optimize your website or webpages after they are published.

Of course, keyword research strategies differ from small business to enterprise, but we’re going to look at all types of best practices that help improve your ability to find the right keywords for your audience at the right time.

The importance of keyword research in SEO

Keyword research provides valuable insight into the questions, problems, and solutions your target audience is searching for. This analysis should be the basis of your SEO efforts, helping inform your content and organic strategies. Targeting the right keywords with effective research is the first step to successful SEO.

Driving organic traffic that is representative of your ideal customer is achieved by optimizing your website and creating content for the right keywords. Some of those people will be ready to convert because keyword research improved your website rankings for their searches, and your site best suited their needs, which encouraged them to click through.

SEO is one of the most important branches of marketing since it helps connect the right audience to your site. As we said before, organic is arguably the only channel that produces reliable long-term traffic. Find out the current organic traffic benchmarks broken down by industry and see how your site compares by downloading the Organic Website Traffic Industry Benchmarks report. This is a great way to evaluate your organic strategy and get a baseline of the total organic traffic your website and content should be driving

Get better search visibility by acting on keyword research

Go inside the mind of your potential customer. Do you know what and why they’re searching? Only then can you match your content to their needs and questions. Strong keyword research gives you direction on how to optimize your website so it ranks higher and becomes more visible to searchers. The higher you climb the SERPs, the greater awareness your brand has.

SEO keyword research process

Once you have your defined personas, you need to create a plan for the keywords you already rank for and the keywords you want to rank for.

A helpful and easy structure to follow is the PIE method. It’s something we recommend to our customers at the beginning of the onboarding process.

The Protect portion is concerned with keywords that you already rank for and want to keep locked in their position. Quick examples of these would include brand names and keywords closely related to your product or service. They are generally late-stage so conversions with these keywords are highly valued.

The Improve portion deals with opportunity keywords where you rank in the second to tenth Google search result pages. These are great “low hanging fruit” keywords that you can increase in authority with tweaks to the pages.

Expand is for the opportunity terms that do great in PPC but have no visibility in organic. These are keywords that do not rank in the top ten pages on Google. They also include new campaign keywords that you want to add to your arsenal.

By bucketing them in this way, you can prioritize your time based on gaps that you find from this analysis. From there, you can begin your keyword ideation.

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