Want your website to have top rankings in the major search engine? Want to generate more leads for your business through organic search? But you are not sure what keywords to target or what keywords are your targeted audience using to reach you?
If you are managing an online marketing campaign – keywords research is a very important module that you want to focus more energies on to. Without optimizing right keywords you would not get the right audience for your website that would convert. Some of you might think that you have a lot of visitors coming to your website, but have checked if they convert or if they are spending enough time on you website. If your answer is negative, then you definitely need to do a thorough keyword research for your website.
Why is keyword research so important and why do we need to focus our time and efforts towards it?
Optimizing right keywords helps you get higher rankings on search engines and talking about the organic search results and number of clicks, 53 percent go to the top result. The second sees 15 percent of the action, the third 9 percent, the fourth 6 percent, dwindling all the way down to 4 percent to round out the top 5.
Image courtesy – @SearchEngineWatch
As you can see here in the image there is a huge difference between the position of your website on the SERP and the traffic you get. But does getting more traffic to your business mean more revenue? Its a YES and No answer based on what your goals are. Yes – when your website is a blog or publication and your revenue is based on the number of visitors, more the visitors more will be your revenue and No – when your website is about selling your products and service, more traffic doesn’t mean more revenue, revenue will increase only when that traffic is really interested in buying your products/services. When the right keywords are targeted it monetizes correctly.
This image give you a basic idea on what your website traffic results can be based on the keywords you chose to optimize:
- First case – is when you don’t optimize your website for the targeted keywords you get nothing to 5% search engine traffic (that 5% might end up to your website if you are lucky to have a well-designed SEO friendly website). Of course we are not talking about the direct traffic or the referral traffic that you might get.
- Second Case – is when you haven’t chosen the right keywords (keywords that your customers are really searching for) but have worked on some general keywords for your business which represent your major services and products. This means that your website may be attracting some search engine traffic – the visitor who come to your website, don’t even browse more than 2 pages nor spend any more than 1-2 minutes and bounce off. This is not the audience who would convert. They are just researching about the products and services and have landed on your websites. They are just the visitors and not your potential buyers.
- Third Case – is when you pay good attention to your keywords and do a thorough keywords research on a regular basis. Being particular about your keyword research and find the target audience not only gets search engine traffic to your website but also increases your conversion rate. Because it is bring you the audience who are ready to buy. And that is what you want, revenue (buyers) and not just visitors.
Now that you understand the importance of choosing the right keywords for your website let focus on how to find them and have the buyers come looking for you. Here’s how we will proceed to do our keyword research.
1. Keyword Brainstorming
Go through your website and just simply think of what your core business is and what you have to offer your visitors. Think of words that describe your business and what you think your potential customers might search online to reach you. You might come up with tons of keywords (your services in words). It can be one word, two-word or long tail keywords. Note all of them down as you will have to do some work on it.
2. Identify the right keywords
You will be working on the brainstormed list to refine the right target keywords that will bring you’re the right audience who are willing to make a purchase and not just the irrelevant search traffic.
Make use of keyword research tools that help you with your homework. Some of the tools that will prove helpful are Google Keywords tool, Bing Keywords tool, WordTracker, wordpot and SEMRush. Lets work with Google Keywords Planner tool and show you how to use it.
Now let’s say your business is about “dry cleaning” and you want to find out the right keywords for your targeted visitors to turn into buyers. That can happen only when the visitor find the right information they are looking for. If you are targeting wrong keywords visitor will remain visitors!
3. Google’s keyword planner tool
To use this tool you will need a google Adwords account and you can use your gmail email for this. Once you open that tool choose the option “Search for new keywords and ad group ideas”.
Enter your keyword in the “your products or service” box, you can choose the category if you want. Enter one keyword at a time to get better keyword ideas. Change the target location based on your serving area. When your results are displayed, “Ad group ideas” will be displayed by default as this tool’s first priority is to support Adwords more than organic search campaign. To see the list of keywords organized by their average monthly search volume choose the tab “Keywords idea”.
The average monthly search displayed is for Adwords, but it is very close to the organic searches performed. It at least gives us a rough idea of the keywords to work on and find related search phrases. Sometimes we get keyword phrases which we are unaware that visitors search for. The competition displayed in not the keyword competition in search engines but instead its the adwords competition for that keyword. Download Your list in CSV format.
Now from your downloaded list, choose 10-15 keywords and enter them one by one in the Google Keyword Planner tool to get better suggestions for each of them. Entering individual keywords help get keyword ideas focusing around the core of the keyword entered. Download the list for every search. You can choose more than 10-15 best keywords to do if you want.
Remove all unwanted keywords (you can put that in a separate spreadsheet if you want). Combine all your keyword files downloaded and maintain one spreadsheet for all your keywords with their average monthly search volume. Sort them out to remove any duplications or unwanted keywords. For all the keywords in your spreadsheet note down the search results competition next to the keyword.
4. Bing’s keyword tool
In bing’s tool when you enter your keywords there is an option to choose search location, language and your date ranges. I usually go for 1 month and 6 months to check on averages. Export your keywords list for every separate search you perform. Once you get the volumes for these date ranges, choose the option Strict, and export the list again.
The Strict features provides us with the search volume of the exact keyword phrases displayed. This is helpful in finding Long tail keywords. Combine your results into one spreadsheet so you can work them out easily.
5. Finding Long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are helpful in getting more targeted audience who are expected to convert better than visitors who end up on the website by searching generalized keywords. The difference in the numbers between the search volume with Strict checked and unchecked is the number of long tail keywords for that phrase.
As you can see the keyword “dry cleaners”
google search – 60,500
google’s competition – 28,000,000
bing’s monthly search – 8780
bing’s strict monthly search – 2587
difference between strict and broad – ( 8780 – 2587) = 6193
Analysis – it has a good monthly search volume with an acceptable competition volume. Also it has sufficient number of hidden long tail keywords which we can target. (Any keyword with a search volume of over 1000 and a competition volume less than 50,000,000 can be targeted)
6. Expanding your keyword list
The tool we are going to use now is Ubersuggest and the main purpose of this tools is that it gets keywords ideas using Google suggestions and other suggestion tools. Go to the website http://ubersuggest.org/
This tool is helpful as it works out most permutations and combination of your main key phrase entered plus the variations of word starting with every alphabet and number after it.
There are other keywords tools that are useful and each of them have their own pros and cons. So using them in combination can work to filter out the best keyword list for you. Some of the other valuable tools to use are SEMRush, WordTracker and Keyword Spy.
If you are a local business it makes more sense in targeting customer in your locality rather than targeting customers nation-wide or globally. Adding location to your keywords helps you get targeted traffic to your website based on the location you want customers from.
Eg – targeting “dry cleaners Dallas” can get you higher ranking in Dallas in turn more targeted traffic than targeting the keyword “dry cleaners”
8. Using plurals/singulars
Keywords would mean the same in singular or plural and expected to display same search results. But thats not the case with search engines. For search engines singular or plural can have different search volume and different competition. So it is important to do your analysis and research on both the plural or the singular keywords.
Eg – analysing “dry cleaner” or “dry cleaners” and then optimizing these keywords will be different based on their monthly search volume and competition.
For keyword “Dry cleaner near me” –
google’s search volume – 1,600
google’s competition – 9,630,000
For keyword “Dry cleaners near me” –
google’s search volume – 18,000
google’s competition – 1,300,000
It will be a smarter decision to choose “Dry cleaners near me” over its singular form.
9. Competition review
Check major search engines and see who are the toppers for your keywords. Analyze their websites and check what keywords they are ranking for. Work on those keywords and find out the statistics for them.
Note – if you see that the top ranking are taken over by the big corporations, it is nearly impossible to beat them. Its more advisable to leave those keywords alone and choose a different keywords in which those corporations are not the competition.
10. Final Note
Keyword researching can be a tedious job and and it is important to track the performance and and analyze the success of the optimized keywords. You can make use of the tool – SeoBook’s Firefox
extension – Rank Checker. Success of keyword research is only measured by the improvement in the number of visitors it gets you. Check how many of the optimized are ranking well and what strategies you used for those keywords. See what keywords are converting better and compare their success rates. Rework your keywords every once in a while to meet your requirements.
Share your thought and ideas on this by commenting below.