Keyword Research What it is and How Important it is for ranking
What is Keyword Research?
As the internet grows, so too does the sheer number of websites catering for every market and niche, increasing your need to stay competitive in the market. When it comes to increasing visibility of your online presence, nothing is more effective than a strong search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, involving SEO keyword research. An understanding of the keywords that pertain to your market and your customer is essential, and thus keyword research is a necessity.
So, what is keyword research? In its literal meaning, it is the use of keywords to research the actual terms that internet users input into search engines. This can take many forms, including competitor keyword research, which is an understanding how other companies target keywords, as well as local keyword research, to help target region-specific products or services.
Keywords and Their Importance
Without targeted keywords, you’re essentially saying ‘No, I don’t want people to visit my website’. Keywords are what drive your ranking in search engines, and without this ranking, you’re relying purely on people being aware that your website exists. Unless you’re content with friends and family being your only visitors, keyword research is essential.
Below, we’ll explore the different kinds of keywords, short tail and long tail, as well as how you can plan and research the best keywords to use in your SEO strategy.
What are Short Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are less specific than long tail keywords, and they typically have less success in bringing traffic to your website. These keywords are generally only around 1 or 2 words in length. Due to the broad nature of short tail keywords, they return a saturated heap of results in search engines, with large and well-known companies dominating the results. With these types of keywords, you’re very likely to see companies like Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers taking up the top spots.
What are Long Tail Keywords
The term ‘long tail keyword’ is slightly misleading, as these are not a singular word. Instead, they consist of a string of three or more words, for example, which are more focused and specific than their short tail counterparts. Long tail keywords can greatly increase the chances of customers clicking through to a sale from a search engine, as they reduce the competition from other larger corporations or websites.
For example, if your company were selling home furnishings, the search term ‘coffee tables’ would be too broad to guarantee any visibility of your website or products. However, if you specialised in vintage, stained oak coffee tables, then ‘stained oak coffee table’ might be a keyword that largely increased your visibility and ranking through search engines.
Researching Long Tail Keywords
When it comes to planning your long tail keywords, it’s no good to simply guess at what your target audience might be typing into search engines. To get the full benefit of this SEO tool and get the best results, you need to conduct long tail keyword research.
Below are some quick pieces of advice on how to research appropriate long tail keywords for your website or blog.
Searches Related To …
Google keyword research is a great place to start when compiling keywords. Start by inputting a keyword into Google that you would like to target, and hit search. At the foot of the page of search results, you’ll see a section entitled ‘Search Related To’, plus your chosen keyword. These are prime examples of long tail keywords, and they’re a perfect starting point for you, as they’ll typically carry less competition than the shorter keyword that you entered.
Board and Forum Discussions
Start by locating forums or message boards relating to your website, products or services. Within these forums, have a look at the titles used by posters in their threads. These titles can become your long tail keywords, as they’ll indicate what sort of questions people are asking around your industry, and these phrases will typically be 3-5 words long.
‘UberSuggest’ is a keyword tool that does a job you could do yourself, though it takes the legwork out of it for you. You start with a seed keyword, which is a base keyword without any modifiers. For example, ‘exercise’ could be your seed keyword.
By inputting the seed keyword into the tool, you’ll get a whole list of Google Suggestions returned for you. These are the automatic suggestions that appear in Google’s search box whenever you start typing a word or phrase in, and they will become your short and long tail keywords, for example, ‘exercise machines’ or ‘exercise routines that work’. Though a lot of these won’t be suitable for your website, there are bound to be several that work for you.
What Would Friends Do
Speak with friends and family to find out what search terms they might use when looking for a product, service or information. Without a vested interest in your website, you’ll get unbiased keywords from them with minimal effort.
Why Use a Specialist?
Now you know some of the basics of SEO keyword research and search engine ranking, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll see the best results by simply conducting Google keyword research and going it alone. If you’re new to the world of SEO, then you could benefit from the professional services of an SEO specialist.
Keyword Competition and Other Factors
Some keywords are a lot harder to rank for, owing to the number of people targeting them. You also have to take into account that other decisions play a part in your search engine ranking; your website’s design, the number of instances of each keyword used, backlinks and other factors can all play a part in the visibility of your website in search results. When you’re competing against large corporations and even moderately successful blogs, rising to the top can be a real challenge.
Employing a keyword research service, through a professional agency, is a good return on investment, because they can analyse and find the best keywords for your business, whilst offering advice on the design of your website, your competitors keywords, and more. Direct SEO Services, based in Glasgow, offer a keyword research service, which includes:
- local keyword research
- long tail keyword research
- competitor keyword research
Getting in Touch
Direct SEO Services can help you to optimise your website, including research and use of keywords to improve your search engine ranking. Should you decide to pursue an SEO strategy, we can provide services to help ensure that you’re targeting the correct keywords for your target audience. Get in touch with us using the tab at the top of this page.