What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of identifying relevant keywords and analyzing search volume and competition for those terms. It lays the foundation for an effective SEO strategy.

With keyword research, you can:

  • Discover keywords people are searching for related to your business
  • Prioritize keywords with high search volume and traffic potential
  • Identify keywords your site can realistically rank for
  • Inform content creation and optimization

Why Keyword Research Matters

Keyword targeting is crucial for on-page and off-page optimization. You need to know:

  • The terms people are using to find your products, services and information
  • Which keywords are worth pursuing for traffic volume and competitiveness
  • Gaps in your content coverage for key topics

Without understanding your target keywords, you risk wasting time and resources optimizing for terms that aren’t driving many searches or conversions.

Conducting Keyword Research

Follow these steps:

  • Brainstorm a list of relevant keywords and phrases for your brand.
  • Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner to see monthly search volume for terms. Look for high volume keywords.
  • Check the competitiveness of each keyword, indicating how hard it will be to rank. Easy wins first.
  • Identify low competition “long tail” keywords that are very specific.
  • Look for keywords your site already ranks for as a starting point.
  • Organize keywords into priority tiers based on volume, competitiveness and relevance.
  • Identify content gaps – topics with search interest but little content coverage on your site.

Optimizing for Keywords

Now put your research to work:

  • Target priority keywords in title tags, headers, content, URLs, etc. But avoid over-optimization.
  • Create content for priority keywords with thin coverage.
  • Expand on existing ranking content with additional keyword-focused pages.
  • Build links using anchor text with target keywords where appropriate.
  • Update old content that ranks well but needs refreshed keywords.

Revisit Keyword Research

Search trends change over time. Revisit your research every 3-6 months to identify new opportunities or changing priorities. Keyword research is the fuel powering an effective, evolving SEO strategy tailored to how people search.

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