What is Keyword Research and How To Do it?
Okay so in order to understand how to do SEO you must first understand what Keywords are and what is means to optimize for them. If this your first time at Bouncerank, my name is Raj, and I am the writer and owner of the blog!
In this guide, I am going to explain what keywords are and how to use them to perform On-Site SEO.
Interested in becoming an SEO specialist?
Before we get started, I would also recommend reading my SEO Specialist Career path guide to develop a basic understanding how the SEO career field works and how to become a specialist.
Also you may want to read by guide on Off-Site SEO too, as it can help with choosing the right websites to reach out to for link-building.
Here’s a video breaking down how I do keyword research
What is a Keyword?
A keyword is a word or a set of words that a searcher may use to find information about a particular topic or product. For instance, if you were trying to find information about how to build a deck, some keywords might be “how to build a deck.” “Deck Design Instructions”, or “Deck building step by step.”
The reason Search engines use keywords is to index or store web pages so that they can return it to a searcher when they have any question or query.
In other words, keywords help a searcher find information on a particular topic or product.
No next I am going to go over to find keyword, through a process called Keyword research, this definitely something you want to take notes on
What is Keyword Research?
When it comes to doing SEO, the first step is to identify the keywords or phrases that are most likely to bring in the most traffic. This is called performing Keyword Research which is the process by which you identify the most relevant keywords for your business or website. You may also hear it being referred to as keyword analysis, but personally I like to distinguish between the two because research is just finding keywords, the analysis is in choosing what keywords are the easiest and the most worthwhile to target. So when choosing keywords generally speaking you want to pay attention to 4 key things; Search Volume, Competition or Difficulty, Cost Per Click and Search Intent
So search volume is how many searches per month a particular keyword gets. Now generally speaking, you want to target keywords that have a lot of searches because this validates that someone is actually searching using those keywords, but volume is just a metric. Keywords that have low volume or even zero searchers per month, can still be worth targeting because oftentimes they are low competition and the person who is using the keywords may be more likely to buy something or take action.
Competition or Difficulty
Now competition score or difficulty is how easy or difficult it may be to rank for a particular keyword. This metric varies from SEO tool to tool, but generally speaking this metric is calculated based on the number of “backlinks” it would take to rank for the keyword. So a keyword with a higher difficulty would take more backlinks or links from other websites in order to rank for it. Again this is just an estimate you should target any keywords that are relevant to your website, or business regardless of the competition, but it may be good to pay attention to competition when choosing between variations of the same keywords.
Cost Per Click
A little bit more complicated, but it’s something you should keep an eye on when deciding which keywords to target. CPC is the cost per click, meaning how much does a click on your ad cost. Generally speaking, keywords with high cost per click may be more competitive and difficult to rank for but they demonstrate that the keyword is popular and likely to generate leads. Because advertisers are smart, and if they are willing to pay a larger sum for a keyword, then it definitely is leading to some type of ROI.
Now the last metric Search Intent which often overlooked but is very crucial to be successful on Google today, also you’ll definitely score some brownie points which a recruiter if you mention this in your job interview.
Search Intent is metric that doesn’t necessary have a score attached to it it is more about analyzing what type of content does the searcher prefer when using that keyword. The simplest way to figure this out is to type in a keyword into the search bar and see what type of content comes up.
So for instance if you type in “pizza” the top ranking search results are Pizza restaurants. So what that means is that Google discovered that when people type in “pizza” they are most likely looking to visit a pizza places, but in comparison if you type in “pizza sauce” the top ranking pages are recipes for how to make pizza sauce. So again that means that Google determined that when someone types in pizza sauce they are most likely looking for how to make it.
Now this is honestly one of the most important metrics when choosing keywords because in order to rank you must match search intent, but in all honesty you may not have resources or a ability to produce content to match search intent, so search intent is also a good indicator of wether or not a keyword is worth targeting.
In addition to main keywords you may also want to find Long-tail Keywords
What is Long-Tail keyword?
Long-tail keyword is a keyword that is usually longer and more specific than main keywords. A keyword that is long-tail is better at attracting inbound links, better at ranking in the top results, and can bring more targeted traffic to your site. The power of long-tail keywords is that they are much easier to rank for than main keywords.
What is a Long Tail Keyword example?
For example, a long-tail keyword might be “how to make pizza sauce.” or “Best Pizza Sauce Recipe”.
Okay so now that you have a good idea of what keywords are and how to determine if one is good, let’s go over how to find them.
How do you do keyword research?
There are two ways that I recommend doing keyword research; using the Google Search Bar and using paid for SEO tools, which I would highly recommend learning if you plan on getting a job as an SEO Specialist. But for this guide let’s focus on the free method because it’s a great way to get started.
How do I do free keyword research?
The first way to do keyword research is using the Google Search Bar. The cool thing about this method is that you don’t have to spend a dime to use it. Simply go to Google and start typing in a keyword that you would like to find out more about. In the search bar type in “pizza delivery” and then hit enter.
Take a look at the search results, go to some of the webpages and write down any words that you believe someone would type in to find pizza delivery. Here’s the list I came up with
- Pizza takeout
- Fast Food pizza
- Late night pizzeria
- Fast pizza delivery
- Pizza to-go
This is a good list to start with but If you want to take this a step further you can use the Google Keyword Planner, this is a free tool that allows you to input a few keywords and it will output a list of suggested keywords that you could potentially use.
I am going to type in pizza deliver and here’s some keywords I found
- Pizza places
- Pizza places that deliver
- Best pizza delivery
- 24 hour pizza
- Closet pizza place near me
As you can see, this is a great way to find additional keywords that you may never have thought of. Another method that i recommend is looking at your competitors and seeing what keywords they use this can also help you fill out your list.
How do I use keywords for SEO?
For a beginner, The best way to use your keywords is to make sure they are placed in 3 important parts; the title tag, meta description, and alt text. These are known as On-Site Ranking factors, there are definitely more but I want to focus on these three because if you are business owner, also if you are a Specialist you will spend most of your time optimizing theses and they are the easy to optimize.
What is a Title Tag?
Title tags are the text you see when someone does a Google search. They are an important part of SEO because they help search engines read and rank your content. They are typically between 150 characters to a maximum of 175 characters. The goal of title tags is to entice a reader to click on the webpage.
How to Optimize a Title Tag?
There are a few different ways to optimize your title tag. The easiest way is to use your main keyword in the title tag. For example, if your blog is about WordPress themes, use the word “WordPress” in your title tag. If your blog is about digital marketing, use the words “digital marketing” in your title tag.
What is a Meta Description?
The Meta Description is the second text that people see when they perform a Google search. It is typically shown just before the search result. The Meta Description is an opportunity to tell a little bit more about your webpage. The goal of the Meta Description is to entice a reader to click on the webpage. I do want to pose a caveat because Google has come forward and said that meta descriptions are not a ranking factor and in fact often times they are rewritten, but it is still a good idea to optimize it as
How to optimize a Meta Description?
The easiest way to optimize your Meta Description is to use your main keyword in the Meta Description. For example, if your blog is about Dogs, use the words “Dogs” in your Meta Description. If your blog is about fishing, use the words “fishing” in your Meta Description. You can also use the same strategy as you use with the title tag and add in a few more keywords that are related to your niche.
What is Alt Text?
Alt text is the text that appears when an image cannot be loaded, it can also appear if a user is using a screen reader. It’s often overlooked, but it’s an important part of SEO because it helps search engines read your content and index it better.
How to Optimize Alt Text?
The best way to optimize alt text is to again just use your main keyword in your pictures descriptions. So for this picture of pizza. The alt text may say Best 24 Hour Pizza Delivery
Keyword Research Wrap-Up:
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