Posted 14 June 2015
Keyword research – where to start
The online playing field might be a constantly changing one, but keyword research remains consistent in its relevance and importance to inbound marketing.
So where to start? What are the right keywords to use in relation to your business?
Go from generic to specific
First up, think of what you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets then fill those ‘buckets’ with more specific terms. For example, a generic term might be ‘shoes’ and a more specific term might be ‘ballet shoes’ or ‘where to buy ballet shoes’. Work through all your generic terms. Just think of the phrases potential customers might use when searching on a certain subject. Don’t worry if you feel you’ve ended up with a massive list – you can whittle it down later.
Make sure you have a mix of long and short search terms, for example ‘ballet shoes’ and ‘where to buy pink ballet shoes for children’. (Bear in mind shorter terms, or ‘head terms’ are naturally much more competitive in rankings.)
Discover keyword suggestions
If you’re scratching around for keyword ideas, enter in one of your longer search phrases into Google then have a look at the bottom of the page where you’ll see a bunch of suggestions related to your search. These can help you think of other keywords that might apply to your business.
Check how your competitors are ranking. Your keyword needs might not be exactly the same as theirs but it’s good to compare and see what successes they’re having. If they’re kicking goals on words that are on your list, think about how to improve your ranking. If there are words on your list your competitors don’t seem to be interested in, here’s your chance to grab some market share.
Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner are handy for whittling down your list by tracking which words and terms have driven the strongest traffic. Google Trends is also useful for assessing whether low-traffic terms might be on the up-swing and worth investing in for payoff at a later date.
Once you’ve got your list of keywords, don’t forget to reassess them every three months or so – don’t let your marketing go stale!
Originally published 7 January 2015