5 Keyword Research Tips That Are Simple and Effective

It is no major secret to content marketers, which means most online businesses nowadays, that the right combination of keywords provides a huge competitive advantage. The problem is that many businesses and blogs over-complicate the actual process of researching keywords.

Finding the right words that help pages and posts rank highly in search engines is frequently regarded as a gargantuan task that requires hours of work, akin to solving the world’s toughest differential equation. But things don’t need to be so difficult. Keep reading if you’re wondering how to find great keywords using simple and effective methods.

Focus On Language

The whole point of keyword research is to obtain a set of words or phrases that prospective customers in your niche are searching for on a regular basis that you can then rank highly for. Therefore, you need to focus on the precise language your prospects use.

There is no point in beginning your keyword research with a set of words and phrases that represent guesstimates for what your potential customers might search for. You need to be exact. Social media is your friend here. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ are useful for identifying how prospects talk about your niche. What phrases do they use when discussing problems they face? What kind of content do people like to share about your niche, and what words appear time and time again in this content?

Familiarizing yourself with the specific terms that are popular among your prospects boosts your keyword research by ensuring you start off with a set of phrases that target your ideal customer.

Evaluate Keywords

Image via Flickr by TopRankMarketing

The previous tip ensures you start off on the right foot by focusing on keywords that are in-tune with the language that your prospects use. But some keywords are better than others, and evaluating your chosen phrases helps to further refine your list.

The aim here is to find out how good your keywords are by sorting through them in terms of their popularity and competition. As a broad rule, you should be targeting keywords with moderate to high popularity and low competition.

Google Adwords is the ideal tool for this step. Simply insert your chosen keyword in the tool, and you’ll be shown how many monthly searches there are on average for this keyword. You need to aim relatively high with popularity because you want to select keywords that prospects are searching for information about.

Next, you need to assess the competitiveness of the keyword. You can simply search for the chosen phrase using quotation marks in Google, and you’ll get a list of the “exact match” top ranking results. If you encounter a lot of brand names on the first page of the search engine, or a lot of results from authority sites such as Amazon, CNN, or Wikipedia, this is indicative of a search term that is extremely competitive and might be difficult to rank with.

Another important metric when assessing keyword competitiveness is the authority of the pages that appear in the search engine results for your keyword. You can download a simple browser extension such as Moz Toolbar to obtain the page authority. Seek out keywords that return some web pages with low page authority (PA) on the first page of Google and you’ll reap the rewards.

Incorporate Suggestions

When you use Google Adwords to evaluate your keywords, the tool displays a list of related terms that you might want to consider. Don’t dismiss these terms. You see, search engines are really smart. They are designed using a series of complex algorithms that display related keywords using semantic search principles.

The advice here is again straightforward: dig a little deeper into related terms. Assess the competitiveness and popularity of some of the suggested keywords as per the previous tip and you might just uncover some hidden gems, and the Adwords tool has done the hard part for you.

Prepare for Updates

Google updates its algorithms constantly, but most of these updates are minor. Less often, the company makes some major changes to algorithms that can significantly impact a website’s SEO strategy, which includes its chosen keywords. Internet forums and marketing blogs are chock-full of business owners who were caught out by major algorithm changes and experienced a marked decline in visitors after the alterations to the code that Google uses.

The sensible advice here is that even after you’ve chosen your ideal keywords and built your content strategy around those words or phrases, you should make an effort to keep informed about anticipated changes that Google will implement.

Reading the latest technology news from high authority websites takes just five or ten minutes each day and can save you from a major shock. You’ll also be able to better prepare your site for the impending changes by conducting a fresh keyword analysis just after any updates.

Keyword Refresh

The result of overcomplicated keyword research is that businesses tend to spend a lot of time on it when first developing their SEO strategies, and completely ignoring it thereafter. This neglect of further keyword research is a major mistake because the language that prospects use to discuss your niche can — and often does — change over time.

Performing regular keyword refreshes ensures you stay on-trend with the terms that prospects are searching for right now. You can then update your content strategy using the results of this refreshed keyword search. You can write articles or provide other content that targets updated keywords that are relevant to your niche.

Simply schedule an updated keyword research twice each year for an easy and effective way to always stay current with your content marketing strategy. You can also try other keyword research methods such as conducting interviews with your customers about the terms they’re searching for most often.

Following these keyword research tips should help paint a clearer picture about how to get ideal keywords that rank well and ensure that your business’ content marketing strategy is always current and relevant.

About the author

Ronan Mahony

Ronan Mahony is a freelance writer who likes to write about internet marketing and technology topics. When he's not writing, he likes to play guitar and travel the world. He loves the small pleasures in life such as the first cup of morning coffee and the cold side of the pillow.