Keyword Research – The Basics

Keywords should be one of the first tasks when looking at starting a new website or looking to improve an existing one. They setup your content to work to the maximum potential on search engines so you can increase traffic from people searching for the topics and themes you talk about. There are two main factors to look for when researching new keywords;

  1. How competitive the keyword is 
  2. The volume of people searching for the specific keyword

The competitiveness will vary depending on your content. Simple short tail keywords (1 word) will usually be more competitive compared to long tail (several words). Try to think as one of your readers would – what would they be searching for? If you sell insurance and you’re trying to rank for ‘Insurance’ you are not only going to have a hard time but may also find your bounce rate becomes higher as people may not be interested in buying. This leads on to the second aspect, volume. If a low number of people are searching for a particular keyword it will generate less traffic than if you focus more effort on words with more search volume. Try to find keywords which have plenty of searches per month in your chosen country, a good way of checking would be to use a tool such as Google Trends mentioned below.

So what tools should you be using? Well there is a huge variety available online so it’s understandable that most people can be a bit confused on what to actually use. Every optimiser is promising to be the next guru with the best tips and tools of the trade but not all are genuine so proceed with caution. I’ve tried to list a few tools below that are specifically built with keyword creation in mind.

Google Trends

https://trends.google.co.uk/trends/

Like many tools from Google, Trends provides valuable insights into requested search terms over a particular course of time. It not only gives you relatable queries and topics but will also allow you to compare search terms to see which is most used, like the example below.

Classic or old car insurance?

Google Keyword Planner

https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

Another useful tool from the search giant themselves, it’s received plenty of updates throughout the years and now caters mostly for PPC marketing. Even so, the keyword planner shouldn’t be overlooked. It provides valuable data straight from the source. It can be useful to not only calculate the competition for a keyword (low/medium/high) but also the volume of people searching.

Adwords Keyword Planner Tool

Moz Explorer 

https://moz.com/explorer

No real SEO related topic would be finished if Moz didn’t receive some kind of mention. The US Seattle based company are most known among optimisers for the Whiteboard Fridays within the Moz blog. Moz also provide a number of useful tools and the keyword explorer is just one. It provides a clean and simple overview on potential keywords with useful scores for difficulty and potential opportunities.

Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer

KeywordTool.io

http://keywordtool.io/

While the paid version offers additional data such as search volume and adwords competition, the free version is a simple to use tool that provides new keyword ideas for free. It proves itself useful in order to obtain potential new ideas for keywords which you can then research further with alternative keyword tools.

Keywordtool.io
Keywordtool.io

SEMrush Keywords

https://www.semrush.com/features/keyword-research/

SEMrush is a bit of a one stop shop for search marketing. It has everything from live SERP results, search volume, relatable keywords and ad history. A lot of the information can be useful when looking for new keywords and the dashboard is really straight forward to use.

SEMrush Keyword Dashboard
SEMrush Keyword Dashboard

Keep in mind that all of these tools are best served when using them collectively. You may think up a general keyword yourself and it is always good practice to analyse the word across each tool to visualise the opportunity available. The above are only a handful of keyword tools and you can find numerous more online, if you know more and think they are worth a mention, leave a comment below!

Happy keyword researching!

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