Unfortunately, keyword research isn’t something that you do once and are done with. Keyword research is something that must be considered at literally every stage of conceiving, planning, creating and marketing content that is supposed to support your business goals. Also, you will find that different strategies for keyword research and analysis are appropriate at different stages. Let’s start by talking about how keyword research is used at various stages:
- Ideation: Keyword analysis can be incredibly valuable for coming up with ideas. By researching trending topics and finding the search volume (meaning how many times a particular term has been searched in Google over a given period of time), for the terms that people are typing into Google to research and discover information about any subject... that information can lead to brilliant ideas about what business you should be in, how big the market for that business is, what information people are really looking for related to that business and what type of things you will need to talk about in order to capture the attention of your audience. Keyword research is an invaluable tool during ideation.
- Competitive Analysis: Keyword research is used first to identify competitors, discover what keywords they are targeting on their website, and what keywords are actually driving traffic to their site from Google. By researching the keyword strategies of your competitors, you can get a better sense of the depth and breadth of content that will be required for your website to be considered the highest authority on the subject (and thus receive top Google rankings).
- Site Architecture Planning: Keyword analysis will be critical in determining what content should exist on your site and the most optimal way to categorize that content.
- Content Creation: Keyword analysis will inform you as to what content you should create, what the messaging should focus on and how to structure the content on every webpage, article, blog, press release, report, video and image (yes, even on the videos and images).
- Content Syndication: The content you syndicate is all about connecting with new audiences, driving traffic, building links and sending the right relevancy signals to search engines to earn you top rankings. Keyword research will help you find websites where you should post or submit your content. Keyword research will also help you identify when keywords should be used as anchor text to point links back to your website.
- Link Building: Keyword research will help you identify a large group of terms related to a subject and you can use those to build a more natural looking backlink profile. The anchor text and alt tags associated with links that point to your site, send relevance signals to search engines, sort of like a suggestion of what your page is about. That signal can have a significant effect on your search rankings. However, Google will also look at the diversity of anchor text in your backlink profile to determine if your backlinks are natural (meaning that people are choosing to link to your content simply because they really like it), or if your backlink profile looks unnatural (meaning that the majority of your links have been intentionally created by you in an effort to manipulate Google's rankings, which is against Google's guidelines and can lead to a ranking penalty.) If most of the links pointing to your page are an exact match for the term that your page seems to be optimized for, that looks very unnatural to Google and you can get penalized. A natural backlink profile will likely have some percentage of links with anchor text that closely matches the main keywords for that page... but a natural backlink profile will likely have a lot of links that are either related to the site brand, or that are fairly generic such as "check out this site" or "more information".
- Social Posts & Forum Discussions: Keyword research can help you identify forums and key influencers who you should connect with online. Also, when social posts and forum discussions mention your site or brand, the context and semantics of those conversations give search engines relevance clues. So, it is important that you seed those conversations with the right language. Because Google will rank you higher for terms that are consistently used when people talk about you online.
- Paid Advertising: Keyword research will help you create more efficient AdWords campaigns by discovering which search terms to target and what language to use in the Ads and on your landing pages. The keywords that you are having success with in SEO can inform your AdWords campaigns, and vice versa. Also, studies have shown that sites who appear at the top of both the organic search results and AdWords ads for the same keyword, tend to have significantly higher click through and conversion rates.
- Email Marketing, Offline Advertising & Conversations With Prospects and Customers: With every interaction that occurs between you and prospective customers, you are introducing language to them that will shape how view, talk about and evaluate your product or service. As they conduct their due diligence you want to do everything you can to ensure that they are using search terms that you are ranking for in search engines. Nothing gives a prospective customer confidence to take the next step with you like being #1 in Google for an important keyword.
Now That You Know When To Use Keyword Analysis
Let's Figure Out What You Should Be Looking For!
Next In the next lesson we will discuss keyword intent. This is an incredibly important consideration that all online marketers must understand. You can only hope to serve the need of a visitor if you know what they are looking for or expecting to find. The keywords that they use to search can give you great insight into that intent. Understanding this will give you the ability to create the right type of page, with the right messaging and the right goals for each situation.