Understand what your audience is searching for
Now, since you have learned how you can show up in SERPs, it’s time to determine the strategic keywords that you need to target in the content of your site, and how to create content that will satisfy both search engines and users.
The power of a keyword is determined by two things—understanding your target market better, and also understanding how they search for your content, products, or services. You need to note that keyword research will provide you with detailed search data that can assist you to answer the following questions:
- What are online users searching for?
- How many online users are searching for it?
- Which format do they want to get that information?
In this post, we shall discuss the strategies and tools that you need to uncover this information, and also learn the tactics that will assist you in creating strong content for your website and avoid making mistakes when doing your keyword research. Once you understand how your target audience searches for your content, you now start to understand strategic SEO from a different perspective.
Always ask questions before starting your keyword research
When assisting a business to grow through SEO, you first need to understand more about the business, its goals, as well as their customers. However, many people tend to skip this first, and crucial step since keyword research requires a lot of time—so, why waste this time while you know what you need to rank for?
However, you need to understand that whatever your audience is searching for, and what needs to rank for are completely two different things. When you focus on your target audience and then use your keyword research data to improve these insights, you will be able to make your campaign more successful than when you concentrate on random keywords.
For example, a business dealing with gluten-free and vegan ice cream has heard about search engine optimization, and now needs assistance in improving how often it appears in SERPs. For anyone to assist this business, they must first have a better understanding of their clients. The following questions can assist you to do so better:
- What types of desserts, ice cream, and snacks are users search for?
- Who is exactly searching for these particular terms?
- Are there any seasonality trends when people are searching for these terms?
- How many users are searching for ice cream?
- Which terms do they use?
- What kind of questions do they ask?
- Do most of them perform their searches on mobile devices?
- Why are users searching for ice cream? Are they specifically looking healthy ice cream or they just want to satisfy their sweet tooth?
- What’s the exact location for the potential customers—it is locally, nationally, or internationally?
So, how can you assist in providing the best website content about ice cream to satisfy what all those users are searching for? Asking these questions is an essential planning step that will assist you as you do your keyword research, and also assist you in creating better content.
What terms are online users searching for?
Yes, you know how to explain what you do—but, how does your target audience search for the information, service, or product that you offer? Being able to answer this question is an important first step when it comes to the keyword research process.
Everyone has several keywords in mind that they would like to rank for. They include things like your services, products, or the topics addressed by your site—and they are the primary keywords for your research—and this is where you need to start. When you enter these keywords in your keyword research tool, you will be able to see the average monthly search volume, as well as other related keywords. This is the step where you get to know which keyword variations are common among searchers.
When you enter your primary keywords in a keyword research tool, you will start to discover other keywords, common queries, as well as content ideas that you would have missed. For instance, if you are a florist who specializes in weddings, tying “florist” and “wedding” in your keyword research tool can assist you to find highly searched and highly relevant terms like:
- Bridal flowers
- Wedding bouquets
- Wedding flower shop
As you find relevant keywords for your website’s content, you will start to notice that there is a great variation in the search volume of these keywords.
At times, you will want to target phrases that your target audience is searching for. However, it can be much better to target phrases with a lower search volume as these phrases are much less competitive. Now, since you understand that both low- and high-competition keywords can be beneficial to your site, having a better understanding of search volume can assist you in prioritizing your keywords, and choosing the keywords that will give your website the greatest strategic advantage.
How regularly are these phrases searched?
Finding search volume
When it comes to search volume, there is one thing everyone in the field of SEO should understand—the higher the search volume for a particular keyword phrase, the more work is usually needed to get higher rankings. In SEO, this is known as keyword difficulty and mostly incorporates search engine results features.
For instance, if several SERP features, like a knowledge graph, featured snippets, and carousels, are congesting a certain keyword’s result page, the keyword’s difficult with increase. Mostly, the top-10 SERPs for high-volume keywords are taken by big brands. Therefore, if you have just started a web, and you want to target the same keywords as these brands, you will have a big challenge to get a better ranking.
Generally, keywords with a higher search volume require greater effort and competition to get a better organic ranking. When you go for keywords with low search volume, you risk not attracting any searchers to your website. Mostly, it can be much better to target highly specific search terms with lower competition. These are known as long-tail keywords in SEO.
Understanding long-tail keywords
What do you think about ranking number 1 for the keyword phrase “sandals”? Is it great or not?
It’s normally great to deal with keywords with around 50,000 searches every month, or 5,000 searches each month. However, there is one reality each person should understand—these search terms are very popular, but they are just a fraction of all web searches performed. Actually, high search volume keywords can be an indication of vague intent, which, in case you target these keywords, it can risk you attracting visitors to your site whose goals don’t meet the content provided by your page.
Therefore, you should never underestimate the power of the keywords with less competition. Long-tail keywords with a low search volume usually convert better, since searchers are more intentional and specific with their searches. For instance, if a person is searching for “sandals,” he or she is probably browsing. However, is a person searches for “the best price beach sandals size 7 women” they are ready to buy that product.
How to get strategic with search volume
When you discover the relevant search terms for your websites together with their matching search volumes, you can become more strategic by comparing with your competitors’ sites, and determining how the searches can differ by location or season
When doing your keyword research, the likelihood for you to compile many keywords is very high. However, this comes with its own challenge—keyword prioritization. It is always advisable to make sure that you prioritize the high-volume keywords that your competitors are not ranking for at the moment. Also, you can also check the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, and then prioritize them. The first idea is a great option, especially when you capitalize on the opportunities missed by your competitors. On the other hand, the last option is considered to be aggressive, as it allows you to compete for keywords that your competitors are already ranking well for.
Understanding seasonal trends can be very beneficial when it comes to developing a content strategy. For instance, when you realize that something like a “Christmas Box” starts to get popular from October to December in the UK, you can create your content several months in advance, and then promote it around those months.
You can also choose to become more strategic by targeting a particular location by focusing your keyword research on particular cities, states, or counties in your Google Keyword Planner. Also, you can opt to use Google Trends to evaluate interest by sub-region. Geo-specific research, for example, can assist you in creating content that is more relevant to your audience.
The format that is ideal for the searcher’s intent
Google has a format that it uses to display search results, and this format depends on the searcher’s intent, and each search query has a unique intent. Google has categorized these intents as either “do”—achieve a goal, “know”—find information, “visit a person”—visiting a local business, or “website”—finding a particular site.
Even though there are hundreds if not thousands of different search types, there are the major types of intent:
- Informational queries – the searcher is looking for information, like a brand name, or the weight of a particular product.
- Navigational queries – the searcher needs to go to a certain place on the internet, like the homepage of a certain site, or Facebook.
- Transactional queries – what the searcher wants to do with this type of query is to buy something, like a train ticket or watch a video.
- Commercial navigation – the search wants to make a comparison between products, and then choose the one that meets their specific needs.
- Local queries – in this type of intent, the searcher is looking for something locally, like a dentist, movie theater, or coffee shop.
Surveying the search engine result page’s landscape for your target keyword is a very crucial step when it comes to the keyword research process. This assists you in having a better understanding of the searcher’s intent. Looking at the SERPs can assist you in understanding the type of content needed by your target audience.
Google monitors and evaluates all the searched performed online in an attempt to give the most desired and relevant content for every specific keyword research. In case the query is unclear, Google will include the “refine by” feature, which assists the searcher to specify further whatever he or she is looking for. When you do that, Google will provide you with the results that will assist you in accomplishing your task.
Google has several results types that it can give you depending on your search query. Therefore, if you want to target a keyword, looking to the SERP can assist you in understanding the content that you should create.
How do you determine the value of a certain keyword?
What’s the value that keyword “x” will add to your site? The following tools can assist you to answer these questions, and they will be an amazing addition to your keyword research process:
- Moz keyword explorer – when you insert your keyword in this tool, you will get information like SERP features and monthly search volume that are ranking for that keyword. This tool uses live clickstream data to extract accurate search volume data. The keyword explorer will show you a “difficulty score,” which can assist you to narrow down the keyword options that will give you the chance to rank better. Keywords with a higher score will be a bit challenging to rank for.
- Google trends – this tool by Google is ideal for finding fluctuations of seasonal keywords
- Google keyword planner – this is the most popular starting point for most people’s SEO keyword research. However, this tool tends to restrict the search volume data by grouping keywords together into large search volume groups.
- AnswerThePublic – this is a free tool that groups the most searched for questions revolving around a particular keyword. Interestingly, you can use this tool alongside another free tool, Keywords Everywhere, to prioritize its suggestions by the search volume.
- SpyFu Keyword Research Tool – this tool will give you the most competitive keyword data.
- Google Correlate – according to Google, this tool is like the reverse of Google Trends. The tool allows one to see queries with a frequency that has the same pattern as your target keyword.