Keyword Research: What You Need to Know
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If the primary goal of your website is to attract search engine traffic, it’s essential to know what words your audience uses to search for your content.
Using these search terms in your content will make it more likely that it will appear in search results, increasing the number of people who will click through to your website instead of someone else’s.
In SEO, these terms are referred to as keywords. Keyword research is an important first step before you begin writing your content.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of discovering the words and phrases that people type into a search engine when looking for information.
When you incorporate the language people use when searching for the information you offer, you’ll be able to write content that is valuable, high-quality and shows up in the search results. This will in turn get your business in front of more potential clients and help you get better results from your website, blog posts, and other content.
Why does keyword research matter?
Keyword research is important because it aligns the search terms your audience uses with the words you use in your content.
If you use different words to describe your business than those your audience uses to search for what they need, they aren’t going to find you! As a result, it’s going to be hard to get traffic to your site.
Keyword research ensures that you’re using the same words as your target audience, which will help you to create content that’s valuable to them.
What are the benefits of keyword research?
Effective keyword research will alert you to topics and keywords your audience is searching for that are related to your industry, providing you with valuable marketing insights.
When you identify the best keywords and use them to create the type of content your target market is looking for, you’ll rank higher in search engine results, and more traffic will be attracted to your website. Increase the likelihood of them wanting to work with you by including a strong call to action on your site.
Please note, however, that keywords alone are no longer enough to generate significant traffic, because search engine algorithms have been developed beyond simply looking for an exact word match.
Is keyword research still relevant in 2023?
Although keyword research has changed in recent years, it can still be useful.
There was a time when it was common to stuff your content with keywords in order to push your pages to the top of the search results. Unfortunately, this emphasis on keyword density over quality resulted in text that was unnatural and hard to read, so even when people clicked through, they got nothing of value and it didn’t bring the intended results to the website owners.
Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms to deliver results that are most relevant to what people are trying to find, so the old approach to keyword research no longer works. Instead of improving your search engine ranking, keyword stuffing will actually hurt it.
Current Trends in SEO
Search engine algorithms are continually being evolved, and your keyword research will need to be refined accordingly. Here’s what’s happening right now:
Voice search is becoming more and more common due to apps like Siri and Google Assistant. In most cases, people will ask a question like What’s the best hotel in Paris? rather than Paris hotels. Consider whether changing the format of the search query in this way will impact your keywords.
In a recent article on Forbes, Cynthia Sener said:
To optimize for voice search, marketers need to think differently about search engine optimization. For one, brands should create high-quality content that answers specific questions, uses conversational language and integrates long-tail keywords.
Read What The Impact Of Global Voice Recognition Means For Today’s Brands for more information about optimizing for voice search.
To give you the most relevant content related to a search, search engines will often answer the query in a featured snippet or answer box.
Here are answers I received on Google to the question what is a conversion on websites.
Being aware of frequently asked questions and answering them on your site will help your content get featured prominently like this. On the down side, if the snippet fully answers the question, people may not bother clicking to read the rest of your content, or even notice that it was your business that published it.
You may have noticed that when you do a search, there is a list of related searches at the bottom of the results page. This is what comes up under semantics in keywords:
Because of this, it’s no longer enough to optimize your content for a main keyword or phrase. You also need to include related keywords.
For a more detailed explanation, read Semantic Keywords: What They Are & How to Find Them on the Semrush Blog.
To be continued…
Keyword research is too big a topic to fully address in one blog post! I’ll share additional information in the coming months, including helpful tips to help you research and use your own keywords.
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Post your questions about keyword research in the comments, and I’ll try to answer them in a future post.
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I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.