Keyword Research for SEO and Why it’s Important

Businesses don’t rank in online search results by chance. A lot of work goes into optimizing a web page for search engines like Google and Bing. It’s important to write content and structure your web pages around how search engines function and how users are searching. Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is the practice of optimizing your website in order to earn organic traffic from sites such as Google.

One of the main aspects of SEO is keyword research. This blog will provide an overview of the following:

  • What is keyword research?
  • Why is keyword research important for SEO?


Finger pressing on keyboard key in close up

Keywords help search engines understand your content. That way, search engines can serve your content to the right users.


What is keyword research and why is it important?


Let’s start with the basics. A keyword is another name for a search term. This is the word or phrase that a user types into the search bar of a search engine (like Google).

So, keyword research is the act of finding which keywords users are typing into a search engine to locate content relevant to your business or organization. It’s important to have content on your website that matches the intent of the keywords your desired users are actively searching for. That way, your site has a better chance of ranking for that keyword and getting seen by the right people.


Keyword Research and SEO


Think of SEO as a way of keeping search engines like Google happy. In return for having good SEO, search engines will be more likely to serve your content to users. This happens when the search engine determines your content will be relevant to their needs.

Keywords act as the meat of your SEO strategy. By feeding search engines the right keywords, users who are actively searching for your keyword will find your content.

To make your content as relevant as possible, take your keyword research a step further. It’s also important to understand when users are searching for a keyword.


How can I do keyword research for my website?


Just like your keywords are specific to your user’s needs, they should also be specific to your website. There’s a lot of competition out there. Trying to rank for a high-volume keyword won’t work if your website is just starting out. Another part of keyword research is setting reasonable goals for your SEO strategy.

To do this, you should investigate the following:

  • How popular a given keyword is (its search volume)
  • Your website’s domain authority vs. your competitors’ domain authority
  • Keyword difficulty of the keywords you want to target
  • Long-tail and short-tail keywords


Understanding Search Volume


Search volume refers to how many times in a given timeframe a particular search term is entered into a search engine. Seasonality plays a large role in search volume, as keywords pertaining to “Christmas decorations” have a high search volume leading up to Christmas, and minimal search volume after that. Most keyword tools report a monthly search volume generated as an average of one year of data. So actual volume may be higher in months the topic is popular and lower in months that it is not.

Try typing your keyword into Google Trends and you’ll find out exactly when you should post new content about it.

Examples of keyword tools:


Understanding Domain Authority


Domain authority is a metric used to predict how well a domain will rank in organic search results. Domain authority is influenced by how many quality external links a site has (other sites directing their users to your content). The more quality external links, the more likely search engines are to prioritize that domain in search results.

Domain authority ranges from 1-100. Brand-new websites start at a domain authority of 1. Sites like Google and Wikipedia have domain authorities around 100, as they have the most high-quality external links.


Your Solution: Long-Tail and Short-Tail Keywords


Short-tail keywords are as you might expect: short. “Christmas decorations” is a good example. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, have a little more to them. “How to choose the right Christmas decorations for my business,” is a good example. Long-tail keywords are often easier for small businesses to rank for because there is less competition for more specific terms.

A small business won’t be able to rank for short-tail keywords with a high search volume. This is because your small business’s domain authority is … well, small. Well-established businesses in your niche with substantial domain authority will appear well before your business does in search results for a generic short-tail keyword. Any keyword tool (like SEMrush) will tell you a keyword’s difficulty.

But all is not lost. By modifying your keyword from, say, “Christmas decorations” to “how to choose the right Christmas decorations for my business,” you have much higher chances of ranking for that keyword. Why? Long-tail keywords often have a lower keyword difficulty because they’re catered toward a very specific, niche audience. Long-tail keywords also mimic how users are typing in their queries in search engines.

This goes to show that if you know what your audience is interested in, how they’re searching for it and when they’re searching for it, your website’s organic rankings will grow. By conducting thorough keyword research, you’ll be equipped with just the right topics to get your website in front of the right people.


Our SEO Team Knows Their Stuff


Keyword research for SEO is an involved, complicated process. Luckily, our team of SEOs does keyword research for a living. We have the tools to conduct thorough keyword research for your business and help you improve your organic rankings. Start a conversation with us now, or give us a call at 231.882.1100.

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