Keyword research for SEO can feel like an impossible challenge, especially if you run a large website with lots of pages.
You want to drive traffic, expand your influence, and increase sales, yet you don’t know how to target specific words or phrases without sounding like a spam bot from the 90s, or jumping headfirst into a huge Excel spreadsheet of data.
Here’s a secret: keyword research does involve some work, but it’s not as difficult or as esoteric as it’s often made out to be. Here’s a quick guide on how to get started.
Think about Your Content
Each page that you write will have a different call to action and a different marketing message, even if they’re about similar topics. Taking a page-by-page approach to your keyword research will make a daunting task seem easier.
For example, if you sell flowers online, you wouldn’t give each bouquet the same product description – and you shouldn’t use the same keywords, either. People searching for roses don’t want to be greeted with a page full of begonias.
Your bounce rate will skyrocket, and your rankings will plummet.
Going page by page might feel more time-consuming at first, but this method will serve you better in the long run.
Organize Your Potential Keywords
Once you’ve gotten a better idea of which keywords you’ll need to target for each page, you can put them into a keyword planning tool, which will show you historic search traffic based on location, as well as search volume and predicted cost-per-click (CPC) rates.
They can also show you related keywords and search phrases that you may not have previously considered, but would be useful to include in your content. You can then store these in a spreadsheet, with each page getting its own column for keywords.
Don’t be Fooled by Search Volume
If you’re using tools like Google Keyword Planner, you might notice that some of the keywords you’ve chosen might have a very low or very high search volume.
However, don’t assume that this means that you should only go with high-volume keywords.
Long-tail keywords, such as questions or longer phrases, are becoming more and more popular in searches, and you can use these to help get traffic that you wouldn’t normally receive if you were fighting it out among countless other retailers for a single high-volume keyword.
Pay Attention to CPC
This is where an understanding of PPC can be quite handy. If you notice that a keyword you’ve entered into a planning tool has a higher CPC rate than the others, then it might be worth exploring, as it could bring in more traffic, and, possibly, conversions.
However, don’t just start adding keywords that are expensive simply because they are; think about whether or not they match well with your marketing strategy for the page in question.
Don’t Forget to Relax
Keyword research is a marathon, not a sprint – you won’t be done in two days, and you might not be done in two weeks. And if you’re not sure how your website is doing, check to see if it will pass an SEO grader test.
Also, make sure you take regular breaks where you focus on other work so that you can come back to the project refreshed and ready to go.