Keyword Research for SEO: Top Tips & Practices
Want to find high-intent keywords by using proven, effective methods?
Wish you could establish a simple yet powerful keyword strategy to help your target audience find you faster?
You can — especially if you understand your audience deeply and create a solid keyword strategy based on intent.
On November 3, I moderated a sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Zack Kadish, Sr. SEO Success Manager at Conductor.
He delivered an eye-opening crash course on keyword intent research techniques, tips, and tactics.
Here’s a quick recap of the webinar presentation. If you want to dig into details, complete the form to access the entire webinar.
Let’s see how Zack broke down some best practices in choosing the right keyword and where to place these keywords to make sure that you can increase your organic visibility.
The Heads & Tails Of Keyword Strategy Creation
Keyword Research = Discovering + Targeting Relevant Words That Matter To Your Audience
Understanding the basics of keywords and incorporating them into an intention-based strategy creates the foundation for success.
Keyword Research Tip #1: Know How To Target All Appropriate Keyword Types
To drive qualified traffic to your site, be sure you are incorporating each of the four basic keyword elements into your research, including:
- Search volume.
- Head keywords.
- Long-tail keywords.
1. Search Volume
Search volume is the average amount of times that someone searches for a specific phrase each month.
Typically, you would select a keyword with a high search volume. But remember: that keyword needs to be relevant to your audience’s needs.
Pro tip: Find a balance between high search volume and keywords that are relevant to your business.
Relevancy helps your website show up at the right time during the right search.
Place yourself in the shoes of your future visitors. What questions would they ask? What do they need to know before deciding to convert?
Pro tip: For the highest impact and best results, select a keyword that matches your target audience’s needs, has a moderate search volume, and matches your landing page’s intent.
RSVP → Learn How To Discover Relevant Keywords That Convert.
3. Head Keywords
Head keywords are words and phrases that have a high search volume.
These necessary keywords are great to bring in traffic, but they can be harder to rank successfully due to high competition.
Let’s look at the keyword phrase [reading glasses], which has 116,000/MSV (Monthly Search Volume). We see that:
- This vague phrase is desirable because hundreds of thousands of people are searching for that keyword.
- It’s hard to rank for because many other sites are also trying to rank for the same phrase.
Pro tip: Balance both head keywords and long-tail keywords in your keyword strategy.
4. Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords typically have lower competition and lower volume, but they can be easier to rank for.
If we drill down from the head keyword phrase [reading glasses] to the long-tail keyword phrase [lightweight reading glasses], which has 480/MSV, we’ll learn:
- Long-tail keywords collectively can account for 50% of or more of the site’s overall traffic.
- Users searching for this long-tail keyword are more likely to make a purchase.
Pro tip: Use long-tail keywords in your product, service, or conversion page strategy. End-stage customers are ready to make a purchase and will use these keywords to locate your website.
RSVP → Learn How To Successfully Build High-Competition And Long-Tail Keywords Into Your Strategy.
Keyword Research Tip #2: Consider The Customer Journey & User Intent
Do the keyword phrases you’ve selected align with what your customer is trying to accomplish? Do they match where your visitors are in the buyer’s journey?
The stronger and more relevant your keywords are to your users and their place within the buyer’s journey, the higher the potential to increase your traffic.
Pro tip: You can add specific phrases to your keywords to help them match what your potential customer may be searching for. These intent phrases can help you display authority for every type of shopper in their journey.
Early-Stage Customers: Awareness – Informational Intent
Early-stage customers want to consume content, and they want to learn. At this point, your goal is to become a future customers’ authoritative source, which increases your chances of a future conversion.
Pro tip: Think about how you would search for your product or services if you didn’t know they existed. What problems does your business solve? Create content by adding the following informational intent phrases to your keywords to capture early-stage customers.
Early-Stage Keyword Phrases:
Middle-Stage Customers: Comparison – Informational To Transactional Intent
Be there for your future customers when they’re considering a purchase. Create content that provides clarity around which item or service is the better choice.
Pro tip: Think about what you would research if you were deciding between multiple services or products. Create that same content for your potential audience. Add the following transactional intent phrases to your keywords to capture middle-stage customers.
Middle-Stage Keyword Phrases:
End-Stage Customers: Conversions – Transactional Intent
End-stage customers are the shoppers that convert into a sale or lead. All of your keyword research in the previous Buyer’s Journey stages builds up to this moment.
Pro-tip: Pretend you’ve done your research, and you’re ready to buy. What do you type into Google? Your customers are doing the same thing. Add those transactional phrases to your keywords.
RSVP → Get A Transactional Keyword List That Converts End-Stage Shoppers Into Customers.
Keyword Research Tip #3: Use Competitive Data To Discover Semantically Relevant Keywords
Sometimes it can be difficult to know which words are truly related.
Competitive Data can help increase your relevancy around a topic.
When you know what your competition is ranking for, you’ll know what keywords to use in your content to ensure that you are found. (If it’s relevant, of course.)
RSVP → Learn How To Uncover What Keywords Your Competition Is Using.
How To Put It All Together
Topic Ideation: For each page of content, discover topics that resonate with your audience. Put your customers first!
- Consider the location of your customer within the Buyer’s Journey.
- Match your topic ideas to their search intent.
Keyword Discovery: Plan to target 2-3 main keywords per page.
- Primary keyword – target keyword.
- Secondary keyword – supporting keyword.
- Tertiary keyword – supporting keyword.
Keyword Evaluation: Keep in mind – search volume, competition, and journey stage.
- Research and align your potential high-volume head keywords and long-tail keywords with the searcher’s intent in mind.
- Add intent phrases to help your content show up at the right time.
Optimizing our content is only half the story. Next, you’ll need to:
- Monitor keyword rankings and organic traffic.
- Analyze pages that are over-performing or under-performing.
Make sure your content and keywords are tracked to demonstrate how keyword research pays off for your business
RSVP → See A Successful Keyword Strategy Example.
[Slides] Keyword Research for SEO: Top Tips & Practices
Check out the presentation slides below:
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In-post image #1: Zack Kadish/Conductor
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