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The Fundamentals of Keyword Research

Keyword research is an integral process for your digital marketing strategies. It’s a process of narrowing down words and phrases that users are typing into their search engines to help you choose the most optimal keywords and boost your SEO. 

Have you ever searched for something on Google just for the results to be underwhelming and not at all the answer you need? Maybe you figured out to switch up the phrasing or swap out a word for a synonym and suddenly there’s more information that you could have dreamt of. This is what proper keyword research can do for your brand.

The quality of your keywords matters. You can spend time developing amazing content but if you select the wrong keyword to focus on, it’s a wasted effort. Keywords are not only important for SEO but can potentially set the tone for your larger marketing strategies and bring you new perspectives on your target audience. If you don’t follow the process for finding, analyzing, and implementing keywords, you’re doing yourself a disservice. 

Finding Keywords

Before you start making lists of all possible variants of keywords, be sure you know your niche. You should have an in-depth understanding of the topics, subtopics, and any themes. The goal is to come up with topics that have a high search volume, so your topics can be generalized. Then start brainstorming keywords in those different topics. 

One trick to quickly checking if you’re on to something is to start typing it into Google or YouTube and allowing those search engines to fill in the rest. It can be a fairly simple and effective way to find keywords because if Google is suggesting it, it must be valid data. Check out the bottom of Google’s search page after you enter a topic in, the related keywords can also give you ideas for where to start when finding that perfect keyword. 

This is true for all major websites with search bars such as Wikipedia and forums like Reddit. For example, just by typing “digital marketing” into Wikipedia’s search bar, the contents bar in the resulting page offers a ton of different keywords to work off of within digital marketing. With Reddit, you can look at the subreddits for your topics and focus on the threads with the most comments.

Here are some free keyword research tools, but don’t underestimate how powerful your own research can be in terms of understanding your target audience and what they’re really talking about.  

Once you have your list of keywords, it’s time to analyze them.

Analyzing Keywords

Your keywords should have a high search volume, be relevant to your content, and rank well in SEO to get you some traffic to your website. It’s time to filter the keywords you’ve generated. Your keyword should be popular, Google Keyword Planner can give you the search volume data from Google’s database so you know your selected word or phrase will be high impact.  

Is your keyword relevant to your content while also satisfying the needs of your target audience? If you cannot positively answer this question, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

Lastly, one metric that you should be using to help with your SEO is keyword difficulty. This measures how difficult it is to rank a term. Just about all of the keyword research tools have the keyword difficulty metric available. 

Using Keywords

So, you’ve found the perfect keyword, what next? Of course, you’ll curate some type of content with your keyword but do so with care. Here are some best practices for SEO when it comes to implementing your keywords: 

  • Don’t overuse it (throughout the text)
  • Include it in your title
  • Include it in your meta description
  • Make sure it’s in your first paragraph
  • It should be present in one subheading

Here are some additional tips for SEO.

Finals Thoughts on Keyword Research

Spend the time researching and analyzing keywords to make the most out of your content. Keep in mind that while keyword research tools can do the heavy lifting for you, it’s always to your benefit to do your own research into your target market. Don’t forget to also check out what your competition is publishing so you can stay up to date and just as relevant. You may even come up with a more powerful keyword under the same topic.