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How to Do Keyword Research

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This is probably not the first article you’ve seen about keyword research, it might however be one that you’ll actually understand. Instead of going the extra mile and trying to impress you with fancy synonyms, I’m going to use the ones that are commonly used in our vocabulary and that actually makes sense. I will take you through the necessary information you need to understand the world of keywords, why they are vital, what they can do and how to use them.

This is how I would put it, and I’m not trying to make your head spin…

To understand the meaning of a keyword you need to know the importance of it.
To understand the importance of it you need to be aware of what it can do.
To be able to understand what it can do you need to know what difference it can make.
To understand what difference it can make you need to know what it is.

Let’s do this.

                                                   What is a keyword?

First things first, there’s primary and secondary keywords, the difference? The primary will be the one keyword you chose to be the face of the brand, site, page etc. Put simply, primary keywords are “the most important keywords”. However this is up to every person to decide and there are no rules about what a primary keyword must be. Logically the secondary keyword will most commonly be a keyword that is significant, relevant and explanatory for the site or page and has a big search volume.

Search Volume = The amount of people searching for a specific keyword.

Breaking it down for you, a keyword is a (can be more than one) word that has a key importance to your website, page or blog – it’s what makes it rank and receive the right traffic and readers (cannot stress enough how important it is to get the right kind of traffic). The higher the rank with the right keyword, the more valuable traffic you get and, therefore, more success. To find the right keyword for your site you need to figure out the sites genre and subject. What do you want it to stand for and what do you want it to be related to?

 

What is a long tail keyword?

A long tail keyword is defined through several vital keywords put together to build one smart, attracting sentence. For example, IKEA’s done their keyword research and established that they have 5 popular keywords related to them with a high search volume. Other than the brand name itself ‘Ikea’, there´s ‘Ikea furniture’, ‘home delivery’, ‘cheap kitchens’, ‘comfortable beds’ and ‘buy furniture’. Let’s see what kind of long tail keyword we can make of this.

‘Home delivery on cheap kitchens’

‘Comfortable beds at Ikea furniture’

‘Home delivery when you buy furniture at Ikea’

These are examples of how to get a couple of your most relevant and popular keywords into a longer sentence. This was you have a bigger chance of ranking for more than one of them. There are tools to help you with this if you feel like you need something to get you started, but once you get in to it, it’s easy.

Let’s look at some examples of how companies could pursue their keyword optimisation.

Zalando is an international shopping portal with web stores in most of the European countries. They have a big range of varied products in their stock, everything from clothes to accessories, bags and shoes. Let’s refer to their home page, http://www.zalando.se/, their primary keyword here would be ‘Zalando’, for branding purpose and keyword suggestions could be ‘fashion online’, ‘shop online’ or ‘fashion web store’. Secondary keywords to add and highlight could be ‘free shipping’, ‘fast delivery’ or ‘safe payment methods’, strong points for someone who wants shop online. Like I mentioned before, long tail keywords are becoming more vital too, a way to use it here could be ‘Shop fashion online with free shipping at Zalando’.

Let’s look at the jewellery brand Sophie by Sophie and one of her category pages http://sophiebysophie.com/sbs/product-category/bracelets. She has just like most of the websites separated her different designs by unique categories, this will make it more user friendly for us customers when we go on the site but it will also make it easier for her to implement the correct keywords and get a better ranking. For Sophie by Sophie´s bracelet category her primary keyword would most likely be ‘bracelet’ or ‘bracelets’. Secondary and long tail keywords for this page could be
‘designer bracelets’. ‘Gold bracelets’ or ‘buy bracelets from Sophie by Sophie’, depending on what’s popular searches for bracelets and jewellery.

 ‘A keyword is a word or concept of great significance’.

How to keyword research – what, how, whom and why?

What to do, how to do it, whom to target and why? When starting your keyword research it’s best to use a keyword tool, this will not only help you find the selected keywords search volume and popularity but will also give you suggestions based on the keywords you’ve typed in. This will help you open your eyes and understand what people search for. Google offers a free keyword tool that is simple to use. Always select the country and language you’re keywords should be in not to get the wrong data, on top of that there are several other filters to choose from if you’d like. The ‘local search’ volume is the column for you, unless you’re doing a worldwide research.

It’s also worth entering the different search engines like Bing, Yahoo or Google and type in for example ‘Ikea’, the search engine will suggest sentences or words that you or the keyword tool haven’t thought of yet.

keywords-02
The picture is taken from Google keyword tool, here you see different suggestions of keywords.

Ideally you’d like to find a keyword with a high search volume which at the same time has the least competitors. Starting a new site with the word “furniture” can be hard as it’s such a general word that we know already will have a huge amount of search results, in fact 786,000,000 on Google UK. You also want to have keywords that you know will give you the right traffic, here quality is better than quantity, especially if you’re an ecommerce site. Ikea has no profit of ranking for “shoes”, “electronics” or “cars” as they can’t provide this to the customer. The page will lose its value by providing ‘false’ content and the bounce rate (read more about this below) will shoot up like a rocket in the sky, and we don’t want that. The keywords always need to be relevant to each site or page, very important.

 This is why keywords have such a vital value for your success.

keywords-01

Then what?

Once you got your keyword research done, you will implement the keywords and build your content on the site. Once you have your new site or new keywords done it’s important that you monitor its impact. Is your traffic improving, are less people buying, what’s working and what’s not working? To be able to follow the back end of your website and analyse the data, you will need an analysing tool. Google offers one of these as well, called Google Analytics. Once you learn analytics you most likely won’t be able to let it go, that’s the effect it has on you. Here you can see (almost) everything, that is happening on the site, even as we speak! In terms of the keywords, you will be able to study what keywords people are using to enter the site, where they go, where they come from, if they stay, if they buy, if they come back, or if they leave instantly. Through this, you learn what keywords are successful for you, and, of course, which ones you need to change.

To summarise… 

When someone is teaching me something I need to know why things work like they do, not only how. I need to see the whole picture to understand, something my teachers in school would roll their eyes at all the time. It’s easy to say ‘do this and it will work’, but without knowing why it will work the results won’t end up the same. Still, just to summarise, I’ve put together a quick step by step keyword research guide for you to remember when you enter the world of keywords.

  1. Establish what your site/page is about
  2. Do your research – look at search engine suggestions & competitors
  3. Use a keyword tool
  4. Select your primary & secondary keywords – remember; you’re looking for relevant keywords with high search volume.
  5. Implement the keywords to optimise your page
  6. Study the progress through analytics