What is it and why is it important?
You have your own business and your biggest challenge is getting your service or product in front of the right people. What does keyword research have to do with getting my product in front of the right people? Well that's a good question, it has plenty to do with that. This method allows you to gain knowledge of what your customer base and potential customers are searching through search engines. This can help you stay ahead of your competition and it will help you to be more relevant in your specific market.
Now your going to ask well what is keyword research?
As the name suggest it is researching keywords that relate to your service or product that you sell. Specifically when you know what your audience is searching for, it can help you understand and figure out what to rank for. This method can help marketers understand which keywords to are high in demand and it can also identify how hard it is to then compete for those when it comes to organic search results through Google, Bing and Yahoo etc.
Keyword research is a very important part of SEO but it isn't just about seeing how many searches a keyword had. The whole point of it is, in fact, finding the various amount of ways that people research specific ideas and topics. Nowadays, Google has become incredibly good and understand natural searches.
Researching keywords is also part of content marketing alongside search engine optimization and this is because your next big idea can come from it. You can learn a lot about what your audience needs and what they are specifically looking for if anything. The biggest thing here is that if you research keywords properly it can be used to drive the traffic that you need (the right people) to your site and it is more then likely that you would be able to convert that traffic.
Now your going to ask how often should keyword research be done?
There is no set schedule but I can say for certain that it isn't a one time task. It needs to be done consistently as your website is built of this research. So considering that it is part of your foundation it needs regular maintenance. There are new keyword popping up all the time and your audience's needs and wants will grow and change with time, so you need to be on top of this.
Keyword research is 100% worth doing all the time and even when your considering making new content on your website. This can be anything from a brand new website or making a new blog post or if you have decided to promote a product or service. When your audience head to your website, it needs to answer any questions they may have. So you should regularly check to see how people search, but not the most popular ones, you should look at the more specific searches. This can enable you to create content that people will enjoy and even share.
Which one do I use then?
Well there are amazing tools that can be used to help with keyword research, and these can be used for startups too. Below three tools that I've used and liked.
Google Keyword Planner (GKP)
So a few years back Google had a tool called Google Keyword Tool which was then Google's Keyword Planner (I will abbreviate to GKP, it is just easier) and it is the good place to start. The tech giant has it's own keyword planner (obviously) but it is now part of Google's Adwords platform. It is targeted to those who are looking to do research for their PPC campaigns, but do not panic, you can still use this tool even if you don't have an active ad. With GKP you can search for new keywords, get search volumes for certain keywords. It can give you forecasts for traffic for certain keyword.
You need to have a Google Adwords account to use their keyword planner but these keywords can be put into ad groups and ideas which can help with SEO. You should keep a close eye on the monthly searches, competition and the other metrics that can determine the right keywords to target. Keyword Planner also has suggestions to build long tail keywords with the help of other tools.
So what makes GKP keyword data useful when it comes to SEO?
Okay so GKP will let you see a number of things such as search volume, showing how many people are interested in your topic. It shows the cost-per-click, how much it would cost you per click for that keyword. Keyword difficulty it shown, whether you can rank for it or not? GKP also shows the ranking probability for keywords and whether it is worth investing your time to try and rank or just wasting time, and lastly, conversion. If you get the traffic will you be able to convert it?.
With these key points you may be able to get Google's keyword estimates in detail but you shouldn't use it as the only keyword research tool but it is great for ideas and keywords but if you are going to use GKP then you should set up a text based ad group and a shopping campaign which targets your product (if eCommerce is your thing).
All in all GKP is pretty well suited if you know how to use it. This tool is considered pretty good as you can find keyword, ad groups etc. for free.
If you need help on how to work GKP, Backlinko has a fantastic step by step guide to help get you started.
This tool is created by the boffins at Moz and it adds a few extra parameters to keyword research. While its not free like Google's Keyword Planner it still is a decent tool. It is a paid for tool but you can use it for 20 search queries in a month, if you want to use it more then that you need to pay for it. They have a few different plans, Standard, Medium, Large and Premium. the cheapest option comes in a $99 (which is roughly £71.30) per month, but to be quite fair your paying for Moz Pro and all they tools they have are then at your disposal.
Moz's Keyword Explorer adds volume and difficulty of words but it also gives organic CTR (click-through-rates) and priority. For the image above the search term 'affiliate marketing' was used and it shows that there is between 30.0k - 70.8k a month. It shows the difficulty which tells you how hard it is to rank on page 1 of Google. For affiliate marketing is shows a difficulty level of 80 which means it will be very hard to rank on page 1 for Google. Difficulty is ranked between 1-100.
Organic CTR tells you the percentage of people who click on your website. Its 53%, this tells you what percentage of searchers are likely to click on the organic results. Lastly, you come to priority. The priority for affiliate marketing is 67. Now Moz say that you rarely get anything above 80 (except scotch whiskey). So the priority is a score for all the metrics before. If you have a high volume and low difficulty you will have a higher priority, which means you have a better chance of ranking higher.
Moz's Keyword Explorer takes from Google's Keyword Planner, Google Suggest (Google's auto-complete function) and related searches. If you have a list of keywords that work for you you can upload them to Moz's tool and get more insight and even start prioritizing the keywords you have already.
If you want a more in depth review of Moz's Keyword Explorer check out Martechwiz's review for Moz Pro.
This one is my favorite keyword tool. KWFinder is super easy to use and its simple. So let's dive right into this. KWFinder is made my Mangools who have a couple of other useful tools SERPChecker, SERPWatcher and LinkMiner (this is a new tools that has been released recently).
So let's get right into it and say you want to target the keywords around 'healthy eating'.
The amazing thing about KWFinder is that everything is one page. The left hand side shows suggestion, search trends (over the last 12 months), search volume, cost-per-click, ppc (how much competition you have) and keyword seo difficulty (which is measure between 1-100).
You can easily see other keyword suggestions to focus on or even include in your content. you may find keywords that you may think are irrelevant but almost all keyword tools do this so it is a minor issue. You can find long-tail keywords (KWFinder claims to be good at this) which have little or next to no competition..
With this tool you can even be extremely specific with the location. So if your business is based in the United Kingdom, that is a bit too broad for a search, so let's focus on London, which is a good start, but you can be even more specific and focus on Stratford, London for example. Comes in handy when your focusing on a specific location especially if you run a business for food delivery. If your business works internationally then you can search by language.
On the right side you have the SERP checker (can be used as a separate tool). Very powerful tool when you are trying to analyse the SERPs for your target keywords. KWFinder also gives you a difficulty rating which you can decide whether it is worth pursuing that keyword. Anything about 74 is going to be extremely difficult to get so just keep that in mind if your going to use this tool.
To get an in depth review for KWFinder check out Woorkup's review by Brian Jackson (he clearly loves this tool).
I hope this information is helpful for you. This is a very brief overview of keyword research and tools you can use. If you want more information about these tools check out the links for each review I have left for each tool, they are definitely worth going through. I'd love for you to see out SEO page as well and see if the information on their can help you too!