How Does Keyword Research Influence Your SEO Strategy?
Keyword research lies at the heart of every effective SEO service. By researching and developing an understanding of the keywords that your customers are typing into search engines when looking for your products and services, you can build a content strategy that is perfectly optimised for both keywords and visitors.
This has several benefits:
- Higher search rankings: The main objective of keyword research is to help us get your site to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). By identifying what keywords your customers are using to search for your services you may even start to rank for search terms you hadn’t even thought of before.
- Website segmentation and UX: Undertaking a keyword research exercise means evaluating the services and products you offer and how best you can segment these on your website. This may mean we need create new pages or even lose others that aren’t helping. This helps to improve the user experience (UX) and thus increasing conversions and visitor dwell time.
- More informed content: Getting your web pages higher in the SERPs is one thing but getting people to click on them is another. Keyword research unlocks insights into your target audience by telling you what they are searching for and by association what kind of content they want to read. All this will help us create value adding content that is more likely to get clicked on and shared.
- More relevant website traffic: Many people are surprised at what kind of keywords their website is ranking for, simply because the content hasn’t been properly optimised. By conducting proper keyword research, we can create content that ranks for the right search terms and as a result drive more relevant traffic to your website.
- Identification of content gaps: Keyword research will reveal just how popular some keywords and key phrases are compared to others. Instead of trying to unrealistically rank for highly competitive keywords, this kind of gap analysis will allow us to target neglected keywords that might have lower search volume but which will still deliver highly relevant traffic to your site.
How do we do Keyword Research?
Our keyword research combines a number of processes and tools to create an accurate and data driven keyword map and content strategy. We will extract ranking and keyword data using tools like Google Search Console and tailored SEO software like Ahrefs and WebCEO, pulling data in from various sources to make sure no stone is left unturned.
With the potential for thousands, if not millions, of potential keyword combinations that could relate to your business and what you do, we need to break some of these keywords down into their various component parts. Keyword structure can be understood through the search demand curve which is broken down as follows:
Head terms or “Fat Head”
The fat head makes up 18.5% of all searches conducted on the internet and will typically contain just one or two keywords. These head terms will have a high to very high search volume (anything from thousands to millions of monthly searches) and as such tend to be very competitive, as they have the potential to deliver a huge volume of traffic. Althoguh head keywords represent a huge volume of search, unlike long-tail keywords, they tend to imply less consumer intent and so have lower conversion rates.
The chunky middle represents 11.5% of all searches and consists of a far greater number of potential search queries. Like the fat head terms these tend to be high volume and highly competitive search queries with considerable traffic of hundreds or even thousands of monthly searches. Like fat head terms though, they also do not tend to convert as well as long-tail terms.
At 70%, the long-tail makes up the majority of all internet searches and will consist of two or more (usually more) words. Although monthly search volume is in the tens or less, there are literally billions of potential long-tail search queries so they represent a huge amount of the potential traffic out there if you can rank well for a significant number of them. What’s more, because these search queries are a lot longer, they tend to be more specific which usually implies more user intent. Conversion rates are therefore around two and a half times higher for long-tail terms compared to head and chunky middle terms.
Why do we optimise for all three?
Whilst it’s important to optimise your content for both fat head and chunky middle, a leading SEO expert once warned that businesses ‘ignore the long-tail at your peril’. Whilst header terms have the potential to deliver a lot of traffic, it’s the long tail terms that tend to catch people later on in the purchasing cycle.
If we were to take a website that sells Apple computers for example, then a search like ‘Apple computer’ might be a very useful term for this site to rank for but it also implies the searcher is just browsing Apple computers and hasn’t made up their mind about what they want yet. If we were to take a long-tail search though like ‘Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display and 13 inch screen’ then we can infer that this person has made their mind up and is pretty ready to buy.
By optimising your website for terms that span the head and long tail, we can drive volume whilst also bringing in traffic from very specific search queries.
Our Top Keyword Research Tools
Google Search Console
A free tool and one of the most useful and accurate ways of determining what your site is ranking for, as well as other important metrics like click through rate (CTR).
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Although you need an AdWords account to use Google’s Keyword Planner it still remains one of the most insightful tools out there when it comes to ascertaining search volume and competitiveness on your keywords.
One of the most powerful and respect SEO tools out there, Ahrefs gives us a huge range of metrics on keywords and their potential traffic, value, rankings, etc.
Another extremely effective piece of SEO software, WebCEO allows us to perform a whole range of tasks, including rank tracking and a dedicated keyword research tool.
SE Rankings lets us track a large number of keywords over time and has a suite of other tools such as page and site audit and backlink checker.
Keyword.io is a free web based tool that suggests various keyword variations on a given keyword. Perfect for extracting long-tail keywords from a single keyword.
Like Keyword.io, Ubersuggest.io is a tool for generating multiple keyword ideas from a single keyword. Perfect for long-tail keyword brainstorming and content ideation.
A more general idea generator for content marketing, Storybase will help us to identify potential topics and titles for your blog, as well as related long-tail keywords.