Effective keyword research is the foundation for strategic success
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In order for a business to be found online by interested parties in the era of Google, its website and content need to be optimized for specific keyword terms relating to what it does and sells.
But it isn’t just about optimizing web pages and content to be found by people – it’s about being found by the right people. The fundamental benefit of keyword optimization is that it allows businesses to generate high-quality, targeted traffic. In other words, people interested in what the business does, sells or has to say.
Therefore, for any business just getting started with a website build, content strategy and/or marketing plan – effective keyword research lays the foundation for strategic success.
The main question, though, is where to begin?
In this blog, we’ll explain the basics of effective keyword research, search intent, content optimization and how all of this sets your website up for success.
Understanding Short and Long-tail Keyword Terms
Start by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think about their business challenges and what they might type into Google to find the products and services you offer. This will help you to build your list of primary keywords:
For example, if you sell recruitment software – your primary keywords might be:
However, you can’t rely on these broad keyword terms alone. Though these terms have high search volume, they are incredibly competitive which makes them difficult to rank for.
So instead of relying on primary keywords alone, you also build a list of long-tail keywords tied into your primary keywords. These long-tail keywords are three, four or five-word phrases that are very specific to what you provide. Long-tail keyword terms will often have less search volume than broad terms but will generate more qualified traffic and are easier to rank for.
Well, first and foremost, most searchers using these highly specific search terms tend to be looking for exactly what they are interested in/going to buy. They signal different levels of intent.
You wouldn’t type a phrase like “purchase recruitment software for enterprises” into Google if you weren’t interested in finding out more or buying it.
As for long-tail keyword terms being easier to rank for, it comes down to the amount of competition. Broad keyword terms like recruitment software are difficult to rank for because established vendors/websites monopolized the term years ago.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, and perhaps rather ironically, provide businesses with short-term wins as they are low competition and deliver targeted traffic. This is the most effective approach to keyword research and web page optimisation.
As your product and sector pages begin to generate targeted traffic, they gradually move up search engine rankings and any value attributed to these pages is also distributed back to the main overview page, increasing its rank too.
Another reason why keywords lay the foundation for strategic success is that they all indicate different levels of intent.
Search engines today are capable of handling complex queries and delivering accurate results. Subsequently, more and more of us are executing searches using language we would use if we were speaking to someone else: “best restaurants in London”, “where can I find an Apple store” and so on.
But what’s often overlooked in the process of effective keyword research and analysis is the level of intent searches have. Search intent can be roughly split into four areas.
Commercial intent refers to searchers who are likely to act. Usually, these searches will include a target keyword phrase and the following modifiers: buy, purchase, deals.
Informational intent is when searchers are trying to find out more about something. Searches of this nature will include: how to, why, benefits of
Transactional intent falls between commercial and informational as someone using this kind of search could be ready to buy or might just want to find out more. Searches will use the following terms: reviews of, vs, benefits, features.
Keywords that include brand names signal navigational intent, meaning a searcher knows exactly what they’re looking for but just need help getting there. Navigational searches will include your business’ name plus what the searcher is looking for.
By understanding intent, you can make better use of your keywords and understand what your target audience is looking for.
Think about all the content you create from the perspective of the searcher and website visitor. If you have done the diligent work of constructing buyer personas, you will be able to clearly identify pain points and create search engine optimized content that solves the problems of your target audience.