Delete’s Digital Marketing Director, Polly Pospelova, recently spoke on this topic at BrightonSEO. If you missed the event or you simply want to know more about this subject, here’s a summary of what Polly had to say.
The ‘key words’ to help drive your keyword strategy
Delete’s SEO Manager has put together a guide to show you why keyword research should be at the forefront of your digital strategy. First, let’s look at why keyword research is important…
Keyword research and having a keyword strategy in place is one of the fundamentals of SEO. They should form a part of any Digital Marketing strategy, from content creation to on-page seo, backlink strategies, PPC/paid social campaigns and so much more.
At Delete, we’ve put together a guide to show you why keyword research should be at the forefront of your digital strategy. First, let’s look at why keyword research is important…
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is typically the first step of any campaign and gives you a solid foundation to then work from. This research not only helps you to gain insight into your industry but also the audience that interact with it. Keyword research has essentially replaced market research in the modern day!
Developing keyword ideas
The first step of keyword research is to actually develop your list of keywords. Why not start by brainstorming a list of key terms you feel represents your brand, company or industry? Ask yourself what you would be searching for to find your company, service or product as well as what you would like people to search for to find your company.
If your website has already been established then a good place to start is to find what people are already using to find you. You can find all this information in Google Search Console.
In the left hand column, select ‘ Performance’ and then scroll down to the ‘Queries’ section.
Here you can select a date range and find all the queries that Google users are using to find your website. You can use that data to find keywords to target that maybe you’re not performing as well as you’d like, as well as use as “seed” keywords in further research.
You can also filter down by page to pull up specific search query results per page or sub section of a website. So, for example if you wanted to find out the specific data for /marketing/seo/, you would paste that section of the URL into the filter and it would pull through all the search queries that have brought users to your site using that key term.
Create subject fields
Another useful approach is to start with top level keyword groups, so you can then form keyword lists around those, for example related terms or question based long-tail keywords.
This is where it is useful to have a discussion with your team to find your key content areas and form keyword groups around those. So, if you’re a football team for example, you may form top level keyword lists around Matches, Store, Stadium and Players to name a few examples.
How to use Google Keyword Planner
You can use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find phrase matches and related terms for some of the key terms you’ve discovered. This is a free tool and you just need a Google account (One with an active Ads campaign is best) to access it.
For example, if you identified a top level keyword such as “Coffee Beans”, you can use their phrase match software to find similar keyword phrases. This then helps you form a list of keywords around a particular subject.
You can also do a manual search in Google yourself to find phrases. So, again, if you use the keyword “Coffee Beans’ and scroll to the bottom of Google’ search engine results pages (SERPs) you’ll find the “Searches related to” section:
You can then add some of these keywords to your list if they’re relevant.
SEMRush Keyword Planner
SEMRush is a paid tool but it has excellent keyword research features. Not only does it give you a similar list to Google of phrase match keywords and questions, it also allows you to see what your competitors are ranking for and in what position. This way, you can build a list of keywords around what your competitors already rank for.
You can also do a rankings comparison between their rankings and your own to see if there are any keyword gaps or opportunities for you to rank higher.
As you can see with SEMRush’s tool, it gives you a range of useful data including monthly search volume, current ranking position and the week on week ranking difference (whether you’ve moved up or down) as well as the traffic %.
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs is another paid tool that you can use for keyword research, in particular their Keyword Explorer Tool:
You can upload as many keywords as you like and it gives you a number of different keyword ideas from the following:
It also gives you specific keyword data such as:
- Keyword Difficulty
- Search Volume
- Monthly Clicks
- Cost Per Click
- Parent Topic
How do you know how difficult a keyword is to rank for?
A keyword is usually assigned a “Keyword Difficulty” which tells you how hard a keyword is to rank for. The lower the score, the easier it will be to rank for.
So, this is how keyword difficulty is assigned:
- Broad top level keywords - these are top level keywords. So a keyword like “T Shirt” would be classed as harder to rank for but would arguably drive little traffic because it’s such a broad key term.
- Body Keywords - Slightly more specific keywords such as “Black t shirt” are still broad, but would be easier to rank for so would have a lower difficulty score.
- Long tail keywords - Phrases with 4+ words such as “Black Adidas t shirt size S” have lower competition and less searches but higher conversion rates because they’re more specific.
Identity User Intent
It’s important that you fully identify what the user's intent is when searching for a key term. What part of the funnel are they in? Are they a top of the funnel user looking for a broad product (e.g voice search device) or are they further along the funnel, i.e do they know the specific product they want (e.g Amazon Alexa)?
So when creating your keyword lists, it’s important to take this into consideration. As above, imagine your keyword lists in three funnels, with broader key terms being top of the funnel, body keywords being middle of the funnel and long tail keywords bottom of the funnel.
Check Keywords Trends
Keywords trends are a great way to see how popular a keyword is over a period of time. Anyone remember when Joe Wicks shot up in popularity of COVID Lockdown 1.0? Here’s a reminder:
If there are any specific keywords you deem as most important for your brand, it’s worth putting them into Google Search Trends to see whether interest has had any major peaks or drops. You can use this data to decide whether you want to target a specific keyword. For example, you may want to rank for a keyword like “roasted coffee beans” you can see that there were some big drops March and September but otherwise interest stayed at a fairly similar level:
If you compare this to the Joe Wicks graph, this is fairly typical to see, whereas Joe Wicks has an obvious period of growth before dropping away again. So in this instance, you would put this keyword in your keyword list.
Keyword Content Strategy (H2)
When it comes to creating content, keywords naturally should be at the forefront of your thinking. This isn’t just within the main body of content but also header tags, alt tags and internal link anchor text.
When you create a header tag, it’s key to try and ensure they’re keyword optimised. This isn’t always possible to achieve as naturally you need to make the sections relatable to the content within them. Headers, however, are a great opportunity to use some of those previously researched keyword questions. For example, if we go back to our trusty ‘Coffee Beans” example, you could use “How to grind coffee beans”, which has a search volume of 350, as a header.
Alt tags are assigned to images which are typically used to break up content to make it more readable for the user. Alt tags provide better image descriptions to search engine crawlers, this helps them to be indexed properly. For example, with the below image of Scarborough beach, you may want to rank for “Scarborough beach” as a keyword, so essentially by adding that phrase as an alt tag, you’re giving Google a helping hand.
Internal linking is an important part of any website as it gives you fluidity between content and key pages on your site. It’s recommended that rather than using link text such as “Find Out More” and “Click here” you use relatable anchor text. So if the article is about “How to rank for top keywords” you use anchor text related to that article.
We hope you enjoyed our keyword research guide. If you have any questions or need help with your keyword strategy then feel free to get in touch with us.