Every startup owner is willing to grow their business to thrive in the competitive online space.
Therefore, one of the major ways to ensure that is through excellent keyword research to successfully implement SEO in your marketing strategy.
According to BrightEdge research, SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media.
Additionally, 60% of marketers say that inbound (SEO, blog content, etc) is their highest quality source of leads.
In this guide, we discuss what keyword research is all about, its importance and how to carry it out successfully.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research refers to the method of finding words and phrases relevant to your industry that your target audience consistently uses in search engines like Google and Bing.
The words or phrases are keywords. Keyword research will help you create a list of keywords for your startup.
Why is Keyword Research Important for Your Startup?
SEO is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy, and keyword research is important to implement effective SEO.
Also, you get to have golden insights as keywords reflect a consumer’s needs. This will impact your decision-making, marketing campaign, and choice of content creation.
Additionally, the terms you use to describe your brand’s services can be entirely different from your consumer’s description of your brand. It is no brainer whose language matters; keyword research will help you know your exact consumers’ words.
Finally, with the discovery of searcher intent, you learn the phrases and the motive behind the search. This makes keyword research a gift that keeps on giving.
Keyword Research can help with the following:
- Generation of content ideas
- Marketing direction
- Target audience Insight
- Website traffic
- Organic rankings
- Lead generation
- Link building
How Do You Find Keyword Ideas?
The first step to successful keyword research is coming up with keyword ideas.
First, outline various broad topics related to your startup.
Those broad topics will now be narrowed down to phrases related to those topics which we will now refer to as keywords.
Ask yourself, what are the general topics attached to my business?
For example, if your Startup is Fintech, broad topics can be:
- Big Data
Now, these topics are your lead way into discovering relevant keywords. There are tools and resources to help you find keywords.
Some of the tools simply provide you with keyword ideas, while others go as far as giving you insight evaluating or analyzing the keywords ideas or suggestions.
We have listed the best tools below and how to use them.
1. Google Auto-suggest
When you type a term on Google, it comes up with several popular phrases related to that term in their search engine. These phrases will give you keyword ideas;
2. Google’s “people also ask” section
There’s a section in the middle of the Google results page of a search term, called “people also ask”. It provides a string of related questions that people search for.
3. Google Related Searches
This is the section at the bottom of the Google results page that contains keywords in connection to your search topic. It’s called “Related searches”.
4. Google Trends
This is a keyword research tool that gives you insight into your startup’s trendy keywords and their search volume.
Google trends can also help you generate keyword ideas. For example, say your topic of choice is “Budget”, type it in the search box.
Then on the results page, scroll down to the bottom, you will see two sections titled, “related topics” and “related queries”.
Under these categories, you will find different keyword ideas designated under two filters “Top and Rising”.
You will want to focus more on the phrases under the “Top” filter, as “Rising” is more breaking news related.
You can keep on scrolling under the section to reveal more phrases.
SEMrush is a worthy investment of your money if you desire deeper and more in-depth keyword research.
Not only do they provide you with millions of keywords, but you also get to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
SEMrush has a keyword magic tool that can help you generate keyword ideas:
For example, say your topic of choice is “Loans”.
Go to the keyword magic tool feature;
Type “Loans” in the search box, you will be shown different related keyword ideas under different filters to your interest. Also, you have two options to view your results, either “All” or “Questions”.
The filters available for viewing keyword ideas include;
- Broad match
- Phrase match
- Exact match and
Finally, all of these will provide you with a wealth of keyword ideas that are further broken down into more keywords when you click on the touchdown feature.
Ahrefs has a keyword tool called “Keyword Explorer”.
This tool allows you to discover keyword ideas and evaluate them comprehensively to know if it’s the right fit for your startup.
Ahrefs provides you with a ton of keyword suggestions and its analysis based on various search engines available.
Reddit is a popular platform amongst consumers. People go there daily to get more details on products or brands in general.
Therefore, head on to the site to type in one of your brand-related broad topics, and you will be shown different communities that your target audience belongs to.
For example, “Mortgages” is your broad topic:
When you type in mortgages, communities under it will appear:
When you join these communities, you will be hanging out with your target audience. Also, you will gain insight into the different words they use and their expectations from your industry.
Finally, look out for discussions with high engagement that surround these topics and take note of the phrases that come up consistently. Also, the questions people ask can give you keyword ideas.
Here’s an example:
A discussion with high engagement means it’s a topic that garners a lot of attention.
GSC is a great webmaster tool that can help you find lots of keyword ideas to work with based on previous performance.
When you go to your performance reports on GSC, you will find terms (keywords) that got the most clicks and impressions.
Therefore, from that result, you can generate more related phrases to those terms to develop keyword ideas.
This time, you are not just working with a keyword predicted to deliver, but one that has delivered.
9. YouTube Auto-suggest
Just like Google provides you with suggestions for your search terms, the same goes for YouTube. With YouTube being the second most visited website in the world, its suggestions shouldn’t be taken lightly.
10. Google Keyword Planner
Google keyword planner is an amazing resource for keyword ideas because this is Google directly telling you “hey, here are phrases and words that work”. No one knows better.
With this tool, you will get information on the volume of a keyword’s monthly search and competition analysis.
Types of Keywords
So you have tons of keywords ideas to use for your brand, however, you can’t use them all.
Then, how do you know the keywords that you should rank for and the ones to leave?
First off, here are different types of keywords you should know;
- Head Keywords
These are broad keywords that lead the searcher to a more specific query.
They refer to popular single words that have a high search volume and competition. Words like “Travel” or “Fashion” are difficult to rank for because they have no direction.
- Body Keywords
Body Keywords are a short string of 2-3 phrases that has a more recognizable searcher intent compared to head keywords.
Phrases like “Travel Agencies” or “Luxury Fashion Tips”. They are still quite competitive to rank for but it’s less, compared to head keywords.
- Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that reflect a searcher’s exact intent. It is highly specific containing 4 phrases and above.
Phrases like, “how to look fashionable on a budget” or “requirement for traveling to Japan”.
Long-tail keywords are what a lot of brands aim to rank for. They are more achievable, less competitive, and more convertible.
In fact, a study revealed that 69.7% of search queries contain four words or more.
Now, we know the different types of keywords, their nature, and competitive levels.
The next question is: How do you analyze a keyword’s competitive level and identify which one will be difficult to rank for?
The answer is Google search and Keyword research tools.
They will help narrow down your list to prioritize important keywords to focus on.
First, make a Google research of your chosen keyword and evaluate the sites that appear on the first results page.
Is the result page filed with authoritative websites that are far above your current status?
Then it means the keyword is a highly competitive one that you should move from.
However, if the first results page is filled with more familiar and smaller blogs, you should consider using the keyword.
Secondly, you should make use of keyword research tools; they are highly resourceful in evaluating keyword competitiveness.
We mentioned a couple of them earlier. Most of them have the Keyword competition feature that gives you an analysis of a keyword search volume and competition.
For example, here’s the competition analysis of a keyword from SEMrush:
Finally, you should simply refer to the competitive keyword analysis feature of your keywords research tool to get insights.
Prioritizing Your Keywords
Now you can find a resource for a list of keywords. You also know the types of keywords that are easier to rank for and you know how to evaluate the competitive level of keywords.
The next question is, how do you successfully curate a list of keywords that’s best for your startup?
You have to develop a checklist to run your list of keywords over.
Use the following SEO metrics to prioritize your keywords:
- Search Volume: You don’t want to aim for what nobody is searching for, and less competition doesn’t equal low search volume. Therefore a keyword’s search volume has to be decent enough to drive traffic to your site.
You need to know what is considered a high and low search volume in your industry. Then select keywords that meet the criteria of a healthy search volume.
Here are the search volumes of different keywords from a broad topic; “Budget” in SEMrush:
- Keyword Difficulty: For beginners, you need to aim for low competitive keywords to increase your chances of ranking like long-tail keywords.
Then when you begin to gain authority, you can now target high competitive keywords like body and head keywords.
Therefore, evaluate your keyword difficulty score to determine your chances of ranking for that keyword.
- Brand Relevance: Just because a keyword is doing great in your industry doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good match for your brand.
Can your startup deliver the needs for that keyword? It is no use for your site to rank for it if it can’t satisfy the searcher’s intent.
- CPC: Cost per click is an important criterion for your Keywords because the goal of driving traffic to your website is to eventually turn them into customers.
So this metric will show you if people are willing to pay for that keyword. If a keyword’s CPC is high and it matches your brand, all other metrics don’t matter. Go for it.
- Keyword Trends: How much attention is this keyword receiving? Is the interest for it dying or rising, Google trends will tell you that.
Here’s an image showcasing the interest rate of the keyword: “Budget” from Google Trends:
Although you are not supposed to make your decisions purely based on keywords’ trendiness, you can get a clue on keywords that are doing well or are predicted to do well.
Also, you can optimize existing content to fit a growing keyword.
- Searcher Intent: Evaluate your Keywords based on searcher intent; what is the searcher trying to accomplish with this search? There are four types of user intent, it can be navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional.
You want to avoid Keywords that are navigational as the searcher is seeking a specific website.
Doing all of this will allow you to develop a working Keyword strategy.
Finally, when you run your keywords by these metrics, you can now save yourself from wasting your effort and time on keywords that were doomed for your startup from the onset.
Let’s do a quick recap.
We started by understanding what keyword research is all about, why you should take it seriously, and then we dived into the how of all of it.
First, about the how of keyword research, we started with various ways to develop keyword ideas, the types of keywords in the world of SEO, and moved on to keyword analysis.
After learning how to analyze your keywords for better results, we further went on to showcase how to prioritize your keywords and have your list filled with keywords that matter to your business.
Finally, we have simplified the process of keyword research for your startup, and the necessary steps to get your intended results have been outlined.