Keyword research is the most important activity in both search and content marketing. Using the right keywords can increase the visibility of your content, which in return results in more traffic to your site. And more traffic means more leads for your business! I’m sure by now you are aware of the benefits of keyword research. What you really want to know is how to search for keywords that you can use in your content marketing. There are many articles out there that make the process of keyword research complicated and technical. However, the truth is that keyword research just like with any other marketing activity is about knowing your target audience. Therefore when you have a clear understanding of your business’s buyer personas, using keywords in your content will come naturally. Here are a couple of ways on how to search for keywords to use in your content marketing.
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1. Brainstorm your keyword ideas.
To begin your search for keywords, sit down at a desk and think about the topics you want to rank for. Think of general topics relating to your company’s activity’s, services and your customer’s needs. Try to come up with between 7-15 topics that are important to your business. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, take a look at current company material, speak to colleagues and your customer reps, who would have an idea of your customer’s needs and pain points. The key to this step is putting yourself into the shoes of your buyer personas, what would they search for or what problems are they having? For example at KDM, we provide digital marketing services to businesses. Some of the topics we might list are, “digital marketing”, “SEO”, “email marketing”, “marketing automation” and “inbound marketing”.
2. Identify keywords you’re ranking for.
To take your keyword research further, take a look at the keywords you are currently ranking for. Wondering how to do this? Simple! Login to your Google webmasters console and look at your search analytics. If you haven’t had your webmasters account for more than 3 months, you can skip this step as you may not have enough keyword data. The list of keywords you see should give you an idea of which keywords are working for you, in terms of click through and driving traffic to your site. The ones driving the most traffic indicate words that you should focus on.
3. Identify competitors keywords.
Knowing your competitor’s keywords could help speed the process of keyword research. Simply because your competitors may have already done the tedious process of keyword researching for you. And all you have to do is pick the ones you want to rank for and create content around these. If you don’t know who your competitors are, enter your topic areas from step 1 into Google and see who appears in the search results. A great tool you can use is SEMRush (you can also try Ahrefs). In SEMrush enter your competitor’s domain into the search bar and look at the organic research section for the keywords.
4. Use suggestions from Google.
Still struggling to find the right keywords? One of the easiest methods of finding keywords is doing a simple Google search. Search the keywords from your brainstorm into Google and take a look at the suggestions provided as you type or at bottom of the search results. You might even find some really interesting ideas or titles for your blog posts.
5. Create a spreadsheet to record your keywords.
You now have a list of multiple keywords that you can use in your content marketing. The next step is to organise your list of keywords (so they don’t drive you crazy). The best way to do this is by creating a spreadsheet to record your keywords. This way you won’t forget any important keywords and have a document to refer to every time you’re creating content. Create separate columns to sort your keywords from long-tail words to head terms. For anyone who doesn’t know the difference, a long-tail keyword is typically a phrase that contains more than 3 words. And a head term is a keyword under 3 words long. It’s best to focus on long-tail words in your content, but also use related head terms.
6. Determine the high opportunity keywords.
With all your keywords organised, it’s time to do a bit of digging to find the high opportunity keywords. For this step, you can use Google keyword planner to determine the search volume and competitiveness of each of your keywords. A good rule of thumb is choosing a mix of keywords, with high, low and medium competitiveness. This way your website can get traffic from niche keywords, as well as more mass market topics. Record the data on monthly search volumes and competitiveness into your spreadsheet, so you can easily sort the keywords out. At this point, you may find that some of your keywords have zero monthly searches. This indicates that the topic is too narrow for anyone to search for and it’s probably best to ignore the keyword for now.
7. Narrow your list down.
You finally come to the end of your keyword research. Now it’s time to narrow your list down into the most valuable keywords for your business. To do this you can consider a keyword’s monthly search volume, how related it is to your business and how it links to your buyer persona’s needs. Try to list at least 30 keywords for you to start building your content around.
8. Create a content outline.
Finally, based on your keywords try to create some titles or headings around these for your content. For inspiration, you can search for your chosen keywords in tools, like Buzzsumo for top posts in that area. Forums like ‘Quora’ and Linkedin groups can also be a great way for finding problems that people may have and that you can solve with your content. Also, not to mention a quick Google search for what’s already out there and taking a look at what your competitors are posting can also be helpful. You can try to think of at least 3 headings or possible content ideas for each keyword. Now you have a list of content ideas that will work for your business. It’s time to get content creating!
Bottom line: How to search for keywords
The process of keyword research is extremely important for content marketing. It not only improves the visibility of your content but also makes it relevant to your buyer personas. Creating relevant and valuable content is extremely important if you want your content to be talked about and shared. Have something to say about this article? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or our Linkedin or comment below.