11 steps to Keyword Research that will boost your organic search traffic
Keyword research is one of the important SEO strategies. During the early days of my career, I used to perform keyword research in a typical way by going to the keyword tool and type in a few words and get a big list. That was really a quick and simple technique but was much effective.
Today, SEO has changed a lot and keyword tools have been upgraded also. After lot of hard work and effort, I discovered some effective ways to get keywords that will boost your organic search traffic.
A solid keyword research process helps you improve the entire SEO strategy. Here are 11 steps to keyword research that will boost the organic search traffic.
Let’s get started ………
- Get organized
The first and foremost thing to do is set up a template on Google Spreadsheet to run the keyword research process throughout your professional life. Create a blank spreadsheet by signing into Google sheets and fill the headers with relevant headings. Freeze the top row to ensure that the header is not treated as data.
Use this guide to create a powerful recurring process document later. Populate the guide with easy, medium and hard keywords that are going to change your SEO game. This guide will keep track of the basic information. You can start including local & global searches, keyword analysis information etc using Google Keyword Planner, Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs etc as you take the keyword research to an advanced level.
- Brainstorm keywords
Many people make the mistake of filling the spreadsheet with all those keywords that strike their mind. Even I used to do the same. Later, I realized that — it just fills the spreadsheet and the keywords I filled are of not much use.
Based on my personal experience, I advise you to think of different ways to search for keywords. Some of the factors to consider while brainstorming keywords are – product, brand, service and location. Jot down everything you can think of by considering the above factors. Try to get more specific about keyword research process. Remember that keyword research is not about the quantity of keywords, but the quality of keywords.
- Try experimenting with new keywords
When coming up with new keywords — get creative with the permutation of keywords and discover new long tail keywords. There are a plethora of tools such as – Google Keyword Planner, Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs etc that gives you an idea of high volume keywords.
These tools also suggest you to get a sense of keyword popularity and competition. Add relevant keywords to the spreadsheet without worrying about search volume at this stage.
- Use list of synonyms
Keyword research is nothing but, exploring different ways to know what users search for. It involves using synonyms or rephrasing the words before going to the root term. Use synonyms wherever possible, and keep the original words too.
Some keywords many look irrelevant and have no volume. Don’t worry about those keywords. We will be narrowing down the list in the last step, before finalizing the keyword. Once you have racked the brainstorming session and done some real time reading, it’s time to check the search volume using appropriate tools.
- Check the search volume regularly
Go through the list of keywords you have prepared till now. Copy and paste the entire list in Google keyword planner, and download the results. You will get detailed information about each keyword along with their search volumes on search engine results.
At this point, you will get an idea of volume and competition data. You can paste the volume of keywords and competition data in the spreadsheet for better clarity. Sort the results by volume to order the keywords in terms of popularity. This will help you understand where to focus more.
- Make sure that you are using relevant keywords
After completing step 5, you should have a list of good keywords on any particular topic, ranked by the order of search volume. You may have many keywords in the list with high search volume. Having a large number of high search keywords in the list doesn’t mean that you have everything to drive organic search traffic.
You have to refine the existing list to meet your business requirements. Ask yourself if the keyword is relevant for your business or not? Check if it is describing your business accurately. You may get lot of search traffic for unrelated keywords but is of no use — unless the searchers land on high-quality pages. If they do not find what they are looking for, they will bounce instantly — which will drop the ranking of your website. The worst thing is that – it can turn off potential customers away from your business.
- Generate list of suggestions from relevant keywords
There are some valuable tools for keyword research that can give some golden keywords if you use them properly. Enter your keywords there and see their suggestions and check if any keyword is good for you. If yes, then copy and paste that into your spreadsheet.
- Further filter the keywords by snooping on your competitors
Finding competing page is an easy task, as they have a lot of visibility. Spy on the keywords that your competitor is using and make a list of relevant keywords. Compare those keywords with your list and see what you are missing.
Open Google Keyword Planner and click on ‘Find new keywords and get volume data’ option. Paste the competing page into ‘Your Landing Page’. You will get a big list of search volume data. Go ahead with other keywords on the Google sheet. Repeat the step as many times as you need to get volume data.
- Use essential tools to grab competitor’s keywords
There are many powerful tools that help you grab the competitor’s information. Search the URL to find the list of keywords, using the same competitors, which you used in Google Keyword Planner.
Some of the best tools for competitor keyword research are – Open Site Explorer, SEMRush etc. Ahref’s Site Explorer is one of the best SEO tools used for this purpose. Add a keyword that fits well into your sheet, before going to the next step.
- Generate long tail keywords using the best SEO tools
When you have the list of appropriate keywords, you can make it the search term even more relevant by generating long tail keywords. Some of the best tools to try are – LongTail pro, UberSuggest, WordTracker Keyword Tool, HitTail etc.
Before you narrow down the list of long tail keywords, use Ahref’s keyword explorer. It is as simple as typing a few existing keywords into the search bar. The main objective of using Ahref’s keyword explorer at this point is to cut out all the high difficulty results with one filter.
- Plug the best keywords from the list in your content
The last step is to plug the narrowed list of keywords in your content. This will help you to rank higher for these keywords in search engines.
You will have a short list of golden keywords, once you have gone through the above steps. You will have at least 5-10 potential keywords to focus on. SEO is a long term strategy and one cannot achieve results in short time. Your rankings will continue to improve with every new piece of targeted content on your site and with the help of high-quality backlinks.
If you have used any other way to generate powerful keywords, let me know by commenting below!