The Relationship Between Keyword Research and SEO
Digital marketing often calls for keyword research, almost as a necessity. Today, keyword research has become indispensable as evidenced by the popularity of incorporating keyword research strategies across platforms and mediums like ecommerce, social media and Google Ads. Google Ads, for example, has a click-through rate of nearly 8%, while display ads produce 180 million impressions each month. This high ad traffic when combined with the right keywords can help to further boost existing traffic, creating a formidable platform for successful ads. On top of that, the benefits of keyword research also extend to search engine optimisation (SEO).
This article will delve deep and explore everything we need to know about keyword research and SEO. First, back to the basics – we must define what keyword research means, what SEO means and uncover the correlation between them.
Defining Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process of researching popular search terms that people type into search engines like Google. When these queries are answered through useful, informative content, the popularity and ranking of said content increases. The purpose of this lies in strategically including these keywords into content in the hopes that it appears higher on a search engine results page (SERP).
SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or webpage from search engines. It revolves around organic traffic rather than direct or paid traffic. Using SEO strategies optimises the relevancy and trustworthiness of a website. This in turn helps the website to rank higher on search engines. It is one of the more popular and prominent digital marketing strategies in today’s day and age.
Defining the Relationship Between Keyword Research and SEO
With ‘keyword research’ and ‘SEO’ clearly defined, we can further explore the relationship between them and the importance of this relationship.
Fundamentally, the performance of your SEO strategy is dependent on your keyword research and how these keywords are used across your website. A website that is well optimised for search engines is relevant and relatable to its potential visitor base, with keywords that help connect searches on search engines to your site. That is why developing a list of keywords is one of the first and most important steps in any SEO strategy. It is well worth the time, effort and investment to ensure that proper keyword research is done and effectively organised for implementation.
Keyword Research Tools
One of the most common yet effective ways to conduct keyword research is through the use of keyword research tools. More technical than intellectual, keyword research is all about doing and focuses on algorithms. This makes keyword research tools perfect companions in keyword research. With an integrated keyword database, along with other metrics including volume, cost per click (CPC), and competition, keyword research tools accomplishes much of the hard work for you. With that being said, let us take a look at some of the various popular keyword research tools that are being used today with focus on their keyword research functions.
Google Keyword Planner
Designed to help you research keywords for SEM, which you can also utilise for your SEO strategy, Google Keyword Planner allows you to discover keywords related to your business, uncover estimated monthly searches received, determine the appropriate costs and supports you in creating new search ad campaigns. At the start of your campaign, Google keyword planner is useful for helping you find new keywords. It helps steer a strategy by identifying the specific terms an audience is using to find businesses just like yours, or as a way to identify opportunities to create and rank new content. Not to mention, the data you receive comes straight from Google, making it one of the most credible and reliable keyword research tools.
Google Keyword Planner provides suggestions for related keywords, making it easy and intuitive for individuals who need a little help in creating keywords for their website. Insights and a list of related keywords can be derived by keying in broad search terms – search terms that contain all components of your keyword in any order. This is a good way to begin your journey on Google Keyword Planner. The broader your initial keywords, the more suggestions you will see.
When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, knowing how frequently searched your chosen keywords are is key. It would be unwise to select keywords with low search as it signifies that no one is using them. At the same time, keywords with high search volumes tend to be more competitive. In this sense, Google Keyword Planner shows you the estimated monthly searches received so that you can make more well-informed decisions in your keyword selection.
A popular toolset for backlinks (links from a page on one website to another) and SEO analysis, Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset with learning materials that helps you optimise your website for search engines. With regards to keyword research, Ahrefs provides thousands of keyword suggestions. Their feature, ‘Keywords Explorer’ runs on a massive database of more than 7 billion keywords, updated with fresh data every month. It also possesses the ability to generate different keyword permutations that include your targeted keyword and provides search suggestions via ‘autocomplete’ – a search feature where the search engine predicts the user’s query and provides suggestions as the user types.
Similar to Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs shows keyword frequency, but takes it one step further by estimating the popularity of search queries in nine other search engines, from YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Baidu etc. It also has a variety of features including filters such as search volume, keyword difficulty and more to help you easily find and prioritise the best keywords. At the same time, Ahref’s advanced metrics can help you determine the difficulty in ranking top 10 on the search results page for a selected keyword and provides ‘parent topics’ (content that typically covers a large subject area) for your keywords to help you decide if you can rank for your target keyword while targeting a more general topic on your page instead.
Last but not least, Ahref’s SERP overview function reviews the ranking history of top ranking results along with all their SEO metrics at a glance. This one of a kind report brings important SEO metrics including backlinks, organic traffic and organic keywords together, allowing you to effectively access the SERP and better understand the ranking of these pages.
SEMrush is your one-stop solution tool suite that aims to improve online visibility and discover marketing insights. With a set of tools and reports on SEO, content marketing, competitor research, PPC and social media, SEMrush empowers greater online visibility. At a glance, SEMrush grows organic traffic with complete and easy SEO tools and workflow by uncovering millions of national and local keywords, analysing domains’ backlink profiles, running technical SEO audits and tracking your SERP positions daily.
Zooming into keyword research, SEMrush’s feature ‘Keyword Overview’ provides users with key metrics for any keyword in the SEMrush database and helps you decide what terms to target on your website content and paid ads. It is an effective tool especially when creating a new SEO campaign. By simply entering a keyword or phrase, the keyword/phrase’s search volume, difficulty, average CPC, keyword variations, queries and related keywords are displayed. This data provides greater insight and contributes to better decision making as to whether the selected keyword or phrase is a good fit for your website.
Another useful feature that supports keyword research is SEMrush’s position tracking tool. This tool lets you track a website’s daily rankings for a custom set of target keywords. You can set your targeting to collect data for any specific geographic location and any device type. Search volume data, keyword page ranking and position difference between your selected time periods will be depicted. The best part? You can get an edge over your competitors by seeing where they’re ranking for the same keywords.
Keyword Tool is an online keyword research platform that leverages Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords (phrases containing 3 to 5 words e.g. ‘buy hats in Singapore’) for any topic. It extracts Google keyword suggestions and presents it in an easy-to-understand interface. One of the best elements of Keyword Tool is that it empowers better content marketing and optimises SEO strategies by providing popular keyword suggestions that can be used to create content for your website.
Keyword Tool can also analyse your competitor’s keywords and showcases how many times each keyword is used on a particular webpage or the entire site. Additionally, the search volume feature allows you to unveil search volume and competition for a specific keyword. From there, you can maximise on the competition analysis function to explore its difficulty in ranking in search engines.
Keyword Research Strategies
Keyword Research Strategies: A Step-by-step Guide
With your strategies down, here is how it translates into a step-by-step guide to help you optimise your keyword research and SEO strategy.
Step 1: Curate Your Set Of Keywords
The best businesses position themselves as customers and think like their target audiences. It is only through understanding your target audience that you can pinpoint exactly what your customers need and how your products/services can deliver based on those needs. This is the basis of any digital marketing strategy including understanding how to choose the right keywords for your website. The most fundamental question you should ask yourself is “What would I type into Google if I wanted to find out more about this specific product or service?” From there, you can easily generate a list of keywords that might be useful in driving traffic to your website.
Once you have asked yourself that question, take note that some factors contribute to good keywords and keyword research such as relevance, authority and volume. Google ranks content for relevance. The more your keyword meets many searchers’ needs, the higher you will rank. In addition, your content should be the best resource for queries. This is exactly why it is so important to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, for greater relevance. Google also favours authoritative sources. One way to do this is to enrich your website with helpful, informational content and promote that content to earn social signals and backlinks. Finally, when it comes to search volume, it would be ideal to choose keywords with a higher search volume. You can still rank first on a keyword with low search volume but it is deemed pointless if no one ever searches for it. It is however, also important to take note that keywords with high search volume tend to be more competitive.
Step 2: Integrate Short-Tail And Long-Tail Keywords
Understanding keyword types is important in keyword research. Generally, short-tail keywords are search terms consisting of no more than 3 words. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are phrases consisting of three to five words. Though short-tail keywords may be more difficult to rank, they tend to have a higher search volume due to their broadness. In fact, they have the highest amount of searches per month. According to one study, 10,000 most used keywords are virtually all short tail. Therefore, short-tail keywords are highly useful when your intent is to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.
In contrast, long-tail keywords may get less traffic but tend to have a higher conversion value due to their specificness, attracting visitors with more specific search intents. An individual looking for something specific will tend to be a more qualified searcher for your products or services as compared to someone searching for something more generic. People with high purchase intent use long-tail keywords often as they know exactly what they’re looking for and thus, enter more specific searches. Someone searching using a short-tail keyword could still be at the initial stage of research. Long-tail keywords are also much easier to rank due to a relatively lower competition as compared to short-tail keywords. They also account for around 70% of all web searches. Therefore, long-tail keywords are highly useful when your intent is to drive traffic into conversion.
Ultimately, having a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords in your keyword research is equally important as they complement each other’s shortcomings perfectly. Short-tail keywords, though more competitive, generate greater awareness and support high traffic to your site, while long-tail keywords though drive less traffic are less competitive and target people with higher intention to convert.
Step 3: Create topic clusters
A topic cluster leverages more on long-tail keywords and refers to a group of interlinked web pages containing a blog post or content related to the ‘pillar content’. Pillar content contains information that can provide users with exactly what they are looking for on search engines. Enhancing your pillar content, lets you share valuable information with your website visitors, allowing you to improve your SEO rankings as a result. Topic clusters make your pillar content more recognisable on search engines and rank higher. The long-tail keywords act as a support to make the main keywords more effective for SEO.
Read more about topic clustering and its benefits here: SEO 101: How to use Topic Clusters
Step 4: Consider Intent
Now, by this point, we are aware of the importance of relevance in keyword research and relevancy is highly dependent on search intent. Search intent is the main goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine. There are 4 types of keyword intents – investigational intent, informational intent, transactional intent and navigational intent.
Investigational intent – Also known as commercial investigation, it revolves around considering purchase. Your potential customers may be using keywords with investigational intent to try to compare products or retailers. They might be investigating seasonal differences in price. Or they could be trying to deepen their understanding. Which product would best suit them? What services do they require? Keywords associated with purchase such as ‘deals’ or ‘sale’ and strong call-to-action can be useful in converting investigational intent to transactional intent, which will be covered below.
Informational Intent – An abundance of Internet searches are related to people looking for information. People with informational intent have a specific question or want to know more about a certain topic. In this case, keywords that answer ‘how to’, ‘what is’, ‘where is’ or ‘why do’ queries can be useful.
Transactional Intent – Keywords with transactional intent are highly pursued in the world of search digital marketing. Usually the individual uses keyword phrases that include specific product names in association to buying words such as ‘buy’, ‘coupon’, ‘discount’ or ‘shipping’ because they are ready to make a purchase as compared to investigational intent whereby they might still be doing in-depth research. If your intent is to generate sales, then developing your website around keywords with transactional intent can be useful.
Navigational Intent – Individuals with this intent want to visit a specific site. Their keywords include a company’s brand name or a specific description of a company. More likely than not, they are already familiar with the company in their search. Though it is important to rank well in SERPs for your own brand, keep in mind that it is only beneficial for your organic traffic if your site is what people are looking for.
Step 5: Conduct Competitor Keyword Analysis
Conducting competitor keyword analysis can help you improve your SEO rankings and outperform your competitors in search. It also supports you in giving your list of keywords another evaluation. Should your competitor rank for the same keywords as you, it becomes ideal for you to work on improving the rankings of said keywords. With that being said, do be careful not to ignore keywords your competitors might not pay attention to as this presents the perfect opportunity for you to own market share on these keywords.
Competitor keyword analysis also provides you with an idea of which keywords are worth targeting. You can identify more valuable keywords by seeing which keywords your competitor bids on for PPC search ads and how high these bids are. At the end of the day, understanding and deriving keyword information from your competitors can enhance your SEO strategy by revealing new keyword opportunities and providing inspiration that will help you stay competitive.
Elements of Keyword Research Services
Doing your own keyword research to optimise your SEO strategy can be a difficult and daunting challenge especially when you’re new to it. Though the presence and availability of keyword research tools are endless, managing your way around them and learning how to get used to the different features and functions can be a time consuming process. In this case, it would be advisable to engage the services of an SEO company or digital marketing agency in Singapore to support you. Here are just some of the many SEO services provided with regards to keyword research.
Keyword Permutations and Possibilities
Keyword permutations are different ways in which long-tail keywords can be arranged. There are certain useful keyword permutation tools SEO companies or digital marketing agencies in Singapore use that search for terms containing the set of keywords ordered in different sequences. Keyword permutation tools are particularly useful when trying to target a specific group of keywords.
The purpose of having different keyword permutations and possibilities is to increase the chance of targeting more related queries that people are searching for. Different individuals may have the same query but with a slightly different search. For e.g. “SEO agency services” and “services for SEO”. Though the intent is the same, the phrasing differs marginally. Some SEO agencies will provide a list of keyword suggestions including different permutations to help you better optimise your SEO strategy.
Keyword analysis is the process of analysing keywords or search phrases that bring visitors to your website through organic and paid search. Keywords can be analysed through search volume, clicks, traffic potential and keyword difficulty.
Search volume shows how many people are searching for a particular query. When creating your content strategy, taking search volume into account is vital because it reflects the popularity of the query. Ideally, you want to find keywords with a high search volume and a low rate of search competition.
When it comes to clicks, click-through-rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it. It can be used to gauge how well your keywords and ads are performing in your keyword research. On the other hand, cost per click (CPC) is the cost you have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. If your campaign is set to charge for clicks (users have to click on an ad), then the CPC will be your metric. There are a number of factors that affect your CPC, including your targeting criteria, keywords, ad copy, landing page, maximum bid set, and more.
Traffic potential refers to the amount of organic search traffic a page, or group of pages, will receive from Google’s SERP on average per month, and last but not least, keyword difficulty is the process of evaluating how difficult it is to rank in Google’s organic search results for a specific term. This is important as it can be a key influencing factor in selecting keywords.
As can be seen, keyword analysis can be broken down into many different elements that can be analysed. All are equally integral in determining how well your keywords are performing and reveal areas that can be improved upon in your keyword selection. Is it also extremely useful in competitor keyword research analysis, giving you an edge over your competitors.
Keyword performance reports track ranking and performance for high-value keywords that drive organic search results. Reports can include on-site SEO, off-site SEO and technical SEO performance.
On-site SEO, also referred to as on-page SEO, is the practice of optimising web pages for specific keywords in order to improve search visibility and traffic. Based on the on-site performance report generated, changes to aspects like title tags, headings, content and more might have to be made.
Off-site SEO or off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside your own website to impact rankings within SERPs. It involves improving search engine ranking and user perception of your website’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness and authority. This is accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet (pages, sites, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website and effecting ‘vouching’ for the quality of your content.
Technical SEO is the process of ensuring that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improved organic rankings. Important elements of technical SEO include crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture. At the most basic level, Google and other search engines need to be able to crawl, render and index the pages on your website.
Ultimately, having performance reports across these aspects can help improve your SEO strategy, giving you visibility on how you’re currently doing and what can be done to improve it. At OOm, we offer all these SEO services and much more to better optimise your SEO strategy and digital marketing efforts.
Keyword Research Across Platforms
Keyword research covers different components from search volume, to keyword difficulty and even level of competition as mentioned above. In this portion of the article, we explore how keyword research can be executed effectively across different platforms.
A good keyword research strategy that you can leverage on when it comes to writing blogs is listing keywords that revolve around informational intent. Blog articles tend to educate and provide comprehensive solutions to queries, mostly answering ‘how to’ and ‘why do’ questions. Therefore, your keywords should be able to target these queries. After having chosen your keywords, create useful content articles through blog posts, infographics, video and more using your selected keywords. Another tip would be to leverage on topic clusters to better organise your content.
Google Search Ads
Google Search Ads allows advertisers to bid on keywords that are relevant to their business so that their ads are shown to users on search engines when these keywords are entered. Should you wish to target customers who might be interested in a particular product, choose more specific keywords that directly relate to your ad’s strategy. Using more specific keywords means that your ad only appears for terms that apply to your business. On the other hand, if your goal is to reach a wider audience use more general keywords. Layer your broad targeting with Google Ads’ smart bidding strategy, as their machine learning technology can prioritise the best performing searches.
Keyword research tools are the go-to platforms when conducting keyword research, but did you know you can leverage social media for keyword inspiration and generation as well? Social media marketing is a popular digital marketing strategy in today’s day and age. Creating Facebook Ad targeting options lets you explore your audience demographics, geography, age, gender and much more. With a better understanding of your target audience, you can then conduct keyword research and develop keywords based on their interests for greater relevance. Good keyword selection also has high relevancy. Social media can help you find out what’s ‘in’ or relevant through Twitter trending topics, Instagram hashtags and understanding trends from influencers.
As a digital marketing and social media marketing company in Singapore, OOm not only provides SEO services but social media marketing services as well.
Amazon is the biggest ecommerce store online, so why not maximise it to help you with your ecommerce keyword research? By simply doing a search on Amazon’s search engine, Amazon suggest will immediately give you an overview of what people are searching for related to your products. Using keywords in your product titles, descriptions, product categories can help with ranking too. Since ecommerce businesses revolve around transactional and investigational intent, bear in mind that keywords with investigational or transactional intent like ‘buy’ or ‘sales’ can be very helpful in ranking highly for ecommerce businesses.
Learn more: A Guide To Keyword Research For ecommerce SEO
As our world continues to digitalise and evolve, businesses must shift from traditional to digital marketing. SEO is central to digital marketing and the core of SEO lies in good keyword research. If you’re thinking of starting your own business and require a digital marketing agency or SEO company in Singapore to support you through your SEO strategy, we’re here to help!
With a suite of SEO packages as part of our solutions Any digital marketing services or SEO services you need is right up our alley! Contact OOm at 6391-0930.