How to Develop a Modern SEO Keyword Research Strategy

Are you worried because your website is not gaining the top rank despite all your SEO efforts? If you’re not getting the desired results from your digital marketing campaigns then possibly it’s because of your keywords. Your dedicated SEO strategy will fail to achieve its goal if you’re targeting the wrong set of keywords. Keyword research is considered as the basis of any digital marketing campaign. All content campaigns begin with keyword research. However, the majority of SEO executives and marketers fail to perform effective keyword research.

When it comes to keyword research, targeting wrong keywords will result in running completely misguided paid and organic search marketing campaigns. Likewise, if you’re targeting too popular keywords, then also you might have a hard time getting a high rank on the SERPs. So, how to perform keyword research correctly?

What is Keyword Research?

Possibly you know that keyword research is the process of finding words and phrases (queries) that people use in search engines to find what they’re looking for. You need to identify these keywords in order to optimize your content around these search queries and rank for those terms in search engines. If you don’t know what your target audience is searching for, you’ll lose the opportunity to rank for those keywords. The goal of keyword research is to find out what keywords you should be targeting to effectively optimize your website.

Keywords guide your SEO campaigns by telling you where to go and better understand your target audience. It directly impacts every other online marketing task that you perform- from finding content topics and on-page SEO to email outreach and paid results. If you’re not satisfied with your SEO results, then probably the keyword research strategy you’re using has become outdated. This happens because Google keeps updating its search algorithm and that results in making your existing SEO keyword research outdated.

Modern SEO Keyword Research

Similar to other marketers, most probably you’re also using Google’s Keyword Planner. Your keyword research strategy is all about searching keywords on Google Keyword Planner, downloading the results, sorting the most relevant ones in a spreadsheet, and targeting those keywords only. There’s nothing wrong with doing this but every other SEO professional is also doing this. This means that thousands of your competitors have already searched that exact same keyword. This approach can work well for high authority websites. But when it comes to a low authority domain or a new website, you need a more robust approach.

By using the keyword planner, you get access to a small portion of keywords. To improve your organic ranking, you need to find “hidden” keywords with good search volume, but less competition. With that in mind, let’s check out some best keyword research methods that will help you target relevant keywords that are missed by your competitors.

  1. Brainstorm Topics

You should begin your keyword research process by thinking about topics that your target customer is interested in. You need to make a list of broad, as well as specific topics related to your business. For instance, if you have a digital marketing agency then you need to think about topics that your potential clients might be searching for. This can include Social Media Marketing, Organic Traffic, Email Marketing, Content Marketing, PPC, Blogging, etc. Create a list of all such topics that are relevant to your business. It is noteworthy here that these are only topics, not keywords. These topics will only help you narrow down specific keywords.

  1. Long-Tail Keywords

It is a common practice to use short and generic keywords such as “Digital Marketing” or “Web Development Company”. According to experts, ranking for short, generic keywords is extremely difficult because everyone first targets these popular short keywords. Due to high competition, it becomes tricky to rank for generic keywords. So, you should find long-tail keywords, that is, a set of three or more words like “how to improve SEO” and “best digital marketing agency Toronto”. These types of long-tail keywords are less competitive. To find long-tail keywords, you can also look at the popular question your target audience is asking. By finding what questions your searchers are asking, you can create a list of keyword phrases to incorporate into your SEO, paid search, and content strategy. There are tools and Q&A sites that can help you find what questions your prospective customers are asking. However, make sure to choose the most relevant and accurate long-keywords. Ideally, you need to use a proper combination of generic and long-tail keywords.

  1. Perform Competitor’s Keyword Research

Your keyword research strategy should also include spying on your competitor’s keywords. When conducting keyword research, make sure to find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for. You can use tools like SEMrush that allow users to perform competitive analysis and give insight into what keywords their competitors are ranking for. You can also use the Google Ads Auction Insights report to find out the performance of your main competitors in paid search.

“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

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