How To Do Keyword Research Like the Pros

May 21, 2024

Keyword research is foundational to a successful digital marketing strategy. It enhances your understanding of target audiences and their unique needs and pain points and optimizes your content to boost search engine rankings effectively. 

Whether you're crafting blog posts, setting up paid ad campaigns, or optimizing your website, knowing how to conduct keyword research like a pro is a critical skill that takes time to develop. Next, we’ll share our comprehensive guide to mastering keywords. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of appealing to the right audience at the right time, earning you a coveted spot on the Google SERPs (search engine results page).

Understand Your Niche

Before you dive into keyword research, it's essential to have a deep understanding of your niche. Understanding involves knowing your product or service, your audience's challenges, and how you can solve them. Fine-tuning this understanding requires consistent and intentional engagement with your audience through social media, forums, and customer feedback to grasp their language and preferences. This initial step helps identify topics that your potential customers are interested in.

Start with Seed Keywords

What we like to call “seed keywords” are the foundation of your keyword research. They define your niche and help you identify your competitors. Think about the broad topics related to your product or service and use them as these core keywords. For instance, if you sell organic skincare products, your seed keywords might be “organic skincare,” “natural face cream,” etc.

Use Keyword Research Tools

Professional keyword researchers rely on tools to expand their list of keywords and gain insights into trends, search volume, and competition levels. Here are 4 of our favorites:

1) Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a classic tool that remains invaluable for both beginners in SEO and seasoned marketers focusing on Google Ads campaigns. It integrates seamlessly with Google Ads, making it an excellent tool for those looking to refine their ad spend efficiency.

  • Keyword Discovery and Search Volume Data: It provides insights into search volumes for various keywords, helping you identify how often specific terms are searched and how those searches have changed over time.
  • Cost Estimates: For advertisers, it offers cost-per-click (CPC) estimates, helping users understand potential ad spend for targeted keywords.
  • Geotargeting: Users can refine their keyword research based on geographic locations, which is ideal for local SEO strategies and businesses targeting specific regions.

2) SEMrush

Excelling in offering an extensive suite of tools that aid in keyword research and competitive analysis, SEMrush is a favorite among medium to large-sized companies focused on maintaining their competitive edge.

  • Keyword Analytics: SEMrush provides data on keyword difficulty, allowing marketers to assess how hard it would be to rank for a particular keyword.
  • Competitive Data: One of SEMrush's standout features is its ability to dive into competitors’ keyword strategies, offering insights into their traffic from keywords and their ranking changes.
  • Gap Analysis: It allows for a content gap analysis where you can compare your keyword profile with competitors to identify valuable keywords they rank for which you don’t.

3) Ahrefs

Ahrefs is renowned for its comprehensive content exploration and gap analysis tools. It’s particularly useful for content marketers and publishers looking to enhance their organic search presence.

  • Keyword Explorer: Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer offers a detailed look at the keyword difficulty score and the estimated number of clicks expected from organic search.
  • SERP Overview and Position History: These features provide a snapshot of who has ranked for a keyword over time and the kind of content that does well, which is instrumental in planning SEO strategies.
  • Content Gap Tool: By comparing your site's keyword profile against up to ten competitors, Ahrefs identifies missing keywords that could bring valuable traffic.

4) Ubersuggest

As a more accessible tool for individuals or small businesses that are just beginning to explore SEO, Ubersuggest offers a straightforward, user-friendly interface with essential data needed for effective keyword research.

  • Keyword Suggestions: Provides a broad list of keyword suggestions based on the initial query, which helps expand the keyword list.
  • SEO Difficulty and Paid Difficulty: These metrics assess how difficult it would be to rank organically with a keyword and the competitiveness in paid search.
  • Content Ideas: Ubersuggest also provides content ideas based on the keywords, which can inspire blog posts or other content formats to attract more traffic.

Use these tools to generate a list of keywords based on your seed keywords, including long-tail keywords, which are less competitive and more specific.

Analyze Search Intent

Understanding the intent behind searches is crucial. Keywords can generally be classified into four types of intent: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial. Tailoring your content to match the intent of the search query improves the relevance of your content, which is favored by search engines and more likely to satisfy users.

Evaluate the Competition

Analyzing your competition can provide insights into what works and what doesn’t in your niche. Look at the top-ranking pages for your chosen keywords. What are they doing well? What kind of content are they creating? Use tools like the ones mentioned previously to analyze the keyword difficulty scores and determine if you can realistically rank for those keywords.

Consider Keyword Metrics

When deciding which keywords to target, consider the following metrics:

  • Search Volume: The number of searches per month. High volume indicates high interest but usually comes with high competition.
  • Keyword Difficulty: An estimation of how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click): Useful for PPC campaigns, indicating the cost of each click in a pay-per-click campaign.

Organize and Prioritize

With a list of potential keywords, it’s time to organize. Group your keywords by topic and intent to create a structured keyword strategy that guides your content creation. Grouping presents the perfect time to prioritize and list keywords based on a balance of relevance, search volume, and competition.

Continuously Monitor and Adapt

Keyword trends can change rapidly, and what works today might not work tomorrow. Continuously monitor your keyword performance and the landscape of your niche. Adapt your strategies as needed based on performance data and new trends in keyword usage.

Mastering keyword research is an ongoing process that requires understanding your audience, using the right tools, and continuously adapting to changes. By following these professional tips, you will enhance your SEO efforts, better connect with your audience, and increase your online visibility. With our Fable Heart Media team by your side, your business will be able to powerfully utilize keyword research not just to increase traffic but to drive relevant traffic that converts. Contact our dedicated team of SEO pros to learn more and to book your free consultation.

Visit our blog page for more tried and true search engine optimization tips.

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