7 Keyword Research Tips to Try Right Now

5 min read
Watb Team
Scrabble tiles depicting the word "Key words"

When your website ranks on the first page of Google search for the right keywords it enables you to attract the right sort of customers to your website who you can then convert into a sale.

What on earth is Keyword Research and Why’s it so Important?

Ok, so here’s the low down.

If your potential customers want to learn something, buy something or take up a service that you offer, they may do what millions of us do every day and ‘Google it’. We all do it.

Google looks at a variety of different metrics (or “ranking factors”) to decide which websites should appear as a search result for each keyword. One of these “ranking factors” is to match the query the user typed in with the content of websites related to the word or phrase that was typed in. So, if you type in “red shoes” with the intention to buy “red shoes”, you want a website to appear in your search results which sell “red shoes”…makes sense right?

Here is where Keyword Research comes in…

Keyword research allows you to find out what keywords your customers are most likely to type into Google. It allows you to understand more about your customers, their problems, needs, and desires based on what they are ‘Googling’. You can use this information to produce content to answer those questions and needs, making it more likely you will rank on the first page for those keywords. You will also be able to learn where to spend your time optimising your website to get the highest return on investment.

Longtail’ research is about looking at unique searches and the highly specific phrases people use when they search for a product.

For example, a standard keyword could be ‘sofa’, but a long tail would be ‘brown leather sofa fits 3 people’. These can make great subjects for blog posts!

The keywords you use tell Google what your content is about – so when customers make searches with the same words and phrases, your content matches with their search.

Generally, when you’re looking at which keywords to try – take these 3 factors into account:

  • Keyword relevance and intent – your content and site will be ranked for how relevant it is to a user’s search intention. Tailor content to search intention.
  • Keyword search volume – this is where you look at the number of searches people are making for specific keywords per month.
  • Keyword ranking difficulty – if you’re just starting out then bigger brands will have search results for popular keywords secured, so it’ll be a struggle to beat big players for competitive keywords.
A back lit Keyboard
The keywords you use tell Google what your content is about

7 Tips on how to perform keyword research:

1. There are loads of keyword tools available to help you discover keywords to target and suggest keyword metrics such as volume, a difficulty etc. MOZ, Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner are three popular examples. Google Keyword Planner is free but is less accurate, providing volume ranges instead of accurate figures, unless you are spending thousands on PPC advertising. It is also limited to more “commercial keywords” and skips out longer tail research. It’s best for quick keyword ideas when you’re just starting and getting to grips with an industry.

Moz and Ahrefs do a good job of helping you analyse the most important metrics of keywords and are useful for competitor research as you can see your competitor’s top ranking pages and keywords.

Google Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner

2. If you are using PPC, check those keywords – it’s your most valuable data as you already know which keywords will turn into enquiries/sales. When you buy PPC ads from search engines you can see which keywords are driving traffic to your website.

Google Keyword Planner Suggestions
Keyword Planner PPC

3. No PPC figures? Start with the obvious keywords that are related to your product/services and work from there. This will help you to figure out a direction to go in and gage what types of searches customers are making. It’ll also help you to assess keyword competitiveness.

4. Check out the competition – as we mentioned, Ahrefs can show you what your competitors are ranking for, which is a really useful tool to have in your SEO arsenal. You can inform your own content and keyword research by taking a look at what your competitor’s top pages and top keywords are. It also helps to show keywords your competition may be neglecting which you could take advantage of.

Ahrefs webpage
Ahrefs is useful for competitor research

5. Consolidate existing content on your website if two or more blog posts/articles you’ve written are ranking for very similar keywords.

6. Don’t waste your time with highly competitive keywords – the chances are that majorly competitive keywords will have big brands and their massive budgets behind them. You face an uphill battle to compete with brands that have thrown their SEO strategy at certain keywords for years, so don’t waste all of your time and energy on keywords that won’t make an impact.

7. Long tail keywords – consider using longer tailed keywords which may be less competitive to rank for (although have lower search volume), because they’re more specific. If the long tail phrase is a fairly specific/unique query, writing an FAQ or blog post will directly answer the question, drive traffic to your site and influence a purchase/sign up.

Longtail Keywords
Long tail keywords

Keyword research requires lots of different tricks and tools to stay ahead and familiarising yourself with different techniques is recommended. Once you’ve identified keywords you’re going to focus on and use in your SEO strategy, the show isn’t over.

It’s crucial that you constantly re-evaluate and test search terms to see how well they’re doing and whether they’re driving qualified traffic to your site. Picking and concentrating on the right keywords is essential.

Long tail terms are usually 3 or more words. Customers who make long tail enquiries are usually further along in the conversion cycle and have more of an idea of what they want.

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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