Keyword strategies…they’re crucial for organic search to increase website visibility and drive traffic. As digital marketers, we’re used to Google tweaking how content is ranked with algorithm updates that keep us sprightly. Thanks for that, Google! However, despite many updates and changes, one thing has always remained a constant for SEO: developing a killer keyword strategy.
Interested in learning more about how and why keyword research remains so important? Well, let us help you by exploring all aspects of this in much greater detail. We’ll even share some of our best tips and tricks with you!
- How to conduct keyword research
- The importance of understanding keyword intent
- Understanding keyword relevance
- What are semantic keywords
- How to use semantic keywords in your content strategy
- What’s the cost of getting your keyword strategy wrong
- Finding the right commercial keywords for your business
- Finding the right keywords for a blog content strategy
How to conduct keyword research
Knowing how to conduct efficient keyword research to cut through and reach your intended target audience is essential. So where do you begin? Well, we’ll assure you it’s not overwhelming, and it can be simplified using our methodology.
Firstly, go back to basics and think about the business or website and its target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of the website users and ask yourself, ‘What would I like to read and see as the consumer?’. Having an awareness of your buyer persona is a key ingredient, but we will look at user intent in a little more depth later on.
Look at competitor websites as a starting point. Ask the question, ‘what are they doing well and what could they be doing better’? You’ll find there could be some gaps to highlight and exploit, so conduct a thorough content gap analysis of your three top-ranking competitors. It’s a super-quick way to highlight keywords competitors are ranking for that you’re not.
So, if you’re wondering if keywords are still relevant in 2023, the answer is yes.
Our recommended tools for conducting keyword research
We have a few favourite tools we use for conducting keyword research at Candidsky. The importance of reliable SEO tools for marketers makes our job way simpler. However, knowing the right tools to use and how to operate them are two different things. Here’s a little insight into the tools we use and the brilliant benefits they offer.
Ahrefs is a godsend, as it provides rich data for keywords and contains many features that allow you to extract so much more from your research. It’s the go-to tool for your conduct gap analysis that we previously touched upon to scrutinise your competitors in great detail. You can also use the keywords explorer tool to generate thousands of keyword ideas within seconds and create relevant keyword lists for the target audience of the business you’re working with.
The Site Explorer function allows you to peek at the keyword ranking of your competitors. You can also analyse a webpage from your site to see what keywords rank for a blog post or landing page.
For localised search terms and granular analysis of keywords, then Google’s Keyword Planner is king! As you can search by location, it gives you a flavour of search terms ranking in certain areas. It also allows you to map out your keyword lists by seasonality, so you can target search terms at particular points in the year and gain more traction for terms when you need them most. Top marks for convenience!
Often overlooked by marketers, you probably see this every time you use Google without realising it! When you type in a search query on Google, you’ll no doubt see a list of suggestive options in the dropdown below the toolbar. This isn’t a coincidence because it’s what’s known as Google Autocomplete.
Simply type in a keyword from your niche, and look at the options Google provides to aid your search. An underrated but great tool to utilise, Autocomplete allows you to develop rich, valuable long-tailed keyword research terms for your campaigns.
People also ask (PAA)
You’ve likely searched a term on Google and seen the ‘People also ask’ suggestions displayed within the SERP. These are incredibly good for finding question-based keyword search terms. It helps you identify exactly what the user is asking about your niche, so you can build content on your website based on these search terms and provide users with helpful solutions.
The importance of understanding keyword intent
We mentioned this earlier, but exploring it at greater length is imperative. You must first consider the user or search intent to understand keyword intent better. Take a broad search term like ‘trainers’ as an example. You must establish where in the consumer journey your users are. There are so many different types of trainers, so the user will likely narrow their search to be more specific. As marketers, it’s our job to preempt the user’s intent and tailor website content accordingly to make it helpful to the user.
Our formula for classifying keyword intent is to divide our keywords into three categories: Commercial, informational and mixed.
- Commercial – where the customer is at the point of purchase. (E.g. ‘buy white trainers’)
- Informational – the user wants more information about a service or product.
- Mixed – The keyword can be classified as a purchase or informational term. The user intends to purchase but wants more information about a service or product.
It’s a simple but effective method that helps ascertain the keyword intent. We can then start to sieve out any keywords that aren’t relevant to the user and condense the keyword research into a palatable list. We then use this to form the basis of a strong content strategy.
Understanding keyword relevance
In 2023, keyword relevancy is hugely important. Google’s recent helpful content update means there is a greater emphasis on the user experience. Content is recognised for being valuable to the user rather than the search engine, so Google duly rewards content with users in mind with better rankings. Google’s magical systems continuously scour web pages looking for content that adds value for users and penalising content that offers little to none.
So, let’s apply this to keywords. How does relevancy fit into the equation? Keyword stuffing can be terminal for your SEO prospects, so scattering the same few keywords across your website won’t cut it anymore. The intelligence of Google’s algorithms has evolved to evaluate the semantic meaning behind a user’s search.
Low, medium and high relevancy keywords
Categorising the relevancy of your keywords into three sections is pivotal for your content strategy. Sorting your keywords into low, medium and high relevancy can differ depending on your business. Each business has different needs, so tailor your strategy to consider this. A start-up business will have vastly different goals than an established business. Therefore targeting low-competition keywords as an SEO approach will likely benefit a smaller business more than a bigger brand with a much higher domain authority.
So, let’s bring this back to your content strategy. Optimising blog content with relevant keywords and value-driven information is regarded as the principle approach to adopt—a simple but effective blueprint centres around relevancy.
Relevant content + relevant keywords = Google rewards your website with handsome rankings!
What are semantic keywords?
You may have noticed the word ‘semantic’ in the previous section, but what does this mean concerning keywords? Semantic keywords are splinters of the initial keyword and are closely related to the primary keyword. Including various semantic keywords in your content helps provide search engine spiders with the insight they need so the algorithm can rank your content more accurately.
There is great debate about ‘LSI keywords’ and whether they’re even a thing, but latent semantic indexing (LSI) provides great opportunities for semantic search in SEO. Google recognises words and phrases as being semantically related to keyword topics. For example, take the keyword ‘baking’ – LSI keywords branching out from this could be terms like cakes, bread, buns, puddings or desserts. They aren’t direct keyword synonyms but are relatable enough for Google to identify them.
How to use semantic keywords in your content strategy
Content and semantic keywords go hand in hand, and there are numerous approaches you can take to achieve this goal. Keyword and topic clusters are the best ways to optimise your website for semantic SEO.
Clustering keywords enable your website to rank for semantic search terms relevant to your primary cluster keyword. If you have a landing page that ranks well organically, keyword clustering will aid Google’s ability to recognise semantic relevance and increase the number of keywords your site ranks for. On the other hand, topic clusters are several pieces of content designed to branch out from a central topic. Each cluster piece will target a keyword cluster but will link back to the relevant central page.
It helps improve your semantic search, increases your keywords, and strengthens the link-building authority of your website. Combining these three elements will heighten your chances of driving organic traffic to your website and increasing conversions, so it really is a no-brainer!
What’s the cost of getting your keyword strategy wrong
It will undoubtedly affect the organic performance of your website. If you aren’t delivering the required results, this can harm your business. Wasting budgets on a strategy that doesn’t drive the right traffic isn’t sustainable for any business long-term.
Here are a few potential outcomes that can occur if your keyword strategy isn’t airtight:
- Poor quality leads to your website
- Lack of organic visibility
- Loss of keyword rankings
- Decreasing traffic and conversions
A data-driven approach should always be your primary focus when developing keyword strategies, so collate the necessary data to evidence your approach. Nobody can argue with statistical analysis – it’s a proven formula that works for SEO!
Find the right commercial keywords for your business
Though plenty of pitfalls should be avoided, targeting the right keywords for your website can be done in many ways. For commercial keywords, use Keyword Planner to investigate search terms around purchasing or buying. You can type in a search query using the ‘discover new keywords’ function.
When prompting the search, you’ll be presented with graphical data that shows any spikes for your search term. For highly-competitive commercial keywords, this can be a great way to explore any seasonal trends for your keyword. This way, you’ll be able to gauge a much clearer picture of any popular products and services at certain points in the year.
Strike a balance between commercial keywords with high intent, and you’ll see conversions spike in no time at all!
Finding the right keywords for a blog content strategy
It’s 2023 – so anybody with a website and a penchant for writing can upload content or blogs without issues! But optimising blog content with keywords to drive rankings and increase visibility is the part that matters most. A website with an extensive blog section is useless if it isn’t visible to Google. It will remain hidden from the outside world without ever seeing the light of day – and that’s no good for your business!
As discussed in this article, selecting the right keywords for your strategy involves many steps, as there are many things to consider. Let’s condense this into a few helpful bullet points:
- Ensure your keywords align with your goals – Whether primary or semantic, every keyword should align with your overall strategic goals. If any of them don’t – then get rid!
- Choose keywords with the user in mind – Have the buyer’s persona at the centre of your thoughts. You should know exactly who you intend to reach, the information they want and the keyword terms to enable that.
- Conduct extensive keyword research – We have talked at length about keyword research in this blog, as it is the foundation that can make or break the success of your strategy. Intent and relevancy are the core components of this, whether they are primary or semantic keywords.
- Check your competitors – Any research should be informed by your main competitors, as there is always the opportunity to discover new terms or exploit any gaps they haven’t. You’ll be able to identify any low-hanging fruit keyword terms, unearthing a gem or two to target and rank easily for.
- Measure progress – It’s important to check your keyword performance regularly and remove any terms that have lost relevancy or tweak any parts that need a little uplift. All good keyword strategies should evolve with your content, and there are always likely to be tweaks that will improve your existing pages. Quarterly optimisations will prevent content decay and keep your rankings looking healthy!
Data-driven keyword strategies
At Candidsky, we pride ourselves on a data-driven approach to developing the best keyword strategy for our clients. Our experienced SEO services team have all the knowledge and tools to ensure your business benefits from great rankings and increased visibility.
We develop keyword strategies through extensive research evidenced by statistical analysis to inform why and how we make our decisions. We work with a wide range of clients, helping to deliver great organic results, and we can adapt our approach and tailor it to your business. If you’d like further information on our SEO strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact our SEO agency in the heart of Manchester.