Keyword Research for Digital Marketing

February, 01, 2017

You know you have to find just the right keywords for your digital marketing campaign, but what are they? It’s a big question, as well as an overwhelming one.

To help you get a grasp on your keyword research, we’re sharing a few ways that other businesses unearth the right keywords to drive consumers to their sites. Best of all, you can get started with many of them right away!

Be Nosy

Step one is easy. Go to your top three competitors’ websites and click “CTRL” and “U” at the same time. You’ll be awarded with the source code for the page. Now, click “CTRL” and “F” to see the “find” search box. Type in “keyword” and see what you get.

If your competitors are trying to boost ranks for keywords, they’ll probably have them listed in the meta tags toward the top of the source code. Write these down. You don’t necessarily have to use them verbatim, but they’re a great starting point.

Review Your Analytics

For the sake of argument, we’ll assume you’re tracking the analytics of your site. Most analytics packages, whether free or paid, are going to have a keyword component. This gives you a better understanding of how people are discovering you online.

Sometimes, the keywords won’t make sense. But other times, you’ll start to see patterns emerging. Pay special attention to the language that people are using. If you’re not mimicking their verbiage in your keywords, you’re not going to have a high rank when they search.

For instance, if you’re a restaurant in Indianapolis, use the word “restaurant” as a keyword, not eatery. Most people don’t type the words “eatery Indianapolis” into their browsers.

Try Google’s Keyword Tool

Google has a nifty free piece of software called the Google Keyword Tool. As soon as you set it up, you can start inputting keywords. The tool will then help you determine which variations of them will work best for your needs.

You can also input your website into the Google Keyword Tool. Google will run a cursory search and send back ideas on keywords.

Of course, there are other ways to find the best keywords, too:

  • Ask your customers how they found you.
  • Conduct A/B split tests on different keywords.
  • Go into incognito mode and input the keywords you think your customers would.

After you have your keywords, it’s time for some actionable steps.

Keyword Research Best Practices

You may have a list of a dozen, a hundred or thousands of keywords. Obviously, you can’t and shouldn’t try to rank for all of them. That’s why you need to focus on some keyword research best practices:

  • Start with low-hanging fruit, then branch out. Low-hanging keywords are basic, such as “best organic cat food” and “buy cheap used car online.” Organize some of the top low-hanging keywords, and then start to add to them to make them long-tail. “Best organic cat food” may turn into “buy best organic cat food online for older cats.” You’ll still get the value of the original keyword, but you’ll have the benefits of the long tail.
  • When writing content and using your keywords, aim for readability. Keyword stuffing is never a smart idea. Typically, it backfires from a user experience (UX) standpoint, as well as a search engine ranking one. If you’re new to content development and aren’t working with a professional web marketing team, start by only emphasizing two or three keywords on a page. A two to five percent optimization amount should get you a little traction.
  • Recognize that keywords are going to change. You won’t be keeping the same keywords forever, and that means you’ll have to change your on-page optimization. As an example, does anyone say “telephone” anymore? Nope. We say “cell phone,” “mobile phone,” “Android,” “iPhone,” and maybe “smartphone.” That will no doubt change in the future, too. Stay on top of trends, and you won’t get left behind.

It’s time to do a little keyword research. Just 30 minutes will get you to a better place than you are now — and will show you how effective simple keyword researching measures can be.

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