Keyword research is a key component of search engine optimization, or SEO. With the right SEO keywords in hand, you can create a short or long-form piece of content that shows up in search results and gives your audience the information it’s looking for.
When SEO first became a go-to internet practice, it wasn’t too difficult to pick some keywords and target them. But, as marketers have caught onto the importance of SEO and search rankings, it’s become more challenging to find non-competitive search terms to rank for.
Therein lies the importance of choosing the right keywords for your SEO strategy. You need keywords that your audience is searching for while also allowing your content to rank high in the search results.
7 Ways to Find the Best Keywords for SEO
With the right strategy for finding keywords, you can boost your SEO game and make your content hyper-relevant to your ideal audience. Here are some basic tips to get started:
First, brainstorm topics relevant to your audience. For instance, an automotive repair business’s audience might be interested in topics like tire replacement, routine maintenance, and engine repair.
Your list of primary topics can turn into seed keywords, which are usually short keywords with just one or two words. These become your primary keywords to build your content around, but they’re often highly competitive.
That’s why you’ll need to break down your main topics into more specific topics. For instance, tire replacement might also spark content on checking tire tread and how to save money on tire replacements.
Consider brainstorming topics for seed keywords and more specific topics in a spreadsheet that you can refer to as you continue to build your content.
2. Think About User Intent
Next, you’ll determine the user intent behind the topics and keywords you’ve brainstormed thus far. User intent refers to the reason someone searches a word or phrase.
Let’s use our previous example of tire replacement. People might search this term to learn how often to replace tires, how much to expect to pay for a tire replacement, or how to do a DIY tire replacement. Each one of these searches will yield a piece of content with different information, so understanding user intent can help you narrow down what keywords to use based on the information you’re providing.
That means that one seed keyword can produce several pieces of content with different purposes, all requiring a different list of keywords.
3. Use Seed and Long-Tail Keywords
Now, you have some topics and seed keywords in hand. The more specific keywords you need to find are known as long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords usually contain three or more words, creating phrases that people are more likely to search for. These keywords are much more specific than seed keywords and are, therefore, usually less competitive.
Examples of long-tail keywords using the seed keyword tire replacement include:
- Tire replacement NYC
- Tire replacement near me
- Tire replacement kit
- Tire replacement DIY cost
- What is a tire replacement
- How much is a tire replacement
As you can see, these dig into more specific topics, sometimes including locations or questions that people have about that main topic. Using a mix of both seed and long-tail keywords lets you create a healthy keyword portfolio for your content.
4. Check Out Your Competitors
What keywords are your competitors ranking for? You might be able to find this out simply by searching for some keywords related to your business and seeing what companies land on the front results page. Or, use keyword planning tools to analyze your competitors’ content to get new keywords to add to your list.
5. Use Keyword Planning Tools
Keyword planning tools give you ideas of keywords you could use based on your content strategy and goals. Many of them are free with limited features to help you get started and test out the tool. Others require monthly or annual subscriptions to keep using them, but it’s a cost you’ll want to consider if you’re serious about building your SEO strategy.
6. Look for Ranking Opportunities
With a new-to-SEO business, it can be challenging to rank for highly competitive keywords because several other authoritative sites are already doing that. Instead, use keyword planning tools to find keywords with low competition that you have a better chance of ranking with. Keywords with medium-volume searches are also good ones to target.
7. Think About the SERP
SERP stands for search engine results page. Certain keywords will pull up featured SERP snippets, like paragraphs or lists, that sit right at the top of the page. These snippets often contain a relevant answer to a search, and they’re attention-grabbing, so it’s likely that someone will click that page to read more. Your goal with the keywords you target should be to include featured SERP-worthy information that’s better than anything you can already find on the SERP.
Once you build up your keyword list, learn how to rank higher in Google with each piece of content you create. Finally, make sure your carefully crafted, optimized content gets the attention it deserves by installing social media share buttons on your website. Share buttons allow your visitors to share your content on social media with a single click, getting your content in front of a larger audience.