Keyword research is the process of isolating words and phrases to rank on search engine result pages (SERPS). Your keyword research will guide you in developing a content strategy to increase web traffic to your digital products. Below are 10 keyword research tips to improve SEO rankings and organically drive mobile and web traffic to your business:

1. Research Your Audience

Keyword research should be included in a larger marketing strategy to identify your target audience and predict customer behavior. Every marketing strategy should begin with knowing your audience. To identify which keywords will most effectively attract web traffic, you need to predict how your customers will utilize search. Forecasting how your customers will behave starts with knowing who your customers are. What are their demographics? What do they care about? What are they looking for that relates to your business? Once you know who you’re targeting, the web offers a treasure-trove of information you can use in your keyword research.

2. Brainstorm Topics

Once you’ve profiled your customers, it’s time to brainstorm what topics your target audience is interested in. What topics are people searching for related to your business? “Google suggest” is a wonderful resource for brainstorming keywords. Google will predict queries based on audience patterns and, by doing so, reveal popular search queries. Social media, YouTube and Wikipedia also similarly reveal search trends by attempting to complete your queries. Do not forget about on-site search! You may have a wealth of topic data in your own analytics. Your website analytics will reveal what your customers are searching for on your website.

3. What’s Trending?

Search volume based on trends is ever-changing. Twitter, YouTube and news aggregators are great resources for identifying popular trends. Take advantage of trends in your field as well as trends in business, technology, local, pop culture and world events to promote your product. You can garner significant web traffic by beating your competitors to the punch.

4. Get Specific

Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to rank with broad keywords. There is simply too much competition for broad topics, such as “real estate” or “travel agent.” You’ll have more success with specific key phrases and identifiers. Three tips for getting successfully specific:

  • Go local! Combine keywords with geographic identifiers.
  • Does your product have any special features? Combine key phrasing with features/services that make you to stand out.
  • Seasons. As the seasons change, so do people’s search queries. Have any holiday gift ideas?

One important strategy for getting specific enough to rank is researching long-tail keyword phrases. For instance, instead of searching for travel agent, a user may prefer the specificity of “Disney travel agents for European cruises.” Seventy percent of Google search are long-tail queries. Long-tail presents the opportunity to optimize for your target audience. As you research keywords, look for long-tail keyword phrases you can prioritize.

5. Use Variations

There’s always more than one way to ask a question. Consider synonyms and semantic variations on keywords describing your services. Google’s RankBrain technology recognizes synonyms and expands their search results accordingly. Google also punishes websites for stuffing their content with repetitive keywords. Synonyms and variations can help you to reach a larger audience and avoid Google penalties for keyword stuffing.

6. What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Competitor analysis should be an important part of your keyword research. It’s important to know how your competitors are ranking. Competitor analysis can reveal holes in your own content. Also, you should steal ideas from your competitors. However, never use the same content. Duplicate content will also be penalized by Google and is frowned upon generally. Emulate success, but be cognizant of keyword difficulty, which measures your chances of ranking with a keyword phrase due to significant competition. Also, be aware that Google almost always rewards brand keywords to the owner. You’re unlikely to trick Google into ranking you with your competitors’ brand names.

7. Let The Tools Do It For You

You don’t have to do it all yourself. The web is packed full of tools for keyword research and SEO. Among our favorites are Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMRush, seedkeywords, Keywords Everywhere and Ahrefs. Some are paid services but many are free. These tools can save you significant time and resources.

8. Use Keywords To Build Your Content Strategy

Your content strategy should revolve around your keyword research. Your blogs, articles, page content and metadata need to incorporate the keywords you’ve identified in your research. Again, be careful not to overload your digital product with keywords. They should be sprinkled throughout your content and combined with variations.

9. Study Your Analytics

Once you’ve identified your keywords and incorporated them into your website content, take time to study the results. Google Analytics can help identify what keywords are working to drive visitors to your site. You should be reviewing your analytics weekly to measure the success of your campaign and adjust your keywords accordingly.

10. Adapt

Keyword research is a constant process. Trends change. Seasons change. Popular terms and catch-phrases change. SEO and marketing agencies are a great resource for ensuring that keyword research is done on a regular basis. You should refresh your research at least quarterly, ideally monthly, to stay ahead of your competitors. Partnering with a reputable SEO agency is a great way to ensure you’re always ahead of your competition.

Conclusion

Keyword research is an incredibly important part of your digital marketing strategy. Your research should consider audience, trends, competition, difficulty and seasonality. Keyword research should be thoroughly and consistently practiced.  There are numerous tools, services and agencies that can help you figure it out.

Keyword research can also lead to great ideas for your business, services and overall marketing strategy. Keywords can be a window into understanding what your customers need. In this regard, your content strategy is about more than gaming the search engines. Keyword research is about connecting with your audience. If you ground your research in knowing your customers, the results can aid you in providing better products and services and increasing your brand loyalty.

SEO Plan for Higher Search Rankings in 2020

1. Using the Right Keywords Is More Important Than Ever

graphic design featuring a laptop displaying keywords

If you’re new to the world of digital marketing, it’s easy to get confused and think you’re doing enough by simply producing content.

According to research, the first five search results on Google receive over 67.6% of all clicks.

Astonishing, right?

If you’re simply producing content, it’s very likely that your page is showing up on the sixth, seventh, or thirtieth SERP. And it should come as no surprise that a whopping 75% of people never scroll past the first page of SERPs.

If you want your content to show up on the first page of Google in 2020, you have to go the extra mile.

Using the right keywords is still one of the most effective ways to climb SERPs and attract quality traffic. Start off by diving into the deep end of keyword research. Use a reliable keyword research tool or consult SEO experts who can do the work for you.

We suggest incorporating the right mix of short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords, and geo-targeting keywords.

Use Google Trends to check the search volume trend of each keyword beforehand.

For instance, time-specific keywords like “Valentine’s day gifts” and “Christmas” peak around a very specific time period.

vday gifts

Remain cognizant of trending keywords and incorporate them into your content accordingly.

However, the insertion should be natural and seamless.

If you can manage to establish a strong and smooth connection between the keywords and your industry-specific content, go for it! If it seems forced, however, it’s better to abandon the idea than risk alienating readers.

Think outside the box and get your creative juices flowing to find unique ways to tailor your content in accordance with the selected keywords.

While branching out into new topics is a great idea, they should still fall within your niche.

For instance, if you run a hair salon, you can continue to produce blogs with time-specific keywords like “work from home.”

work from home

We also suggest optimizing your content by using keyword-friendly title tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords, and URLs. Optimize images by using alt tags and image tags.

Here’s a great example of a strong title tag and meta description for a blog on how to protect mental health while working from home:

title tag and meta description

The keyword placement, conciseness, and inviting conclusion draw the readers in.

It’s no surprise that this blog showed up on the first page of Google!

2. Produce Value-Added, Creative, and Engaging Content

If there’s one SEO strategy that has stood the test of time, it’s producing engaging, original, and compelling content.

While you may have optimized your content by incorporating the right keywords, you’re very likely to notice an increase in customer churn rate if your content is dull, unengaging, and lackluster.

Instead, focus on producing unique and creative titles, subheadings, and content. Strike the perfect balance between quality and quantity to ensure your audience continues to engage with your content in the long run.

Engaging Content

Glassdoor’s engaging, relevant, and empathetic blog feed is a great example of how to get off on the right foot:

Glassdoor

Their incorporation of culturally and racially relevant issues shows that they genuinely care about producing content that makes a difference.

Notice how their latest blog is centered on the recent incidents of police brutality against black people in the U.S. Instead of solely focusing on keywords, they’ve adopted a holistic approach that helps inform readers and invite action.

Taking a stand based on the contemporary social, cultural, racial, ethnic, political, and economic context will go a long way in helping you establish a strong brand identity and educate your audience on important issues.

In fact, it will also help you establish a high page and domain authority.

Here’s a glimpse of Glassdoor’s impressive domain rating of 91:

dr glassdoor

With over 1.6 million backlinks, the company has established a stellar reputation. And it should come as no surprise that its impactful blogs have played a big role in maintaining the immaculate reputability and authority.

3. Master the Art of Link Building to Improve Your Google Ranking in 2020

graphic design indicating the importance of quality link building

As one of the most effective SEO strategies, link building is a surefire way to increase quality traffic and rank higher on SERPs.

If your recent search entries on Google have included “how to rank on Google search” or “how to get on the first page of Google,” you may want to be all ears for this one!

In a nutshell, link building is the process of receiving high-quality backlinks from reputable websites with a high page and domain authority. As you receive quality backlinks, readers are redirected to your page. Not only does this increase traffic, but it increases quality traffic.

If you’re receiving a backlink from an established company like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Glassdoor, Architectural Digest, or Elle Décor, the chances are that the audience is genuinely interested in checking your content.

This helps weed out bad traffic and attract quality leads.

Instead of receiving visitors who don’t actually care about your products/services, you’ll attract leads that are interested in making a potential purchase. As your visitor-to-lead conversion rate increases in the long run, you’ll notice a visible boost in revenue.

Write engaging and optimized guest blogs, leverage the broken link building strategy, create visually compelling infographics, and use the right mix of internal and external links to master the art of link building.

We also suggest focusing on creating long-form content (i.e. content with over 1800 words) to increase the chances of receiving a quality backlink.

You’re probably wondering why you’re being asked to create long-form content when short, snappy, and engaging content has been taking over the digital landscape lately.

While that may be true, long-form content receives a whopping 77.2% more links than short-form content.

Of course, if you write a complex, monotonous, and uninspiring long-form blog, you’re very likely to ward off readers.

Instead, write informative—albeit engaging and fresh—long-form content to establish an air of authority in the eyes of industry giants. This will double or triple your chances of receiving quality backlinks.

We also suggest getting in touch with link building specialists who have extensive experience in helping small businesses and startups create winning link building strategies.

4. Leverage the Power of Video to Boost Audience Engagement and Retention

graphic design of an interactive, three-dimensional computer screen featuring a YouTube video

As the average human attention span drops from 12 to eight seconds, capturing and holding audience attention has become more challenging than ever.

According to research, video posts enjoy 135% more organic reach than image posts on Facebook. In fact, 82% of all internet traffic is expected to come from video streaming by 2022.

Simply put, people prefer engaging with video content over text and image content.

While the latter (text and image content) still matter, leveraging the former is imperative.

Create impactful, informative, optimized, and witty video content to wow your audience. With 75% of customers claiming they’d rather learn about a product/service via video as opposed to text or image, you’ll instantly increase your chances of engaging a wide audience.

We suggest creating a YouTube page and including the video feed on your website.

Optimize YouTube videos by incorporating keywords into the video file, video title, and video description. In addition, use popular video tags to ensure your videos reach a wide audience.

We also suggest including cards, in-video polls, and end screens to boost viewership.

5. Prioritize Local SEO to Increase Conversion Rate

According to research, over 46% of all search entries on Google are from people trying to find local information. This information generally includes local stores, addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation.

If you’ve been focused on reaching an unnecessarily wide audience, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Trying to connect with customers across California when your business is based in Sacramento could end up proving to be futile.

Instead, narrow your focus to your local audience.

72% of people searching for local businesses online actually end up visiting the store.

Make the most of your local audience to ensure your business shows up among the Google 3-Pack. This displays the top three local results on the first page of Google.

For instance, if you search for “restaurants in Miami,” you’ll receive the following Google 3-Pack:

restaurants in Miami

Unsurprisingly enough, over 44% of people who perform a local search end up clicking on one of the options included in the Google 3-Pack.

Here are some ways to increase local traffic and increase your chances of being included in the Google 3-Pack:

  • Claim, optimize, and update your Google My Business listing
  • Use location-friendly keywords in your URL, title tags, meta description, headers, and content
  • Create and optimize local landing pages
  • Ensure NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistency
  • Make the most of online business directories like Yelp, Trip Advisor, MapQuest, etc.

Customizing your content and business accordingly will go a long way in building a wide local audience and boosting revenue.

6. Create a Mobile-Friendly, Optimized, and Visually Compelling Website

visually engaging website graphics displayed on a computer screen and in mobile-friendly layout

It takes approximately 0.05 seconds for users to visit your website and decide whether they’ll continue to browse or leave.

With over 38% of users refusing to engage with a poorly designed and unengaging website, ensuring aesthetic appeal is crucial.

Use your website as a canvas for your brand’s self-expression. In other words, your website should reflect your brand’s personality and style.

While ensuring your website looks the part is essential, it’s equally important to optimize it.

Use Google Speed Insights to determine whether your page is running slow. The powerful platform also offers suggestions to help speed things up and enhance user experience.

According to a recent survey, approximately 47% of users expect a website to load within two seconds.

Follow these strategies to speed up your website and reduce bounce rate:

  • Minimize HTTP requests
  • Compress images without affecting the quality
  • Remove unnecessary plugins
  • Choose the right host
  • Enable caching
  • Defer JavaScript loading
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

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