Skip to Content

Keyword Research 

Your website is your online storefront. It’s where you showcase your products, services, or expertise. But just like a physical store on a deserted street, a website without visitors struggles to thrive. Attracting visitors to your website is critical for achieving your online goals, whether it’s generating leads, increasing sales, or building brand awareness.

This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO is the art and science of improving your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher your ranking, the more likely people are to find your website when they search for relevant terms online.

Let’s dive into a fundamental SEO strategy called keyword research. Grasp this topic and you’ll unlock the key to attracting the right visitors to your website.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and phrases people use to search for information online. These words and phrases are called keywords. Imagine keywords as bridges connecting searchers’ questions with the information they seek. When someone has a question, they type keywords into a search engine like Google.

The goal of keyword research is to discover the keywords relevant to your target audience and your website’s content. By strategically incorporating these keywords throughout your website, you’re essentially telling search engines what your website is about and who it’s for.

The more relevant your website’s content is to a particular search query, the higher the chances of your website appearing at the top of the search results page (SERP) for that keyword.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research helps you find the right terms to target with your content. That’s important for a number of reasons:

Boosts Website Traffic: By incorporating these keywords into your website’s content, you’re essentially making it easier for search engines to understand your website’s relevance to specific searches. This increases the chances of your website appearing in search results, leading to a surge in website traffic.

Attracts a Targeted Audience: Not all website traffic is created equal. Keyword research allows you to target highly relevant users who are genuinely interested in what you offer. By focusing on keywords related to your specific niche or industry, you attract visitors who are more likely to convert into leads or paying customers.

Improves Search Engine Ranking: Search engines are constantly striving to deliver the most relevant results to users. Keyword research helps you understand the search algorithms used by search engines like Google. By strategically using relevant keywords throughout your website’s content, title tags, and meta descriptions, you’re sending strong signals to search engines about your website’s relevance. This can significantly improve your website’s ranking in search results for those targeted keywords. (Consider mentioning SERPs here to establish familiarity with the term).

Generates Leads and Sales (Optional): When you attract a targeted audience actively searching for your products or services, you’re setting the stage for conversions. By providing valuable and informative content that addresses their needs, you nurture leads and push them further down the sales funnel. This can ultimately translate into increased sales and revenue for your business.

How Does Keyword Research Work? (Basic Overview)

Keyword research might seem complex, but it can be broken down into a few key steps:

Understanding Keyword Types: Keywords can be categorized by their length. Short-tail keywords are generally broad and consist of one or two words (e.g., “running shoes”). They often have high search volume but can also face fierce competition for ranking. Long-tail keywords are more specific and consist of three or more words (e.g., “best running shoes for women with wide feet”). While they typically have lower search volume, competition for these terms can be just as intense. This applies especially to terms that indicate an intention to purchase.

Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty: Two keyword metrics that frequently come into play when selecting keywords. Search Volume refers to the average number of times a particular keyword is searched for each month. When targeting a specific search term, you want variation that has the highest monthly search volume. Keyword Difficulty is a generic metric that’s influenced heavily by backlinks. Being a generic metric, it’s of limited utility — it applies to everyone and therefore no one in particular. At MarketMuse, we prefer to use Personalized Difficulty in conjunction with Topic Authority.

Keyword Research Tools: Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate the keyword landscape alone! There are numerous keyword research tools available online that can help you discover relevant keywords, analyze search volume and competition, and even suggest related keywords. There are free tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console. Of course, you can use MarketMuse!

Uncovering Search Intent

While identifying relevant keywords is crucial, keyword research goes beyond just the “what.” Search Intent delves into the “why” behind a search query. It’s about understanding the goal or motivation a user has when they type in a particular keyword.

Here’s why considering search intent is valuable.

Crafting Content that Resonates: Imagine searching for “running shoes” because you’re training for a marathon, only to find an article comparing different brands for casual wear. It wouldn’t be very helpful, right? By understanding search intent, you can tailor your content to address the specific needs of users searching for a particular keyword. If someone is using the keyword “running shoes,” are they looking for information on choosing the right shoe for their running style, reviews of top brands, or perhaps affordable running shoe options? Understanding the intent allows you to create content that directly addresses their needs and keeps them engaged.

Targeting the Right Audience: Search intent can help you refine your target audience. For instance, the keyword “healthy recipes” could have various intents. Someone might be searching for quick and easy weeknight meals, vegetarian recipe options, or nutrient-rich meals for weight loss. By understanding the intent behind the search, you can optimize your content to attract the specific audience segment you want to target.

Prioritizing Keywords: Not all keywords are created equal. While some keywords might have high search volume, the intent behind them might not align with your website’s goals. Identifying keywords with high search volume and a strong informational intent can be a good starting point, especially for content-driven websites.

Remember, search intent is an advanced SEO concept, but understanding its basic principles can significantly enhance your keyword research strategy. By considering both the “what” (keywords) and the “why” (search intent), you can create content that truly resonates with your target audience and achieves your website’s goals.

Related Topics

Learn More About Keyword Research