Keywords are the holy grail of any SEO strategy, and without keyword research, you’re stabbing in the dark.
They are the words and phrases that tell search engines what you’re all about, which helps them to send people in your direction if they think you have what people are looking for.
But, keywords aren’t what they used to be.
Back in the early years of search engines, people could stuff keywords into their web copy, cluttering the site with mass amounts of target keywords, in the hope of ranking highly in the search results.
And it worked!
But, things have changed and Google has got wise.
Google has improved their algorithms to spot keyword stuffing activity and they can issue penalties to sites that violate their content guidelines.
Now, it’s all about intent.
In order to rank for specific, targeted keywords, you have to create great website copy that answers users search queries and solves their problem.
By doing this, you’re making people happy.
And if you make people happy, search engines will love you.
93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, so you can see immediately why it’s so vital to get your keywords in line, and the search engines on your side.
If they see you as a reliable solution to a popular query, then they will drive traffic to your site and your success will simply grow.
So, where does great keyword research start?
Keyword research should be a crucial part of your overall online small business marketing plan.
It complements your online offering and forms a part of your SEO strategy.
It’s about learning the language of your potential customers in order to speak to them in a way they can better understand.
If you can align with what your customers are searching for, then you can place yourself in the best position to be found, creating traffic, sales and success.
Now while you can’t ask every single customer what they type when they search, you can use a range of tools, for free, to analyse general online search behaviour.
Some of the best free tools around include:
Google Keyword Planner
As the undoubted kings of search, Google themselves are best placed to lead the way when it comes to keyword research.
Google Keyword Planner helps you to review historical data and use that to predict how certain keywords may perform.
Once you set up an Adwords account, you can keep track of those keywords that are of interest to you, as well as managing your budget.
Aside from the fact it is aligned with Google, this tool is easy to use and hugely beneficial to your SEO campaigns.
All in all, the perfect place to start.
As an alternative to the Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool offers to help you discover what your audience is looking for, but this time without needing an account.
It aims to help you come up with long-tail keywords that can increase your chances of being found online.
It does this by considering Google’s autocomplete feature – in which it brings up suggested search phrases based on the very beginnings of what is being typed.
Not only that, it finds what questions people are asking.
By entering in one of your target keywords, you can find popular questions across the web.
This is a gold mine.
Because on the back of this, you can brainstorm some content ideas to answer those queries.
Then, once you’ve created some compelling content, start working on some promotion in order to see the traffic come rolling in.
Wordstream Keyword Research Tool
Wordstream aims to take the guesswork out of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
It does this through detailed data analysis and plenty of measurable features.
It can be used alongside Google Adwords to help build out stronger campaigns.
Wordstream Advisor also helps to manage PPC and social media advertising by finding effective and niche keywords, as well as highlighting those negative ones to avoid.
Its ultimate aim is to get you better results from online advertising.
As well as that, they also have their own keyword research tool which is free to use.
By entering single keywords, you can find a range of low hanging keyword fruits, this gives a good indication of what type of content you need to be creating.
It’s a well-rounded tool that can help to give you a clearer picture.
Uber Suggest claims to take your keyword research to the next level.
Seeking out new keywords that are not available in Google’s Keyword Planner, it’s a tool that can fuel your ideas and bring an innovative touch to your future campaigns.
With a very simple-to-use interface, as well as a ‘Keywords Everywhere’ internet browser plug-in, finding the right keywords for your business is easier than ever.
Answer The Public
Standing apart from the crowd, thanks to its sleek design and modern user-interface is Answer The Public. This tool offers search insight geared towards marketing teams, beautifully presented in a more visual way than the other tools.
Like some of the above, it looks at the long-tail suggestions that are offered by Google and plays around with all of the possible variations of each term, using them as a basis for winning content ideas.
Its design focus makes its data easy to digest, without losing any of the detail.
Marketplace Research by TeraPeak
Last, but not least – looking to turn knowledge into profits, is Marketplace Research by Terapeak.
Of-course this differs because it relates directly to eBay and Amazon content. But even if these marketplaces don’t relate directly to your business, there are lessons to be learnt from this research method.
But even if these marketplaces don’t relate directly to your business, there are lessons to be learnt from this research method.
For anybody looking to buy or sell on eBay, this tool helps you to see the best-performing search terms, average selling prices and demand patterns, helping you to get the most out of your experience and to best reach potential customers.
Choosing the Right Keyword Research Tool For You…
All of the tools mentioned above are highly regarded as great keyword research resources.
Although many will have similar features, they do differ in terms of depth and usability.
Finding the right one for your business is a mixture of requirement size and aesthetic preference.
Take a look at what each one can offer, as well as how much their findings can influence your marketing activity.
With so many of our interactions now taking place online, keyword research is so important for a business to stay relevant and visible.
You have to know the questions that your customers are asking and place yourself in the best position to answer them.
Every online business should be carrying out regular keyword research, especially SMEs who are looking to stay ahead of the game.
Even those with little resource can make the most of these free tools and uncover vital details about how customers are behaving online.
After all, when it comes to the digital world, the best way for you to communicate is to speak the same language.
And the best way to do this is through keyword research.
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