One day there was a sudden shift. My father-in-law suddenly started Googling everything on his phone. Something that has been second nature for me (using Google daily) since my late teens, suddenly became a knee-jerk reaction to most questions my father-in-law faced. And there I was watching him Google, and I could not help but immediately think of how important keyword research is for any digital marketing efforts.
There are 3.77 billion people on the internet, and none of them use the internet in exactly the same way. It’s not only about what apps you use, or what social networks, or what websites you visit, it’s also about how you Google when searching for information.
Google knows how to match results with the keywords you are searching
No two people search the same way on Google. If I was looking to purchase a new set of tyres for my car I would Google “tyre specials Pretoria”. “Tyres” because that is what I’m looking for, “specials” because I’m always looking to save money, and “Pretoria” because that is my location.
When I asked my father-in-law to help me find new tyres for my car via Google, his keywords were “Where to buy new 13-inch tyres near me”. Essentially the same search intent, but with a few key differences. The results on Google only changed slightly to meet the searcher’s query:
If I was in the tyre-selling business, what string of keywords should I try to rank for?
Keyword search volume determines the targeted keywords
Search volume, simply put, is how often a particular keyword or phrase is searched. For the most part search volume is calculated by taking the total number of times a keyword was searched in a year and dividing that by 12, giving the average amount of monthly searches.
Keyword search volume is a really important factor, otherwise, you could end up targeting keywords that no one is actually typing into Google. And what is the point of that?
In the example of our tyre searches, “tyre specials Pretoria” is searched far more often compared to “where to buy new 13-inch tyres near me”:
We typically identify commonly Googled questions during keyword research to help inform the content we create and answer these questions within the content. These questions are long-tail keywords that will have lower search volumes but are a great way to include LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords onto a website.
LSI is how we give users and Google a clearer understanding and context of the main keyword we are targeting. This helps us rank for both the higher search volume keywords and the lower search volume keywords, like Tiger Wheel & Tire in our tyre example.
An effective SEO strategy targets higher search volume keywords, but it creates a context for the targeted keywords by including LSI keywords and long-tail keywords in the page content.
Keyword research should inform your content topic and strategy
A client in the aluminium window and door frame business recently wanted to generate more leads. Because I have been doing monthly keyword research for this client, I know that there is a high number of monthly searches for “Aluminium window frame sizes PDF”.
Not only is this a keyword (or phrase) worth targeting, but it’s also Google essentially telling us what lead magnet to create.
Without keyword research, we would have never known that a PDF containing common aluminium window frame sizes is something that people are looking for on Google. Now that we know what the main keyword is that we are targeting, it will inform the content of the landing page we need to create (to rank in Google) as well as the content of the lead magnet (PDF) we can create to match the search query.
Not only can keyword research inform your content strategy, but oftentimes it can give you insights that could help you generate leads and new business.
Free keyword research tools
There are various free keyword research tools out there. Most of them are limited unless you pay a monthly subscription. For the most part, you can try any of them for a trial period for free.
Here are some of the more common tools used for keyword research:
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
If you’re not sure where to start and need help with keyword research for your industry or business send us an email and let’s have a chat.