How important is a keyword research for your SEO strategy?
Doing keyword research is very important if you want to be in the top 10 of the search results. But even more important is first to determine your SEO strategy and only then to start your keyword research. Keyword research should be a consequence of your SEO strategy.
What is the difference between keyword research and an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is about which target group you want to reach within which time frame and what the quality of your visitors should be.
Keyword research helps you to use the right words in your article on which you want to and can be found.
How to create an SEO strategy?
Just like with a traditional marketing strategy, at least 3 fundamental choices need to be made for your SEO strategy.
1. Who is your target group, and what exactly do they need?
Make sure you have a very clear and concrete picture of who your target group is. How old are they, where do they live, what do they have in terms of time and money to spend, what is their background, are they easy to influence, etc.
Also, you want to know what information they are looking for and exactly what products or services they need.
Someone who likes to go fishing in the river and has been doing so for years may need the best rubber boots for river fishing. He will be looking for a specialist and not just any rubber boots provider.
An average housewife who lives in a country where it rains a lot may also be looking for rubber boots, but has a very different need for information. Chances are she will be looking for fashionable rainproof boots.
2. What exactly do you have to offer the target group?
Of course, you would like to serve everyone everywhere. Even Alibaba does not succeed because people have different needs. One prefers to go to a specialist, and the other prefers to go to a site where you can find everything for a low price. Some people want to know everything about a particular product or subject, and others only read or buy impulsively.
The question is, therefore, what exactly you have to offer. Are you a specialist in a particular field or assortment, or do you know more about everything? Do you have the widest range of 1 or more types of products, or do you only sell the top segment of 1 type of product?
3.How do you want to persuade your target group to buy your services or products?
How do you want to persuade your target group to buy your services or products? There are several ways to seduce your target group. For example, with price, quality, design, information, and service, but there are even more possibilities online.
A common trick in traditional marketing and communication is to generate a lot of traffic. Within the retail industry, the bargain box method has been used for this purpose for years.
You put a large box with all very cheap products on your doorstep and hope that the passing person will come in. Once inside, you can offer them much more expensive products or services that they didn't know they needed yet.
A high-end electronics store will not quickly use the bargain box method. This detracts from his image as a specialist, and he prefers to have few visitors with a high buying intention that he can give the right service.
The choice you make is between (A) High Traffic, Low Conversion, or Low Traffic, High Conversion.
How do you do SEO keyword research?
If your SEO strategy is determined, you can based on the choices made, look for topics you want to be found on. To find out which words are most commonly used when searching for this topic, you can use different tools. For example SemRush or seoreviewtools.
Most professional tools require a paid subscription first. There are also free tools, but these are usually too limited to do a thorough SEO keyword research.
SEO keyword tools all have one thing in common. You enter the subject per country on which you want to be found, and you immediately get an overview of the keywords that are most commonly used to find out something about the subject.
How to search for the most commonly used keywords within a topic
Below you see an example of the keyword results on the subject of rubber boots. These results differ per period and per country.
For each keyword, the search volume and the Keyword density are indicated. The search volume shows how many people use that specific keyword combination in a certain period of time. The keyword density indicates how difficult it is to rank high on a specific keyword combination.
How to search for the most commonly used questions about a topic
Applications such as Semrush can also display the most commonly used questions on a topic. See an example below:
As you can see, very specific questions have a much lower search volume. That makes sense because more people will use "rubber boots man" than type a full phrase.
Based on the information from a keyword search tool, you can determine which words you will use in your article.
Step 1: Choose keywords with a high or low search volume
It sometimes seems logical to always choose keywords that have a high search volume, but this is not always the case. Usually, a high search volume also means that it is challenging to rank in the top 10 search results.
By choosing a lower search volume, you will be able to rank higher more easily. If you choose keywords with a higher search volume, it is more difficult to rank, but if you do, you will generate a lot more traffic to your site.
The choice above can be made based on your SEO strategy document.
Step 2: Choose broad or niche keywords
If you sell rubber boots, you can create 1 article where you give generic information about your product, or you can choose to write several really specific articles.
This choice can also be made based on your SEO strategy. The difference between broad or niche keywords is as follows:
Broad keywords: Are often very general and difficult to rank, but if you rank, you usually get a lot of traffic. The downside is that your conversion is generally low because the visitor did not specifically come for something.
Niche Keywords: Are often much easier to rank because they are used less frequently in search engines. They make sure your article is very specific about one topic. Even when ranked high, you will usually get less traffic, but the conversion rate will be high because you give exactly the information they were looking for.
Note: There are SEO experts who like to use tricks to get even more traffic to your site. One of those tricks is to use off-topic content. If you sell rubber boots, you can also try to rank on words related to rubber and boots. For example, "rubber plantations."
In some countries, this can be a keyword combination that will put you directly on position no. 1. The downside is that you will end up with an article that has no direct relation with the content of your site. If you do this too often, you can get a ranking penalty from the search engines.
Step 3: Choose your primary and secondary keywords
Once you have a list of keywords and keyword combinations, you can separate your primary and secondary keywords.
Primary keywords are a maximum of 5 keywords that you often use in an article.
Secondary keywords are all other keywords you want to use.
Practical example: A customer of ours wanted a site to market oxygen therapy in a certain country. Very soon, the most obvious keywords "oxygen", "therapy", "health", "vitality," and "recovery" came up.
We decided to make the words "oxygen" and "therapy" primary keywords. Until a small problem arose. The company was not sure whether the word "therapy" could be used. Therefore they had decided to change it into the word "exercise."
The problem here was that the keyword "oxygen" was only used in combination with "therapy" in that particular country. Any other combination would result in a maximum search volume per month of fewer than 100 people.
So there was no other choice but to settle for very little traffic or run the risk of getting a warning for the word therapy. They chose the latter.