When you’re learning SEO, one area causes more confusion than almost any other part of the process: selecting the right keywords. Once you know which keyword to use on your blog post or your page, it’s easy, but getting to that point can be challenging. If you’ve ever wondered how to do keyword research for SEO, then you’re in luck.
Before you start keyword research for SEO, I want you to think about your Ideal Customer and what they need or want from you. If you don’t have a clear idea as to who your Ideal Customer is, take the time to determine who they are before you try to do keyword research. Spending time determining who your Ideal Customer is will make the rest of the process a lot easier.
I recently had a student struggling to figure out what keywords to go after on her website, and when I asked her who her Ideal Customer was, she told me she wasn’t sure. So I had her complete an Ideal Customer Profile and determine whom she wanted to work with, and after doing that, she had so much clarity as to whom she wanted to help, how she wanted to help, and what products she should offer them. And the next time she went to do keyword research, it felt easier because she knew exactly what she needed to research to find keywords for her blog post.
If you’re unsure who your Ideal Customer is and need help, read this blog post, and I’ll walk you through questions you can answer to help identify them. Spending time on this step before starting keyword research will produce better results.
Once you know your ideal customer, think about what they need from you. What questions do they have and need to know, and what’s their motivation for searching for information right now? These are all possible paths to the right keywords for your website.
The first keyword you search won’t likely be the “right” keyword. People often need several keyword research and revisions to find the right keyword for their website page or blog post. Usually, the keywords we start with are too competitive or not truly the keywords our Ideal Customer uses when searching for items related to our businesses. If you're not sure what an SEO keyword is, start here.
Use whatever keyword research tool you prefer and are the most comfortable with, and start searching. Most tools will allow you to include 3-5 seed terms that they then use to generate a list of other potential keywords you might want to consider. Start with the keywords you think you want to use (from a brainstorm, customer questions, competitor information, or other resources) and see what they tell you about the competition.
Then, check to see who’s ranking at the top of Google for the keywords so you know if they’re a good potential fit for you. You also want to see what information shows in the results – is the user intent for this keyword what you expected? If you were picturing content that’s very different from what your competitors have on the pages ranking for the keyword, you probably want to change the keyword and choose something else.
Several options could work for your keyword; however, one keyword will likely be “better” for your site than the others. The best keyword is the one with the highest search demand, the best customer intent alignment, and the least competition – it’s the one that you can likely rank high on Google for so that your website gets found by more potential customers and you get the most traffic possible.
Doing keyword research for SEO can feel daunting and confusing at first, but as you refine your skills and get more comfortable, it’s a lot easier. I work closely with my students on this in Simple SEO Content because it’s an important part of your SEO Content foundation. I recommend that my students do keyword research before writing their content because that allows them to make sure they’re creating content that their audience is searching for and that their website has a good chance of ranking so they get traffic.
By following this easy 3 step process for keyword research for SEO, you will have a better chance of choosing the right keywords for your website or blog. If you want to learn more about how SEO and content marketing work together to grow your business check out my SEO course.