Anyone who has spent even a minimal amount of time trying to understand digital marketing is familiar with the idea of search engine optimization (SEO). The more you get into it, the more you come to realize that SEO isn’t a single discipline or task. It involves a variety of things. Yet at the end of the day, there is one SEO task that trumps all others. It is a task that every digital marketer needs to master.
Do you know what that task is? If you think it is keyword research, congratulations. You are spot on. Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. And just like constructing a building, everything you put on top of the foundation will be unstable if the foundation itself isn’t firm.
Keywords Feed the Google Engine
Google is clearly the most dominant search engine on the web. It is not even close. What does Google need more than anything else? Keywords. They feed the Google engine.
Everything in Google’s world is tied to relevance. As a company, Google wants its product to return the most relevant results whenever someone runs a search. If its results are irrelevant, people aren’t going to use Google.
Google’s algorithms cannot determine relevance without an ample supply of keywords. So without keywords, all its other ranking factors – including load speed, mobile friendliness, and quality content – are utterly worthless.
Keyword Research in 4 Steps
If you’re still with me, it’s a safe bet you understand just how important keyword research is. Whether you provide paid SEO services or are just a business owner with a website, you realize that keywords are the key to promoting your site online. Fine. But let’s dig a little deeper with insight from Salt Lake City’s Webtek Digital Marketing.
Webtek insists that doing keyword research right requires knowing how to use the available tools. Bear in mind that your ultimate goal is to have a nice selection of single and longtail keywords likely to rank well most of the time. Achieving that goal involves a four-step process:
1: Search Out Relevant Keywords
Webtek advises starting with a search for relevant keywords. Think of keywords that are relevant to your company’s products and services. One of the most effective ways of doing so is to use a tool like Google Trends or Answer the Public. Either tool can help you understand the search terms people use when looking for the products or services you offer.
2: Search out Competitor Keywords
Next, you need to know the keywords your competitors are ranking for. There are numerous competitor research tools available online. Here’s the thing: don’t assume you need to compete on every single keyword that works for your competitors. There may be some incredibly attractive keywords your competitors are ignoring. Focus on them.
3 Create Keyword Groups
Once you are satisfied with your single and longtail keywords, arrange them into groups. Why? Because groups of keywords can be used to target specific audiences with certain messages. Grouping gives you the opportunity to dig a little deeper to achieve better rankings.
4: Eliminate Duplicate Keywords
Go through your long list of single and longtail keywords, looking for and eliminating duplicates. For instance, you don’t want a dozen longtail keywords for which three of the total five words are identical. Duplicate keywords waste time and energy.
If you are involved in SEO and can only master one task, master keyword research. It is the foundation of everything else you do in the SEO realm. Master it and everything else will follow.