Keyword research is a cornerstone of SEO and writing good content for your website. By now most people with business websites are aware that it’s not a case of building a website and leaving it there. You have to constantly review, renew and add content to the website to keep visitors coming back for more. A regularly updated site will boost your SEO, attract the attention of the search engines and keep your pages indexed.

What is keyword research and why is it important?

Keywords or phrases used for blogs are recognised as a valued element within Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Potential readers will be searching for the topic of your blog and Keyword research will tell you what they’re typing in the search bar to find it.

Once you have published your blog, you want to see an increase in the number of readers. Getting traffic from search engines can be hard, however. How do you encourage readers to view your blog instead of someone else’s? Knowing what your potential readers are looking for will allow you to write a blog aimed right at them and the coveted top result on Google’s front page.

Having a company blog is a convenient way to add more content to your site. It allows you to write articles on a wide range of topics without complicating the navigation of your site. But how do you prioritise what topics to write about? Keyword research can also reveal what your target audiences are searching for the most, and help you narrow down what you need to write.

Using keyword research accurately assists the long-term growth in search engine traffic. Whilst you should be using social media as a way to drive traffic to your website, doing so requires constant effort to sustain growth. A well-written, optimised blog based on a solid keyword will bring in traffic even on your days off from social media.

How can I use keyword research?

Keywords are not limited to singular words. Phrases and sentences work for this purpose as well and can make it simpler for you to reach the correct target audience. Longer phrases are defined as long tail keywords. An example could be, ‘how to use keyword research’ or ‘the best negligence lawyer in West Sussex’. Both phrases would navigate the reader towards the correct information.

Longer phrases will produce less traffic because of their specificity, but the quality of that traffic will increase. If you want your law firm to be the best in your local area, “conveyancing solicitor” will be highly contested but “conveyancing solicitor Eastbourne” would be less so.

You can also write with secondary keywords in mind. These are keywords and topics adjacent to your primary keywords. ‘Making Tax Digital’ might be secondary to ‘tax returns’ for example. Using secondary keywords, you can rank your blog with more than one word. Optimising your blog around a variety of secondary keywords will expand your chance of ranking, increasing the likelihood of your blog being found by your target audience.

Target audience and keywords

For a successful blog, instead of writing what you want, you need to write what the reader wants to read. Before you start writing you’ll need to know who the reader (your target audience) is. Then you’ll know what they want to read, and therefore what they’ll be searching for. You’ll be able to predict what keywords or phrases they’ll use more accurately.

Finding which keywords to use can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are tools online that can help you with all of this, such as Google’s Keyword Planner.

Once you have your target audience, think about what topics they’ll be looking for. If you’re an accountant, that might be:

  • Tax returns
  • Starting a business
  • Cashflow management
  • Bookkeeping

Once you’ve got your topics, think about what a person in your target audience would search for in order to get that information. Whilst you’re doing this it’s important to think about the intent of the searcher. If we take “how to start a business” as the example keyword, there’s a broad amount of information that answers that question. The searcher could be looking for how to register with Companies House, how to establish good bookkeeping for their new business or what structure they should choose.

Keyword Research & SEO

Once you have your list, you can and should prioritise your keywords. The best way to do this is to look at search volume and competition. You’ll want keywords that are actually being searched for, but that don’t already have a large number of articles fighting for the top spot.

The easiest way to prioritise them is to export them into a spreadsheet and then sort your lists in terms of the numbers of searches and the level of competition. Then divide your keywords into this order:

  1. High number of searches, low competition
  2. Low number of searches, low competition
  3. High number of searches, high competition
  4. Low number of searches, high competition 

Large companies with well-established brands will have a higher “authority” – their overall SEO is so good that Google will rank their articles higher. You’ll have a hard time competing with keywords they’re using, so try to pick those no one else is trying to claim. Once you are generating lots of traffic and ranking well for the easier terms then maybe aim for the top terms but in the meantime, start writing for the easier terms.

Now you’ve got your keywords you can get writing.  For your keyword to be effective you’ll need to use it in the following:

  • The title
  • The URL
  • The Meta description
  • First paragraph
  • At least one image ALT tag
  • At least one H2 subheading
  • Scattered throughout your post

Link to your previous blog posts in the new ones using anchored text where you can. Optimising your blog by acting on this list will increase the number of readers viewing your blog.

Keyword Assistance

At the end of the day, a successful blog is written for the reader, and keyword research helps you get it in front of them. Without it, the chance of your content being found is pretty low. We write blogs and content optimised for SEO all the time, and regularly share how you can too. Get all the tips and tricks from our newsletter.

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Content Marketing