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How to do keyword research: beginners guide 2020

When the online environment began, finding useful, relevant yet high quality information was a tough, complicated procedure. If you were in fact lucky enough to stumble across a online resource goldmine, internet users would have to write down website URL’s in order to find the information at a future date.

Shockingly, no one wanted to perform this task. Then, along came search engines.

Quick History

The first search engine created was in 1990. “Archie” and was a concept of Alan Emtage of McGill University located in Montreal. In essence, it was consisting of a database of filenames where you could search to find anything you’re looking for.

It was in 1991 that the World Wide Web concept was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. From then, it wasn’t long until a handful of search engines showed up. Each search engine, including Google was (and is) based on a single principle of a spider that goes through the web and the pages are then cataloged. The spider understands all these pages through keywords as well as keyword density where it can determine the topics of the pages.

Finding the right keywords for your website

Here are three (3) simple steps to find the best keywords to target for your website:

1.  Make a list of your keywords

The first thing that you need to accomplish is to make a list of your keywords and write down every possible keyword that is relevant to your business. List simple nouns and verbs related to your business.

Once you have your list, you can utilise Ubersuggest to get more keyword ideas. This is a free tool you can use to expand your main keywords. This tool can also be used as an estimation of how well your initial list of keywords are in terms of competition and volume.

For a list and brief of the most popular tools to help you find keyword ideas, view our guide here.

2.  Using Google Keyword Search and other tools

Google owns nearly 68% of internet searches. So everything you do for Google will absolutely work well with Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Google has a Keyword Planner that you can use to find keywords for your websites. You can use this to identify the best keywords that will help you drive traffic to your website.

3.  Using keywords from your competitors

Researching the keywords from your competitors is another tactic you can use to help you understand which are the most important keywords to target. There are several tools you can use for this strategy including SEMRush and Ahrefs. With these tools, you can analyse the keywords of your competitors and adjust your digital marketing plan accordingly to more directly target your competition.

You can also use Google Search to find great keywords. At the bottom of Google searches, you will see a list of related keywords that you can add to your roster. The search suggestions can be incorporated as part of your keywords and phases in order to capture more traffic.

LSI Keywords: The keywords at the bottom (scroll down) of all Google searches. These keywords are displayed under the title “Searches related to ….”

A few more tools you can use for your keyword research include Google Trends, Wordstream and Moz Keyword Explorer, we’ll leave these here for you to research on your own.

Effective ways on how to use keywords in your articles or blog posts

Have you ever read content on a website that constantly repeats the same keywords over and over again? It’s awkward and it doesn’t really offer readers the information required. This “keyword stuffing” creates an unpleasant read for your visitor and actually negatively effects how Google and other search engines see your website.

Content writing guidelines for effective keyword targeting

Stop Words

These are common words that you can read with the most common ones as “A”, “an”, “and” and “the”.  If you have used these in between your longer stringed keywords, don’t stress. In fact, Google’s Hummingbird update allowed more proficiency in seeing past these and identifying what is most important in a page’s content.  

Punctuation

Although Google ignores most punctuations, your content gets weird without it. Using punctuations helps your users read your content with ease; so, don’t forget to add these when necessary.

Adding keywords in your alt text, headings, meta data and URL

These are important elements in your content, especially when it comes to SEO. Keep your titles clean and add keywords whenever necessary to improve your on-page SEO.

Hint: Alt text for images let search engines know what the image is of!

Using LSI Keywords

Latent Semantic Index (LSI) refers to variations (synonyms) of your keywords. Instead of using the word “best” repeatedly in your content, you can do several variations including “highest rated” or “high quality”.

The biggest secret is for ranking your website on the first page of search results is using white-hat SEO techniques. By writing informative, relevant content for your users without following techniques to “trick” Google, ensures your ranking will climb and most importantly remain there for months and years to come.

Things not to do to get penalised by Google

Keyword Stuffing

The biggest no-no that could negatively affect your Google ranking is keyword stuffing – putting all your keywords as many times possible in your content. Keyword stuffing basically refers to loading your website with keywords in a bold attempt to dominate site rankings by manipulating search engines.

Classic examples of keyword stuffing include listing your company’s product or service multiple times which reads unnaturally and hinders the reading experience on the website. Keyword stuffing is a black hat strategy and should be avoided if you don’t want to drop your website rankings.

Adding irrelevant keywords to your text

On the other hand, if your products refer to plumbing services, you don’t have to add irrelevant keywords like Valentine’s Day or football. Focus on your industry to avoid being tagged by Google as spam – just keep it natural!

Picking keywords with no traffic

Don’t put too much effort on keywords that do not have search volume. People usually go with their instincts when searching for anything online. Always do your keyword research.

Placing your focus for the whole website in one keyword

Making just one keyword a priority focus of your website is a huge mistake you will regret in the future. Don’t get too focused with just one keyword as this can actually kill your rankings and in the long run, your website too.

Now that you have a basic understanding on keywords and the dos and dont’s of keyword research, you can ensure that your keywords will be highly relevant for your website, especially your target audience.

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