Organic Search (SEO) / Digital Marketing

10 Essential Tips for Improving Your Keyword Research

11 May 2022

It’s never too late to gain the upper hand when it comes to owning your online brand territory, but before optimising meta tags or rewriting page content, it is required to get a better look at your brand’s keyword universe.

Keyword Research involves shoring up the discoverability of a website by exploring keywords relating to its subject matter that have respectable search volume. High search volume indicates that when it comes to users typing in phrases into a search engine, these are the text combinations they tend to use to try and get to what they want or what they’re curious about. Incorporating these keywords into the website will increase its standing when it comes to organic search, causing it to climb the rankings of search results lists with each curious new click.

To perform a top notch keyword research it’s recommended that you use Google’s Keyword Tool. By just inputting the website’s basic URL into its “Discover New Keywords” section, you’ll receive a large batch of potential and pertinent keywords to start with. If Google Keyword Tool returns search volume as range, it is possible you are not getting the right data due to not spending with Google Ads. Worry not, there are alternatives available with SEMRush, Ahrefs or KeywordTool.io, which help you find even more keywords to optimise and focus on as needed for the site’s various pages.

Filtering and refining the results won’t be quite as challenging to learn, but it can be tricky given that the terms you amass must be both relevant and useful to you and your clients. Luckily, these ten keyword research mainstays are here to clear that up by helping you clear away the fluff.

Get the biggest list possible from the start

To start with, you’re going to need to use your new, raw keyword research skills to gather a large list of keywords from both your targeted website and between four-to-five of its competitors. Whether it’s SEMRUSH, Google AdPlanner, or some other software you’ve studied for this purpose, use them to find the top-ranked keywords associated with each as it’ll give you a greater sense of what users are searching for when they’re curious about the topic they’re all related to.

Once you have these lists, filter out the ones that rank 1-3 in each, copy and paste them to a single document, and remove duplicates. Whether the chosen timespan is three months or twelve, you now have a large list of potential keywords to help you meet your organic search goals.

Discover New Keywords to expand your options

Everything you’ve found so far can be gleaned from the websites you researched. If the list doesn’t seem long enough, or you wish to inject new potential keywords into this set, consider using keywords suggested by the programs you’re using. For example, you can input the URL of a website into the “Discover New Keywords” tool of Google’s Keyword planner, and be given an armload of new keywords as a result. Don’t get too attached though, as all the other parts of this article are about whittling them down so only the best remain.

Retain high keyword search volumes

Some fields are rather niche and some lines of businesses can be quite specific. A client in such a position must be given the means to thrive and grow, with 100 average search volume and above being a reasonable threshold per keyword. For moderately sized brands you can increase the threshold to 400 or even 1000 searches per month, as long as you still have enough keywords in the list. Any keyword below that search volume must be removed from your list, because if the threshold is too low you run the risk of having too many keywords in a keyword research which is too difficult to use because it has too many keywords.

Don’t get too attached to exact phrasing

Some keywords look perfectly suited to a webpage you may be optimising, but they might have poor search volume regardless of how appropriate they are to it. If such keywords are stuck in this position, feel free to use an appropriate substitute that is still related to the page’s subject.

Avoid keywords with “near me”

Keywords with “near me” usually have high search volume, and you’re liable to have attached that phrase yourself when you were looking for something close to your current location. Unfortunately, it’s hard to incorporate that exact phrase “near me” from the point of view of a client, leading to awkward and inefficient copy. If you need to reach local audiences, make sure to add locations to your core keywords, anywhere between the street name, neighbourhood, city or nearby landmarks.

One word keywords are never long enough

Keywords need to contain two or more words to meaningfully register organic search volume. 

Avoid having competing brand names on your list

Direct comparisons to the distinguished competition’s a now untenable facet of a bygone if entertaining era of marketing. Think of it this way, your client’s the main star you should be promoting. Why should their rivals get any spotlight? 

Dive back in to get more when needed

There may come moments when despite having a list of hundreds of valid keywords, none of them seem to fit the web page you’re trying to assign new, high-volume keywords to. If this very specific page must remain an independent part of the website, there’s no shame in plugging in potential keywords into the likes of Google’s Keyword Planner or keywoordtool.io to come up with fitting and strong keywords for them, even if it takes a few tries.

Categorise your keywords appropriately

Your client will usually provide a set of categories to group your refined batch of keywords into. If not, you should take a thorough look at how your client and their B2C and B2B competitors sort their web pages in their navigation menus. From there, you can craft a comprehensive yet succinct list of possible categories.

Never optimise for misspellings

Search engines don’t play very well with hyphens or acronyms. Programs that analyze and propose keywords have similar issues with them. For example, if you have a keyword relating to the town of Albury-Wodonga, it may list the town’s name as either AlburyWodonga or Albury Wodonga without the hyphen; perform a quick study to determine which of these options is more common in search engine meta descriptions. Surprisingly, misspellings of a keyword can rank rather highly, but that’s due more to common mistakes than actionable insights; trying to court these errors by littering meta titles and descriptions with typos will reflect poorly on everyone involved.