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10 steps to choose the right keywords for SEO

By Lindsey Chastain

While keyword research takes time, it's worth the effort.


A person doing SEO keyword research on a computer.Finding the right keywords is crucial for effective search engine optimization (SEO) and driving traffic to your website. Doing keyword research properly takes time and effort, but the results are worth it.






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Content production will be a top investment for brands through 2024 as content marketing generates three times more leads at 62% lower cost versus outbound marketing


This step-by-step guide will help you identify keywords to bring your company’s target audience to your site with content marketing efforts.


1. Brainstorm a list of potential keywords.

Start by making a list of words and phrases relevant to your business and offerings. Think about what search terms customers would use to find you. This takes thorough thinking to consider all search terms customers might use. You'll need to include common industry terminology, product names, categories, customer problems you solve, and more. List as many terms as you can think of.


2. Use keyword research tools. 

Take your initial keyword list and plug those terms into keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs. These tools will show you monthly search volume data that will help identify high-traffic keywords related to your company. Focus on uncovering "long-tail" keywords with decent search volume — these tend to convert better than ultra-competitive short keywords. 


3. Analyze your competitors.

Look at all of the sites ranking on the first page of Google for your target keywords. Plug their URLs into a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see what keywords they rank for. This reveals valuable keywords your competitors are already optimizing for, which represent opportunities for you. Just don't copy their keywords exactly as it’s likely your competition has optimized for keywords specific to their company.


4. Look for rising trends.

Use Google Trends to uncover new and emerging search terms in your industry. Identifying rising trends early allows you to optimize for fast-growing keywords before they become ultra-competitive. You can also monitor forums and social media related to your industry for rising trends.


5. Organize keywords into groups.

Once you've compiled a large list of potential keywords, organize them into groups, also known as topic clusters. For example, product-related keywords, service-related keywords, location-based keywords, etc. This helps develop a structured optimization plan.


6. Prioritize keywords.

Add the keywords into a spreadsheet, along with their monthly search volumes, level of competition, relevance, and commercial intent. Then, score each one accordingly and determine the search intent for each keyword (informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional). This allows you to create a prioritized list and focus your optimization efforts on terms that will drive the most traffic and conversions.


7. Optimize pages for each keyword.

For each of your top keywords, create optimized pages that target those terms specifically. Make sure they appear in titles, headers, image names, URLs, page content, etc. Create new pages if you don't already have relevant ones. 


8. Write targeted content.

Produce blog posts, guides, and other content that focuses on your core keywords. Embed these directly into your pages and link to them from other content. Unique, valuable content helps boost rankings.


9. Monitor results. 

Track your keyword rankings using a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs. See which pages rank for which terms and how they improve over time. Iterate and optimize continuously for better results.


10. Expand your keyword map.

As you drive more organic traffic, look for additional keyword opportunities in your analytics. Add these new terms to your research process and optimize accordingly.


Keyword research takes time, but it's worth the effort. Following this comprehensive process will help you identify your best SEO opportunities and drive targeted organic traffic to your site. 


It’s important to find SEO keywords that work in your company’s best interest, especially in the tech-savvy world we're in today. This will help you determine the right keyword phrases for you and your target audience. If you need help promoting your company via SEO, book a free consultation today.


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Photo by Christina Morillo

Topics: SEO, owned media, web media

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