7 Elements of Keyword Research Success

Keyword research should be the very first step of every SEO strategy. You should start by thinking about the words you want to rank for, but the keyword research process can be daunting. This post provides some strategies to keyword research success.

Execute Your Keyword Research Correctly
Researching keywords the right way takes time. Dive into the language that your audience uses. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for? The result of your keyword research should be an extensive list of keywords you would like to rank for. Make sure you update this list regularly. As your audience or products change, so does your keyword strategy.

Aim for Realistic Keywords
Some niches are very competitive. If you’re just starting your website or business, it’s very hard to rank in a competitive keyword niche. If you’re new, you should focus on long tail keywords (which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert).
For example, if you are a yoga instructor, it will be too hard to start ranking for the term ‘yoga’. Find out which aspects of your services and business are unique and try ranking for those terms. Perhaps you specialize in chair yoga for disabled military veterans. Aiming to rank for ‘adaptive yoga or veterans’ could be a good strategy. In that case, you should also aim for ‘disability yoga’, ‘exercises for disable vets’ and so on.
If you have been around in your niche for a little longer and you’re succeeding in ranking on long tail keywords, you could aim to rank for more competitive head terms as well. Ranking for competitive keywords should be part of a long-term successful keyword research strategy.

Use Relevant Keywords
The keywords you are aiming to rank for should be the same words your customers use. You should always use the language of your audience.

Use Singular or Plural Keywords
Always check whether you should use the plural or the singular form of a specific keyword. Should you aim to rank for ‘cupcake’ or for ‘cupcakes’? Do people search for ‘holiday home’ or ‘holiday homes’. Always check whether you should use singular or plural with Google Trends.

Make Sure All Your Keywords Have Traffic
Long tail keywords are a great way to start your keyword strategy. These words gain less traffic, but you’ll have a higher chance to convert your visitors into buyers or returning visitors. People that use specific terms to search for exactly that thing you’re writing about are just a very good match. However, if your keyword is too specific and doesn’t get any traffic, it won’t help your SEO. So make sure to aim for those long tail keywords that actually have some traffic!

Evaluate Your Keyword Research Strategy
If you’re aiming to rank for certain terms, make sure to check whether you succeed. You need to evaluate regularly if people actually find your articles. In order to do so, you should definitely google your proposed focus keyword every now and then.

Focus On More Than One Keyword Per Post
If you write a decent blog post, you could aim to rank for more than one search term. If you’re able to do that (without just stretching it), you should definitely do so.

For a comprehensive list of keyword research tools, I highly recommend Yoast.