It’s no secret that Google is an ever-changing beast. Its algorithms are constantly updated and the competitive fight for companies and businesses to get as high up on page one of Google as they can is continuous. So, having a clear and comprehensive search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is essential. And the foundation of SEO? Keyword research.
Keyword research is an art. Not only is it deciphering which keywords are the ones to target in your copy so Google recognises you and your product or service offering, it’s also knowing how to navigate the competition. There’s little use in only using target keywords that are going to be impossible to rank for.
In this article, the KIJO team have put together their keyword tips and tricks that can enable you to make savvier SEO decisions. This will include things like what really makes a good keyword and how to identify them, keyword research tools we use and recommend, and how to advance your keyword researching skills.
Keyword research is the process of finding and analysing valuable search queries that your target users are inputting into search engines, namely Google.
Keyword research and use is good practice for those wanting to optimise their pages for a higher ranking on search engines. It can also help those who may be seeking a product or service like yours to find it.
For nearly every marketing strategy, yes. Not only does keyword research highlight which keywords and phrases the copy on your site should include, it also provides you with an insight into what the exact search terms your target audience are inputting. This means that keyword research can help you learn how best to engage and capture your potential customers, informing your future content strategy, and generate more traffic to your site.
There are many keyword research tools out there that can help you identify the most relevant and accessible keywords to target in your copy.
At KIJO, we use a combination of Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner. Ahrefs is a paid-for tool that allows you to analyse your competitors, audit and optimise your site, find the keywords client customers are looking for, track your site’s ranking progress, and discover content and topic ideas – all in one place!
Google Keyword Planner helps you research keywords for search campaigns and also tells you how much search volume (how often your target keyword is searched for) and how much traffic can be estimated for the keywords under consideration. You can also view metrics in Google Keyword Planner like:
Other keyword tool competitors include SERanking and SEMRush. Both tools offer similar keyword research tools and features. Keyword tools are absolutely worth investing in if you’re serious about competing within the online market.
Choosing the keywords your article, page or other copy needs to target doesn’t have to be as taxing or complex as it sounds.
Firstly, brainstorm a list of words or phrases you think your customers will input to find your business. Always start with the main service of your company and/or your business’s most profitable service and consider what your customers call that. Then, type that into Google and explore what comes up. It would be advisable to save and store the top results and those that stand out for you for future reference.
Next, have a think about what other phrases may be searched for in regards to these products or services – in other words, what else might they ask Google for in order to find them?
Tip: During this brainstorming session, it may be worth typing keyword ideas into sites like Google and YouTube without pressing enter, and seeing what the search function suggests you’re looking for in the drop down menu!
For example, KIJO recently wrote an article about the free Google tool Google Lighthouse which assesses how well a website is performing. Our initial keyword brainstorm looked a bit like this:
Secondly, you may also want to check to see which keywords your site and certain pages are already ranking for. At KIJO we use software Ahrefs and Google Search Console for this. This practice will help you establish how people are already arriving on your site from search engines like Google.
Thirdly, you’ll want to take a look at your competitors; your direct ones and your partial ones. Find the pages you’re looking to emulate, and assess their copy, their titles, H1s (often the larger titles on the page), and repeated words and phrases in the body. These are probably the keywords they’re ranking for.
At KIJO, we download our competitor keywords and highlight the ones we think are relevant to us. For example, when it came to us looking at our competitors for our Google Lighthouse article, it was clear ‘Google Lighthouse’ itself was the front running keyword in the copy and titles, just from reading the pages.
When we used the keyword search tool in Ahrefs. This was confirmed when we analysed what keywords this competitor page was ranking for on the programme.
We discovered this by accessing our Ahrefs dashboard and inputting our competitor article into the URL search section bar just underneath the top line menu. After we pressed enter, we were presented with an array of results but selected the ‘Keywords’ option under the ‘Organic Search’ title. We were then presented with the keyword ranking results for this blog post which you can see below:
Then, you’ll want to start thinking about user intent. Sometimes, we can assume that a keyword means a certain destination. For example, if someone searches “quick chicken recipe”, and the top result is a chicken recipe but it takes a long time to cook, they’ll close it off and check another result. If they score a shorter-to-cook chicken recipe, they’re likely not to click another result. Google will recognise this and boost that second page up the rankings for that keyword. There’s a difference between users looking for a chicken recipe, and a quick one. So, user intent is 100% worth considering when researching keywords.
Now, it’s time to shorten your keyword ideas list. In order to do so, you need to consider how much a keyword generates in traffic and how hard the Keyword Difficulty (KD) score is. Then, attempt to strike a balance.
The KD column on your keyword research tool will literally tell you how hard the competition of using that keyword will be – the lower the number, the better. What you’re ideally looking for though is a high search volume and a low KD score.
Consider removing keywords from your list of ideas if they:
It’s unlikely that you’re going to manage to compete on Google rankings with large competitive companies and big brand names. They are probably already benefiting from being an authoritative voice in your industry, and ranking competitively high. The best way to tell if you can outrank a site is by looking at their DR score (DR stands for domain rating). The closer it is to 100, the harder it will be to compete with them.
Prioritise keywords or phrases that you actually have a shot of ranking for; keywords that have little competition. Consider their Keyword Difficulty score and attempt to strike a balance between KD and DR when choosing which keywords to make a priority.
So, from our research, we decided to target the following keywords in our Google Lighthouse article:
Make sure you have a mix of head-term and long-tail keywords – the latter are key phrases that are typically longer than 3 words, and often less competitive to rank for. Long-tails can often provide quicker wins as they’re usually more specific too.
You ideally want one or two primary keyword/phrases that appear every 100-200 words, and then two to three keyword variations/long-tails that appear within the copy occasionally too.
For example, the long-tail keywords that we chose to target in our Google Lighthouse guide were:
Right, you’re ready to write your copy! But if you’re looking to go more in-depth, continue reading for KIJO’s three top advanced keyword research tips…
Focusing all your attention on keywords that closely relate to your product or service may not be the most ideal way of getting traffic to your pages. This is because they’re the most competitive and thus harder to rank for.
Remember, your potential users will be using thousands of different keywords even when they’re not directly searching for what you sell. So, think about generating related content on your site like articles or feature pieces that target closely related topics.
Thought leadership can be a great way of generating traffic to your pages. It helps attract the right audience to your brand and building an authoritative voice within your industry. It may be considered more of a slow burn, but the payoffs can be exponential.
For example, if you’re selling luxury electric vehicles, an easier way of generating traffic to your site might be an article on a particular consumer benefit for converting to electric, or a new innovation within the industry. If people learn to trust your brand via other content that targets easier-to-rank keywords, they’ll be likely to come back to check out your service or product.
We do it right here at KIJO. We write thought leadership articles about content marketing and website design. This means we can clearly demonstrate to our target audience that we have the expertise they’re looking for. From articles like these Tips for Conversion Rate Optimisation to our comprehensive reviews of good website designs like our recent 21 Best Blog Designs, we’re continuously building on our reputation and bolstering the trust of our target audience.
The key to dominating the keyword research game is finding keywords that are high in demand yet remaining unused by your competitors. One great way of unlocking these keywords is exploring forums. Checking out forums like Reddit or Quora, or even content on social media and then analysing the hashtags and comments!
Look for service or product relevant threads and read them. Observe what your target audience’s problems are and the solutions they’re seeking. Take inspiration for future content and note down recurring keywords, phrases or questions – these can be valuable, insightful phrases that may become your next high-ranking long tail keywords!
Consider keyword modifiers. These are terms users may add on to the popular keywords like “2024”, or “best”, or “near London”. To enhance your keyword researching game, you want to look for add-on search terms that alter the search results on Google and remain relevant with popular keywords to do with your product, service or topic.
For example, if we do this for gymshark.co.uk on Ahrefs, we get keywords like “gymshark leggings” or “gym shark compression shirts” so the base keyword would be “gymshark” and the search term modifier would be different types of sport clothing.
So, we would then utilise the Keywords Explorer tool on Ahrefs to find more similar keywords. We’d enter the base keyword and then select a Matching terms report, and make sure to select to “include any word”.
Applying this should generate a list of much lower competitive keywords which can inspire your next piece of content that has more potential to rank!
Keyword research is the backbone of any good SEO practice. Enhancing your knowledge and understanding of how to play the ever-changing Google game is a great way to stay on top of your site’s growth and ranking.
However, there are expert team’s that can support you with site optimisation.
At KIJO, our KIJO Optimise service offers a professional, in-depth audit of your site. We delve into your website’s health, assess content quality with SEO in mind, analyse your competitors and uncover things like keyword and backlink opportunities. We will then develop a comprehensive roadmap pinpointing the most impactful optimisation tasks, and then action them for you.