The internet has propelled the world into an era where everything is available at the click of a button, from purchasing your favourite football team’s latest shirt to finding someone to re-design your whole house. There are 8.5 billion Google searches made every single day, this has led to people expecting to find and access what they want in an instant.
Making sure that your business is visible and prominent on search engines has never been more important. Being found on page 2 of the Google search results just isn’t good enough anymore.
This is where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in. But at the core of effective SEO lies equally effective keyword research. Something that’s often overlooked by UK businesses, but is no less than the cornerstone of a viable organic search strategy.
The Importance of SEO
SEO is not just about being the number one search result for a global term; it’s also about reaching targeted prospects in your exact region. Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers. With the increase in “near me” and “open now” search queries, local SEO has gained more relevance. This makes it crucial for UK businesses, particularly small to medium enterprises, to understand and implement SEO for greater online visibility within their locale.
All well and good, but how do you make your business appear prominently on the web’s biggest search engines?
The answer is simple: keyword research and effective keyword usage.
Why is Keyword Research Important?
Keyword research is the backbone of SEO. It involves finding, analysing and using the phrases and terms that people use to search for information online. These keywords guide your SEO strategy and help your website appear at the top of search results whenever anyone searches those keywords.
Common Keyword Research Mistakes
While performing keyword research is an essential step in the right direction, there are several comment mistakes that have the potential to stand in the way of businesses looking to boost their visibility online.
- Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords: These are specific search phrases with low a search volume, however, if you were to rank for 20 or 30 of these phrases, they can add up to a major amount of organic traffic for your website. Although these types of keywords may be seen as less competitive, they often have better conversion rates.
- Neglecting Local Keywords: Whilst most businesses may look at the global popularity of a keyword or the popularity within the country they work, for small businesses, local search volume is what drives the right kind of business to your business. Ignoring geographic tags for your keywords could mean missing out on an important demographic. For example, if you are a flower shop based in Blackburn, you would want to use “Flower shop in Blackburn” rather than “Flower shop”
- Keyword Stuffing: This technique is a rather old one, first used when search engines began life; it included overloading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. Nowadays, this exercise will lead to a poor user experience and in most cases will actually harm your site’s rankings.
- Using Unrealistically Competitive Keywords: Businesses often make the mistake of targeting highly competitive keywords, although ranking for these keywords would be perfect for your business. Precise, less competitive keywords will attract more quality traffic.
- Skipping Keyword Research Altogether: Some businesses assume they instinctively know what their target audience is looking for. However, assumptions could lead to missed opportunities.
The Right Way to Conduct Keyword Research
While keyword research might initially sound intimidating and the thought of searching through thousands of keywords and phrases may sound somewhat daunting, it’s an achievable process. Follow our step-by-step guide below:
- Understand Your Business: What solutions do you offer to the customer or client? Who are your customers/clients? What kind of language will they use to find the services you offer?
- Create a List of Relevant Topics: Write down topics that are related to your business. For example, if your business is about organic skin care, your topics can be ‘organic face creams’, ‘vegan skin care’, ‘natural anti-ageing treatments’, etc. You could also create blogs based on the topics to show your knowledge on the product.
- Find Keyword Ideas: Once you have created a list of topics, brainstorm potential search terms that your target customer might use when searching for these specific topics.
- Use the Right Tools: There are many SEO tools out there which can be used to identify the most relevant, high-volume, low-competition keywords. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs and Google’s Keyword Planner can all help you to identify what these keywords might be.
- Consider Keyword Difficulty: Keyword Difficulty (KD) is an estimate of how difficult it would be to rank for a particular keyword. You should consider keywords with low KD scores to being with that also have a high relevance to your brand.
- Check for Keyword Relevance and Search Volume: The keywords you decide to use should be highly relevant to what your businesses offers. Making sure you choose the keywords that have a reasonably high search volume could also lead to you being seen on a much bigger stage!
- Refine Your Keyword List: After identifying the potential keywords you want to use, refine and prioritise the list with the most effective ones.
Remember, the goal of keyword research is not just to increase traffic but to increase the right kind of traffic, traffic that will convert into leads and sales.