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How to Do Keyword Research

With keyword research being one of the most important parts of search engine optimization (SEO), it’s essential you know how to do keyword research for your own website, or at the least hire an SEO or company who can do so for you. In short, the keywords you use for your website and how you use them will directly affect your site’s search engine rankings, and therefore, your site’s traffic. By properly performing in-depth keyword research and utilizing the resulting keywords well, you’ll move your way up in search engine results and acquire more meaningful traffic to your website.

Of course, extensive keyword research is easier said than done. However, it can be a simpler process with the right tools and resources. Having said that, StatCounter not only provides useful insights as to the components of SEO, but we also provide detailed analytics to our valued members so they can monitor their website traffic and make educated decisions when performing SEO on their websites. With this, let’s take a look at how to do keyword research and the resources available for such.

Suggested Reading

Once you’re ready to move on to further reading on SEO, you can view the articles we’ve provided below to gain more insight:

Keyword Research Tools

In performing keyword research, you’ll surely need a keyword research tool, of which there are plenty. While some of these tools cost money, you can find several tools with free capabilities. Regardless, these tools can help you find related keywords based on a general search query, tell you the volume of keywords, and even provide the general difficulty of ranking for the term. Take a look at some popular tools below:

  • SEMRush: SEMRush allows you to access detailed information, like monthly search volume, about keywords. This can help you choose the right keywords for your SEO strategy. Plus, they provide the difficulty for keywords and supply you with a broad list of either related or what they call “phrase match” keywords. While SEMRush offers 5 searches a day for free, you may consider purchasing the pro version to get the most out of your keyword research.
  • Google Keyword Planner: Google offers a number of helpful SEO tools, but one of the most used is their keyword planner. Much like SEMRush, this allows you to access detailed information about the keywords you are considering for your SEO strategy. While you’ll need a Google Adwords account, you can still use the tool for simple keyword research.
  • Moz: Moz’s Keyword Explorer allows you to check the monthly search volume, the opportunity available, and how difficult it will be to rank for the keyword in question. It’s not as in-depth as SEMRush, but it can provide great insight.

While these tools will help you find an extensive list of keywords, you’ll need to start with some initial keywords based on your own intuition. Think about your business, your industry, and the types of search terms associated with such. Once you’ve found some strong, encompassing terms, you can then use these in the above-mentioned tools to find more related keywords and drill down deeper. While we’re at it, let’s take a look at some key considerations as you select keywords.

Pro Tips

You don’t always have to rely on paid tools (or the free versions) to find keywords to target. While these will be your best option, using Google’s search engine is also a great way to find more keywords. You can type any term in the search bar, scroll down to the bottom of the results, and find a list of suggested searches by Google.

How to Do Keyword Research: Selecting Terms

As you start the keyword planning process, you’ll need to have a set of general terms, or at least topics, you’d like your site to rank for. As mentioned, these terms should pertain to your business and industry. As you consider specific keywords, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Ensure the keyword is relevant to your business. Will the content created for that keyword match the searcher’s intent? What kind of traffic will it bring to your site?
  • Type prospective keywords into a search engine to get an idea of the results each term brings up. This will also give you a good idea of the competition for each term. Will you be able to rank over your competitors?
  • Enter the keywords into a keyword research tool to ensure the volume and difficulty makes it feasible to rank for. If you have a brand new site, you should probably target keywords with a lower search volume, say, somewhere around 50 monthly searches.
  • Work on finding long-tail keywords. For example, “men’s leather boots” is a long-tail keyword variant of “boots” or even “men’s boots”. Long-tail keywords typically have a lower difficulty and less competition.
  • Remember, you can always take a look at what you’re competitors are doing in regards to keywords. Just as you would with your own site, type a competitor's URL into SEMRush to see what kind of keywords they are ranking for.

Keyword Resources

Like we said before, keyword research is an integral part of SEO, so it’s always worth spending the time to ensure you’ve selected strong and appropriate keywords for your website. If you’d like more information in regards to keywords, research, tools, and more, take a look at some of our Insight pages for additional help.

  • Long Tail Keywords: Long tail keywords are often easier to rank for than common keywords. The search query “Men’s Winter Leather Boots”, for example, is a long tail variant of “Men’s boots” and will be easier to obtain a high ranking. Plus, the traffic resulting from terms like these will be more likely to remain on your site and take action, such as purchasing a product.
  • Keyword Density: Another important part of keyword usage is the keyword density. You should aim to use the keyword around 2% in the content on your site to help improve keyword rankings. In other words, be careful in how often you use a particular term in a single page. Using it too much may come off as manipulative and could result in a drop in rankings for that term. However, using a keyword too little may not give the page enough strength to rank.
  • Keyword Research Tools: As mentioned before, in order to perform keyword research, you will need to utilize some of the best keyword research tools available. Sites like SEMRush and Moz provide great detail on the keywords you search, and they’ll even give you a list of related terms to target. To get the most out of these tools, however, you’ll really need to consider paying for the pro versions, as you’ll be quite limited with the free versions and trials.

Track Your SEO Efforts with StatCounter

Keyword research sits at the heart of any solid SEO strategy, so be diligent in your research for such. Once you’ve selected a list of terms to target for your website, you’ll then need to use the keywords in site content and well as on-page optimization. In doing so, you can attain rankings for your keywords and begin acquiring more traffic to site.

Of course, you should always track your SEO efforts to ensure your strategies are performing well. With StatCounter and our free web tracker, you’ll have access to detailed analytics and metrics to keep a close watch on your website’s traffic and how users are interacting on site.

If you have any questions or need help using our tools, please contact StatCounter support by filling out the form provided below.

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