How to Decide Which Keywords Are Best to Target for SEO

2023-05-08

Keywords are still an important part of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. However, there’s a lot more to it than just picking a few words related to your industry and adding them to your content here and there. Keyword planning and research is an entire process of its own and it deserves dedicated attention. When you do it properly, you’ll come up with the perfect keywords every single time. 

Even with the constant algorithm updates and changes to best practices, this is one area that’s been relatively unchanged. It’s a great way to use all the information and tools on the Internet to your advantage. 

What is keyword research?

Keyword research refers to the process of analyzing and finding different search terms and key phrases that people search for on Google and other search engines. Once you have that data, you can use it to optimize your content and determine which keywords are most important. Research will give you metrics like:

  • Target audiences
  • Local keywords 
  • Queries by popularity 
  • Ranking difficulty
  • And much more!

All of this can help you figure out how and where to use the keywords that you choose. 

Why does it matter?

People rely on keywords and phrases to get information when they’re performing online searches. Most people have learned to look things up a certain way, such as “auto parts stores in Houston” or “Texas auto repair.” Therefore, you will be able to better reach audiences of all kinds when you use the right keywords. 

This insight informs your content strategy and your overall marketing strategy. It helps you get in front of the right audiences and increase your traffic, and it provides everything that the audience wants in an easy-to-discover format. This leads to several benefits, including:

  • Valuable marketing insights 
  • Traffic growth 
  • Increased conversions
  • Improved customer acquisition

The elements of success with keyword research 

There are a few elements that should be at the top of the list when you’re researching keywords. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner will spit out dozens of different metrics, so it can be hard to keep up if you’re new to this process. Fortunately, you can generally get all the information that you need by choosing keywords based on three main elements:

Authority

How authoritative is your content and the rest of your marketing strategy? Google focuses more on whether you can provide reputable, useful content rather than which keywords you use. Thus, if you create a bunch of generic content just to get keywords ranked, you’re going to get ranked lower and sometimes even penalized. 

Relevance

How relevant are your links and resources? Google ranks content for relevance and that’s a big part of keyword usage. Content isn’t going to rank for a keyword unless it also meets the needs of the searchers. Your content needs to be the most relevant, useful piece and the keywords you use should be relevant to your materials. 

Volume

Search volume, which is measured by the number of monthly searches for a keyword, is a necessary metric that you need to know. After all, you can rank well for all kinds of keywords, but if no one is searching for them in the first place, it won’t matter. 

Three steps to success with keyword research

So, now that you have a better understanding of what keyword research is and why it matters, now we can talk about how you can start your own research. It’s always better to make a plan so that you can build a strong strategy from the start. 

Step one: Make a list of relevant topics for your industry or customer base

You can research what others are doing, or even search like a customer for topics in your industry or niche. What types of topics or content is your audience looking for? If you were a marketing company, for example, you could choose general topics like:

  • Email marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • SEO
  • Lead generation
  • Social media marketing
  • Blogging

Step two: Add keywords to each topic category

Using the keyword research you’ve performed already, identify the keywords that you want to put under each topic. For example, if you are looking at “lead generation” as a topic, you might choose keywords like:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead screening
  • Prospects
  • Sales leads 
  • Leads for marketing firms 
  • Top lead generation tools

Step three: Research related terms and analyze for intent 

User intent is a big part of Google’s search rankings these days. It is essential that you’re trying to solve a problem for the consumer or delivering something that they wanted. It’s about making sure that you use keywords the way that your audience is and that you maximize your options. Related keywords are also going to bolster your chance to get rankings. 

You can even use autocomplete in Google’s search bar to see what people are searching for with the keywords that you’re using to get related keywords and make sure that you zero in on that user intent. 

Take advantage of keyword research tools

We mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. Keyword research tools are going to be one of your best assets when you’re working on building out your list of keywords. Make sure that you take advantage of tools like the aforementioned Google Keyword Planner as well as others that are available today. 

Some of the most popular include tools like:

In addition to these tools, remember to also:

  • Check monthly search volumes
  • Cut down your keyword list with metrics on volume and traffic
  • Prioritize keywords that aren’t as frequently used
  • Make sure you have a mix of short and long-tail keywords

Now that you’re ranking, are you ready for the leads to come?

While you’re busy putting all this keyword research into place, your prospects are going to start noticing. Are you ready to field the calls? Partner with Smith.ai for a team of virtual receptionists that can deliver support for outreach campaigns, lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even act as your 24/7 answering service. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

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Sales Development
Written by Samir Sampat
Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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