Finding the right keywords is fundamental for any SEM strategy. It doesn't matter if you want to focus your marketing efforts on paid or organic traffic...It all starts with keyword research. In this blog post, we're going to talk about the latter.

In other words, why is keyword research important when crafting a solid SEO strategy?

As a Founder at Ernst Media, I'll share with you the steps we take when conducting keyword research for clients to prepare an SEO focused content strategy.

Now, if you aren't familiar with the different types of keywords, I suggest reading this article.

The Importance of Keyword Research

If I have to keep it simple, keyword research is important because:

  • Your target audience is asking questions
  • You need to answer their search queries

The days when you could write a few articles related to your products and services and appear in the SERPs are long gone. Today, you need to publish plenty of content for topical authority.

Not being recognized by Google as an expert in your industry is often why SEO isn't working.

Performing keyword research helps you discover what your potential customers are typing in search engines when looking for solutions.

Researching keywords related to your business will tell you what your competitors are ranking for and whether you can steal some of that traffic.

The goal is to identify keywords with decent search volume and low difficulty that you can use to create educational content and attract the right visitors.

It's time to show you how we do SEO keyword research to create a strategy at Ernst Media.

How We Create a Keyword Strategy for SEO?

Most folks opting in for our SEO services already have an established business and website. But even if you haven't started creating content, I encourage you to read through all the steps.

Many companies are missing out on potential SEO benefits by not paying attention to the keywords they're currently ranking for. That's why we start from there.

Diving Into Google Search Console

This is our first step in developing a good keyword strategy. This first look analyzes the keywords that the website is currently ranking for and their position. It gives us a good indication of where time and effort should be spent.

By the way, if you're paying someone for SEO services, Google Search Console can help you evaluate their work. All you need to do is follow these 3 easy steps.

identifying keyword rankings in google search console

We do this by setting up and configuring Google Search Console. It's a free tool providing valuable insights about a website's performance in the Google search results pages. Diving into the GSC allows us to assign a value to each keyword.

Some keywords are more competitive as they're commonly used in searches for a specific product or service. Thus, we need to put more effort into optimizing current articles and creating new content to drive more traffic.

Other keywords however, may be a little more obscure, which is to say they have less search volume. Less volume usually equals lower keyword difficulty (fewer websites targeting that keyword). Increasing a company's ability to rank for that keyword on the first page is easier.

Finally, we validate the specific keywords by reviewing the corresponding Google Analytics data.

Utilizing Keyword Research Tools

The next step in the keyword research process is to use tools like Semrush and Ahrefs. If you don't have a budget, you can try free keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or look for opportunities in Google Trends.

Even, typing in your keyword in Google's search bar will give you some relevant content ideas.

using keyword research tools for content ideas

We utilize keyword research tools to find "hidden gem" search terms. Then, we create content around those to improve existing keyword rankings and build the overall website's topical authority.

While proper keyword research is important for both organic and paid search strategies, there is one major difference. For PPC, we focus on transactional keywords, and when optimizing for organic traffic we aim at informational content.

Why, because people go on Google to ask questions before making buying decisions. These questions usually consist of at least 3-4 words (long tail keywords). And while long tail keywords have less search volume, these are easier to rank for.

Look at the Search Engine Results

Now that we know the keywords a site ranks for and have discovered more keyword ideas, it's time for the final stage. We check all keyword phrases in Google to decode the search intent.

Matching the search intent is the most important factor in determining the success of a keyword strategy. If your article doesn't match the search intent, Google won't reward you with traffic.

importance of matching he search intent in seo keyword strategy

Here is an example of not matching the users' search intent:

Let's say you run an e-commerce biz selling shoes and discovered the long tail keyword "How to Choose Running Shoes." That particular keyword has a decent search volume (about 500 per month) and can be your exact blog post title.

Obviously, people who type this search query in Google want to know how to pick the right shoes and expect to see an informational post. If your article is a listicle promoting 10 different models of running shoes, you aren't matching the user's intent.

You can follow the exact same process for a service-based business. However, your SEO strategy should also focus on a few other elements. I covered those in a separate article.

Closing Thoughts

To sum up, we focus on improving online visibility by utilizing high-value, less competitive keywords. Over the years, this approach has driven plenty of quality traffic to our clients' websites...And it still works.

What we typically do is prepare a game plan focusing on two things:

  1. Increasing the volume of keywords ranking in positions 1-10
  2. Increasing the total number of keywords a site is ranking for

If you talk to SEO consultants, they may provide different advice. That doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong, but there is a chance their methods are outdated.

Have you considered hiring an SEO agency?

If so, I recommend reading this blog post. It provides valuable insights about the different services, pricing models, and what to avoid. Design Rush recently published their list of the Top 30 SEO Agencies, in case you want to see your options.

Need help with keyword research, SEO optimization, or anything else related to your digital marketing strategy right now? 

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