Keyword Research Is Essential
Your content marketing strategy’s success depends largely on the keywords you target so you need to do keyword research. If you’re targeting the wrong kinds of keywords, that is, you picked short-tail (1-2 words) and highly competitive keywords, then you’ll find it hard for your content to rank anywhere near the top of Google.
Most, if not all, websites who rank for short-tail keywords are big, established websites like Wikipedia. It would be extremely difficult to knock these sites off the top spots!
For best results, you want to target the low-hanging fruit or the long-tail keywords(more than 3-5 words) that not too many people are going after.
Why? Because with long-tail keywords you can easily ascertain people’s intent, so you can create the right content they’re looking for. This means that the people who will eventually read your content are those who are specifically looking for it.
For example, if someone typed a short-tail keyword like ‘bag’ on Google, you wouldn’t know exactly what that person is looking for. They could be looking for a definition of the word ‘bag,’or they could be looking for different types of bags.
However, if someone typed a long-tail keyword like ‘how to make a handbag’ or ‘where to buy a red Adidas backpack,’you’d know exactly what that person is looking for! If you do keyword research it makes your job of getting your work in front of your avatar so much easier.
And what’s really awesome about targeting the right long-tail keywords, especially those with buyer intent, is that your conversion rates are going to be so much higher than if you were targeting just about any other keyword!
In addition to focusing on long-tail keywords, another keyword metric you should pay close attention to is the search volume for that keyword. You can use a free tool like Keywords Everywhere to get search volume data.
For example, if you were to choose between two buyer-intent keywords, you’d prioritize the one that has a higher search volume. Some may argue that search volume is based on historical data and should be ignored, but it’s actually a pretty good indicator of a keyword’s potential demand in the future.
Of course, some new and trending keywords may not have as much volume as other similar keywords in the past, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to it.
Even keywords with zero search volume can still turn out to be quite profitable in the near future! New keywords are coming up all the time, so if you want to create a demand for a keyword, it’s certainly very doable.
If you want to know what kind of keywords your target audience is going to use, you need to look again at that avatar you created on Day 3. Try to get into your persona’s head and think and act like them.
What would ‘John’ or ‘Jane’ think? What would they type on Google?
Write your thoughts down. Write your potential keywords down. Since you already have a list of your content ideas from Day 4, you should also add these new ideas to your keyword list.
The next thing for you to do is to plug your keywords into a keyword research tool like Keyword Tool (https://keywordtool.io), KWFinder (https://kwfinder.com), SEMRush (https://www.semrush.com), or MOZ Keyword Explorer. Each tool has its own pros and cons, so you need to shop around to see what’s best for your needs.
For the most part, a good keyword tool will show you which are the best keywords to target. It will tell you how competitive a keyword is, if it’s worth going after or if you’re just potentially wasting your time.
Some keyword tools like SEMRush also give you information on your competitors’ top keywords, so if that’s something you’re interested in doing, then you may want to sign up for a premium account.
Once you’ve finished your keyword research, you’ll eventually end up with hundreds or thousands of keywords. You can put everything into one Microsoft Excel file.
You may want to go over your keywords, one by one, and group related keywords together. When you create your content, you can target all those related keywords at once!
Just a word of caution though. Your keyword groups shouldn’t have far too many keywords on it as it can get difficult if you try and target every single keyword on the list.
For optimum results, try to have at most 20 keywords per group. Remove one-word keywords from your list as it will be near to impossible to rank for those.
If you’ve initially grouped far more than 20, see if you can split a group into two or even three smaller groups. This will help you make even more targeted and specific content.
Manually grouping a rather huge list of keywords can literally drive you crazy. To make your life a bit easier, you can use a keyword grouping tool like WordStream’s Free Keyword Grouper.