How To Do Keyword Research For Content Marketing
When it comes to content marketing, the biggest challenge is sometimes coming up with the topics that will best reach your target audience.
You can’t simply decide on topics based on a gut feeling.
Your content topics should be based on cold hard data about what your potential customers are actually looking for.
This is where keyword research comes in.
In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about keyword research. More specifically, we will discuss how to do keyword research for content marketing.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of finding words and phrases that people are searching for in Google and other search engines.
It is literally finding out what people are looking up on search engines.
We will talk about these keyword tools in more detail further down this blog post. But for now, let’s talk about the benefits that you can get from doing keyword research the right way.
Why Is Keyword Research Important For Content Marketing?
Keyword research offers a lot of benefits when it comes to content marketing. Here are some of them:
It Gives You Insights Into Current Market Trends
If you want to know what topics are trending in your industry, keyword research is the way to go.
You can use keyword research tools to find out what topics people are searching for the most. This will give you an idea of what is popular in your niche and what people are interested in.
And when you know what topics they are looking for, then you can create more relevant content that they would find valuable and relevant.
It Helps You Understand Your Target Audience Better
Keyword research can also help you understand your target audience better.
This is because when you look at the keywords that people are searching for, you will get an idea of their pain points and what they are struggling with.
For example, let’s say you see a lot of searches for “how to boost social media engagement.” It could mean that a lot of people are looking to increase interactions with their social media followers.
This gives you an opportunity to create content that addresses those specific needs and pain points.
It Grows Your Website Traffic
The whole point of content marketing is to grow your website traffic. And keyword research can help you do just that.
You see, not only is keyword research an integral part of finding relevant topics for your target audience. It is also crucial in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
When you include your target SEO keyword in your content, it will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
This means that more people will see your content and click on it.
And when more people visit your website, you also have the chance to generate more leads that you can convert into paying customers.
4 Elements Of Keyword Research
Before we dive into the necessary steps you need to take to do keyword research, we first need to know its important elements.
This is the most obvious component of keyword research. For your content to rank high on the Google search, it has to be relevant to your target audience’s search queries.
What’s more, you need to make sure that the keywords you are targeting are relevant to your business.
For example, if you are a SaaS company that provides accounting software, then your target keywords should be related to accounting, bookkeeping, or finances.
You don’t want to waste your time targeting keywords that have nothing to do with your business.
Not only will it hinder your website traffic growth. It will also give you irrelevant results that won’t be helpful to your business.
Another factor that you need to consider in keyword research is the search volume. This refers to the number of people who are searching for a particular keyword every month.
Ideally, you want to target keywords that have a high search volume. This is because it means that more people are interested in the topic.
If you successfully rank high for keywords with high search volumes, then you would most likely get a lot of website traffic from them.
However, you also need to be careful not to target keywords that are too popular. This is because the competition for these keywords is usually high.
Unless you are confident that your SEO content can rank for these keywords, it’s best to avoid them.
Speaking of competition for keywords…
Finding keywords with high search volumes doesn’t automatically mean you should target them.
If you’re seeing that they have high search volumes, others do too. And chances are, they are also targeting those high-volume keywords.
So, as you choose which keywords to target, you also need to take into account the difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword. This refers to how competitive a keyword is.
Most keyword research tools show you the specific search volumes and difficulties for each keyword.
For example, if a keyword has a difficulty score of 70, it means that it’s going to be quite difficult to rank for. This is because there are already a lot of websites that are targeting this keyword.
It would take a lot of hard work and dedication to get your content to rank for such keywords.
Unless you’re confident in your SEO strategy or you have a large budget to invest in paid ads, then it’s best to target keywords with lower difficulty scores.
What’s more, note that some keyword research tools will show “Competition” rather than “Keyword Difficulty.” For these platforms, they will rate the keyword competition as Low, Medium, or High.
Another key factor in targeting a keyword is your website’s authority. This refers to the quality and trustworthiness of your website.
In general, the higher the authority of your website, the easier it is to rank for your target keywords.
This is because Google and other search engines tend to trust websites with high authority. As a result, they are more likely to rank these websites higher on the Google search results.
And the more authoritative your website is, the higher your chances of ranking for high-difficulty keywords.
Now that we know the important factors to consider in keyword research, let’s take a look at how to actually do it.
Step 1: Make A List Of Relevant Topics
The first step in keyword research is to make a list of relevant topics that are related to your business.
To do this, you can start by brainstorming all the possible topics that your target audience might be interested in.
You can also look at your competitor’s websites to get an idea of the type of content they are producing.
Once you have a good list of topics, you can then start narrowing down your choices.
Step 2: Choose Your Keyword Research Tool
There are a variety of different keyword research tools that you can use.
Some popular options include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Each tool has its own set of features and benefits. So, it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs.
For example, if you want a tool that you can use for free, then Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer would be a good option.
On the other hand, if you want a tool with more features and data, then you might want to consider something like Semrush, Ahrefs, or Moz’s paid version.
Step 3: Find Supporting Terms For Each Of Your Topics
Once you’ve chosen your keyword research tool, it’s time to start finding supporting terms for each of your topics.
These are the keywords that you’ll be targeting with your content.
To find these keywords, you can simply enter your topic into the keyword tool’s search bar and hit enter.
The tool will then generate a list of related keywords.
For example, let’s say you’ve tried using Google Keyword Planner to search for the term “content marketing.” You might get a list of related keywords like “content marketing strategies,” “content marketing tips,” and “content marketing examples.”
Step 4: Research Local And Niche Variations For Your Keywords
Now that you have a good list of supporting terms, it’s time to start researching local and niche variations for your keywords.
For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “content marketing,” you might want to consider targeting the keyword “content marketing services in San Francisco” or “content marketing for SaaS businesses.”
To find these keywords, you can simply enter your keyword into the tool’s search bar and then add a location or niche-specific modifier.
For example, you could search for “content marketing” + “San Francisco” to find local keywords.
Or you could search for “content marketing” + “SaaS” to find niche keywords.
Step 5: Analyze The User Intent For Each Keyword
One important thing you may not find in a keyword research query is the user intent for your keywords.
You see, the search intent may vary from one user to another.
For example, let’s have the keyword “marketing automation software pricing.”
Some users who look up that keyword are just looking to find out how much marketing automation solutions cost. While other users may be ready to purchase a subscription and are just looking for the best software to buy.
To find out the most prominent search intent for a particular keyword, you can simply type in your keyword on the search engine and see what comes up.
If you understand what most users really want to see, then you can create content that would best cater to them.
Search intent is usually classified into four types: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial.
With this search intent, the user is looking for information about a particular topic.
With content marketing, most of your target audience will probably fall under this category. After all, it’s by providing reliable and relevant information that you attract potential customers and build trust with them.
A navigational search intent happens when the user is just looking for a particular website. For example, they might type in “Facebook” if they want to go to the social media site.
In most cases, you probably won’t be targeting navigational keywords with your content marketing strategy. However, there are some exceptions.
For example, if you’re running a blog on your website, then you might want to target navigational keywords that include your brand name.
A transactional search intent happens when the user is already looking to make a purchase.
For example, they might type in “Adidas Ultraboost” if they’re looking to buy a pair of the newest running shoes by Adidas.
If you’re running an eCommerce website, then you’ll want to target transactional keywords with your content marketing strategy.
A commercial search intent happens when the user is looking to make a purchase but is also considering multiple options.
For example, like in our earlier example, they might type in “best marketing automation software”. This may indicate that they are looking to buy a marketing automation tool but haven’t decided on which one yet.
An audience with this search intent can also be good to target, especially if you’re creating content for leads at those stages of the SaaS sales funnel.
Step 6: Put All Of Your Keyword Research Data On a Spreadsheet
Now that you’ve gone through all of the steps above, it’s time to put all of your keyword research data into a spreadsheet.
Doing this will help you keep track of all of your keywords and the data about each of them.
So make sure you have the corresponding search volume and keyword difficulty/competition for each keyword on your spreadsheet.
Here’s an example of what your spreadsheet might look like:
Keyword Research Strategies For SaaS businesses
If you’re running a SaaS business, then there are some specific keyword research strategies that you can use to attract potential customers.
Here are some that you can follow:
Identify Your Competitors’ Target Keywords
One way to find keywords that you can target is to look at your competitors. Try to see what keywords they are targeting and then try to “outrank” them for those keywords.
You can use some of the tools we mentioned earlier to see what keywords your competitors are targeting.
They will require you to input the URL of the site you want to research.
When you’re done, it will show you their best-performing pages and the necessary information about them. These include their keywords, traffic, and more.
Another way to find out what keywords your competitor is targeting is to simply look at their website content. See what keywords they are using in their meta titles and meta descriptions.
Target Keywords With Low Competition
As we discussed earlier, more authoritative websites will have higher chances to rank for high-competition keywords.
So, if you’re just starting out with your content marketing efforts, you might want to steer clear of keywords. This is especially true if you’re up against established giants in your niche who already have built up huge libraries of content.
That’s why one of the best things you can do is target keywords with low competition.
By targeting these keywords, you’ll have a much higher chance of ranking in Google and driving organic traffic to your website.
But don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that you should have keyword competition as the only criterion for choosing which keyword to target. Make sure that you have a significant search volume for it too.
Otherwise, you’ll be targeting keywords that no one is searching for, and that won’t do you any good.
If you can find keywords with high search volumes AND low competition, that would be best.
Use Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are simply keywords that are more specific and usually longer than the more general, shorter keywords.
For example, “best CRM software” would be a short tail keyword. A long tail keyword might be something like “best CRM software for small businesses”.
As you can see, the long tail keyword is much more specific. And because of that, it’s usually easier to rank for long tail keywords than it is for short tail keywords.
Not only that, but long-tail keywords tend to have higher conversion rates as well. This is because the searcher usually has a better idea of what they’re looking for when they use a long tail keyword.
So, if you’re running a SaaS business, then you should definitely focus on targeting long tail keywords with your content marketing strategy.
Target Question-Based Keywords
Another great way to find keywords that you can target is to look for question-based keywords.
These are simply keywords that are in the form of a question.
For example, “what is a SaaS product” is a question-based keyword.
Question-based keywords tend to have high search volumes because people use them when they’re looking for answers to their questions.
And if your content can provide those answers, then you’ll be able to attract a lot of traffic from these types of keywords.
To find question-based keywords, you can use the Google Ads’ Keyword Planner feature we mentioned earlier. Start typing in a general keyword related to your niche and see what questions the platform suggests.
You can also use tools like AnswerThePublic to find question-based keywords that you can target.
Final Thoughts About Keyword Research For Content Marketing
Keyword research is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy.
If you want your SEO content to rank in Google and drive organic traffic to your website, then you need to make sure that you’re targeting the right keywords.
Fortunately, there are a number of different ways that you can find the right keywords to target.
What’s more, there are a lot of tools you can use for keyword research. Some of them are even free to use.
Most importantly, be smart in choosing which keywords to target.
Some keywords may have high search volumes but they may be too competitive. Others may have low competition, but no one is really looking it up.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to start out with long tail or question-based keywords. They generally have a decent search volume and considerably low competition.
But as you build your own website’s authority on your niche topics, search engines will recognize it and may favor you in the search result.
If and when you reach that point, you would have a higher chance of ranking for high-competition keywords.
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