Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Keyword

Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Keyword

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Selecting the right keywords is one of the most important steps in your content and SEO strategy. While increasing organic traffic to your website may be a top priority, attracting the right audience is the key to success

Whether you’re an experienced marketing executive or a new small business owner, choosing relevant keywords for your brand may seem daunting. Rest assured, SMA Marketing is here to help! Keep reading to learn how to select the right keywords and drive relevant traffic to your site. 

Defining and Understanding Your Target Audience 

The first step in developing a list of keyword ideas for your business is to identify and truly understand your target audience

A target audience is the specific group of people most likely to be interested in your product or service. Some basics you may want to know about your target audience include age, gender, location, and interests. Knowing your target audience can help you create a more targeted marketing campaign to reach those who are most interested in your products and services. 

Once we get a better feel for our target audience, we can begin to uncover a list of potential keywords they may be searching for that could lead them to your business, products, or services. 

Building Buyer Personas 

While knowing the basics about your audience is a great first step, fleshing out these individuals is crucial to help identify potential keyword targets. You can do this by creating a buyer persona

A buyer persona is a “semi-fictional representation of our ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers” (Hubspot). Building a buyer persona can be time-consuming, but it uncovers a ton of insightful information that can help you identify keywords your users may be searching for. This details the search queries around your target’s needs, pain points, and more. 

Understanding Your Buyer’s Journey 

You can take your target audience research a step further to uncover even more keywords by better understanding your buyer’s journey.

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A buyer’s journey describes the path a buyer takes before completing a purchase. Most buyers don’t purchase goods or services on a whim. They move through a multi-step process to become aware of, consider, and decide whether or not they want to purchase a product or service. 

Many potential keyword targets likely exist within each stage of your buyer’s journey. Consider all of the questions and queries your users may be searching as part of each stage in their buyer’s journey and create a keyword list to research further. 

Studying Your Competitors 

Another avenue to uncover potential keyword targets is researching your competitors. Compile a list of your main competitors and visit their websites to see what keywords they are targeting. Be sure to review their homepage, product or service pages, as well as their title tags and meta descriptions. It’s a best practice to carry out competitive keyword analysis regularly to identify new keyword gaps as they present themselves. 

Analyzing Keyword Data

Once you have pulled a list of terms from your target audience and competitive research, it’s time to consult the help of a keyword research tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs. Keyword research tools can help you verify whether or not the terms you have found so far have enough data to support using them on your website and within its content. 

Keyword research tools provide valuable data on metrics such as search trends, search volume, keyword difficulty, and more. 

It’s a good rule of thumb to target keywords that have a significant amount of search volume. Search volume estimates the number of monthly searches made for any given term. In other words, search volume helps us find popular keywords. The higher the search volume, the more traffic you may receive if you rank high for that keyword. 

However, higher search volume tends to bring higher competition. We recommend targeting keywords with a healthy balance between search volume and keyword difficulty

Keyword tools can also help uncover other related keywords you might not have identified through your research, including long-tail keywords

Understanding Search Intent

Having terms with a significant amount of search volume and lower keyword difficulty simply isn’t enough to understand which keywords you should target. Our final step (and one of the most important concepts) in the keyword research process is determining search intent. It can help you determine the type of content you should create to rank well for a specific keyword.

Most people who use search engines do so to find something specific. This query could be anything from a piece of information to a product or service. Search intent is what a person is looking for when they enter a query into a search engine.

There are four types of search intent:

  • Navigational: The user is looking for a specific website or page.
  • Informational: The user is looking for information on a particular topic.
  • Transactional: The user is looking to buy something.
  • Commercial: The user is comparison shopping or researching a purchase.

How to Determine Search Intent

You can often easily determine a keyword’s intent based on the keyword itself. For example, keywords that include words like “what,” “why,” or “how” usually signify informational intent. Sometimes, however, the intent is not so obvious. 

While some keyword and SEO tools may indicate the search intent of specific keywords, the best way to determine a keyword’s intent is by plugging it into a search engine and reviewing the types of results it serves. 

Let’s say a user wants to work with a new SEO agency. They search for “best SEO agency.” 

You already know that the term is commercial because the user is researching a purchase, but you must review the SERPs to find out which type of content is currently ranking. 

You may find a slew of roundup articles with titles like “Best International SEO Companies in the World.” However, you don’t find a link to an agency’s homepage titled “SMA Marketing – The Best SEO Company.” Research like this tells you that “best SEO agency” may not be the best term for your homepage. Instead, it makes for a good keyword for a roundup article. 

An important thing to note about search intent is that it frequently changes. It’s important to revisit search intent often to ensure you consistently provide relevant content for each keyword you are attempting to target. 

Putting Your Keyword Strategy Into Action

Selecting the right keywords lays the foundation of a successful SEO and content strategy. It takes time and research, but the results are likely reflected in increased organic traffic. Happy keyword researching!

Do you want to improve your SEO and content strategy? At SMA, we specialize in content and SEO strategies guaranteed to help your organic search traffic. Contact SMA Marketing today to get started! 

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