Conducting SEO Research: A Beginner's Guide to Keyword Mastery

SEO research is a digital marketer's secret weapon. Learn how to conduct keyword research, and how to harness organic and local SEO for your business.
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If you've spent any time determining what would serve as excellent website content, chances are you've heard of SEO or search engine optimization. SEO research and implementation are invaluable in reaching your target audience and creating compelling business content.

But how do you engage in effective SEO keyword research? What keywords do you focus on? Let's get some better ideas of what SEO is and how to optimize websites.

Why SEO?

The Internet is a competitive place. To land at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is the ultimate goal. After all, you want your website and unique content to stand out amongst other business models.

Using keywords can be a powerful and effective means of standing out by researching keyword difficulty, search volume, and other related search terms.

How Do I Do Keyword Research?

It can be overwhelming determining what SEO keywords, tools, and search terms to use. Let's start with some beginner's tips, followed by some valuable tools to check out to make things a lot easier.

Think About Your Theme

What is your website covering? What is your business? If it's marketing, you'll want to focus on marketing keywords, like 'business,' 'email marketing,' and 'social media marketing.'

If you run a food-based blog (maybe something dealing with coffee), you would want to focus on keywords that perform well in that niche. During SEO keyword research, you may find that terms like 'coffee maker,' 'coffee without sugar,' and 'cold brew coffee' may be some relevant keywords.

If you were to take this into account, you would want to integrate these highly-sought keywords into your blog copy. However, remember not to string keywords together to get clicks. You need to ensure that your website content is well-optimized, relevant, and informative.

SEO: White Hat, Black Hat, and EAT pages

This is called 'white hat SEO,' using SEO best practices, making content informative, helpful, or entertaining. Contrast this with 'black hat SEO,' where writers spam keywords, attempting to bypass and cheat search engines.

A way in which Google determines this is through E-A-T web pages. It stands for 'Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.'

  • Do you and your business exhibit expertise in your field?
  • Are you an authority on the content you post?
  • Are you trustworthy? Can customers with specific questions come to your page for trustworthy answers?

Different Types of SEO

There isn't just one form of SEO that works for every website. Depending on the type of business you run, you could benefit from local SEO or organic SEO.

Local SEO

  • Local SEO is perfect for small businesses. Think of a local pizza place or dentist's office. Some of the most popular local SEO keywords are 'pizza places near me.' This is where local, small businesses can harness the power of SEO. It's all about where the searcher is.
  • Small businesses can further appear above other pages by having a Google map appear in conjunction with businesses. If a map appears at the top of the search results page, you bypass pay-per-click ads and 'pop' out at the viewer.

Organic SEO

Organic keyword research is a common type of SEO. This is where you create short and long-form content, peppering in relevant keywords and phrases to increase the chance people will click on websites.

There are a few things to keep in mind when tailoring your website and content to the best organic SEO practices.

  • Write compelling content with keywords the public is interested in. Do keyword research. See what questions need answering.
  • Internal linking. You want people interested in your business and website. What better way to keep a majority of searchers on your site than by internally linking to other pages of yours? Internal linking, best served by strong anchor text, can earn your website more clicks and high user engagement.

SEO Research Tools

Sure, you can whittle down some keywords on your own by checking out the top results on SERPs. However, this could take a long time, the time you need to dedicate to creating great content.

Luckily for you, there is no shortage of fantastic SEO research tools available. It's pretty staggering. Here are some of the most notable tools and resources you can use right away to make your keywords and website content stand out.

SEMRush

SEMRush is an all-in-one marketing tool, perfect for increasing your website's visibility.

You can use SEMRush for some practical keyword research. You can see what questions people are asking and what keyword phrases are trending. It's also great for marketing purposes, business exposure, and PR.

SEMRush offers these valuable insights and an SEO writing assistance add-on for Google Docs. This SEMRush tool is an unmatched resource, showing you relevant keywords, along with 'grading' your writing.

Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool

Ahrefs is a great tool to help you see what people search for. It's fantastic for website crawling and auditing your website to see what needs overhauling. Much like SEMRush, Ahrefs allows you to explore keyword phrases, research long-tail keywords, and provide a comprehensive ranking of search volume data.

Even the free version of this tool is fantastic.

Moz's SEO Software

Moz is a fantastic resource for anything dealing with online marketing and rankings. Moz is excellent at staying up to date, allowing you to keep on top of current trends and rankings. Moz also offers the 'Mozbar,' which shows you website data in real-time.

Final Thoughts on SEO Research

Once you nail down your own method of effective keyword research, you'll quickly increase your chances of your business or website gaining online traffic. Remember to keep the keywords relevant (no keyword stuffing!), and you can quickly get Internet users flocking to your business.

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