Keyword research is a cornerstone of digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is also used for Content Marketing and Paid Search. It involves identifying and optimizing keywords or phrases users search for information, products, or services online. This guide will explore the various benefits, approaches, and step-by-step guidelines for conducting keyword research effectively. Additionally, we will delve into the complexities of keyword research when managing a multilingual website, addressing cultural and linguistic nuances.
What are the benefits of Keyword Research?
- Enhanced Visibility
Effective keyword research can help your website rank higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), increasing its visibility to potential visitors. The more keywords you rank for, the more visibility you get.
- Targeted Traffic
By targeting specific keywords, you can attract visitors more likely to be interested in your content, products, or services, leading to a higher conversion rate. This is true for both Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click.
- Competitive Advantage
Understanding the keywords your competitors are targeting can help you identify opportunities to outperform them in search engine rankings. While it requires a certain level of analysis, it is worth spending your time on it as it allows you to catch up with your online competitors and overtake them. It is also important to note that this particular exercise will enable you to identify online competitors you may have ignored until then.
- Informed Content Strategy
Keyword research informs your content strategy, ensuring it resonates with your target audience and answers their queries. It is crucial to note that a content strategy is about something other than what you think people would like to hear or read but about what they are searching for. A strong keyword strategy will allow you to reach out to your audience, increase credibility and position your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
- Return on Investment (ROI)
This is self-explanatory. Because you target your audience with keywords matching their query, it will turn into a conversion and increase your ROI primarily if you conduct intent-focused keyword research. Focusing your efforts on high-value keywords can maximize the return on your investments in SEO and marketing endeavours.
The different approaches to Keyword Research
- Seed Keywords
Start with seed keywords when you have a general grasp of your niche or industry but require foundational keywords to initiate your research.
Select a few broad keywords closely linked to your business or website. For instance, if you run a fitness blog, seed keywords might encompass “fitness tips,” “healthy diet,” or “workout routines.” These will serve as your starting point for deeper exploration.
This exercise is valuable, especially if you start your digital marketing endeavour. It also allows you to involve company stakeholders in the process and demonstrate that the jargon you use internally (and, most of the time, externally) might be different from the words your audience uses to find similar products to yours. It is a battle you may want to win initially!
- Competitor Analysis
Employ competitor analysis when you wish to identify keywords already yielding results for your competitors and potentially target those keywords.
Identify critical competitors and scrutinize their websites using SEMrush, Ahrefs, or other tools. Look for keywords they rank for, especially those driving substantial organic traffic. Don’t be greedy, though. It is better to focus on a small list and do it well than try to work on all the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
- Long-Tail Keywords
Delve into long-tail keywords when your objective is to target precise and less competitive keywords.
Long-tail keywords contain more extended and more detailed phrases. If you manage a pet supply store, instead of “dog food,” you might focus on “grain-free organic dog food for small breeds.” Long-tail keywords may attract a smaller audience but one that is more likely to convert. Long tail keywords could also be more accessible to rank for as they might be less popular amongst your competitors. For PPC, it might decrease the cost per click as fewer auctioneers will bid on the keyword.
- Keyword Ideas Tools
Employ keyword research tools to generate an extensive list of keyword ideas.
Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or Moz Keyword Explorer can assist in uncovering keyword ideas based on your seed keywords. These tools supply data on search volume, competition, and related keywords, aiding in identifying potential keywords for targeting. Those tools will also show you the past 12-month trends, allowing you to decide when to push some products or services at a specific time.
- User Intent
Factor in user intent when you desire to align your content with users’ search intent.
Categorize keywords by user intent, distinguishing between informational (e.g., “how to lose weight”), navigational (e.g., “Amazon login”), or transactional (e.g., “buy iPhone X online”). This classification serves as a guide for tailoring your content to match users’ intentions more effectively, and this approach is beneficial to understanding which keywords are being used for what conversion funnel stage. It will allow you to report to your stakeholders more efficiently as well.
- Geographic Keywords
Incorporate geographic keywords for each language to target specific regions or countries.
Include location-specific keywords in the target language for each region you cater to. For instance, if you operate a dental clinic in New York City, you might target keywords like “New York City dentist” or “Manhattan dental clinic.” It might be challenging to optimize for those keywords on your website. However, creating blog content about a specific condition your locals tend to face can help them and allow you to use those geographic keywords.
- Seasonal Keywords
Seasonal keywords come into play when your products or services have seasonal relevance.
Identify keywords that gain traction during seasons or holidays. For instance, targeting Halloween-related keywords in the months leading up to October makes sense if you sell Halloween costumes. You will also notice that the search trends will spike a bit before the celebration.
- Semantic Keywords
Infuse semantic keywords to encompass related terms and synonyms.
Identify synonyms, related terms, and variations of your target keywords. Search engines have evolved to understand the context and meaning of words. Including semantic keywords enhances your content’s relevance and improves the context for the search engine that is crawling and rendering your content. The more signals you give, the more your content will likely rank for your target keywords.
What are the most common Keyword Research tools?
To streamline your keyword research journey, consider utilizing the following tools:
- Google Keyword Planner: Offers keyword ideas and search volume data for multiple languages. You will need a login and set up your account before using those tools.
- SEMrush: Provides keyword research and competitor analysis features for different languages and regions. You can use the trial version, but will soon run into limitations.
- Ahrefs: Offers keyword research tools that can be used for various languages and international markets. You must go for one of the subscriptions; no trial is available now (October 2023).
- Moz Keyword Explorer: Provides keyword research capabilities and international keyword data. You can make the most of their 30-day trial!
- Ubersuggest: A free tool by Neil Patel that provides keyword ideas, search volume data, and competitive analysis. I heard many professionals using it but have yet to do so. There is a 7-day trial, though!
What about multilingual Keyword Research and translation?
Keyword research for multilingual websites is a multifaceted process that demands careful attention to linguistic and cultural nuances. Of course, in Canada, it is a requirement for some provinces to have a website in English or French. It is essential to consider not only the research of keywords from scratch in a native language but also the localization of content to resonate with diverse audiences effectively. By combining approaches and leveraging the right tools, you can develop a robust multilingual keyword strategy that expands your global reach and connects users in their preferred languages. Tailoring keywords and content for different languages enhances your website’s visibility and relevance on an international scale.
Please note that we see a lot of keyword translation – and some of them make my French brain cringe when I read the content in French in Canada. Not only does it not always make sense, but it can also target the wrong concept. As a tip, when you have a list of keywords in a language you may not be entirely comfortable with, perform a Google Image search and see the results. Suppose good old Google does not render what you were expecting. In that case, it might be because the localization is wrong or because the cultural concept behind this keyword differs from the culture in which the initial keyword research was conducted.
Ideally, use a region-native marketer to perform the keyword research when you target their region.
Conducting keyword research properly requires following a strict methodology and not cutting corners. I have been conducting keyword research since 2009 – tools have evolved, but the concept is the same. In those years, I have encountered plenty of brands thinking they knew their keywords. Probably half of those companies had no clue.
While conducting keyword research properly can give you an excellent online advantage, ignoring the steps, translating keywords or just using keywords you think are “good” will limit your growth and, sometimes, can be damaging. Contact us today if you need us to look at your keyword list or help put the best list together for your products or services!