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Looking to drive more qualified leads and website traffic to your business? You came to the right place.

Keyword research is a critical element of any digital marketing strategy. In fact, Content Marketing Institute reported that 75.5% of marketers use keyword research in creating content for consumers and businesses. 

With that being said, performing quality keyword research can really help you determine the best phrases and words associated with your products or services that potential customers use when they’re searching online. 

1. What is keyword intent?

Developing a keyword strategy involves understanding the significance of keyword intent in keyword research. Although you may be an expert in your business, it’s essential to comprehend the purpose of the search from the perspective of your potential customers. 

And there is no other best way to start your strategy besides acknowledging the keyword intent and reasons behind it. Keyword intent falls into four categories – informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional:

  • Informational keywords — searchers seeking an answer to a specific question or general information. This can be found in articles starting with “How…”, “What is…”, “Why…”.
  • Navigational keywords — searchers intending to find a specific site or page. Like when you search for “ROI Digitally” on Google to know about us, for example!
  • Commercial keywords — searchers looking to investigate brands or services. Reviews, listing, “Best of…”, “Top…”, “How to…” blogs are categorized into this type.
  • Transactional keywords — searchers intending to complete an action or purchase. You can easily see this type when you search with a specific product or a product followed by an action, such as “Vietnamese restaurant near me”, “buy pool cues for sales”. Normally you will see many advertising, product pages or SEO-optimized landing pages ranking for this keywords type to convert you into a buyer right away!

Let’s talk about 2 keyword metrics that we usually commit and track, especially when working with new businesses:

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  • Monthly search volume (MSV), or volume represents the average number of monthly searches related to a keyword. By utilizing various keyword research tools, you can determine the worldwide MSV for a keyword or narrow it down to a specific location. A high MSV implies more potential website traffic and might indicate more competition. In the image above, you can see a general keyword like “digital marketing” can have a search volume of around 64k per month. This means many people are looking it up on search engines, but it also implies fierce competition to rank on the first page of search results.
  • Keyword difficulty (KD) ranks how challenging it would be to rank on Google’s first page for a specific phrase. It is rated from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most difficult to rank for. With new businesses with brand new websites, we recommend going for the lower KD keywords (such as 10 – 20 scores) to easily rank for niche informational or transactional keywords. This leads to gradually competing with higher and highest keywords (above 40 scores, like the keyword “digital marketing” above). That’s one way for the new websites to be visible around the existing websites.

Lastly, besides the metrics above, there is one thing that we always aim to do for every client that we have – establishing topical authority or becoming the first website that appears when you search for a topic. This will definitely enhance your website’s visibility on search engine results pages. 

As search engines become more sophisticated, they place greater emphasis on natural language, quality content, and related terms. And how to use it efficiently? Well, it’s best to provide comprehensive, interlinked content that consumers will find valuable. Authoritative content has a positive reputation, driving higher rankings and greater consumer trust on search engines.

For example, when we wanted to compete and rank for the keyword “best pool cues”, we built topical authority by providing the audience related the topics around this keyword like below, so whenever they think about the best pool cues to go, they can find us on top of search results. We also follow the rule “high volume – low KD” to choose the topics below to help our client compete with other brands as a new business too:

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2. Why does keyword research really matter to your business?

Keyword research holds a crucial position in the realm of SEO as it enables businesses to recognize and gauge the relevance of keywords and phrases used by users related to their products, services, or niche. This knowledge can effectively optimize website content, elevating its visibility in SERPs while attracting more traffic and establishing its authority, culminating in higher conversions and greater revenue.

Furthermore, keyword research not only provides perspectives into the audience’s preferences but also offers insight into audience pain points and behavior. These insights can be employed to create more targeted and valuable content tailored to the users’ interests, resulting in a more engaged audience and amplified brand loyalty!

3. What are the best tactics to conduct effective keyword research? 

And in SEO, being the best doesn’t always mean being number one for the most competitive keyword phrase.” – Tony Wright, CEO at WrightIMC, once said.

Thus, it is not about finding the trending keywords that aren’t relevant. Instead, a business strategy starts with understanding potential audiences and their needs to identify what they are looking for. Ask yourself: 

  • What do they want?
  • What do they need?
  • What keeps them awake at night?
  • What could solve their problems?

Here are a few tactics to conduct effective keyword research.

3.1. List out the broad topics that are most relevant to the main topic

To begin, assemble a list of sub-topics that are relevant to your topics, like what we did with the example of “best pool cues” keyword above. This initial stage entails creating a spreadsheet with general categories or “buckets” for the keywords you aim to rank for. Such categories correspond to product categories or any subject matter you believe your target audience would find intriguing. 

*Tip: Limit the list to only 5-10 most succinct and straightforward topics. Don’t forget to envision yourself as a buyer seeking a product or service.

3.2. Understand the impact of customer intent on your keyword analysis

It is no doubt that user intent stands is the most influential aspect impacting a website’s search engine rankings. By satisfying a searcher’s needs and problems, you will surpass the importance of simply incorporating the exact keyword in your content. Thus, comprehending the impact of user intent in keyword research is crucial.

For example, assume you want to create an article around the “how to start a blog” keyword. Here, the term “blog” can denote both an individual post and the website, necessitating you to determine the searcher’s intent and compose content accordingly. 

Then, is the searcher inquiring about the details of crafting a blog post or establishing an entire website for blogging purposes? Focusing strictly on the latter requires an accurate analysis of the keyword’s intent.

You can use Google search engine results to determine user intent. Simply searching for the chosen keyword and analyzing the closely related content Google displays can help you shape your content to meet searcher needs.

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3.3. Look for relevant terms

The process of expanding your keyword lists can be approached with creativity by researching related search terms. If you’re encountering difficulty in identifying more keywords relevant to a particular topic, examining the related search terms offered by Google upon entering a keyword can provide insight. 

*Tip: As you scroll down through Google’s search results page, you’ll see suggestions for related searches. DO NOT SKIP THESE. Including these associated keywords potentially make your blog more relevant.

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3.4. Consider the potential of included keywords

Well, you have to know how potential your keywords are before implementing them, right?

To gauge the effectiveness of your keywords, you can turn to Keyword Planner or opt for a paid SEO or keyword research tools, such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Wordtracker, or Ubersuggest. Additionally, there are free versions of Wordtracker and Ubersuggest that you can utilize to begin the process.

When analyzing your keywords, there are certain factors to take into account, such as:

  • The precision of search terms used by your target audience
  • The search volume and level of competition
  • Related terms with high search volume and low competition.

I must admit that effective keyword research takes time and effort. With white-hat SEO (clean and legit SEO), there is hardly a thing that can move the needle in just one or two days. With the right tactics, you can uncover the most valuable and relevant keywords to optimize your website. Creating content that matches your audience’s needs to attract more traffic and conversions. 

Remember to start with your seed keywords! Understand the search intent behind them, analyze your competitors’ keywords, use long-tail and local keywords, and track your keyword performance.