How To Carry Out Basic SEO Keyword Research
Our marketing executive Ben is often asked by clients to explain our SEO services and how to improve their rankings in search results
In this blog, he’ll be doing just that. Starting with an overview of SEO, he’ll introduce you to keyword research and how to write blog posts that can help you rank for your keyword ideas.
What is SEO?
SEO is a marketing activity that aims to increase your website visibility across search engines, to increase traffic and conversions.
In my opinion, it’s best explained as a combination of three factors:
• On-page optimisation – making sure your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate and has good user engagement.
• Off-page optimisation – making sure your website ‘trusted’ with search engine providers. This is most often done by building backlinks and making sure you’re running active social media channels.
• Creating content – making sure that you’re creating engaging content that improves user engagement and helps build backlinks, while also helping you rank for a specific search query (keyword).
The above is a very simple summary, but I hope it clearly explains the different SEO areas and activities that we do at Ubiquity.
For me, the most important activity is creating content as it is one of the biggest factor that helps you rank well for keywords, when done right.
What are keywords?
At its simplest, SEO activities involve finding frequently searched for ‘keywords’ that your target audience search for.
The keywords you want to find have lots of searches and have low competition. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a lot harder than it seems.
For a start, search engine providers like Google, Yahoo and Bing have more than 200 ‘ranking factors’ that decide which websites rank well for a keyword. They don’t reveal most of those factors, instead SEO professionals have to constantly change and adapt their approach.
Picking keywords isn’t straightforward either.
Search terms can be broad (‘short tail keywords’) or specific (‘long tail keywords’) and will be searched for with different intents from the user.
Take ‘SEO’ as an example.
In the UK, ‘SEO’ has 33,100 searches per month in Google. However, what would ranking well for that keyword really achieve?
It might be frequently searched for but it is vague because we don’t know a user’s intent when they search for it. If you do a Google search, you see all sorts of results from competitive websites!
Picking The Right Keywords
Instead of trying to rank for short tail keywords, you need to focus on long tail keywords. The easiest way to do this is by focusing on topics. You can start your keyword research from a broad keyword and think of different topics related to it to create your long tail keyword list.
From there, you can carry out more specific keyword research, before deciding on the right keywords to go for.
Sticking with ‘SEO’ as a short tail keyword, here are just a few related topics:
• SEO services
• SEO strategy
• SEO techniques
• Organic search
• What is SEO
• SEO keyword research
• Content writing for SEO
These are simple topic ideas, but by extending our initial keyword into different topics we can begin to focus our efforts.
Let’s take the topic ‘SEO techniques’ as an example.
We’ve now decided we want to make our website visible when someone searches the web around the topic ‘SEO techniques’. Now we understand the intent of the user, we can carry out some initial research to look at different keywords around that topic that generate clicks.
Here is a potential list of keywords:
• how to do seo
• latest seo techniques
• search engine optimisation tools
• how to do keyword research
• best seo tools
• advanced seo techniques
• seo tips
• beginner’s guide to seo
Between them, the above keywords are collectively searched for 1,320 times a month in Google (across the UK).
We’ve now taken a short-tail keyword (‘SEO’) and created a specific topic around it, generating new long tail keywords in the process that are far more useful to us.
Just because we’ve created a list of long tail keywords doesn’t mean that we’ve finished your keyword research!
We now need to do some content research and see what articles and blogs appear for those keywords.
Here are some example blogs and articles around our keyword list:
• Beginner’s Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
• What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?
• 21 Actionable SEO Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018.
• 19 Advanced SEO Techniques That’ll Double Your Search Traffic.
• What is SEO?
• 7 SEO Techniques That Will Help You Win In 2018.
• Effective SEO Techniques that Work in 2018 & Beyond.
You need to look at existing content and offer something new if you want to rank for any of the keywords you’re targeting.
Using keyword research tools will help you understand how competitive each keyword is and it will inspire you to write the best content possible.
Writing The Content
Once you’ve done your keyword research and decided on a piece of content to write, you need to make sure you follow these rules:
• Write original blog content.
• Focus on lengthy blog content, without keyword stuffing.
• Add regular paragraph spacing and images to improve reader engagement.
• Add ‘internal links’ to your blog, as we’re speaking about SEO, it makes sense to add a link to our service page.
• Add external links if you use any content taken from other sites, especially if you use quotes, research or statistics.
• Add your keywords to your headers.
• Add different variations of your keyword, naturally throughout the article, you don’t just have to focus on one keyword.
By following those rules, you’ll definitely write some good quality blog content! Now your next step is to share it across social media and journalists and bloggers who might publish it as well to give you a backlink.
That’s a topic for another time though!
Case Study #1 – GD Environmental
With GD Environmental, content writing was a big part of our SEO work. Even though the client was in a niche market (waste services), we still managed to gain a lot of traction for their content, including a few notable articles:
• 5 Ways To Make Money With Scrap Metal – http://gd-environmental.co.uk/5-ways-make-money-scrap-metal/ – viewed 5,361 times since writing on November 12th with the average read time being 2:30 mins.
• How To Dispose of Aerosols Safely – http://gd-environmental.co.uk/dispose-aerosols-safely/ – viewed 2,438 times since writing on November 23rd with the average read time being 3:30 mins.
• How Recycling Helps the Community – http://gd-environmental.co.uk/recycling-helps-community/ – viewed 480 times since December 4th with the average read time being 4:29 mins.
Not only did the blogs help us drive traffic to the website, but they also helped improve our ranking for keywords.
Case Study #2 – Seel & Co
Seel & Co came to us with two goals in mind. Increase website traffic and improve conversions on their website.
We’ve developed a SEO strategy that is achieving both goals. By carrying out in-depth keyword research, we have been able to spot opportunities to drive more traffic through search engines and we have also trialled conversion rate optimisation techniques to boost conversions, from calls to enquiries.
In the last three months (April to June) we have increased organic traffic by 33% compared to 2017 and we have tracked 1,319 conversions with a conversion rate of 7.40%. A huge increase from previous months.
Keyword research and content writing is just one part of SEO, if you need support with your SEO then Get in touch with Ubiquity. Our team has the knowledge and skills you need to make a big difference as some of our case studies below show!