Keyword research: How to find keywords that help you rank | SEO for beginners

By | March 6, 2020

In the previous video,
you learned about what keywords are and why they are important. In this video, we’ll discuss the various
factors you have to take into account when doing keyword research
and setting up your keyword strategy. We’ll discuss your mission,
your audience and your competition. Before you do anything, and this is key, you need to know what makes
your company unique. You need to have a clear concept
of the mission of your company and what you have to offer. Because that’s
what’s going to make you rank. It’s that simple. SEO is just like regular business. If you’re doing everything on the same
or inferior level as your competition, you’re not going to stand out. If you’re not the best result,
why should people want to find you? Why should Google rank you? This seems simple,
but this factor is often forgotten. We often hear people say, “We can’t
come up with meaningful keywords.” If you struggle with that too,
take a step back and look at your business at large:
what do you have to offer? What is your mission?
What are your core values and strengths? How can you branch out
from your core selling points to very specific bits of information
or service which you can use to stand out from the crowd? You don’t have to be better
than your competition at everything, as long as you identify enough things
to build a keyword strategy around. For smaller companies, this means
that you probably have to be better at the things bigger fish haven’t thought of, or actually aren’t actively
looking to do. If you can’t come up with anything, you have a bigger problem
than just coming up with keywords. Once you’ve determined
what you have to offer, it’s time to consider your audience. In the end, SEO is all about making sure
your users are able to find you. So the first thing you have to do is find out
what words your potential audience uses to find the information they’re looking for. Let’s consider an example. At Yoast, we think of our courses platform
as “Yoast Academy”. So at first sight,
it seems very logical for us to optimize
for the keyword “Yoast Academy”. However, when we analyse traffic data, it turns out that our audience uses
“yoast courses” way more. So it makes much more sense
to optimize for that term. Every company
has its own internal vocabulary, which often doesn’t match
the vocabulary of its audience. Therefore, you should always choose
your keywords from the perspective of your audience. You can use Google Trends to research
how often search terms are used compared to another term. Lastly, you simply can’t devise
a proper keyword research strategy without taking your competition
into account. Too often, websites optimize for terms
they have absolutely no chance ranking for. So you need to research your competition. You can go all overboard and make
a thorough analysis of all the competitors in your field,
and that can certainly be worthwhile. But let’s stick to the basics for now. It’s quite easy to get a general idea
of your SEO competition. Just Google some search terms
you would like to rank for and see what companies show up
and where you rank. How big are the companies you are
competing with for top three rankings? Would your company fit
between these results? This is all quite easy to determine
using just the Google search results. But be wary! You can’t just trust the search results, because Google tailors them
to your search history. So logically, your site is going to come up higher for you than for others. You can use an incognito screen
to circumvent this, (although there’s still a local search
component even in an incognito screen). If that is a problem for you, you should
consider using VPNs to mask your location. Big sites can rank
for the most general terms. Smaller sites within a very specific niche
can do the same. Of course, it’s also easier if you’re writing in a language
that is not spoken all over the world. For most smaller sites writing in English,
however, the general rule of thumb is this: start with a big set of long tail keywords which have little traffic
but you can rank for more easily. Then, work yourself up the rankings
step by step. Once you’ve gained some SEO authority,
start optimizing for more general keywords. And in the end, maybe you will even be able
to rank for your head keywords!

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