To create content that is relevant and useful to your users, you need keyword research. Without it, you’ll be blindly creating content based on what you think your users want to see, rather than what they actually want to see – which can be a bit of a shot in the dark.

We all know SEO is a long game, so why not take the time out at the beginning of your content creation to do proper keyword research, and reap the benefits in the long run. 

Keyword research is a crucial step in your bid to SEO success. It shouldn’t be overlooked.

Let me tell you why.


What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of identifying queries that users are searching for in search engines, such as Google, to find desired content. 

Keyword research can help you discover what topics your audience is interested in and therefore, what content you should be creating.

It also gives you an idea of how many people are searching for those keywords and how competitive they are, giving you insight into what keywords to target with your content.


How does keyword research benefit SEO performance?

Google ranks websites based on how useful it thinks the website is for its users. One of the factors Google considers when deciding this is how relevant the content is to the user’s search query.

When creating content, the question going through your head should be “How useful is this content and does it match the user’s intent?”

And how do we find this out? I hear you ask. Keyword research of course…

Keyword research allows you to find out what topics people are searching for, what the demand for that topic is, and how competitive the market is for that topic. Once you’ve done your research and figured out the best keywords to target you can crack on with your content creation rest assured that you are creating content that users will actually want to see – saving you time and engaging your users. Win win!


Finding the right keywords

Keyword search volume and competition

If you come across a keyword with a high search volume, great! But if that keyword also has a high competition, you have to ask yourself how likely it is that your website is going to rank above the big guys at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If your answer is ‘unlikely’, it’s probably not worth optimising your content towards that keyword.

It’s all about finding that balance between high search volume and low competition, while keeping the user’s intent at the back of your mind at all times.

User intent
There’s no point optimising your content towards a keyword with high search volume and low competition if it has absolutely nothing to do with what your content is about.

Remember: Google’s main priority is serving its users content that it deems the most relevant and useful for their query.

So, don’t ignore search intent! Using keywords that are irrelevant will not convert into quality traffic or conversions, and it wont result in increased rankings either.

Competitor analysis
There are many SEO tools out there you can use to find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for and if there’s any relevant keywords that your competitors are ranking well for that you’re missing out on.

Are there gaps in your content that your users are getting from your competitors? Should you be creating content to fill these gaps? And if so, what type of content should this be?

This is where the SERPs comes in. We can look at the results that Google serves for a keyword as an indication to what type of content we should be creating. 

Let’s look at an example:

Here, when I search using the query ‘javascript beginner projects’, I am served a list featured snippet, and when I take a look at the top ranking pages, they all also contain a list. This shows us that for this keyword, users (and subsequently Google), find content in the form of a list the most useful, and to rank well for this keyword, we too should be creating relevant content in the form of a list.

Note: remember to skip past the paid ads at the top of the SERPs when looking for what content is ranking well – those websites have paid for that top spot and are not there from doing great SEO.

Long-tail vs. Short-tail keywords
It’s important that your keyword list contains a mixture of both longtail and short tail keywords so that you’re targeting users at all stages of their search journey.

Long-tail keywords may have a lower search volume, but they usually result in higher conversions. This is because they’re more specific and more likely to closely match the users intent than a broader, short tail keyword. 

So how do we know which long-tail keywords to target?

Once you have found your short-tail keywords, do some research to see what related keywords you can discover on that topic. The ‘People also ask’ section of the SERPs and ‘Answer the public’ are great places to start for finding a mix of keywords around a topic.


Now that you have your keyword list…

It’s time to assign your keywords to the appropriate pages, optimise your copy and watch your organic performance grow!

Spoiler alert: you will need to maintain and update your keyword list to keep on top of market trends and algorithm updates. 

With the market regularly changing and Google updating its algorithm up to 12 times per day (!!!), it’s vital that you stay on top of your keyword list and reassess what content is ranking well for your keywords overtime.

But don’t let that put you off, keyword research is an essential step in writing engaging content that your users will love. Plus, it’s a lot harder to go back and  optimise content for SEO than it is to bake it in from the start.


Save time, and heartache, by letting us help you to implement proper keyword research at the beginning of your content strategy journey and reap the benefits in the long run. You’ll thank us later!