Anyone who is currently creating a new website should definitely have a keyword search carried out before starting the writing of the actual content creation. Because now you have the opportunity to do everything right from the start. How are you going to lay the foundation for a successful website? Because let’s be honest, a website should first please the customer. But it should also be found via search engines (Google, Bing, etc.). For this, you need good and relevant and unique content. In this article, we will tell you how to find suitable search terms.
Keyword research brings you paying customers
The truth is only very few websites are successful “by accident”. This usually means through preparation and keyword research. And, you will have to make many decisions based on a few important questions like.
- What should the menu look like?
- Which colors, fonts, and pictures should be used?
- How should the visitor be guided? What is the goal of the website?
Of course, much earlier you start thinking about the target persona group, their desires, and fears. For their price awareness and their way of life.
There is usually a lot of “invisible” work behind successful websites.
The right homepage does not appear within a few days or weeks. It develops over months and then changes several times afterward. There is a lot of work behind this.
Behind a good placement on Google and Co too.
The more competitive a keyword is, the more difficult and complex it is to place it well. This is one of the reasons why SEO is so difficult. Not only your own needs regarding the target group and the design have to be considered. Your competitors’ actions also determine what needs to be done.
We have already shown you in a few articles what makes a website “good” from a technical point of view. If you missed that, check out the OnPage Optimization guides again.
But today it’s getting a little more practical.
We’ll show you how to find the most important keywords in your industry in three easy steps. So that it does not become too theoretical at this point, we do this using the example of Ben. Malik. Ben runs a Mediterranean grocery and meat shop in Calgary. It relies on the Mediterranean produce, does without a lot of grocery products and offers great service.
Keyword research: who is the target group?
In order to research the right keywords, Ben must first know his target group. Because only those who know their target group can offer them what they want. And this is how your simple target group analysis looks like:
- The target group looks after new immigrants looking for Mediterranean products almost exclusively from their country.
- The group is newcomers or has just moved from another province.
- Is a group that pays a lot of attention to what they eat. They want to enjoy it but in a healthy way. Flavor enhancers and other additives are taboo. The target group is also willing to spend a few dollars more. The food should be fresh, regional and if possible organic. There is also a large proportion of vegans and vegetarians in the target group.
Of course, there is more data on the target group. However, since this is not relevant in detail, we will not go into further details here.
Keyword research: Step 1 – brainstorming
Ben now takes a piece of paper (or an online tool) and starts brainstorming.
All terms, whether they consist of a term or a sentence, are collected on it. The view from the outside is usually helpful at this point. So Ben brings a potential customer from your target group on board. Another friend supports the team.
Ben and his “team” are now asking themselves what the target group is looking for on the Internet. What terms would they enter if they are looking for a Mediterranean food product?
Since the area of voice-controlled search is steadily increasing, especially when something is being searched locally, Ben must also keep an eye on this area when doing his research.
A little digression on the difference between search requests from Siri, Alexa, and Co.
Because search engine optimization, and thus keyword research, should always be as up-to-date as possible, we would like to take a brief look at the different media used in an online search. Because a lot has happened here in the past twelve months and we personally notice that this changes our search behavior. Today we have more and more and better voice recognition software available. We no longer have to laboriously enter the destination address in the car, and a lot of things now also work with voice recognition on smartphones.
We call “Hey Siri!” And ask our question.
If you observe yourself, you will find that your questions differ greatly depending on the medium. With “Siri” you probably speak as you would with a tourist guide.
They ask real questions.
If you enter your question on Google, you do not use any filler words. You are looking for a “Mediterranean food store” or maybe also for “Mediterranean grocery import”.
If you shout “Hey Siri!” On the way, you will probably say “Show me the nearest Grocery store near me.”
Do you notice the difference?
In line with this trend, the weighting of keywords is also changing. You used to optimize for a single word. Are “holistic” texts written today?
They deal with a certain topic.
Comprehensive and conclusive. Many different keywords are used. It also tries to answer any possible questions. In our opinion, the voice-controlled search will continue to increase, especially in the local area.
Ben’s brainstorming brings the first keywords.
Ben loves his grocery store and knows his target group. Therefore, the first terms are quick.
- Mediterranean grocery Calgary
- Arabic grocery stores in Calgary AB
- Mediterranean food
- Middle eastern grocery Calgary
- Mediterranean import food
- Turkish market Calgary
- Mediterranean food store near me
- Greek grocery store near me
- Greek grocery store Calgary
These individual keywords are also referred to as “generic keywords”. As a rule, optimization is no longer worthwhile here. The search volume is very high, but the competition is also high here. If anything, SEA measures are worthwhile here. However, these keywords offer a first, good clue.
Keyword research: Step 2 – keywords that bring visitors and keywords that bring sales
Let’s take the keyword “Mediterranean grocery Calgary” and look at the search intent. So when someone in Calgary searches for the term in front of their computer. What does this person expect?
As a rule, this will be someone who is looking for basic information about the term. He may want to know what the concept is or what the offer is.
Google search results turn out accordingly.
As you can see, hits one and three are more general in nature. Various Mediterranean stores are presented in the area.
Exceptions to generic keywords
We also chose this example because there are still exceptions. Whenever it is a product or service that is relatively new, a look at generic keywords is also worthwhile. Mediterranean food shopping stores are still fairly new. There are hardly any in the country. The density is now higher in Vancouver, Montreal, and Ontario. If Ben now opened a “normal” food store, the optimization to “food store” would never pay off. With the actually generic keyword “Mediterranean grocery store”, however, yes.
The generic keywords are also supplemented by place or country names. “Mediterranean Food” then becomes the “Italian market” or more specifically: “Greek market” or “Middle Eastern food store”. Detailed localization is good and important, especially in the local context. Because the visitor looks for the generic keyword including localization rather than just the keyword.
Keyword research practical tip
Our example targets local clientele. If you are working anywhere, leave out the place names and concentrate on the generic keywords.
When choosing, make sure that the keywords can also generate sales. Traffic is great, but it doesn’t fill your fridge.
Research other search terms
After brainstorming, Ben sat down at the computer to research additional search terms. There are now a few free tools and many paid keyword research offers.
Free keyword research tools *
This list of tools is certainly not exhaustive, but it does provide a rough overview of the current range.
An insider tip for better search terms
Do you know forums? For example, if you have a specific question during pregnancy, you will usually find valuable answers in forums.
We also count Facebook groups as forums, even if they are not necessarily.
But the intention is the same.
You ask a question in a group and hope for the answer. By the way, you also learn a few private details about the target group. Usually, there are half novels depicted there. Our Ben with the Mediterranean grocery food might find out in such a forum (or in a Facebook group) that the newcomers are looking for a place to shop for imported Mediterranean goods.
They are looking for a place where they can walk around (and adults can eat some Mediterranean meals in peace).
Or a father is looking for a place where he can meet some people from his home country.
Especially in forums, you can often find keywords in the long tail area that you would never have come up with otherwise. You can also see what the target group wants here.
Perhaps another business idea will develop from this? Should have already happened.
Your advantage: You will find keywords that come from needs. The best prerequisite for turning visitors into paying customers.
Keyword research: Step 3 – what is the competition doing?
Many SEOs like to keep this tip, ladies, and gentlemen, under lock and key. Because it is easy to implement, although the effort may be very high. Before you get lost in the vast expanse of keyword research tools, take a look at your competitors (i.e. the competition).
To stick to our example: Ben does not open the first Mediterranean Grocery. In order to be inspired, Ben now looks at what the other operators have done, preferably in the immediate vicinity or in a place with more competition.
Take a sheet of paper and write down which main pages there are and which topics are discussed on the sub-pages.
Then enter these keywords into Google and check who is ranked above. The second step is to see if you can outbid the content. However, this is not about quantity! That is super important!
You have to surpass the existing content. You have to have more to say (or write). Only then is a good placement possible.
Now comes the most difficult part of keyword research: sorting it out.
When Ben has exhausted all the options, he will have a (very) long list of keywords. Now, these keywords need a reasonable structure. In addition, the question of which keywords should ultimately be optimized must be clarified.
How to proceed with the structuring:
Determine the meaning. Ask yourself what search intent lies behind the term. Is the person actually looking for a café for the next celebration or does he just want to see how others run their children’s café?
The terms can be divided into three categories:
- Terms that have a specific goal in mind. If you enter “Amazon” or “Youtube” in the search mask, you want exactly this website. These terms are also called “navigational queries”.
- Anyone looking for the term “Best Mediterranean Food” usually has a specific question. These terms are also called “informational queries”. These visitors often do not become buyers.
- The third group is called “transactional queries”. The user is looking for terms such as “Mediterranean Food lunch”. He is looking for a food store (probably on the way) by having something to eat for lunch. So this user can become a customer.
Keyword research: Search volume is an important factor.
The previous steps for keyword research were free (at least if you do it yourself), but now it will be a little bit chargeable.
Because (in our opinion) there is currently no free provider that provides reliable results on the search volume of a keyword.
A few years ago, the search volume could be queried directly from Google free of charge.
This is no longer possible because the keyword planner can only be used if Google advertisements are also displayed (and with a higher budget). Of course, there are other providers who have integrated a keyword planner. The relevant data are generally valid. However, such tools often cost smaller three-digit amounts. Some of the tools also offer free use for entrepreneurs, but the keyword tools are usually not included or regulated according to the number of keywords that can be queried.
Search volume and competitors
Unfortunately, the most beautiful keyword is of no interest if it is only searched 10 or 100 times a month. Optimization does not make sense here (in terms of costs and benefits). Therefore, always look at the competition. Some tools offer the option from the start. If you cannot find a technical solution for this, it is also worth taking a look at the competitor. Enter the favorite keyword on Google and take a look at the competitors. Can you really beat the content? Are there perhaps new insights that the competitor has not (yet) considered? Can you deliver real added value? If so, then you should add the keyword to your list.
Small search volume = bad keyword?
Ben wonders what search volume is really worth optimizing. There is no general answer to this question. As a rule, optimization for a keyword with little search volume and at the same time little competition can be worthwhile. If you consider that Ben has about 20 places, the optimization for keywords with a small search volume is definitely worthwhile. The search intention should always be considered here. If the user also wants to become a customer, then the keyword should be considered in any case. If, on the other hand, the search intent is more of a “want to compare”, then it is rather not worth it.
How to identify well-optimized websites from the competition.
They still exist, the websites that rank well even without good optimization. For example, because they have been around for a long time or because no other competitor has really invested in search engine optimization. Such websites can be easily “depended” on the rankings. An already well-optimized website from competitors, however, is difficult to overhaul.
At least with the terms that have been optimized for.
You can recognize a well-optimized website by these criteria:
- Depth of content
- Many referring domains (also on subpages)
- Current content
- Keywords in title and description
- Optimization of the subpages according to OnPage criteria
And what do you do with the determined keywords?
Once the keyword research has been completed, you have around 15 keywords that are worth optimizing. The implementation takes place by including them in the page structure. The higher the search volume, the higher (in the page structure) the keyword should appear. For Ben, the home page should be optimized for “Mediterannean food Calgary”. A subpage on “North African Food” or maybe also on “Import African Food”.
Sometimes it’s not just the most obvious keywords that are worth optimizing. So, in our imagination, Ben has expanded his offer. In the morning, if there weren’t many visitors anyway, he now offers a co-work place. Immigrants come with their young children, a helper provides support and the parents can work for two or three hours. Afterward, everyone has lunch together in the Mediterranean grocery store. Organic, regional and delicious. Well, keyword research isn’t just good for your google ranking. It may bring you new ideas.
How did you do with keyword research? We look forward to your answers in the comments!
Of course, we have also optimized this page. Once a year, we check and expand the content. For this optimization, because we optimize holistically, we have chosen the following terms (and a few more):