Keyword Research

For SEO content marketers hoping to increase their ranking on major search engines, Keyword Research has been proven to be the first and major underlining factor in making it to the first top page in Google's ranking. Keyword Research has been used among online marketers from the inception of digital marketing and, as such, its importance can never be over-emphasized. But the methods of researching keywords have changed with time due to recent continuous algorithm updates from Google. This article contains an overview of all there is to know about this high-ranking technique.

What is a Keyword?

Keyword research

In the simplest terms, a Keyword is a specific term that people enter into search engines when looking for something relating to the subject. Different users have different intents on what they want to do with their search results when they input a keyword. This is why Google and other search engines now grade contents based on the keywords with higher user intent and uniqueness of the content as it relates to the user's needs. A keyword gives an insight into the body of a document. They are used when retrieving information about a particular topic in a catalog or search engine.

Types of Keywords

In SEO, keywords can be categorized into three types based on their competitiveness, length, search volume, and conversion. The types are discussed below.

  • Basic Keywords: These are keywords that are single words. They are usually the main keywords with high search volumes and are highly competitive. Other names for such keywords are “Head Terms”, “Index Terms”, and “Short-Tail Keywords”. These head terms do not bring enough conversions on search engines except used by sites with high authorities e.g. Wikipedia. Another reason why using the single-word keyword might not put your website on the first page of Google’s ranking is because it does not specify the searcher intent well enough. For instance, for a keyword like, ”Banking", the searcher might have vast intents like banking as a career, importance of banking, the impact of banking sectors in the U.S, and much more. Therefore it would be more advisable to use alternative keywords with more words that can narrow the user intent based on your website niche.

  • Subject Keywords: These keywords, otherwise known as “Body Keywords”, and “Middle-Tailed Keywords” are short phrases of 2-3 words that are more direct about the user intent than the Single-word keyword. It also has a high search volume but not as high as the single-word keyword. It has lesser competition with other sites. An example of the body keyword is “Banking Sectors". When users enter these keywords, it brings out more narrow searches related to the banking sector.

  • Alternative keywords: These keywords are usually 4 words and above in length. They have the least search volume because the individual terms that make up the long phrased keywords do not gain much search volume online. But when added together in a long-phrase they gain enough search users. This also makes them the least competitive with many big sites. But they are usually the most direct and specific to the user's intent. As such, it is best for SEO content professionals looking to optimize their sites. It is also known as ‘Long-tailed Keywords” or “Descriptors”. A typical example of such a keyword is "the economic impact on the banking sector." You find that this keyword is very specific to a particular topic.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword Research is the process of finding alternative keywords people enter in search engines with the intent to create optimized content that will be ranked high on search engines and increase traffic on websites.

Keyword Research is the most basic aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is the very first step to take before concentrating on other tasks like creating topics, on-page SEO, link building, advert, and promotion. Researching for an ideal keyword will give the online marketer insights into how to create content that is both useful to the user and the search engine. It is often difficult at times to find an ideal keyword for a topic that will hit the first 10 lists on the search engine. Most head keywords are usually very difficult to compete with. So while doing keyword research for SEO, the best type of keywords to look for are "Alternative keywords". These are mostly the long-tailed keywords. Keywords that have low search results but have related meaning to the main keywords are the best for SEO. Keyword Research also helps the SEO marketer discover the users’ intent, like:

  • What the people are searching for?

  • Why are they searching for it?

  • What do they want to use the information for?

  • How many people are searching for this information?

  • How do they want this information crafted?

So, for a marketer or website owner to discover a seller keyword, he has to fully understand the target audience and the company’s goal and aim.

The History of Keyword Research

Although keyword research has always been on the frontline of a successful website, it was not always user intent-based. In the past, most webmasters and online marketers used a tactic known as “Keyword stuffing”. This process involved creating content where the keywords are highlighted visibly as many times as possible, using bold fonts or italicized fonts. The keywords were often loaded into the web page’s content body or backlinks to