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Plenty of new website owners tend to overlook the importance of dissecting keyword research as if it is made up of pieces of puzzle. They often jump aboard the Keyword Planner tool to look up potential keywords they could use without really thinking it through, or sometimes remain unaware of keyword research.

Do you often wonder how some small website companies are able to rank high on the search engine results page (SERP) of their target market niche? And because you are curious about what it is that they have that enabled them to attain such web ranking, you clicked through the URL.

While reading through the content you seem to notice specific phrases that have been used at least once or twice throughout the web pages. Look at the page title, at the meta-description, the headline, the call-to-action, and the tags, they seem to share common word(s). This is how ranking for certain keyword phrases works. You will have to optimize your website with the chosen keyword phrase to be able to start ranking on your target market niche as it appears on different search engine sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

But the one million dollar question is, how did these companies come up with a specific set of keyword phrases that helped them rank and generate quality leads? How did they know that those phrases are popular enough to be searched by internet users? More importantly, with words having several synonyms like “top weight loss programs”, “best weight loss routines”, or “superb workouts to lose weight”, how did they arrive at choosing one or two keyword phrases only? Could it all be based on gut-feeling or backed by scientific data? Let’s find out!

List down your own keyword ideas that describe your site

As the say, when things start to get complicated, always go back to basics. In keyword research, the very first thing you should do is brainstorming. This is the perfect time to let those hunches go and write them down on a paper, from words to phrases compile each one of them but make sure that those are relevant to your target demographic and to your business (i.e. the services or products you offer). Think of those words that your consumers will likely be typing into the search bar.

Mix and Match: Group your keywords into a category

Before starting your keyword research journey, mix and match the words on your brainstorm list and think of any combination that your target demographic will be using. Will the query sound like “where to buy little black dress”, “how to buy little black dress”, “little black dress style”, or will it be as simple as “dress”? Adding some modifiers that pertain to a certain neighborhood is a good idea, too, especially nowadays that search query is becoming more and more specific and long-tail like “little black dress for sale near New York City”.

Begin your Keyword Research Process Using a Tool

Are people searching for those keywords of yours? You can find out by using a keyword research tool. If you have just been recently introduced to this process, it is best to use Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This tool provides basic level keyword research data, but if you want to level it up, SEO Tool Set, Market Samurai, or WordTracker are commendable options as well. Some advanced keyword tools offer in-depth search data and competitor analysis for all major search engine sites.

Discover how often they search for those keywords

One of the major benefits of using the Keyword Planner is that it allows you to enter up to ten thousand keywords, but experts recommend to just enter your chosen terms in small batches. You may even enter one word at a time in order to get a more accurate result. So log-in to your Google Adword account, find Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool, Search for keyword and ad group ideas, enter your keyword, and you may choose a certain location to determine how many local monthly searches does that word make in the US, UK, or Australia for example.

Now Google will give you two sections in which the results have been categorized into Ad Group Ideas and Keyword Ideas. Since your target is to learn about the monthly searches, go to Keyword Ideas and scroll down the list of relevant keywords. You will notice that the words look synonymous with each other but these are the very words your target customers use to search for specific services or products. Therefore, gather those phrases with high search volume yet low in competition, enabling you to refine your list of keywords.

Don’t be fooled by words with high search volume and high competition because for a starter like you, you might find ranking for those very difficult. Imagine you’re competing against Nike, Adidas, or PUMA if you are planning to sell running shoes. Instead, choose keywords with low competition that you think you could rank high but do not settle for words with less than 1,000 searches just to stick to the low competition market. Round up another list of your keywords and enter it into the Keyword Planner. Make sure though that the words you are going to use resonate with your business and target audience.

Do a Competitor Analysis

Time to put those keywords to test! You will know if there is demand in the keyword by checking out how your competitors are doing. Type the word into the Google search bar and see the results yourself. Do you see some big brands there? Are the top 10 websites on the search results page are your expected tough competitors? Or, the results seem irrelevant to your web content?

One way of knowing if you are on the right market niche is if the products offered by the web stores there are similar to yours. Get to know your top three or five competitors; visit their website and learn how they communicate with their page visitors; what is the tone and style of the content; or is the design eye-candy enough to believe they’re a reputable seller? Of course, you could possibly gain an upper hand over your competitors if you find an opportunity in their mistake or things that they don’t have.

Let’s take it on a website content level. Check if their chosen keyword phrase is not being used on their page description, page title, or somewhere else in the content. If they did miss out on incorporating the key phrase on any of those areas, make sure that you won’t commit the same mistake on your website.

Again, if you think your competitors are already way ahead of you in almost every aspect, find another niche market where you can have higher chances of ranking high. For example, you will have more conversions when you rank on top for a long-tail keyword that has 3,500 monthly searches than being in the third page of SERP for a key phrase that has 100,000 mo searches.

Secure that Page-One Rank

Nearly all company websites have a fair chance at ranking on top of the search engine results page for the keyword phrase they are after, but as you can see, only a few can make it. To attain that page-one rank you will have to ensure that your website is being optimized for search engine sites correctly and accurately. Use your keyword phrase on every significant part of the site such as in the page description, page title, meta-tags, body copy, headline(s), and your effort should extend beyond the website itself as you will move on with off-page optimization like on social media, forums, directory places, and blog sites.

With that, it is very important to invest as much budget, effort, and time as you can on keyword research. Do not entirely rely on your intuition but support it with the in-depth search analysis and data that a keyword research tool could provide.