A significant part of developing and implementing your SEO strategy for your website involves performing keyword research. Keyword research is a necessary step in your SEO work because it provides you with the information you need to develop each website page’s title tag, meta description, ALT tags, and other SEO essentials.
There are both paid and free tools to use to do your SEO keyword research, but I prefer to use Google.com for 4 reasons:
- the most current way to research your niche
- accurate result counts
- variations of the keyword phrase you are researching
- a way to see what your competitors are doing for their SEO
SEO Keyword Research: What To Do & Not Do with It
It is wonderful to hear from business owners who want to tackle their website SEO and are putting in the work to find the most popular keyword phrases to use for their niche. However, I see this approach to keyword research take a wrong turn in 2 ways:
- The most popular keyword phrases are not always the best for your existing website pages
- Using the most popular keyword phrases on every page places you in the highest competition scenario for every website page, and missing out on less popular but more targeted keyword phrases
First and most importantly, let’s discuss the SEO “chicken or the egg” scenario. Is it best to complete all your SEO keyword research and then apply it to your website pages, or is it best to research the strongest keyword phrases for your existing content?
My vote: the latter.
This is probably the most common way I see people incorrectly approach their SEO strategy. I’ll hear things like, “We have our list of keywords” with the intention of utilizing those keywords on their existing website pages. The issue here is that the most popular keyword phrases might not be the best fit(s) for your current website pages.
Now, if you are doing your keyword research ahead of writing new content for your website (either pages or blog posts), that’s a different story because you can plan and write new content to work with those already-selected keyword phrases. But when you are in the situation of optimizing your existing website, it is better to determine what keyword phrases best fit each of your existing pages of content and use those for SEO.
This is because the text on each page needs to correspond with the SEO work done on the same page. Simply applying the most popular keyword phrases to the SEO fields on existing pages of your website doesn’t mean those pages will end up ranking well. The words on the page need to correspond to the search engine optimization work on the same page to maximize your SEO potential, and in turn, your chances of ranking on Page 1 for that keyword phrase.
The most popular keyword phrases for your niche probably make strong keyword contenders for your home page and maybe a couple other website pages. But many inner pages on a website plus blog posts perform better in search using more specific keyword phrases that carry a lower search volume. A high search volume means that phrase is popular but the competition is also high. A lower search volume means a phrase is less popular and there is less competition, but people searching by those specific keyword phrases are likely looking for exactly what you are providing, therefore making it worthwhile to optimize for less popular keyword phrases.
Make sure you put all your SEO keyword research to good use by understanding how to conduct and apply your keyword research to your website pages and blog posts.