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How to Conduct Keyword Research Like the Pros

In this guide, we will address the importance of keyword research, provide insights into the best free keyword search tools for small business owners, and explain why TikTok poses a threat to classic keyword search-based queries.

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Know what your customers are looking for on the Internet.

Whis is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is a crucial aspect of digital marketing for small business owners. It helps in understanding what potential customers are searching for online and allows businesses to optimize their content accordingly. 

1. Understanding Customer Intent

Keyword research helps small business owners gain insights into customer behavior and intent. By analyzing popular search terms, businesses can align their content with what their target audience is actively seeking.

2. Enhancing SEO Strategy

Effective keyword research allows businesses to optimize their website content, meta tags, headings, and URLs. By incorporating relevant keywords, businesses can improve their search engine rankings and attract more organic traffic.

3. Content Optimization

Keyword search helps businesses identify the topics and themes that resonate with their target audience. This knowledge enables them to create valuable and engaging content that aligns with customer interests, resulting in higher engagement and increased brand authority.

4. Competitive Analysis

By researching keywords, businesses can gain insights into their competitors' strategies. This information helps identify gaps and opportunities, enabling businesses to refine their own keyword targeting and gain a competitive advantage.

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How to Conduct a Keyword Research Like the Pros

To conduct keyword research like the pros and optimize your content strategy, follow these steps:

  1. Identify Your Goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your keyword research. Are you looking to increase organic traffic, improve search engine rankings, or target specific customer needs?
  2. Brainstorm Relevant Topics: Make a list of topics related to your business or industry. For example, if you have a fitness blog, topics could include "weight loss tips," "healthy meal plans," or "workout routines."
  3. Expand Your Keyword List: Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to generate keyword ideas related to your topics. For example, if your topic is "weight loss tips," keywords could be "how to lose weight fast," "effective weight loss strategies," or "best diet for weight loss."
  4. Analyze Search Volume and Competition: Evaluate the search volume and competition level of your selected keywords. Aim for keywords with a decent search volume and relatively low competition to increase your chances of ranking well. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs can provide this data.
  5. Consider User Intent: Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think about what they would search for when looking for information or products/services related to your business. Are they looking for informational content, product reviews, or making a purchase decision? Optimize your keyword selection accordingly.
  6. Long-Tail Keywords: Incorporate long-tail keywords into your research. These are more specific keyword phrases that target a narrower audience but often have less competition. For example, instead of targeting "weight loss," you could target "best weight loss tips for beginners."
  7. Competitor Analysis: Analyze your competitors' websites and identify the keywords they are targeting. Tools like SEMrush or SpyFu can help with competitor keyword analysis. Look for opportunities to target keywords that your competitors may have missed.
  8. Refine and Prioritize: Refine your keyword list based on search volume, competition, and relevance to your business. Prioritize keywords that align with your goals and have a good balance of search volume and competition.
  9. Monitor and Adapt: Keyword research is an ongoing process. Keep an eye on keyword performance, rankings, and changes in search trends. Update your keyword strategy as needed to stay relevant and adapt to evolving search behavior.

Keyword Research Example: Let's say you own a small online shoe store. Your goal is to increase organic traffic and improve sales. You brainstorm topics like "running shoes," "comfortable shoes," and "stylish footwear." Using keyword research tools, you generate keywords like "best running shoes for beginners," "comfortable walking shoes for women," or "stylish high heel sandals." You analyze search volume and competition for these keywords, prioritize the ones with decent search volume and lower competition, and optimize your website content accordingly.

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Keyword Search Best Tools

These (free) keyword search tools are suitable for small business owners:

  1. Google Keyword Planner: This tool, provided by Google Ads, is an excellent starting point for keyword research. It offers keyword suggestions, search volume data, and competition insights, making it valuable for small business owners.
  2. Google Trends: This tool helps identify keyword popularity and search volume trends over time. It allows businesses to compare different keywords, analyze regional interest, and discover related search terms.
  3. Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest offers keyword suggestions, search volume, and SEO difficulty metrics. It also provides insights into top-ranking pages and backlink data, making it a comprehensive tool for keyword research.
  4. Answer the Public: This tool generates keyword ideas based on commonly asked questions. It helps small business owners understand the specific queries their audience has and tailor content to address those questions effectively.
  5. Ahrefs: Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool suite that provides valuable insights and data for keyword research, backlink analysis, site audits, and more. However, it requires a paid subscription to access its features fully. While Ahrefs offers a trial or limited free features, the full functionality and extensive keyword research capabilities are part of their premium plans.

TikTok's Threat to Classic Keyword Search-Based Queries

TikTok, a popular social media platform, poses a threat to traditional keyword search-based queries for several reasons:

  • Video-Centric Content: TikTok focuses on short-form video content, where search is primarily driven by hashtags and captions. This format deviates from traditional keyword-based search, making it challenging for businesses to target specific keywords effectively.
  • Discoverability through Trends: TikTok's algorithm heavily relies on trends and user engagement, rather than explicit keyword targeting. This can make it difficult for businesses to optimize their content for specific keywords and rank higher in search results.
  • Visual Discovery: TikTok emphasizes visual content discovery, often showing users videos based on their preferences rather than explicit keyword searches. This shifts the focus away from traditional keyword targeting.

While TikTok may not be a direct replacement for traditional keyword-based queries, small business owners should consider leveraging the platform's popularity to create engaging video content, build brand awareness, and reach a wider audience.

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