As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
I'll be the first to admit it. Keyword research is hard and often, not very fun. It's a process that requires a lot of time and patience. Everything from the volume around a keyword to the intent behind the search matters and each variable can drastically impact the quality of the keywords you select. And the most intimidating thing about keyword research?
It impacts everything.
With the wrong keywords, you don't bring in the traffic you need to sustain growth or hit your goals. That creates a ripple effect through your marketing and content efforts. Since a lot of people don't understand that and fail to correlate the lack of traffic to selecting the wrong keywords, they continue to produce content that isn't going to work for them.
Alternatively, with the right keywords, you hit the ground running. You drive crazy traffic back to your site and crush your goals. It's a huge difference, and it all comes from getting the keywords right. That's why when it comes to the keyword research process, we keep it simple and put our faith in one trusted tool.
This Is The Absolute Best Keyword Tool
There are a lot of keyword research tools out there, and some of them work very well. Since the keyword research is such a critical part of our marketing and content efforts, we bypass the good enough tools and stick with SEMrush.
SEMrush is a suite of features and tools marketers use to conduct keyword research for SEO, PPC, social media, video advertising, and more. It's everything we need in one place and simplifies the keyword research process with the most accurate data and useful information.
Here is every feature of SEMrush we use to compile the best possible keywords for our campaigns.
In-Depth Competitor Analysis
"Knowing what the competitors are doing – how they are thinking about the market, what tactics they are using, how they are crafting messages and design – can make all the difference in the battle for the customers’ mind share and conversions." - ConversionXL
Your competitors are working as hard as you are to create content, rank, and increase organic traffic. That's why conducting competitive research is such a critical part of keyword research. You can use SEMrush to get insights about the organic keywords competitors are using and their main traffic sources.
If you use Buzzsumo, you can also get an idea of the kind of content they're creating from those keywords, and how successful that content is. You can analyze the engagement of these assets throughout various social channels, and use that insight to inform your marketing or website content strategy.
In-Depth Keyword Analysis
"When properly executed, effective keyword selection (and usage) allows more ideal customers to learn of your existence, consume your content and ultimately decide to do business with you." - How to Choose The Right Keywords for Your SEO by Lean Labs
Keyword research can be overwhelming, but essential to get right. With SEMrush, you can generate millions of related keywords and place them into groups to mentally organize your research. The tool is critical for finding top keywords, as well as the smaller or long-tail keywords that make up 70% of website traffic.
Grade Your Keyword Opportunities
"Understanding keyword difficulty will help you to choose which queries to compete for, both now and in the future... by understanding the strengths behind the pages that already rank well in your sector, industry or niche you better prepare yourself to select the best keywords to optimize for."- Key Principles To Follow When Examining Keyword Difficulty, Search Engine Land
There are a lot of possible keywords out there, but unfortunately, some of them won't help you gain traction. When companies with better domain authority, linking, and traffic are ranking for that keyword, it can take months or even years to rank. That's why in addition to analyzing the quality of your keywords, you need to grade their competitiveness.
You want to use the insights from SEMrush, such as the volume and the keyword difficulty score to understand how difficult it will be to rank for something.
We also pair SEMrush with Moz to calculate the priority score of a keyword. With these insights, we can gauge how challenging it will be to rank for a keyword. We can weed out the keywords that may be too difficult and develop the best possible list of keywords and phrases.
"Think of the many questions you, and your departments, have fielded over the years. Sales, management and customer service all receive routine questions they can now answer backward and forwards. In general, the question is the keyword, and the answer is the content." - How to Choose The Right Keywords for Your SEO by Lean Labs
Your customer is not a subject matter expert, so they may search for things differently than you would. Even at the keyword level, they're showing you where their level of understanding is, and what their questions and challenges are. As a result, you need to look at the intent behind searches, even if they don't make sense at first glance.
With a related keyword report from SEMrush, you find relationships between keywords you already have and ones that correlate, and get additional data about keywords that meet your criteria.
You can also use other customer research to inspire keywords that relate to questions the customer is asking and differentiators of your product or service. We use Ash Maurya's Lean Startup Canvas to provide insight into customer frustrations, as well as our buyer personas and buyer journey.
Education and Learning For Beginners
"The SEO strategies that used to work in the past do not work anymore because the ranking algorithm changes every few months. With this in mind, we can say that education in this field is definitely ongoing. You cannot learn everything about search engine optimization simply because the online world is constantly evolving." - How To Get A Proper SEO Education, SEMrush
At first, keyword research can be hard to master. Since algorithms are always changing, and the volume of searches around keywords can fluctuate, it's important to keep learning about the most effective ways to conduct keyword research. A lot of people use SEMRush, so there are a lot of industry experts providing feedback and insight in their community.
How Keyword Research Impacts Organic Traffic
Once you have a list of high-quality keywords, you can write better blog titles, come up with better offers, and create a better website content and content marketing strategy. It's all about having that solid foundation. From there, you can get increasingly better at choosing the keywords that make sense for your customer, match their intent, and get them back to your website. Otherwise, you're making assumptions and guesses about what they might search for, or your competitors will continue to outperform you.
If you need to increase organic traffic, get better leads, and sustain long-term growth, having a better strategy is the ticket. We know how to drive traffic inside and out, and using our excellent keyword research, we employ various tactics to get the job done. You can use the same approach using our 12 go-to tips and tricks in The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Organic Website Traffic.
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