How to kick start keyword research for SEO

Keyword research for SEO is usually, and rightly so the starting point for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Loosely defined, Keyword research is the activity where you begin building a list of keywords you’d like your site to rank for.

In the following blog post, I’ll share some strategies of keyword research for SEO that will help your website rank for the correct keywords. That is, those keywords your customers are searching for, not what you think they are searching for!

Proper keyword research is one of the most important, high return activities you can do for SEO, as ranking for the correct keyword is the ultimate goal for SEO.

Many people see traffic and it’s growth as the ultimate benchmark of their website, but generic traffic isn’t particularly important. You need the correct traffic to your website; that is, people who are specifically looking for, and want to buy your goods or services.

If you’re a small Accountancy practice in Sydney, do you really want to rank #1 for the keyword Accountant? Yes, you say? Are you sure?

A person searching for “Accountant”, is probably not looking for an Accountant in Sydney for their tax return, they’re likely reading about what an accountant is/does for research. On the other hand, if someone is searching for “best tax accountant bondi”, they’re practically ready to call, which means a higher conversion rate than using the generic keyword “Accountant”. That’s exactly where the often overlooked Long tail keywords come in.

Long tail keywords are more specific (and longer) keywords, which as a result are easier to rank for. They’re also used by google searchers (is that even a word?) that are further along in the decision making process and as such have a higher chance of conversion.

Using the previous scenario for Accountants will help to explain Keyword research a little better. Here are the steps to follow:


What is your mission? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Using the example above, If I’m an accountant in Bondi, how can I create sufficient long tail keywords? To do this, you’d need to break down your keywords. Usually either by location, services offered, customer service etc in order to find your niche.

Let’s try “Bondi Accountant” (No search data). Ok, let’s next try “Tax Accountant Sydney” (720 searches p/mth). It looks like Accountancy services will be a more useful strategy here, as that’s what is being searched for in Google.

Google Instant predictions:

Google Instant predictions, while not always useful, often provides some long tail keyword ideas based on search analytics, such as “Accountant Sydney Tax Return” in this case.

Google Ad Words Keyword Planner

Arguably the most useful tool in your SEO keyword research for SEO arsenal! Sign up for a free Google AdWords account and use the Keyword Planner tool to understand search volumes and keyword alternatives for your website.

By inputting my service: Accounting and adding a landing page, Google suggests the following keywords (including average searches):

If we enter “Accountant Sydney Tax Return”, we get some juicy long tail keywords (with high search volumes) that we probably wouldn’t have considered previously:

This AdWords research really provided some “food for thought” and some additional keyword ideas that hadn’t been initially considered with a high search volume. Additional research will be required to settle on some suitable keywords for your SEO.

Other tools that are useful to expand upon and research your keywords further include:

Google trends– useful for “big” topics that trend heavily in Google.

Yoast Suggest– Expands your Keywords search and splits suggestions alphabetically.

Eventually, there should be hundreds of keywords for your site’s SEO. Research and testing will help you build an effective list over time.

To summarise, this is a primer on beginning keyword research for SEO. Long tail keywords are usually what you want to rank well for, as these convert better to sales.

Each business is different, and as such their keyword strategy will differ. With SEO, it’s always about the long game.

Research your keywords heavily, set them in your SEO plugin and review results periodically in Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools. Adjust as necessary. Repeat!

Click here to read more on common mistakes for Wordress SEO.

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