Sometimes it’s not enough to understand whether your keywords should be short, medium or long tail. To make the most of keywords you also have to understand a little about what the searchers intent was in the first place by digging into the mind of your potential customers.
- Navigational, where a searcher is looking for a particular website.
- Informational, where a searcher is looking to answer a question.
- Investigational, where a searcher is looking for information about a product or service that they may eventually buy.
- Transactional, where a searcher is actually looking to buy a product or service.
These terms may all seem similar but they show a difference in mindset of a particular searcher at each stage.
For example, a man thinking about buying a computer would start with informational keywords like where, how much, which is best, so they can figure out what options are available to them. This will probably lead to them coming across a couple of different brands that interest them. They might then start a navigational search where they just type in the name of these brands into the search box to find the URL for the manufacturers site.
This may lead to them searching for comparisons in terms of features and price which is an informational search. Finally, armed with all the information they may then be ready to buy a specific item and will input transactional keywords like buy, purchase, etc., which include a precise description of what the person is looking for.
If your site is an e-commerce website then you should take a look at the Search Engine Journal which categories the most popular keyword types as:
- Comparisons with competitors
- Searches for discounts
- Ratings and reviews
- Searches for coupon codes
- Searches for sales
While navigational keywords tend to remain the same, transactional and informational keywords will change depending on how the search was instigated, I.E. through a web browser or an intelligent personal assistant like Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, Alexa etc.
Another useful guide to keyword research these days is the latest version of Google’s search engine evaluation guide which lists 4 types of search queries:
- Know – this is about finding information, like a specific answer to a question, or a fact.
- Do – this is a search looking to perform an action or accomplishing a goal. For example, if you search for a video game you are likely to want to buy and install it.
- Website – a search term aimed at locating a specific website.
- Visit-in-Person – this is where a mobile device user is planning a physical action based on their search results, like finding the route to a local restaurant.
If you know how to categorise keywords found in your keyword research, you can use the information to ensure that your digital content meets your potential customers needs.
So, how do you get started with Keyword Research?
As you can see, keywords have a major impact on meeting both your business and your potential customers wants and needs. Good keywords will drive customers to your site where they can then buy products and services and as a result drive revenue for your company.
But how do you find the best keywords for your website?
Step one: brainstorm.
If you know your market then you should already have a good idea of the kind of information people need to interact with your website. If not, think brainstorm what you or your potential customers would search for and add them to a list, preferably a spreadsheet as most keyword tools will allow you to export data to them as either an Excel or CSV file.
Think about seed keywords, that is short phrases that don’t have a modifier. These will form the foundation blocks of your keyword list. For example, “life insurance” is a seed keyword, while “life insurance benefits calculator” is a long tail keyword.
It is also important to put some time into finding which search terms are already bringing people to your website, these can be used to generate new related terms for SEO, content development and marketing. This can be done easily through Google Analytics and the Google Search Console.
To find keywords using Google Analytics, go to Acquisition » All Traffic » Channels and click on Organic Search in the table. This will give you a list of phrases that are already effective at bringing traffic to your site.
If you have linked your Google Search Console account to your Google Analytics account, then you can go to Acquisition » Search Console » Queries where you will see even more useful keyword data.
To finish with, here are a few other places you can go to start identifying keywords:
- Make a note of what people are talking about in blog comments and posts.
- Keep an eye on social media hash-tags as they can be effective keywords that show exactly what people are talking about.
- Have a look at book titles and categories on Amazon, especially those in the top seller’s charts for your business area.
Don’t forget to add place names as term modifiers because if your business serves a particular locality or community, people in that area are likely to add that locality to their searches when they are looking for services or products close to them
These methods are just the basic ones required to start keyword research. If you really want to be successful then you’ll need to utilize purpose-built keyword research tools that can evaluate the terms identified and to suggest new ones related to your services and products.