Keyword research 101: How to choose keywords to rank #1 on Google

Would you like more people to discover your business’s website?

Everybody does! However… the internet is a competitive place. With thousands upon thousands of companies competing to appear first on Google, it takes a little know-how to reach the top of the pile and reap the benefits of all that web traffic.

The best way to get your business noticed online is to perform SEO: optimising your website so that it can be found and read easily by Google’s algorithm, while ensuring your content is of a high enough quality that it can be selected for the hallowed first page of Google.

One of the most important elements of SEO is keyword research. It sounds deceptively simple at the offset: using a little initiative, you make a list of keywords that you want your website to appear on Google for. You then sprinkle these throughout your content like confetti, thereby ensuring your site appears when people search for those specific terms.

To be the best though, you’ve got to get a little more hands-on.

Learn to use the tools of the trade

Let’s say you own an online shop. You’ve just finished building your new website, and now you want to start getting some traffic to it through search engine optimisation. Before you do anything to the site, you need to perform keyword research—and to perform keyword research, you need to use some special tools.

Keyword Planner is a site owned and operated by Google. To use it, you simply make an account, then type in any keywords and phrases you can think of that are relevant to your business. Keyword Planner will then generate a long list for you, indicating how many people are Googling each keyword on average per month per country. You might find some of the keywords you expected to be popular are not commonly searched, and vice versa.

Alternatively, you can try out Ubersuggest, which allows you to compare and contrast various keywords to see which will bring you the most traffic. In addition, it’ll show you what the competition is like for each specific keyword and predict the likelihood you’ll be able to rank in the first 20 results on Google for it. Lovely stuff.

Take a look at your competitors

It’s always worth taking a look at the websites and blogs of your competitors to see what they’re doing well, and if it’s working. If they’re rapidly expanding their blog section with new well-written articles, it’s safe to assume you’ll need to do the same to keep abreast in the Google search results. Take note of the keywords they seem to be optimising for, and look for gaps in their keyword strategy. They can’t have covered everything!

It’s important to state that it’s not really worth trying to compete with the very biggest companies at the outset. You won’t outrank Apple for ‘computers’, for example; their site is far too famous and popular. Fortunately, there’s a way around this.

how to do keyword research

Use long-tail keywords

Now, it makes sense to optimise your home page for more general keywords; for your online shop this might be ‘dining table’, or whatever you sell. Your home page is generally the most visited on your site, and the one to which all the others link. From an SEO perspective, this means that although a very general term like ‘dining table’ will doubtless have a lot of competition, your home page is your best bet at ranking for it.

For your blog content however, it’s best to go niche. Whereas ‘dining table’ is a very broad, general keyword with a lot of competition, for longer strings of keywords like ‘bespoke mahogany dining tables’, there are usually far fewer competitors. 

These types of specific, lengthy search terms are called ‘long-tail keywords’, and they’re a great way for a new website to find a foothold in Google’s search results.

Check what’s already ranking for your chosen keywords

Okay, so you’ve spotted gaps in your competitors SEO plan, you’ve utilised Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest, and you’ve made sure to include plenty of long-tail keywords in your keyword list. Before you begin creating your content, check each keyword’s relevance by Googling it and taking a long at what’s already ranking well.

If you find that the results pages are all dominated by Wikipedia articles and news outlets—which typically carry far more weight in terms of Google rankings than business pages—it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to wrestle your way to the number one spot. 

If, however, you find there are a bunch of other business writings articles on your subject already, that’s a sign you’re on the right track. All you need to do is write your own version—but make sure it’s even better and more useful to the reader.

how to do keyword research SEO

Make sure you’re getting the right kind of traffic

If your site’s visitors are increasing each month but your revenue isn’t going up, you’ve probably got the wrong sort of traffic finding its way to your site. This can be a result of your keyword strategy if you optimise for keywords which aren’t particularly relevant to your business, or you create blog content that’s drawing in readers who aren’t interested in your products. 

When drawing up your keyword plan, always keep in mind the intent of the person Googling the phrase, and make sure you match your content to what they really need.

Those are the basics for keyword research. It’s a tricky thing to learn, but sourcing the most powerful keywords to drive your company up the Google results page is an incredible way to send your business skyrocketing.

If you want to chat in more detail about how to do this, get in touch with our team to find out how we can help your business get seen online.