If you really want to climb Rank#1, you need to know your keywords well. Why? We will show you in this article. We will also demonstrate how you can find the relevant keywords for your company. Online marketers call this process “keyword research”.
Table of Contents
- New Website, Same Problem
- What are Keywords and Why are They So Important?
- The Goal: Compiling a Keyword Set
- How to Find Keywords? Four Possible Sources
- Keyword Research in 5 Steps
- How Do I Find the Right Keywords?
- Now That You Have Your Keywords, What’s Next?
New Website, Same Problem
Let’s assume you’ve spent a lot of money on a new company website. You’ve gone for an appealing design and even invested in a new movie introducing your company and your image. You and your team likely thought this to be a big step. Now it’s been over a year since the relaunch and nothing has really changed. Your website looks amazing, sure, but the number of visitors didn’t increase, and no additional leads were generated. So, what went wrong?
You or your agency likely missed out on one of the most important aspects: the keywords (also: search terms).
What are Keywords and Why are They So Important?
Keywords are essentially search terms that users type in Google or similar search engines. If you’re for example selling cooling boxes for cars, then the following keywords might be useful for you:
- Cooling Bag Car
- Cooling Box Car
- Cooling Box 12V
- 12V Refrigerator
When using those search terms on your website, you’re signalling Google and the user that your website contains content relevant to this topic. This signal is extremely important. For the keywords you choose have a significant impact on your ranking in the search results. This means that you only have a chance of ranking for cooling boxes for cars if you use the keyword “cooling box car” somewhere on your website.
Keywords are crucial to online marketing. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about finding the right keywords and optimizing your website’s content to reach a high ranking. In other words: you’re increasing the visibility of your website. This generally results in more clicks and increased traffic. You will in turn obtain more leads and customers.
Keywords also have the lead role in Search Engine Advertising (SEA). You define the terms your ads will rank for and how much you want to pay Google. Additionally, you must tailor your ads to the according keyword. This increases your click rate and reduces the Cost-per-Click. A growth in visitors directly results in more leads and customers.
The Goal: Compiling a Keyword Set
No matter if SEO or SEA, your primary mission is the keyword research. The goal is to create a keyword set. This basically means an organized collection of all the keywords that are relevant to your company. Bear in mind that this set will change constantly. You will keep adding new keywords as you go along. Tidying up from time to time is also a good idea: delete all the keywords that don’t really fit your content or product.
How to Find Keywords? Four Possible Sources
Now that you’ve come so far, you surely still have a couple of burning questions: “What keywords are my customers searching for? And how can I find those?”. That’s exactly what we will look at next. There are basically four ways to find what you are looking for.
1. Source: Brainstorming and Competitor Analysis
Always brainstorm to begin with. Get together with a couple of colleagues and switch seats for a moment:
- how do potential customers search for your products?
- what do people want to know about your products?
Compile a list and collect all your ideas. Then look at what words your competitors use to describe comparable products or services. Add those to your list as well.
2. Source: Google Suggest: Finding Keywords with Google Itself
Open a new browser window, preferably in private mode. Go to google.com and type one of your keywords letter by letter. You will notice that Google will suggest different possibilities for completing that keyword. Include relevant suggestions in your list.
Google then displays even more relevant keywords on the search results page itself:
Using those tricks, you will provide you with an initial feeling for your keywords – even though this won’t give you a complete picture of the search market for your specific topic. And you’re still lacking critical data, such as your keyword’s search volume.
3. Source: Google Search Console
You can find this more specific and quantitative data in the Google Search Console. If this doesn’t ring a bell, you should absolutely check out our article on the Google Search Console afterwards.
Once your website is connected to the Google Search Console, it will give you valuable insights into keywords that already generate traffic. For each keyword it lists the number of impressions (how many times your website was shown in the search results) as well as the clicks:
This means that the Google Search Console gives you a first impression of how your website performs in the search results.
4. Source: Keyword Research Tools: Finding Relevant Keywords
Since Google’s own Keyword Research Tool (Google Keyword Planner) isn’t available for free any longer, you will need a third-party tool for a comprehensive keyword research. There are a whole number of fantastic tools for researching as well as analyzing your keywords. Some of those are also available in free versions, such as keywordtools.org.
We prefer the KWFinder from Mangools. It’s part of a tool suite available from 29€ a month. It allows you to either start from scratch or import already found keywords. The tool then provides you with lots of detail on every single keyword: for example, how often it is searched for and how tough SEO competition is. It also suggests lots of other keywords and provides a listing function. This means that you can put selected keywords in lists and edit these either with the tool itself or by exporting them to excel.
Keyword Research in 5 Steps
By now you have broken the ice with keywords. You also know, where and how you can find them. So, without further ado, let’s fill you in on our tried and tested keyword research process.
Step 1: Define the Topic
Your portfolio likely contains more than one product or service. Therefore, we recommend picking a specific category or a certain product when it comes to your keyword research.
In our example: 12V cooling boxes for cars
Step 2: Collect the Terms (Brainstorming and Competition)
Most of our keyword research is done within our keyword tool. To begin with, it’s helpful to have preselected a couple of relevant terms. Make a list with those potential keywords.
for example: Cooling Box Car, Cooling Box 12V, Cooling Bag Car, 12V refrigerator
Step 3: Clarify the Terms
Google doesn’t necessarily understand your personal intention behind your keywords. So, take a closer look at them and try searching for them on Google. Check if your intended products appear as results. You will notice that your keywords sometimes also have a completely different meaning that you hadn’t considered.
Our example car cooling box is relatively straightforward. However, other terms rely on a clarification. An example is “gas cylinder heating”:
- Interpretation 1) heating powered by gas
- Interpretation 2) heating used to warm gas cylinders.
Step 4: Research with a Tool: Find Keywords and Compile Lists
Moving on to the centerpiece: using a tool for your research. You comb through hundreds of search terms and add the relevant ones to your own list. This will quickly give you an idea of the search volume for your market. Plus, you will discover the main competitors for each keyword.
Researching keywords essentially makes you an explorer. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with adding no more than 50 search terms to your list. Whether you could have found way more or already struggle to find 10, depends on the topic.
Step 5: Sorting and Prioritizing Keywords
Take your compiled list and get a feeling for the search volume. You might notice that you can group several keywords. Feel free to organize the keywords however you see fit. You could for example categorize them after product or search intent.
Now that you know your way around your keywords, prioritize them. Which ones are the best fit for your offer? What are the chances that they will land you a spot on Google’s first results page? Don’t refrain from throwing out misfits. It’s not about having as many as possible. You want to work with relevant keywords.
At this point, we’d like to make two suggestions:
You want to find your keywords but simply cannot make time for it? We offer to find the right keywords for you. Simply name your topic and we will compile a list with relevant SEO keywords – including search volume, level of competition, trends and more. And all of that in just a couple of days. Request your Ad-hoc Keyword Research now!
If you want to go down the rabbit hole yourself, then you’re the ideal participant for our Keyword Research Training. There, we will equip you with essential know-how for starting your own analysis. You will immerse yourself in the world of keywords and master a research tool. During the comprehensive practical part, we will work on your first research project together. And yes, you’re invited to bring your own topic! The training catapults you right into the realm of keyword research. So, what are you waiting for? Book your first Keyword Research Training now.
“How Do I Find the Right Keywords?”
We get this question a lot. It’s important to remember that search volume isn’t everything. The keywords that match your products or services best usually also give you the best results. Specificity and relevance are key!
Let’s take a look at our cooling box example again. The keyword “cooler” has a very high search volume but isn’t very specific. “Cooling Box 12V” already describes a more specific cooling box with a 12V port (usually for a cigarette lighter). A closely related keyword is “cooling box car”. In our example we can safely assume that the user is searching for an active cooling box for a car.
In this case, the keywords “Cooling Box 12V” and “Cooling Box Car” fit your product best. They are more specific and therefore the right keywords for you.
By the way, we online marketers call unspecific keywords with a rather high search volume “fat head keywords” and specific keywords with a lower search volume “long tail keywords”. More on this in our article “Long Tail Keywords and Fat Head Keyword”.
Now That You Have the Keywords, What’s Next?
So, you now know what keywords you want to rank for. In the next step, you have to create relevant content that fits your keywords or optimize old content accordingly. This could be product pages as well as blog posts or videos. Need inspiration? Take a look at our article on Successful B2B Content Marketing.