Welcome to every writer’s kryptonite - keyword research.
Does your head hurt from all that scratching in trying to decode your audience’s wants and needs?
There’s no two ways about it: trying to understand your audience's wants and needs can be stressful, especially if you’re not sure where to get started.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…
The most effective way to achieve this understanding is through keyword research.
When done correctly, it can significantly enhance your content strategy, drive more traffic to your publications, and ultimately increase your reach and revenue. So, today, I’m going to help you untangle the labyrinth that is SEO keyword research.
Understanding Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process of identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines with the goal of figuring out “keywords” to rank for.
It's not about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors - those who are most likely to be converted into leads or customers.
This process is crucial for search engine optimization (SEO) and will help you understand the specific language your potential readers use when searching for the type of content you provide.
Identify Your Niche and Define Your Goals
First start by having a clear understanding of your niche and your goals. This includes topics, your target audience, queries people might be making related to your content, etc. etc.
Once you have these, then define these aspects and you will be able to make the keyword process more targeted and efficient.
Brainstorming Initial Keyword Ideas
Make a list of potential keywords related to your niche.
Think about the topics you cover in your publications, and then consider the search terms your audience might use when looking for such content.
At this stage, no idea is a bad idea. Ultimately, you want to have a broad list of possibilities to work from.
Using Keyword Research Tools
It's time to start using some keyword research tools.
These tools provide data on:
Keyword volume (how many people are searching for a particular keyword)
Keyword difficulty (how hard it would be to rank for that keyword)
Related keywords (exactly what they sound like… words that are semantically related to the ones you’re audience is searching for)
Some popular keyword research tools include Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz Keyword Explorer. Since we primarily focus our business on Amazon KDP, simply type in the search bar, your book topic, or words related to your book and the first 10 words that show up are your keywords.
Analyzing Your Competitors
Competitor analysis is a critical step in keyword research. Look at the publishers who rank well for your target keywords.
Then look into what other keywords they are ranking for, or what kind of content they are publishing.
Tools like SEMrush are there to help you see what keywords your competitors rank for. Then you will have additional keyword ideas that help you understand the content strategies that are working in your niche.
Prioritizing and Selecting Your Keywords
It’s tempting to target only high-volume keywords, but these are usually also the most competitive. Think of it like the shiny object in the room. Everyone wants to rush over and be the first to play with it, and because of that, competition can be fierce.
Instead, focus your efforts on finding those “mid-level” keywords. Keywords that are relevant to your content, but maybe lack the same mass appeal that some of those catchy buzzwords do.
In this way, instead of fighting the masses for the same 12 keywords, you can DOMINATE the other 30 that they’ve forgotten about.
Be mindful that a balanced keyword strategy includes a mix of high-volume and low-volume keywords and long-tail keywords, which are longer phrases with lower search volume but often higher intent.
Incorporating Keywords into Your Content Strategy
Now you can start incorporating keywords into your content strategy.
Use them in your titles, headings, meta descriptions, and naturally, throughout your content.
Your primary aim should be to provide valuable content for your readers, not to stuff your content with keywords. Search engines have become quite sophisticated and reward high-quality, relevant content.
Monitoring and Adjusting Your Keyword Strategy
Like everything else you have been doing, this is not a one-time task.
Keywords can fall out of popularity just as quickly as fashion trends, and what works today might not work tomorrow.
Regularly review your keyword strategy, see how your content is ranking, and adjust as necessary, just like you would your marketing plan.
Keep up with industry trends and changes in search engine algorithms. Don't be shy about overhauling your strategies to make sure you’re always ahead of the pack.
Keyword research is not a task, but an essential skill.
It helps you understand your audience, optimize your content for search engines, and stay competitive in your niche.
The goal of keyword research is not just to rank high on search engine results pages but to attract the right kind of visitors to your content - those most likely to become loyal readers and customers.
Now is when you begin to pour all your time and resources into your keywords, and sit back as your publishing kingdom prospers.