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So, first thing’s first, what is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It helps you figure out what your target audience is searching for on Google and how to make sure they find your business when they are searching.
In other words, SEO is a technique that helps your website or blog rank higher within Google’s search results by helping you choose the right words, so called “keywords”, and topics to talk about.
Why is SEO so important?
It helps you figure out how you can appear in the search results of your desired audience, and preferably how to be at the top of their search results.
But this isn’t the only function. An SEO analysis also helps you discover what your audience is searching for and what they are interested in. This information in return allows you to create more targeted content which increases engagement and therefore increases exposure for your brand.
Think of it like this; whenever you have an interest in something or are considering a purchase, your automatic response is probably to go to your favorite search engine and start researching the subject that peaked your interest. But do you ever look further than the first few results that fit your search? And do you ever look further than the first page of Google?
It’s safe to say that when your site appears after the first page or does not have the right words in the description to convince the viewer to click, your chances of getting noticed by potential clients are rather small. And this is where SEO comes in.
How to start your SEO analysis by choosing the right topics?
To start your research, you must first choose a large range of topics that relate to your industry, for example if my industry is phones, topics could be Apple, Samsung, One Plus and so on. Try to choose between 5 and 10 topics for your analysis.
Once you have selected your topic groups, you can go check out their search volume. Search volume means how many times people have searched for this specific topic in the past month. This data is important because it shows you the relevance of the topic. Lots of searches mean that the topic is very popular in the market at the moment.
In order to know the search volume of your desired topics, you can use one of the many tools out there. Some of my personal favorites are Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer and Answer the Public. For those of you that prefer using extensions rather than classic tools, Keyword Surfer and Keywords Everywhere are great extensions that will definitely do the trick!
How to choose the right keywords?
So now that you know which topics you want to focus on, it is time to add keywords to the mix. Keywords are phrases and words that users type into their search engines when they are looking for something. So every time you google a phrase or word this search can be considered a keyword. Keywords are different from topics in that they are the actual phrases or words people search for that are interested in the selected topic.
The best way to start this part of the analysis is to add phrases to your chosen topics that you think are important. For example, if my company is Apple and I focus on phones, my phrases could be “Apple iPhone 6” or “Apple iPhone camera quality”.
In terms of which phrases to use, it is important to always keep the user intent in mind. What were they searching for exactly? Why were they searching for it? This will help you determine what is relevant for the clients within the topics you have chosen.
For example, when someone types “iPhone” this can mean any model of the line, so depending on the phrasing we can determine what it is the client is looking for or interested in exactly. When they type “iPhone camera quality”, we know that their interest is not bound to a specific model, it lies with the functions of the camera. This information tells us that within the “iPhone” topic, our camera quality is the main focus point for our clients and we can further use this information to build our analysis.
Now that we know a bit in which direction the user’s interests lie, it’s important to get a more detailed idea of their interest. You can do this by researching the keywords and their related terms, which is easier to do than you would think! All you have to do is go to google.com and type in your topic, for example “iPhone camera” and it will show you the related searches, aka the keywords that people who searched for your keyword have also searched for. In my case these were the related searches:
- iPhone camera nightmode
- iPhone camera live
- iPhone camera review
- iPhone camera options
- iPhone camera setting options
This shows me that within my iPhone camera topic, people are really interested in its features and settings, specifically for difficult filming moments such as at night. So, what better to write about than an article describing the iPhone’s camera features and what it can be used for!
How to use the keywords you found?
Now that you know what keywords are and how to research them, there is one more thing you need to take into consideration when selecting your perfect keywords: the keyword type.
There are 5 basic keyword types, we will discuss them one by one.
The most well-known keyword type is the short-tail keyword. These are keywords that are made up of 3 words or less, they are often nicknamed head keywords. The great thing about this type of keyword is that they have a very high search volume, however this also brings along a high level of competition and on top of this the user’s search intent is often unclear. For example if someone searches for the word “phone” they could mean iPhones, they could be talking about Samsung, we simply don’t know their search intent very well. This is why this type of keyword is advised to use as a theme keyword that you repeatedly use in your article, website or blog.
Next we have long-tail keywords, these are keywords that consist of 3 or more words. Because they require more words, these keywords often have a lower search volume which in turn also causes a lower number of competitors using the same keyword. These keywords, unlike the short-tail keywords, show us the user’s search intent quite clearly. Because we know what the user is searching for, this type of keyword is perfect to use on product pages and blog posts since it send the right people directly to the product or post they have the interest for. For example, if I am searching for “does iPhone have a good camera” and I find a blog that writes about iPhones with the best cameras, the chance that I will stay on the page, read the blog and perform even more actions on the website is a lot higher than when I am just searching for “phones” and my intent might not even be related to camera quality.
Short-term fresh keywords are keywords that profit off of something that was hyped recently. These keywords go through a sudden peak in popularity and search volume, often due to recent big promotional efforts or internet hypes. For example, when the series “Squid Game” was aired on Netflix, this became a fresh keyword due to the hype that surrounded the series online. However, when using this type of keyword you must be careful to publish your article or blog when the hype is still going on, as you can see from the image below after November 2021 this keyword lost it’s importance and search volume and is therefore no longer a short-term fresh keyword. To see whether a keyword is trending or not, you can always go to Google Trends, this is a free platform that allows you to search for any keyword. Google Trends will then show you the search volume over time for your chosen keywords.
Unlike the fresh keywords, long-term evergreen keywords are relevant all the time or over a longer period of time. They are perfect for detailed and informative articles or blogs that can be updated over time. Because they are long keywords they offer us a more clear insight in the user’s search intent and because they stay relevant, an update to the information surrounding it from time to time will of course be needed. A good example for this type of keyword is “Search Engine Optimization”, as you can see from the image below this search stayed relevant over a long period of time and is therefore a good keyword to use in blog posts and articles.
Another easy way to make sure the right audience visits your site is to use geo-targeting keywords. Especially if you are operating locally, this keyword will help make sure that local people find your site on search engines. This is also the easiest keyword to research, all you have to do is add the name of your location to your website or post and you are done.
How to know the search volume of a keyword?
When you have too many keywords or you just find it hard to choose which ones to focus on, you can always use the Google Keyword Planner. This tool will show you the search volume and it will give you an estimate of how much your keywords will be searched for in the future.
Now you can filter out the keywords with too low of a search volume or even the ones with way too high of a search volume. You can even go one step further by checking your keywords in Google Trends to see how they performed in the past and if they are currently rising or falling in terms of popularity.
Both of these tools can help you make the final decision in terms of which keywords you would like to focus on!
The first step to SEO Analysis is to define your target audience. Since we cannot address the whole population with one post, it's important to first select the target audience our post is designed for. Target audiences can be related to age, gender, demographics, interests, etc.
Next you'll want to think of topics you want to focus on. Now that we know our target audience, we need to think of topics that will interest them and of course that we are able to write about. For example, if my target audience is bankers a topic such as interest rate fluctuations might be of interest to them.
For each topic you'll then need to come up with keywords that come to mind when thinking of the chosen topic. If you can think of any, feel free to Google your chosen topic or keywords and let Google's suggestions bar be your inspiration! The fourth step is to research the selected keywords.
Now that you have a long list of keywords, it's important to select the right ones since it's not possible to include every single keyword in your text. Try using Google Keyword Planner to help you determine which keywords to focus on.
The final step is to start writing! Once you have chosen the perfect topic for your target audience and have selected keywords that have a lot of searches every month, you are ready to start writing. Just include your keywords together in your text and you are ready to publish!