Steps in keyword research to beat your competition

keyword researchKeyword research is probably one of the most important parts of SEO to get right. Choosing and tracking the wrong keywords can really negatively impact your SEO in the long run. This is why it is important to conduct proper research as well as allowing for flexibility when things inevitably change.

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The question on every business owner’s lips is “how can we beat our competition?” Every business wants to be considered the best and have their lion’s share of the market.

So when it comes to keyword research you may have to change your way of thinking to ensure you can beat out your competition. This is because a lot of businesses conduct keyword research in a similar manner – so you should expect similar results!

Have a look below at the new steps you should be taking when it comes to keyword research in order to beat your competition:

Step #1: There Are Different Types Of Keywords

According to SEO Shark this is the first thing you need to wrap your head around and no we are not talking about your typical long and short tail keywords. The different types of keywords you need to be aware of now are:

  • Top of funnel – these are informational; they give a user general information about whatever they are searching for.
  • Middle of funnel – these keywords provides actual solutions to an issue the user has.
  • Bottom of funnel – these are like your conversion keywords, where are user is likely to make a purchase.

You’ll need to understand which area most of your keyword are likely to come from, remembering that each set hold a different user intent. The types of keywords you choose will depend on the type of business you run.

Once you have your chosen keywords you will need to make the necessary changes to your website to ensure you are properly targeting those keywords. It is a good idea to match your keywords to the corresponding page so there is no doubt you have the content targeting each one of your keywords.

Step #2: Decide On Your Focus Keywords

Your business needs goals and the type of keywords you choose need to align with the goals you have in place. You should also think about when you want to reach those goals, i.e. what are your short term and long term goals?

If you are looking to increase your audience base, for example, you’ll probably be looking more at the top of funnel keywords. On the flip side, if your goal is to increase sales then you should set most of your focus keywords on bottom of funnel category.

In this step it can get quite confusing very quickly, so it is a good idea to create a mind map with the goals and keywords so you have a visual representation of what is going on. You should match the keywords to the content you already have as well as looking at your current Google ranking.

Step #3: Set Up Goals

Your business may have goals, but are they clear cut and actually written down? Also, when was the last time you revisited your goals? This is the step that most business seem to miss or skip, so it is important you spend some time here developing your goals in order to get the jump on the competition.

As touched on in the previous point, goals help to direct your keywords. Put your goals down and then think about the why. Why do you want to achieve those goals? Your site has a purpose you just need to find out what for!

Step #4: Eye The Competition

You can’t say you are beating your competition if you don’t actually know who your competition is. You may already have some idea, but it is always beneficial to search for your keywords and see who else pops up.

Depending on where your own website sits in the ranking for your keywords, you should set up a list of competition you want to beat in the short term and long term.

For example, if you are on the second page, you might want to beat your competition in the short term to get onto the first page. Your long term competition would be the businesses that always seem to be in the top 3 positions in Google.

Step #5: Spy The Competition

Once you know for sure who your competition is, it is important to learn more about them. There are free tools that you can use to get the upper hand, knowledge is power after all – try using Moz the link explorer section is a great place to start.

Step #6: Time To Rank

Once you have your keywords, goals and competition at the ready you need to ensure your website is properly optimised as well as performing off page optimising (i.e. backlinks). All these actions work well together to make your rankings improve.

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