The Beginner's Guide to SEO Keyword Analysis
Keyword research and SEO keyword analysis are two of the most important tasks in your SEO workflow. However, they can also be some of the most time-consuming and tedious.
But get motivated! Because keywords are what connect you to your audience. Your use of specific words tells Google, Bing, and other search engines what the content on your website is about, and they, in turn, present relevant sites to searchers on their results pages (SERPs).
What is SEO keyword analysis?
Keyword analysis is how SEOs determine the value of each word or phrase. The right keywords deliver website visitors, but more importantly, they can attract active visitors and sales leads.
The terms searchers use to find information on specific topics are always changing – on average, 15% of the search queries (opens in a new tab) processed each day by Google are brand new (opens in a new tab) and have never been searched before. There’s even a chance you searched for a never-before-searched query that led you to land on this keyword analysis guide.
Did you know that Google processes about 100,000 searches every second (opens in a new tab)? On a daily basis, that’s billions of people (opens in a new tab) turning to Google to search for products, services, answers to their questions, and so much more.
Clearly, Google has become an integral part of our lives as consumers. The search engine’s popularity is largely thanks to its ability to provide relevant search results for users based on the keywords they enter.
Keyword analysis is the key to better understanding the intent of your audience’s searches and needs while helping to maintain a website that provides them with quality, valuable information. Keyword analysis is not a task to be completed once but on a regular and ongoing basis.
Is SEO keyword analysis important?
Effective keyword analysis is one of the first steps to getting your website in front of your target audience. By optimizing your website and creating content for the right keywords and topics, you’ll drive organic traffic that’s qualified and even ready to convert.
Organic is arguably the most crucial form of traffic since it connects the right audience to your site, helping you answer questions your future customers are asking. Organic is the only channel that produces reliable long-term traffic. Evaluate how your site compares with competitors when it comes to organic traffic and find out which industries attract the most traffic with our 2022 Organic Website Traffic Industry Benchmarks Report.
If you want to rank and get visibility in search results, your keyword analysis and research must be thorough. Also, understanding what SEO is will help you see just how important keyword analysis is for your website.
Keyword analysis sets you up for better online visibility
When you go inside the mind of your audience and understand what and why they’re searching, you can match your content to their needs. An SEO strategy that includes a strong keyword analysis helps your website rank and become more visible to searchers. Climbing higher on SERPs brings greater awareness for your brand and more qualified visitors.
Keyword analysis allows you to beat the competition
Let’s say a consumer searches for a product or service that you offer. If you’re not ranking in search results for the keyword they entered, they’ll likely turn to another website for their needs. That website could be your direct competitor.
By leveraging your keyword analysis to optimize and monitor the terms most important to your business, you’ll be working toward ranking higher in SERPs. Failing to reach that potential customer before they consider the competition could be the difference of hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue generation.
Why do search marketers analyze keywords?
Keyword analysis is a science and there are a number of factors SEOs look at when they're determining the value of each keyword term:
- Search volume: On average, how many people in any given area use the keyword or phrase to search for information?
- Competition: How difficult will it be to rank for that keyword?
- Intent: Is the person searching for this term looking for general information, or are they looking to complete a transaction?
- Relevance: Are people searching on this keyword going to find the content on this page relevant?
There are other considerations, as well. To avoid missing out on motivated visitors, SEOs need to understand that there are common derivatives, misspellings, or even different terms and idioms used by different cultures.
Analyzing keywords enables SEOs to prioritize and focus on using the words and phrases that will drive the greatest results.
What makes a good SEO keyword?
A good SEO keyword is one that’s chosen based on a combination of search volume, how competitive it is, the intent, and relevance. However, not every keyword you target will have the best of any of those factors. Some keywords will have little to no search volume but could be great for converting.
Understand your niche to find good SEO keywords
Let’s say your business provides software to the construction industry. Maybe your website ranks for your own branded terms (if not, you likely have a problem) and niche terms like “commercial construction software,” which averages 30 searches per month.
However, for a head (AKA long-tail) keyword with more search volume like “construction software,” (3,600 monthly searches), let’s assume you don’t rank. It’s broader, more competitive, and it’s searched for more often. But people searching on this term will have the right intent—chances are they’re looking for software options and might even be ready to buy soon. It’s a good keyword to target because, at the very least, you’re setting up your website for awareness in the SERP, whether searchers are ready to commit to buying or not.
Understand your potential customers and their needs
Going back to the construction software example, who exactly are those customers?
Let’s assume some of your software customers are made up of architects, construction site managers, and construction engineers. Start thinking about their responsibilities, which might include:
- Architects: Collaborating with construction site staff, designing safe buildings, and preparing building specifications
- Construction Site Managers: Supervising construction workers, maintaining quality control procedures, and selecting appropriate construction tools
- Construction Engineers: Testing elevation levels, inspecting sites, and adhering to federal codes
To improve your website’s presence in organic search, your keyword analysis must take into account the needs and responsibilities of various members of your audience. Armed with those insights, you can better decide which keywords to target.
Map your keyword analysis to customer insights
Now that you know the responsibilities of your audience, find the keywords they’re using to look for the very solution you offer: construction software. To find these keywords, map the customer’s needs to your keyword strategy.
- Since architects collaborate with construction staff, a good long-tail keyword would be “architecture and construction management”
- Since construction site managers manage the work progress of construction, a good long-tail keyword would be “construction project management software”
- Since construction engineers adhere to federal codes, a good long-tail keyword would be “construction engineering software”
How to analyze keywords for SEO
Since SEO and technology has evolved, SEOs rarely track their keyword research manually. In the early days, massive spreadsheets with hundreds or thousands of keywords and terms were the norm; though some still use this technique, it's cumbersome and not scalable.
The next step from manual keyword analysis is the use of a variety of free tools to find, analyze and prioritize keywords. SEOs managing small business websites might find the use of a number of third-party tools manageable. Still, it's a fragmented approach.
Enterprise-level companies and retailers tend to use a single SEO Platform that automates search engine keyword research and analysis, but also goes a step further and automates the actual usage of those top priority, most lucrative keyword terms. Today, SEO software can guide an SEO strategy from initial keyword and research analysis to recommendations for optimizations to ongoing performance reports and opportunity finding.
How can SEOs scale their keyword analyses?
It's pretty much the best problem to have – your business is growing! Whether you're doing SEO in-house or across a number of client accounts, the ability to scale is critical to your success as an SEO and the success of the accounts or websites you manage.
Automation is the key to scalable SEO.
Think about the sheer volume of search queries Google processes – over 5.6 billion per day and 166 billion per month globally, as of June 2021 (opens in a new tab)!
It's simply impossible for SEOs to build out their keyword strategy at any sort of scale if they're trying to do everything manually. The use of a combination of third-party tools for specific purposes (SEO Book, Google AdWords Keyword Tool, SpyFu, Moz Keyword Analysis, Wordpot, etc.) can help SEOs move from manual to partially automated, but there's still the issue of getting all of your keyword intelligence into one place. And then actually putting it to work.
Integrate Keyword Analysis & Optimizations for Best Results
Bringing keyword research and analysis under the same roof as the rest of your SEO efforts, saves time and ensures greater accuracy. The information driving your SEO efforts becomes closer to real-time, as steps are reduced. Human errors are eliminated. Software scans and checks for new opportunities and updates constantly, bringing back greater insights on more keywords than humanly possible.
Automating the process of analyzing keywords as well as using that intelligence to power optimization efforts allows SEOs to scale to hundreds of thousands or even millions of keywords.
Keywords are the currency of SEO
The more you can analyze and prioritize, the greater your ability to optimize your site with the keywords and phrases that matter most to your customers. Big payoffs can come from small amounts of work.
Your content should be high quality and relevant to search queries. Optimize page elements like headings, images, title tags, meta descriptions, and body copy.
Optimization is an experiment
Over time, you may find that some keywords or optimization tactics work while others have no impact. Make changes accordingly by trying any of the following:
- Update and improve upon the quality of your content to better fit buyer personas and customer journey stages.
- Break up larger pieces of content into smaller, more focused pieces.
- Combine small pieces of content into one large piece and redirect existing posts to strengthen the authority of a single page.
- Improve your internal linking structure—the pages you want to rank should have links pointing to them from other pages on site.
- A/B test and change aspects of a page like CTAs, images, colors, and fonts to see what converts best.
As you experiment with the keywords and topics from your analysis, keep a record of the changes you make along the way.
Ready to advance your keyword research skills? Get started by downloading our Keyword Research Best Practices & Research Methods Guide.
Want to get started with SEO keyword analysis? Try requesting Conductor's free SEO analysis to find opportunities for your brand.