Statistics say that 50% of searchers click on the first three search results they get. Moreover, an astonishing 75% never reach the second page of Google results.
These stats clearly show us how important high rankings are. However, with the ever-changing SERPs and the growing number of your competitors, appearing on Google’s first page is not an easy task.
This is why you need to have a solid keyword research strategy to support your SEO efforts.
So, how to find the right keywords and what are the predictions for 2019?
Let’s find out!
1. Discovering Keywords
There are many problems inexperienced marketers face when searching for new keywords to rank for
Sometimes, they choose keywords a high search volume and don’t get an opportunity to rank high for them.
Others target obscure and generic search terms no one actually uses to find their products. Consequently, their rankings suffer.
So, the first step you need to take is to find the right and profitable keywords.
You can always begin with a simple brainstorming process and write down all keywords you consider relevant. This is a great way to build a foundation for your research and expand on these initial ideas using the right keyword tools and resources.
Target audience segmentation is another immensely important phase of your keyword research strategy. In 2018, Google took a few immensely important steps to improve browsing experiences and make them more user-friendly. Just look at its Mobile-First Index and highly conversational voice searches.
So, for starters, dig deeper and build buyer personas. Include all factors that matter, such as their gender, age, average income, location, education, marital status, interests, common problems they face, what they expect from brands and how you can help them.
2. Finding the Right Keyword Discovery Tools
Now that you’ve built the basis for your research, you can move on to its second phase- choosing the right tools. Here are a few ideas you will want to try out:
You just need to enter your major keyword in the search bar and this tool will provide you with the search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, and CPC it. It also tells you what your chances are to rank in the first 20 results for a certain keyword and provides a list of alternatives for it.
ii. Google Search Suggestions
Google search is your best friend when it comes to looking for long-tail phrases your users really search for. All you need to do is type your desired keyword in the Google search box and it will provide you with ten phrases related to it. To make this process faster, you can use Keywordtool.io to do the research for you.
iii. Google Keyword Tool
Google Ads is one of the first tools SEO newbies use when entering the keyword research waters. The tool provides you with numerous relevant information about the keyword, including how many advertisers are bidding for it, its global monthly searches, its local monthly searches, and the approximate cost-per-click.
iv. Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs takes keyword optimization to a whole new level. It informs you about the search volume, return rate, and organic and paid clicks.
Most importantly, it has a cool keyword difficulty feature that shows exactly how many backlinks you will need to rank on the #1 page for a certain keyword.
v. Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer is also a cool addition to your keyword research toolbox. It gives you some out-of-box keyword suggestions for your keywords.
What I love about it most is its Priority feature that uses the keyword CTR, search volume, and difficulty to create a score for your keyword and tell you whether to optimize for it or not.
3. In 2019, Keywords are All about Intent
The abovementioned metrics like search volume, CTR, difficulty, and competitiveness are an important part of your decision-making process, but your keyword research goes beyond them.
Discussing PPC keyword research trends for Search Engine Journal, Aaron Levy claims:
“It’s been a long time coming; search engines have given us too many additional levers to handle along with keywords. I believe next year will the beginning of the end for keywords as a primary search lever.”
Keywords are far from being dead. However, you need to make them less about rankings and more about your users. What does this mean?
Well, every keyword we google has multiple intents. For example, a person searching for “email marketing” may want to learn the basics of this marketing practice, learn how to use it to boost their brand visibility or even find the most popular email marketing tools.
And, Google’s major goal is to learn what the intent behind the majority of its searches is and provide its users with relevant and authoritative results. And, when defining sites that fully meet searcher intent, the search engine emphasizes that the result needs to satisfy almost all users, be friendly to mobile users, and be clear and unambiguous.
Therefore, keyword ranking is not focused on ranking pages with the most backlinks anymore. It prioritizes those pages that align with searchers’ intent.
Precisely because of that, the abovementioned tools are not the only source of your keyword information. There are numerous keyword research goldmines you should exploit.
For example, niche-specific blogs, Q&A sites like Quora, search engines and any other platform where people meet to discuss brands, products, and topics will help you see what your customers are searching for and find perfect long-tail keywords.
Google Trends can also be helpful, as it lets you see how popular a certain phrase is among your audiences and how its popularity changes over time.
4. The Need for Voice Search Optimization Rises
A while ago, Matt Cutts explained in a video how keyword optimization works:
“You don’t want to just say ‘Mount Everest elevation.’ You want to say words like ‘how high is Mount Everest’ because people are going to type ‘how high is Mount Everest?’”
In 2019, these words will be more important than ever and the reason for this is, of course, voice search.
Have you ever asked yourself why our textual searches are short? We use short-tail keywords because we want to get relevant answers as fast as possible. And, for marketers, optimizing for such keywords has been of paramount priority for years.
However, with the rise of voice search, things are changing rapidly. Using their voice to conduct searches, users don’t even have to look at their phones to find the desired information. Above all, they’ve given the opportunity to talk to voice assistants naturally. And, stats back me up on that, showing that 70% of voice searches are using natural language.
This is why you need to focus on combining your exact-match and long-tail keywords with conversational keywords. In other words, you need to optimize for those phrases that unveil new levels of intent. As the majority of voice searches are question-based, you should also use power words like, who, what, which, define, where, how, types, etc.
Over to You:
Ranking on the first page of Google is not simple. Google’s algorithms are constantly changing and adapting to these changes can be difficult.
Still, with the right keyword optimization formula, you can improve your online performance and put yourself in front of the right audiences.
How will you update your keyword research in 2019?
Lauren Wiseman is a marketing specialist, contributor to bizzmarkblog.com and an entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to a business.