In order to maintain a steady flow of cash during those initial months of your startup, it’s highly desirable to quickly ramp up search engine traffic coming to the main website. As modern tools for SEO research have become much more accessible, savvy start-up entrepreneurs can speed up the search engine optimisation process by performing the initial keyword research themselves.
Before performing keyword research in detail, you should first understand the important attributes that make up an ideal keyword or key phrase. An ideal key phrase can be considered to be:
- A phrase the target market will be using to find products and services in your niche
- A phrase popular enough to generate a steady flow of search engine traffic
- A phrase without too much existing competition, making better search engine rankings easier to accomplish
The Keyword Research Process
The keyword research process can be considered a four-step process - brainstorming; using keyword tools; performing competitive analysis; and putting the keywords to good use. First, let’s brainstorm some keywords.
Brainstorming involves coming up with a number of initial keyword ideas related to:
- products and services offered by your start-up
- the words the target market will be using to search for these products and services
- the kind of problems for which your target market needs a solution
- keyword variations used by your target market, such as plurals and synonyms
You can also play the role of an industry observer and try to find as many industry-related words and phrases as possible. This can be done by:
- Going through industry-related trade publications
- Visiting the websites of popular businesses in related industries
- Visiting industry forums to get an idea of questions commonly asked
- Visiting social bookmarking sites such as Reddit to get an idea about trending topics, and subreddits.org to browse through trending topics categorised by industry
During this process, collect all the potential keywords and store them in an excel sheet for analysis.
2. Using Keyword Research Tools
A number of powerful tools are available for keyword research and analysing their importance and relevance. Let’s look at two of the most popular...
Google Keyword Planner
This tool can be used to analyse the effectiveness of keywords that came up in the brainstorming stage. Effectiveness can be measured by looking at metrics such as average monthly search volumes and the level of competition for each keyword. The level of competition for each search term is indicated in terms of high, medium and low. Your emphasis should be on identifying search terms with high monthly search volumes but low or medium competition levels.
This tool is used to find less common or ‘long tail’ phrases and keywords that closely fit with the main keywords. Ubersuggest can be used to obtain new secondary and related keywords you may have overlooked.
3. Performing Competitive Analysis
The third step in keyword research is to perform a thorough analysis of the top industry sites using the best keywords identified using the keyword tools above. Such identified keywords can be used as the search term on search engines, and the resulting five to ten top websites listed in the first page of search result need to be analysed thoroughly.
What do these sites have that is putting them near the top? Can you compete with them on these keywords? In order to perform comparative analysis, tools such as SEMRush offer important metrics. Such tools allow you to compare the different sites based on important parameters like quality and quantity of incoming links to the site, page rank, Alexa rank and social media audience size.
4. Structuring Website Content Based on Identified Keywords
The identified keywords can be categorized into two groups: top level high competition keywords that can be used in home pages and category pages, and longer and more specific keywords that can be used in blog pages and more specific product pages. Webpage content can be structured using these two sets of identified keywords as part of an integrated marketing communications strategy.
Now, even with the keyword research done and the website content framework finalised, your start-up could still use the help of an SEO agency - one that specialises in inbound marketing. Content marketing companies can use your keyword research to good effect, and will help in increasing the volume of incoming traffic to your site. SEO experts can even help in monitoring the effectiveness of the company’s keyword strategy. Finally, SEO consultants can fine-tune page content and suggest new content so that website text is in line with overall marketing objectives as the business grows and matures.