Keyword Research Checklist to Succeed in 2023
Getting your website to show up for the right keywords is the basis of good SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but how do you know what keywords to target when you are just starting out? And how to rank for them? That’s where keyword research checklist comes into the picture.
In this ultimate keyword research checklist for 2023, we’ll tell you how you can find opportunities to rank for keywords that your customers search for, but your competitors are missing and so much more.
Have a Look at Our Keyword Research Checklist
A keyword research checklist can help you ensure you are doing everything to get the results that you desire. Further, you can use it to double-check that you have added the right keywords that are going to drive traffic and revenue for your business. So, without wasting any more time, let’s check out the keyword research checklist to succeed in 2023.
1. Identify Your Competitors
One of the first steps to getting started with keyword research is finding your competitors and the terms that are working for them.
Run your own domain through the SEMrush Domain Overview tool. You will quickly identify competitors competing in the same space as you are and see how your visibility compares. Look for the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but your site isn’t. Then perform a competitive keyword gap analysis to find these keywords and build them into your strategy.
Your gap analysis can also help you spot opportunities where you can rank for valuable keywords that your competitors are not targeting.
2. Research Primary Keyword
If you don’t know what keywords people are searching for, how can you possibly optimize your content for search engines? That’s why you need to perform primary keyword research.
Think, identify and research the word or phrase that represents your business. These primary keywords could be a service or a product. It’s important to identify and research the keywords and phrases that people type into search engines that are also relevant to what you do on your website.
Primary keywords are the main keywords that will be at the core of your business. These are keywords with high Google search volumes, more competition, and align closely with your products/services. You want your content to rank for these keywords as they are going to drive you leads, sales, and conversions.
Combine your list of primary keywords and the keywords that your competitors are targeting. It is better to target keywords that may have a smaller volume but are less competitive and easy to rank. Remember that each page on your website should target one main primary keyword.
You can use keyword research tools like SEMrush to conduct keyword research around your products and services. Identify your primary keywords, and check keyword difficulty. The free version offers up to 10 free searches per day. You can buy the paid version of SEMrush which offers excellent benefits and reports.
If you carefully use the most relevant and popular primary keywords in your content, it will improve the chances of it being found in search engines. But if you don’t then you will end up creating content about things that your target audience is not searching.
Many website owners make that mistake, and it’s likely a big part of the reason why 90.63% of pages get no traffic from Google. Make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake.
3. Find Long Tail Keywords and Question Keywords
The keywords are categorized into the “head/small tail,” the “body,” and the “long tail”.
- Head phrase: “black tie” is a high-level query with high search volume.
- Body phrase: “how to wear a black-tie” show specific intent with lower average search volumes.
- Long tail: “where to get a black tie with white lines” is a very specific query with even lower search volume.
Such long-tail keywords make up more than half the searches on the internet. This means that if you don’t target long-tail keywords correctly, you minimize your chances of getting any decent traffic from search engines.
These are highly specific keywords, and they match more closely to what a person would search when performing a search. Search volume is usually quite low for such keywords but the potential conversion rate is high. Writing high-quality content that targets long-tail keywords will give your site a sustainable SEO boost. So, make sure that your SEO strategy targets long-tail keywords.
It is recommended that marketers optimize their content to match long-tail keywords as they have less competition and lead to higher potential conversions.
You can use SEMrush or KWFinder to conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, PPC (Pay Per Click) research, and discover backlinks. You can also search for long-tail keywords on google using Google Suggest, check out what people search for, and perform other related searches.
Question keywords, on the other hand, are an ideal choice for writing blog posts and articles. For example, questions like how to make chocolate pudding cake? Or how French toast is made? Or how do you make cold brew coffee? These questions can be ideal for writing your blogs.
4. Determine Search Intent of Pages That Rank
When users type a query into a search engine, it shows their keyword intent. The intent could be informational, commercial, navigational, or transactional.
- Navigational intent: If the user is trying to find something (e.g., “Black ties”)
- Informational intent: The user wants to learn more about something (e.g., “How to tie a tie?”)
- Transactional intent: Trying to complete a specific action (e.g., “buy black tie”)
- Commercial intent: Trying to learn more before making a purchase decision (e.g., “Van Heusen tie vs Peter England tie”)
The easiest way to identify search intent is to look at the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword. Most of the time, you’ll notice that all or most pages follow the same content format and type. For example, looking at the top 3 results for “how to tie a tie”, the top three results have similar kind of informational content.
So, if you rely only on query volume and ignore search intent, you most likely won’t rank for your keyword. Even if you somehow end up ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages), your page would not match the searchers’ intent, leading to a poor experience and increasing your bounce rate.
If you don’t understand the intent of the content that Google is ranking and simply follow keyword research tips, your content won’t align with the user’s intent. Therefore, check the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) for all your target keywords, analyze the pages that rank for your target keywords. Make sure that your page’s content aligns with the searcher’s intent. Search Intent needs to be a big part of your SEO approach as it is ultimately Google’s most important goal. Here’s a rule to follow when doing SEO- If you can’t match what searchers want, then don’t go after that keyword.
Use the Researched Keywords in Your Posts
Use your researched keywords to plug your products and services naturally in your post once. Keep it as near to the top of the page as possible. Just make sure that you are writing for actual people and not for Google alone. You can also place the researched keywords in:
1.The page title
If you can use the keyword in your title, it will really help with on-page SEO. However, if you can’t use it naturally in the title, use a variation that still sends out the right message in the main words from your keyword phrase. Something is better than nothing!
2. The image alt text
Images and content go perfectly well together. Always use images in your content as they increase the appeal of your words and can better engage and inform your audience. Adding Image alt text will improve the accessibility, user experience, and SEO of your website. If you use your keywords in an image alt-tag, it will show up during image searches.
3. The page URL
Make sure your target keyword appears in your page’s URL. It will help search engines what your page is about.
4. The H1, H2, and H3 headings
You can rank for multiple keywords by adding them in your headings. When you use keywords in headings, it makes them relevant to your content and make it clear for the search engines.
Heading 1s, or H1s, are set aside for the main title of the article. Do not use multiple H1s in your content, it can confuse Google. Stick to a single H1 as your article title and include your primary keyword in it. You can insert multiple important keywords in H2s. These headings divide your article into pieces. Include the primary keyword in one of them and go for secondary keywords in the rest of the headings. Heading 3s, or H3s, further break down the main sections of the content. Here you can insert the secondary keywords or any additional keywords you have.
It is impossible to include everything important for SEO in just one checklist. But if you follow the ultimate keyword research checklist for 2023 mentioned above, you will see success from your SEO efforts and will be well on your way to higher rankings on SERPs. You can hire services from best SEO service provider for the best results.
A content specialist who has written articles on digital marketing, SEO, and content writing. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading or watching cricket.