In this article, we’ll be discussing the in’s and out’s of keyword research to help you create better content that resonates with your audience.
Starting a niche life insurance site? Or already have a couple under your belt?
If yes, then lead generation is going to be your number one priority. And how do you drive leads? With highly targeted traffic, of course.
Now you could go spend a ton of money on pay-per-click ads to drive leads, but that’s a short-term strategy. With PPC you’re not building a long-term asset that’ll continue driving traffic to your site if you decide to stop paying for ads.
The way to create a consistent stream of targeted traffic to your site (for free) is through a strong SEO-strategy backed by a strong content strategy.
Now before you even begin creating content to improve your SEO rankings, you absolutely need to understand which keywords you’re going to rank for. Keywords are the glue that holds your entire content marketing strategy in place. Without them, you’re essentially throwing time and money away hoping that something will stick.
Both search engines and people prioritize compelling and informative content. But in order for search engines to display your content to the people who are searching, your website needs to be chock full of the right keywords.
And that’s where keyword research comes into play.
In this article, we’re going to outline why you need to perform keyword research for every niche website you create, and then how to do it. We’re even going to include step by step images so you can follow along.
Let’s get started.
Why you need to perform keyword research
Keywords are important for both search engine optimization and your overall content strategy. But why is that?
Well, it’s incredibly important and valuable to know the exact language your audience is using when they go to research life insurance online.
Knowing what people are searching for is like knowing what your ideal customers are thinking when they want your service, at scale.
When people have questions about life insurance, they’re going to turn to Google (or another search engine), and type in words, aka keywords. If your website is full of those same exact words, two things will happen:
- Google will recognize your site as an authority on those keywords and rank you higher
- Your visitors will find the answers to their questions on your site, which will also do two things:
- Visitors will spend more time on your site, which confirms to Google that your content is genuinely helpful and not full of spam
- Visitors will feel that they found the right life insurance site for them = lead conversions!
The keyword experts over at Copyblogger said it nicely, “At the deepest level, keyword optimization has nothing to do with SEO. It’s about knowing your audience so well that you learn which words will grab their attention, earn their trust, and persuade them to buy your products or services in the future. You have to “optimize” your writing for maximum effect.”
The benefits of keywords
When you have a website that is full of keyword-rich content, you’ll see a number of benefits:
- Your website blog becomes a respected source of helpful information
- It streamlines content creation by knowing exactly what people want to know
- You’ll understand your niche from the inside out
- You can create ads that will bring you the highest cost per click (CPC)
- It’ll help you choose related niches to tap into for future websites (you’re not just creating one, are you?)
Yet not all keywords are created equally. As you begin researching, you’ll notice different variations of keywords, some short and some long. It’s important to know which ones to focus on, so you can minimize competition and rise in the search results rankings.
What are long-tail keywords?
When you go to do your keyword research you need to focus on long-tail keywords. These are keywords made up of 3 or more words, usually written as a phrase or question. For example:
Life insurance v. life insurance for diabetics over 60
The short tail keyword on the left will be incredibly difficult to rank for because of the sheer amount of competition. But the long-tail keyword on the right will be something you could easily rank for as there is less competition and it’s a phrase that real people actually search for.
These longer variations of your keywords will have lower search volumes but will convert much higher if you’re providing the information your reader is looking for.
Amazon, for example, saw a 57 percent increase in their sales from long-tail keywords. But the only way they got there was by understanding what terms people were searching for. Which leads us to the research stage.
How to do keyword research
For the sake of being universal, this demonstration will include Google Adwords Keywords Planner. This free tool is available to anyone with a Google account and is, therefore, the most affordable way to do keyword research.
That’s not to say that there aren’t other incredible tools out there for you to use. In fact, dozens of other sites have expanded upon Google’s own platform to be more user-friendly and offer additional in-depth insights. Some of these come in a freemium model but are worth looking into.
With so many options available, we recommend only using one or two SEO/keyword tools so that you don’t waste time with information overload.
A step-by-step guide
- Start with your own ideas
- Understand what people might be searching for based on your buyer’s persona research
- Write a list down of every keyword you can think of
- Identify what the core keywords are. In this example we’re going to use “life insurance diabetes,” and then grow from there.
- Determine the popularity and competition score of each keyword idea
Step 1: Go to Google Adwords Keywords Planner. Log in and input your main keyword (e.g., life insurance diabetes). Then, scroll down the page and click “Get Ideas”:
Step 2: Click the “keywords” tab to reveal all of the keywords in each group:
Step 3: Pick your long-tail keywords by identifying the ones with four or more words.
Step 4: Expand upon Google’s results with another long-tail keyword tool for more options
Go through these steps until you have about 100 keyword variations, which should then guide the creation of your first 100 posts. Use these keywords to come up with topics, titles, and links.
If you cannot get to 100, try to think of other words people might be searching for that mean the same thing or secondary terms that can apply. For example:
- Life insurance for diabetics + [life insurance carrier]
- Life insurance for diabetics + [secondary medical condition]
- Life insurance for diabetics + [age group]
- Life insurance for diabetics + [state]
If you write articles along those lines, you’ll have a ton of content right away. Just be sure it’s grounded in research and is genuinely helpful to those who find it.
Once you have your list of long-tail keywords, you need to write content and then track. Always be tracking. If you’re using an insights-packed analytics tool like NinjaQuoter, you will see how your organic traffic changes over time and which keywords are converting more visitors.
What this all means…
A keyword strategy is keyword research done with the searcher’s intention in mind.
Let’s repeat – the searcher’s intention in mind.
Meaning, a keyword strategy is not about what you want to write about, but rather what drives your audience to search and discover you. Why is it that they came to Google in the first place? What thought occurred in their head? And what search terms did they type in?
Now it’s time to go out and write content based on your long-tail keyword findings.